Cisco Firepower NGFW Review

Notably reduced our time to root cause and MTTR

What is our primary use case?

The primary use case of for Cisco firewalls is to segment our network. We're using them on the perimeter network for traffic filtering. Since deploying them, we have seen a maturing of the security in our organization. 

We're using both the FTD 2100 and 4100. We have about 40 sites that are using our approximately 80 FTDs. We have about 2,000 users.

How has it helped my organization?

It has helped us to solve some problems regarding auditor recommendations. We used to have some audit recommendations that we were not able to comply with. With FTD deployed we have been able to be in compliance around our 36 remote sites.

Before deploying them we had a lot of incidents of internet slowness and issues with site access, as well as computers that had vulnerabilities. But as soon as we deployed them we were able to track these things. It has helped the user-experience regarding connectivity and security. 

In addition, it is giving us a better view regarding the traffic profile and traffic path. And we can categorize applications by utilization, by users, etc.

The solution has, overall, made us twice as productive and, in terms of response time for resolving issues or to identify root causes, we are three times more effective and efficient.

What is most valuable?

We can easily track unauthorized users and see where traffic is going. It is very useful.

FTD is also fully integrated with Talos. We are in the process of acquiring it and we will integrate it. That way we will have everything from Talos to do correlations.

What needs improvement?

We would like to see improvement in recovery. If there is an issue that forces us to do recovery, we have to restart or reboot. In addition, sometimes we have downtime during the maintenance windows. If Cisco could enhance this, so that upgrades would not necessarily require downtime, that would be helpful.

We would also like to have a solution on the cloud, where we could manage the configuration. CDO is in the ASA mode. If Cisco could do it in full FTD — the configuration, the administration, and everything — it would be very good, and easy.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The solution is stable. Last year, we deployed it in more 32 countries and it has been stable since the deployment. We haven't had any issues with the firewall. If we have any issues, it is usually due to the power. The solution itself is stable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It's scalable.

How are customer service and technical support?

Tech support is able to resolve 70 percent of the issues. In case of an emergency, we can open a case because we have a contract for Smart Net support on the devices. In case of an issue, we open a case and we get assistance.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

Before FirePOWER we were using the ASA.

How was the initial setup?

At the beginning, it was complex, but we were able to develop a step-by-step implementation. Now, we can deploy one in about two hours, including integration testing, physical testing, configuration, and applying the rules.

What about the implementation team?

We have in-house engineers for the deployment. We haven't used external, third-parties. We are a big institution, based in 36 countries. The team that is focused on this deployment is a team of five. The person who is handling the implementation will be in contact with a local engineer at the remote site, and will assist him, remotely, to do the testing and follow the steps to deploy.

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

The one-time cost is affordable, but the maintenance cost and the Smart Net costs need to be reduced. They're too high. A company like ours, that has about 80 firewalls, has to multiple the maintenance cost per device by 80. Cisco should find a way to provide some kind of enterprise support. We don't want to buy support per unit of equipment. It would be easier for everybody.

What other advice do I have?

We are using about ten different security tools, including analytics, monitoring, threat management, and email security. What we have integrated is the ISE and FTD but the third-party solutions are not fully integrated.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

**Disclosure: IT Central Station contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor.
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