Please share with the community what you think needs improvement with Cisco Firepower NGFW.
What are its weaknesses? What would you like to see changed in a future version?
The intelligence has room for improvement. There are some hackers that we haven't seen before and its ability to detect those types of attacks needs to be improved. There is a bit of an overlap in their offerings. Which causes clients to overpay for whatever they end up selecting.
Regarding the solution's ability to provide visibility into threats, I'm not as positive about that one. We had an event recently where we had inbound traffic for SIP and we experienced an attack against our SIP endpoint, such that they were able to successfully make calls out. There is no NAT for that. So we opened a case with the vendor asking how this was possible? They had to get several people on the line to explain to us that there was an invisible, hidden NAT and that is how that traffic was getting in, and that this was by design. That was rather frustrating because as far as the troubleshooting goes, I saw no traffic. Both CTR, which is gathering data from multiple solutions that the vendor provides, as well as the FMC events connection, did not show any of those connections because there wasn't a NAT inbound which said either allow it or deny it. There just wasn't a rule that said traffic outside on SIP should be allowed into this system. They explained to us that, because we had an outbound PAT rule for SIP, it creates a NAT inbound for us. I've yet to find it documented anywhere. So I was blamed for an inbound event that was caused because a NAT that was not described anywhere in the configuration was being used to allow that traffic in. That relates to the behavior differences between the ASAs and the FirePOWERs and the maturity. That was one of those situations where I was a little disappointed. Most of the time it's very good for giving me visibility into the network. But in that particular scenario, it was not reporting the traffic at all. I had multiple systems that were saying, "Yeah, this is not a problem, because I see no traffic. I don't know what you're talking about." When I would ask, "Why are we having these outbound calls that shouldn't be happening?" there was nothing. Eventually, Cisco found another rule in our code and they said, "Oh, it's because you have this rule, that inbound NAT was able to be taken advantage of." Once again I said, "But we don't have an inbound NAT. You just decided to create one and didn't tell us." We had some costs associated with those outbound SIP calls that were considered to be an incident. For the most part, my impression of Cisco Talos is good. But again, I searched Cisco Talos for these people who were making these SIP calls and they were identified as legitimate networks. They had been flagged as utilized for viral campaigns in the past, but they weren't flagged at the time as being SIP attackers or SIP hijackers, and that was wrong. Obviously Talos didn't have the correct information in that scenario. When I requested that they update it based on the fact that we had experienced SIP attacks for those networks, Talos declined. They said no, these networks are fine. They should not be considered bad actors. It seemed that Talos didn't care that those particular addresses were used to attack us. It would have protected other people if they'd adjusted those to be people who are actively carrying out SIP attacks against us currently. Generally speaking, they're top-of-the-game as far as security intelligence goes, but in this one scenario, the whole process seemed to fail us from end to end. Their basic contention was that it was my fault, not theirs. That didn't help me as a customer and, as an employee of the credit union, it certainly hurt me.
Some products supersede others within Cisco. I have three platforms and some of the features are the same in two products. It's not clear for us, as a customer, if Cisco intends to have just one platform for security in the future or if they will offer one product for a particular segment, such as one product for the big companies, one product for the financial segment, another product for enterprise, and another product for small business. Sometimes, Cisco itself has two products which are doing the same things in some areas. That is something they could make clearer for customers: the position of each product or the roadmap for having just one product. For example, I have a management console for the next-gen firewalls we are deploying. But the SD-WAN also has some security features and I would have to use another management console. I don't have integration between the products. Having this integration or a roadmap would help. I don't know if there will be one product only in the future, but at least having better integration between their own products is one area for improvement. Also, the user interface for the Firepower management console is a little bit different from traditional Cisco management tools. If you look at products we already use, like Cisco Prime or other products that are cloud-based, they have a more modern user interface for managing the products. For Firepower, the user interface is not very user-friendly. It's a little bit confusing sometimes. This is another area where they could improve.
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.
For the new line of FTDs, the performance could be improved. We sometimes have issues with the 41 series, depending on what we activate. If we activate too many intrusion policies, it affects the CPU. We have great hopes for the next version. We have integrated Snort 3.0, the new Snort, because it includes multi-threading. I hope we will get better performance with that.
Cisco firewalls provide us with some application visibility and control but that's one of those things that are involved in the continuous evolution of the next-generation firewalls. We have pretty good visibility into our applications. The issue that we run into is when it comes to some of the custom apps and unusual apps that we have. It doesn't give us quite the visibility that we're looking for, but we have other products then that fill that gap. There would also be a little bit room for improvement on Cisco's automated policy application and enforcement. The worst part of the entire solution, and this is kind of trivial at times, is that management of the solution is difficult. You manage FireSIGHT through an internet browser. I've had Cisco tell me to manage it through Firefox because that's how they develop it. The problem is, depending on the page you're on, they don't function in the same way. The pages can be very buggy, or you can't resize columns in this one, or you can't do certain things in that one. It causes a headache in managing it. That's part of the reason that we don't do some of the policies, because management of it can be a little bit funky at times. There are other products that are a little cleaner when it comes to that.
In Firepower, there is an ability to search and dig into a search, which is nice. However, I'm not a super fan of the way it scrolls. If you want to look at something live, it's a lot different. You're almost waiting. With the ASDM, where it just flows, you can really see it. The second someone clicks something or does something, you'll see it. The refresh rate on the events in Firepower is not as smooth. It's definitely usable, though. You can get a lot of good information out of it. It's hard to stay on the bleeding edge on firewalls because you have to be careful with how they integrate with Firepower. If you update one you have to update the other. They definitely have some documentation that says if you're at this version you can go to this version of Firepower, but you need to be careful with that.
The performance and the level of throughput need to be improved. This would make things easier for us. I would like to see the inclusion of more advanced antivirus features in the next release of this solution. Adding internet accounting features would also be a good 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.
I was trying to learn how this product actually operates and one thing that I see from internal processing is that it does fire-walling and then sends it to the IPS model and any other model that needs to be performed. For example, content checking or filtering will be done in a field processing manner. That is something that causes delays in the network, from a security perspective. That is something that can be improved upon. Palo Alto already has implemented this as a pilot passed processing. They put the same stream of data across multiple modules at the same time and see if it is giving a positive result by using an XR function. Something similar can be done in Cisco Firepower. Instead of single processing or in a sequential manner, they can do something similar to pile processing. An internal function that is something that they can improve upon. They can also improve on cost because Cisco is normally expensive and that's the reason customers do not buy them. Also, if they could provide integration with Cisco Umbrella, that would actually improve the store next level. Integration is one thing that I would definitely want. From a technical perspective, maybe they could simplify the CLI. That is one thing that I would like to be implemented because Cisco ASA or Cisco, in general, is usually good at simple CLIs. That is one thing that I saw lacking in FTD. Maybe because they got it from another vendor. They're trying to integrate the product.
I would say when Cisco is selling something called a firewall, they put a lot of services together to make a single box solution. When a company develops a firewall, they need to develop certain features like intrusion control and offer it pre-loaded in the product. On the mix of projects that I am responsible for, I feel comfortable using the Cisco firewall for management. One feature lacking is superior anti-virus protection, which must be added. I have to say I am very proud of the Cisco Firepower 41400 as it can give you multiple layers of four-degree connectivity in operations. We do not use the Cisco 9000, but even the lower level firewalls are pretty expensive, considering the features and software included. In summary, we would like Cisco to provide more features inside regarding network trafficking forecasting. Ideally, the belief is that this would add an immediate resolution.
They should develop a web interface that is actually useful. Currently, we still have an issue where you have to go in and do manual configuring by the command line if you want certain functions in it. This means that we need to find people at a higher technical level to be able to do changes in those things. It would be much easier if you had a more friendly user interface basis where you don't have to go in and do the command line off. They should be a little bit faster sometimes in updating their threat protection. Cisco should redo their website so it's actually usable in a faster way.
It could use more of a system interface. The security features in the URL category need more improvement.
The stability and the product features have to really be worked on.
I would like for them to develop better integration with other security platforms. I would also like for them to make the Cloud configuration easier.
I would like to see real-time log systems because it's very helpful when you want to troubleshoot.
I would like the ability to pick and choose different features of it to run in a packaged infrastructure or modules, therefore I would like to have more customizability over it. It seems very clunky and slow. I would like to be able to tune it to be a more efficient product.
We would like to see MS Word BPM as a feature.
It is on multiple boxes so ISP load balancing, multiple network load balancing would be helpful. Also a web-based portal for VPN. Earlier they had it in the ASA model, but currently, they don't have it. The user needs to just click on the link so he can work.
It's lacking one feature: VPN. That is a feature we're looking for. Otherwise, the new devices have very good support, and the performance is quite good. Also, the 2100 Series lacks a DDoS feature. If they could add that to those platforms, that would be good.
* I would like to see more improvements made to the dashboard and UI, as well as to the reporting, the reporting is quite limited and not user friendly. * I would like them to consider offering more predefined security templates. * Technical support product knowledge, licensing portal, activation process will need to be improved. * The configuration is not straightforward, Cisco will need to improve this so the user can easily pick up the product. * Bugs are more than other firewall competitors, some bugs are quite serious.