Cisco Firepower NGFW Review

Offers an easy way to manage the devices centrally but not all of its features are supported

How has it helped my organization?

A lot of companies have a lot of vulnerabilities and lots of exploitations that are going inside their network that the IT staff are not aware of. You actually need a security device like a next-generation firewall to protect your network.

Once we installed the Firepower system, we started looking at the evidence, and we found a lot of exploitations and a lot of bad things that are in the network. These things were invisible to IT, they were unaware of any of them.

What is most valuable?

The Firepower Management Center is an easy way to manage the devices centrally. I guess this is something that all vendors provide so it's nothing special. I like the way Firepower presents the data. It gives you two classifications for the evidence, something based on the priority of the evidence and another classification based on the impact of the evidence in your environment. This makes it very easy to spot the evidence that is most impactful to my environment. Instead of having to go through all the evidence based on that priority, I can focus on the evidence that has the most impact on my environment.

Sometimes you might have a high priority event but it has nothing to do with your environment. You have a vulnerability. You don't have to treat a vulnerability as an attack. Since you're not vulnerable, it's not impactful to your environment so you don't have to focus on it. This is something that other products don't provide. 

It is very flexible. You can have the next generation firewall work as a physical connection or as a Layer 2 device. You can have a combination of Layer 2 and Layer 3, which is really good. 

What needs improvement?

There are quite a few things that can be improved. Firepower is an acquisition from another company, Cisco's trying to put it together. Their previous ASA code with the source file code that they have acquired a few years ago still has some features that are not fully supported.

Also, they have a Firepower source file that I can work on the ASA device and on Firepower devices. A problem here lies in the way that you manage these devices. Some devices do not support the FMC, and some devices have to be managed through ASDM, and others have to be managed through FMC.

Most of the high-end devices do not support Onboard management. The Onboard management is only supported on the 2100 IP at the 1050 Firepower and on select ASA devices that bear the Firepower image.

It would be very nice if the Onboard management integrated with all the devices. Log key loading for the evidence at the logs, because clearly you only have loading on the remote on the FMP, you cannot store the logs located on the device.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using this solution for around two years.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We have several thousand employees at the company.

How are customer service and technical support?

Their technical support is good. 

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was straightforward. 

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

The pricing is overrated. Prices for Cisco equipment are always a little bit higher than other vendors. Customers are always complaining about the high prices of Cisco equipment, so it would be very good if these prices can be lowered down, but that's how it is. Cisco equipment usually has higher prices than its competitors.

What other advice do I have?

I would recommend this solution to someone considering it. I would recommend to study and know what the requirements are exactly. One of the things that might be a problem, or might be a complex thing to do is to go through Cisco Firepower, because Firepower is a software that's complex to explain to somebody. There is the previous ASA code that Cisco had and there is the source file that they acquired. Cisco started to send it as ASA Firepower services. Then they combined the two codes together and they started to send a new code called the Firepower Threat Defense, FTD.

Any customer who wants to buy it needs to understand all of these options and what the limitations of each option are, the pros and cons. Any customer who wants to deploy Firepower needs to understand what Cisco has to offer so he can choose correctly.

I would rate it a seven out of ten. 

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner.
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