Cisco IOS Security Review

Good performance, documentation, and support but is lacking a few features

What is our primary use case?

We basically use it for security. It can be used as the internet as well as the data center security firewall.

What is most valuable?

The hardware is pretty stable. It's also a very good product performance-wise. 

Initially, it wasn't mature like a firewall and there were other leaders, but now they have included almost all the features of next-generation security. Basically, it's a good product to work with. 

What needs improvement?

I would love it if it has a link-by-link feature, integration with Unified Threat Management (UTM), and load balancers.

They haven't got any link-by-link feature right now, which can be a very attractive option. This link-by-link feature can also be made available for Cisco's UTM firewalls. The link-by-link feature is available in some of the other firewalls. 

Currently, integration with UTM is missing. Cisco IOS Security also doesn't have the load balancers and a few things that need to be done to get a good UTM firewall. Normally, other firewalls have UTM. As a next-generation firewall, it's good, but as a UTM, it has to do some work.

For how long have I used the solution?

We have been working with this solution for around 15 years now.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Cisco IOS Security is very stable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It's pretty scalable. The hardware is good, and it's scalable.

How are customer service and technical support?

The main reason for going with Cisco is their support. They have very skilled people and a very good support structure as compared to many other companies. They invest heavily in support maintenance. 

We are pretty comfortable with Cisco technical support, but with the new acquisitions, they also need to ramp up their support. For the older Cisco IOS and other stuff, they have very mature teams, but with the new acquisitions, sometimes it takes time to do the transition up to that level. For example, when Cisco acquired Sourcefire for the firewall, it took some time for Sourcefire to act like Cisco's other products. So, support is good, but still, there is a learning curve involved with new acquisitions and their support.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was complex when we compare it with some other vendors.

The setup is easy if you have good knowledge. As compared to the earlier types, it is very easy now, and the major stuff is graphical. It's pretty easy, and we don't need a lot of people, at least one to two people for backup are good enough to manage the firewalls.

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

Cisco IOS Security is for medium and large enterprises. When we talk about the price as well, it's more suitable for medium and large enterprises, but recently they included a few good SMB options. They have introduced a cheaper version of it in the last year with SMB option, which can be looked into for small enterprises, but it's more suited towards the large enterprises and medium enterprises.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We prefer selling Cisco firewalls. We also sell Fortinet. Because Cisco's presence in our country is very good as compared to Fortinet and Palo Alto, the local customers seem comfortable with Cisco.

When we talk about Cisco, definitely the hardware is more reliable and scalable as compared to others. The support is also pretty good. These are the two good things. Definitely, Cisco Firewall is all around pretty good as compared to Fortinet.

What other advice do I have?

We work with Cisco, and we top-rate Cisco firewalls to be sold and deployed. This is because they have good trading and expertise available. Cisco IOS Security is pretty reliable, and it also has really good documentation.

It sometimes requires a slightly higher technical expertise to implement all the features as compared to other firewalls. Therefore, users definitely have to be trained first to get proper knowledge. Definitely, IOS security is well-documented, and it's pretty reliable. I'd advise just to make sure that they have adequate knowledge. 

The learning curve is slightly longer because it's a slightly complex product as compared to Fortinet, but feature-wise, it's very good.

I would rate Cisco IOS Security a seven out of ten. It is a good product with scope for features such as link-by-link, integration with UTM, and load balancers.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

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