Cisco ASAv Review

Offers good security and stability

What is most valuable?

One of the important aspect when deploying Ciso ASA firewall, it’s oblige you at the beginning to define your security level, which will make it easier when making your security policy ( traffic allow From Source to Destination)

A security level will define how trusted is an interface in relation to another interface on the Cisco ASA.

The Higher is the security level, is the more trusted is the interface.

The highest security level is , “ Security Level 100” .

Nowadays other Firewall manufacturer try to adopt the same deployment principle as the Cisco ASA with security level, however the Cisco ASA do have other interesting features which I think are very useful:

- Firepower services

- Security context

- Firepower management

What needs improvement?

Normally in terms of design, the user prefers to use Cisco ASAv as a border router or a border firewall, because you have two different kinds of firewalls. You have a firewall when the data communication enters the network, and then you have a firewall, for when you've been inside the network. So, for the inside network firewall, Check Point is better because it can make a better notation of your network infrastructure. But, for the incoming data, or border firewall, ASAv is better. In terms of improving the interface, if you compared to the Check Point file, then I think that ASAv should be better. They should improve the interface so that it's similar to the Check Point firewall.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using the solution for the past three years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The Cisco ASAv is really stable, especially if you compare it to Check Point. Not long ago Check Point did release one virtual firewall, and the virtual firewall of Check Point is not stable.

The hardware version of the firewall is more stable than the virtual one. In terms of the data center, many companies have a virtual data center in a group environment. Many companies want to have a virtual firewall, but the one from Check Point, in comparison to Cisco, is not stable at the moment. 

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The solution is really scalable.

How are customer service and technical support?

I haven't dealt with technical support. We just check online, and if we have to contact Cisco about major issues, it's an internal department dealing with that. I don't know how technical support is, because our technical support team is located in Sofia, and I am in the Netherlands, so I don't have any view on that.

How was the initial setup?

The setup is always different. If you have a small company, the setup is quite easy, but if you have a bigger company the setups are quite complex. Cisco is pretty good in routing. So in bigger situations, configuring the ASAv file is pretty straightforward.

The deployment also depends on the customer's site. So, the time changes because most of the time we have to do a migration. For example, some customers have an old firewall, and you have to migrate things to a new one. And sometimes, it's just copy/paste, but in some situations, we cannot migrate all firewall configurations to a new one.

In terms of how many people you need for deployment and maintenance, again, it's dependent on the company strategy around the help desk. You should have a maintenance engineer who should be part of a team. The deployment will be done in a team. You can have one person to do the deployment but usually, you always have a backup, so it would be two. And then, for the maintenance, it can be one person or two. The maintenance can be done on the site desk, operating after office hours, so it depends.

What other advice do I have?

It's difficult to give specific advice on the solution because it always depends on the design solution and the strategy. So what I would recommend is to use different firewalls and to use Cisco ASAv as a border firewall.

I would rate this solution as 7.5 out of 10. I wish the Cisco interface was not so granular. Check Point was easier to create specific rules than on ASAv, so that's why I say this. If you want to make things easier for an engineer, you always have to work on the interface. But the product, in and of itself, there's nothing wrong with it.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.

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