How has it helped my organization?
We have implemented Cisco Web Security Appliance in quite a few places and the results are quite satisfactory. We haven't faced any kind of challenge from it. Neither has the customer reported anything.
I am a solution architect. So I'm able to discuss in terms of configuration management. All I can say is that from a solution perspective, whatever the customer is basically looking for from our web security appliance, Cisco Web Security Appliance has met it all. And more importantly, wherever we have deployed this kind of Web Security Appliance, Cisco hasn't faced any kind of escalation from our customers. And whenever we go for review with them for their satisfaction level, we have always heard that this is one of the products that they are very satisfied with.
What needs improvement?
Obviously there is always room for improvement for almost all the appliances available in the market. But there are scopes for improvement. I'm pretty sure that Cisco will keep on integrating different feature sets as the market demands and I have seen Cisco as an organization that puts in proactive efforts providing different features before they come into the market. So I'm pretty sure that Cisco will give due diligence in terms of providing all the features in their WSA.
But one thing I don't like with Cisco is that they're very fragmented in terms of feature sets. What I mean is that the one thing I don't like about Cisco is that they are very much fragmented in terms of providing the complete solution. They keep on breaking their different feature sets into different boxes. The days are coming when almost all the customers are looking for a consolidated box or a box wherein you can have multiple feature sets based on infrastructure, which will decrease the carbon footprint in the data center. Then, obviously, the number of devices they will have in the data center will go down. So cooling requirements and power requirements will also go down. So that's what the customer is looking at. But Cisco is too segmented. They gave ESA, they gave WSA, they give their next-generation Firewall Firepower. Then they gave a management center. And for network AMP they made a separate box set. So there are too many devices.
Though I understand technically that, yes, fragmented technology is best because we should let the dedicated device do dedicated jobs. But again, in terms of customer acceptability and the customer's point of view, consolidated devices make much more sense for them.
I would obviously prefer the WSA to be integrated with ESA because there is no point putting so many hardware devices and infrastructures in. So if WSA had the functionality of ESA, at least the basic functionality of ESA, it could be merged into a single box, and that would be good.
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
Cisco Web Security Appliance is stable. Very recently we deployed corporate-wide security practices with all the Cisco devices like Cisco Firepower, Cisco AMP, Cisco Cloud Email Security, Umbrella, and so on and so forth. That infrastructure is running quite okay for the last two to two and a half years. So I must say that all the security products are quite stable in nature.
How are customer service and technical support?
Cisco is the best in giving technical support. There is no doubt about that. I am working with Cisco on a range of products since 2004.
I have dealt with all their technical related support. I used to be in deployment. Then I used a lot of their super technical support. But once I migrated from the implementation team to the solution designing team, I did not require that kind of technical support from them in terms of their technical assistance. But yes, I still have discussions with my implementation team and they keep telling me that one of the best features is the technical support we get from Cisco. So as far as technical support is concerned, I don't think that there is a match for Cisco.
What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?
Regarding Cisco price-wise, it is always a bit on the higher side. Apart from a few products, if you look at the majority of Cisco products, they are a bit on the higher side as far as the market is concerned. Obviously it would be good if Cisco could cut down on their prices, but they would have to do a lot of negotiation or compromise in terms of their product quality and support quality and a lot of customers may not like that. Price is something very dynamic. In India, actually, we don't find that much of a challenge with prices in enterprises and in government.
What other advice do I have?
On a scale of 1 to 10, I would give Cisco Web Security Appliance an 8.