Cisco NGIPS Review

Offers valuable SSL decryption, URL filtering, and ITSM inspection features

What is most valuable?

In the previous version, some features were not enabled. For example, you could not access the VPN. So that was one of the downsides of the product. In this latest version, after enabling these features in the previous version and using them, it's been good. Inspection, application, and inspection in the cloud, the detail in the cloud for an indication of compromise and the malicious activity re-hashing are all valuable features. It's more of the cloud and the malicious activities aspects that define this application.

What needs improvement?

The file trajectory could be improved.

We still have a web proxy but I think at some point we should not have two products. We should have only one product. Most of the features of the web proxy already exist in the UTM appliances. We have a debate as to whether it's the Cisco Firepower and UTM Appliance of next-generation firewall. But I consider both of them the same. So I would say if we have the caching and the other features which are unique features to the Web Proxy, I think Cisco will be number one if they are able to include such features in the future.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using the solution for three years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It's a really good product but I have had a really good experience with Palo Alto UTM Appliances. Which I would give a higher mark than the Firepower. It's just a little bit more expensive than the Cisco Firepower.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Scalability I would say, it has some limitations in the large deployment. I think Cisco is working to improve it.

How are customer service and technical support?

The technical support is the most valuable part of the solution. Cisco is number one in technical support. It's good technical support and this is actually a problem when we do the recruitment for some other products. Other products you are on hold forever and the support is not as good compared to Cisco. 

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

I started with Juniper and the Palo Alto UTM Appliances, and many other vendors. But we do have a policy to use multiple vendors.

How was the initial setup?

Three years ago the setup was very complex. We had two different cables or software. It's like two appliances and one appliance. We had to set up ASA first and then set up Firepower and do the redirect from the old HTTP traffic, from the ASA for a detailed inspection by Firepower. Initially, it was complex. That was a few years back, but now with the newer version, it's just a piece of cake. Deployment took about 40 minutes. I also handle the maintenance myself.

What about the implementation team?

I do the implementation myself but in certain situations, because we have a risk assessment, it's a sort of risk transfer, so we have a contract with a certain integrator. We do have a contract, but I personally do the setup.

What was our ROI?

We have definitely experienced ROI. Because we have had many incidents where Cisco Firepower has caught malicious activities and triggered an alarm, a true positive alarm. Which is really good in our case.

What other advice do I have?

The solution is extensively used. We have a policy, from a permission security perspective, that you need to have diversity in the vendors and diversity in the products. We have some areas which are using these products and other areas which is using different products.

It's a really good product, but you need to give it some time to form a sort of baseline, before enabling all the features. You need to study the product well because the product will decrease to around 35-40% of the actual product when you start to enable features. Like the application and inspection, the SSL decryption, the URL filtering, and the ITSM inspection. If you enable more features, you will decrease a little bit of the property. Whoever selects the device initially needs to plan which features they are going to use and they might have to shift the sizing of the product. They might need a high-end appliance or a smaller low-end appliance based on the features they are going to use.

I would give the solution 9 out of 10. 

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