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Cisco ASA Firewall Room for Improvement

Cisco Security Specialist at a tech services company with 10,001+ employees

My concern in the 21st century, with ASA, is the front-end. I think Cisco missed the mark with all the configuration steps. They are a pain and, when doing them, it looks as if we're using a very old technology — yet the technology itself is not old, it's very good. But the front-end configuration is very tough. They probably still make a good profit even with the front-end being difficult, but it's not easy. It's not user-friendly. All the configuration procedures are not user-friendly.

Also, they launched the 1000 series for SMBs. They have all the same features as the enterprise solutions, but the throughput is less and, obviously, the price is less as well. It's a very nice appliance. However, imagine you buy one, take it out of the box to connect it and the device needs one hour or two hours to start up. That is a pain and that is not appropriate for the 21st century. They should solve that issue.

Another issue is that when you integrate different Cisco solutions with each other, there is an overlap of features and you need to turn some of them off, and that is not very good.  If you don't, and you have overlap, you will have problems. Disabling the overlap can be done manually or the solution can identify that there is already a process running, and will tell you to please disable that function.

For today's threats, for today's reality, you need to add solutions to the ASA, either from Cisco or from other vendors, to have a full security solution in an enterprise company.

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Network Security Consultant at a consultancy with 1-10 employees

One area where the ASA could be improved is that it doesn't have AMP. When you get an ASA with the Firepower model, ASA with FTD, then you have advanced malware protection. Right now, threats and attacks are becoming more and more intense, and I don't think that the ASA is enough. I think this is why they created FTD.

Also, Cisco is not so easy to configure.

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Head of Information Communication Technology at National Building Society

We have the ASA integrated with Cisco ISE for network access control. The integration was done by our local Cisco partner. It took them about a month to really get the solution up and running. I would like to believe that there was some level of complexity there in terms of the integration. It seems it was not very easy to integrate if the experts themselves took that long to really come up with a working solution. Sometimes we had to roll back during the process.

Initially, when we put it up, we were having issues where maybe it would be barring things from users completely, things that we wanted the users to access. So we went through fine tuning and now I think it's working as we expect.

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Learn what your peers think about Cisco ASA Firewall. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: November 2021.
552,695 professionals have used our research since 2012.
CEO at NPI Technology Management

I would say that in inexperienced hands, the interface can be kind of overwhelming. There are just a lot of options. It's too much if you don't know what you are looking for or trying to do.  

The GUI still uses Java, which feels out of date today. That said, it's an excellent GUI.

The biggest downside is that Cisco has multiple firewall lines. The ASA line which is what we sell, and we sell most of the latest versions of it, are kind of two families. One is a little older, one's a little newer. We mostly sell the newer family. Cisco is kind of de-emphasizing this particular line of products in their firewall stable. That's unfortunate. 

They have the ASA line, Meraki, which is a company they bought some years ago where all the management is sort of cloud interface that they provide rather than a kind of interface that you manage right on the box. They also bought Snort and they integrated the Snort intrusion detection into the ASA boxes. In the last couple of years, they've come out with a sort-of replacement to Snort, a line of firewalls that don't use IOS.

It's always been that the intrusion prevention and the based firewalling features had separate interfaces within IOS. They've eliminated IOS in this new product line and built it from the ground up. We haven't started using that product yet. They have higher performance numbers on that line, and that's clearly the future for them, but it hasn't reached feature parity yet with the ASA. 

The main downside is that it feels a little bit like a dead end at this point. One needs to decide to move to one of these other Cisco lines or a non-Cisco line, at some point. We haven't done the research or made the plunge yet.

What I would like to see is a more inexpensive logging solution. They should offer either the ability to maintain longer-term logs right on the firewall or an inexpensive server-based logging solution. Cisco has logging solutions, however, they're very high end.

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Co-Founder at Multitechservers

There's an upgraded version of the 5500 that has come to the market. It offers the latest encryption that they have. If they want to add better features to the current Cisco ASA, they can start by increasing the encryption. That is the only thing they need to improve. The rest is good.

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CSD Manager at BTC

When I deal with other firewalls like Palo Alto or Fortinet, I think there is some room for performance tuning and enhancement of the ASA. I'm not saying there is a performance issue with the product, but when compared to others, it seems the others perform a little bit better.

There could be enhancements to the cloud part of the solution. It's good now, but more enhancements would be helpful.

Finally, security generally requires integration with many devices, and the management side of that process could be enhanced somewhat. It would help if there was a clear view of the integrations and what the easiest way to do them is.

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Network Engineer at a energy/utilities company with 10,001+ employees

When we bought it, it was really powerful, but with the emerging next-generation firewalls, it started to lack in capabilities. We couldn't put application filtering, and the IPS model was kind of outdated and wasn't as useful as the new one. For the current state of the network security, it was not enough.

One thing that we really would have loved to have was policy-based routing. We had a lot of connections, and sometimes, we would have liked to change the routing depending on the policies, but it was lacking this capability. We also wanted application filtering and DNS filtering.

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Network Administration Section Head at a financial services firm with 1,001-5,000 employees

Its licensing cost and payment model can be improved. Cisco doesn't provide training and certification for engineers without payments. Other companies, such as Huawei, provide the training for free. Their subscription and licenses are also free and flexible. Other products are breaking the market by providing such features. 

It doesn't support all standard interfaces. It is also not suitable for big companies with high bandwidth traffic. Its capacity should be improved.

Other products are becoming easier to access and configure. They are providing UI interfaces to configure, take backup, synchronize redundant machines, and so on. It is very easy to take backup and upgrade the images in those products. Cisco ASA should have such features. If one redundant machine is getting upgraded, the technology and support should be there to upgrade other redundant machines. In a single window, we should be able to do more in terms of backups, restores, and upgrades.

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Most of the firewalls almost 90%, 95% of the firewalls will move to GUI. This is the area which needs to be improved. The graphical interface and the monitoring level of the firewall need to be worked on. 

Most of us are using the monitoring software where we get the alarm, then details of the servers, et cetera. This aspect needs to be much updated. 

From just the security point of view, in the security, it needs to be updated every day and every week. It is getting better day by day, however, from a monitoring point of view is not the same view as we have on the different monitoring servers or monitoring software, such as PRTG and Solarwinds. It needs to be changed and improved.

Cisco has launched its multiple products separately. Where there's a new version of the hardware, there is Firepower in it. However, there must be a solution for an integrated version that includes everything in your network and your firewall as well so that you can manage and integrate from the same web portal without going to every device and just configuring it and just doing everything separately. 

It would be ideal if a solution can be configured separately and then managed centrally on one end.

We have more than one Cisco firewall and it is difficult for me to integrate both on the single UI. If I have three firewalls and one is a normal firewall, I need to configure everything separately. I can't have it on the same port or integrated on the same single IP or bind it something like it.

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Cyber Security Consultant at a tech services company with 51-200 employees

They need to do an overhaul of the management console because they are still using the client-based management tool, which is quite outdated in terms of functionality and usability. The interface hasn't changed since the last generation many years back.

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Data Analyst at a hospitality company with 201-500 employees

We haven't been working with the product for too long, and therefore I haven't really found any features that are lacking. So far, it's been pretty solid.

One of the things that would make my life easier on ASA, especially for the CLA, is if it had an ASBN feature, specifically for the CLA. This would allow you to be able to see at once where a particular object group is being used without having to copy out all the object groups that have already been created.

I don't have to see all the object groups that have been created on that firewall. That's just something that I would really appreciate on the CLA, even though it already exists on the GUI.

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Tier 2 Network Engineer at a comms service provider with 1,001-5,000 employees

One of the problems that we have had is the solution requires Java to work. This has caused some problems with the application visibility and control. When the Java works, it is good, but Java wasn't a good choice. I don't like the Java implementation. It can be difficult to work with sometimes.

If you use Cisco ASDM with the command line configuration, it can look a bit messy. We have some people who use them both. If you use one, it's not a problem. If you use both, it can be an issue.

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Network Security Administration at Rackspace Technology

Cisco needs to work more on the security and tech parts. Palo Alto gives a complete solution. Customers are very happy to go with Cisco because they have been around a long time. But that's why we are expecting from Cisco to give us a solution like Palo Alto, a complete solution. 

Cisco provides us with application visibility and control, although it's not a complete solution compared to other vendors. Cisco needs to work on the application behavior side of things, in particular when it comes to the behavior of SSL traffic. There is a focus on SSL traffic, encrypted traffic. Cisco firewalls are not powerful enough to check the behavior of SSL traffic. Encrypted traffic is a priority for our company.

In addition, while Cisco Talos is good, compared to the market, they need to work on it. If there is an attack, Talos updates the IP address, which is good. But with Palo Alto, and possibly other vendors, if there is an attack or there is unknown traffic, they are dealing with the signature within five minutes. Talos is the worst around what an attacker is doing in terms of updating bad IPs. It is slower than other vendors.

Also, Cisco's various offerings are separate. We want to see a one-product, one-box solution from Cisco.

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Network Engineer at LEPL Smart Logic

The virtual firewalls don't work very well with Cisco AnyConnect. 

There are two ways of managing it. You can manage it through the GUI-based software or command-line interface. I tried to use its GUI, but I couldn't understand it. It was hard for me. I know how to use the command line, so it was good for me. You should know how to use the command-line interface very well to make some changes to it. Its management through GUI is not easy.

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Technical Consultant at Zak Solutions for Computer Systems

Before an ASA, it was a live log. It was easy and comfortable to work with. After the next-generation firewall, Firepower, the live log became really slow. I cannot reach the information easily or quickly. This has only been the case since we migrated to next-generation firewalls.

There is some delay between the log itself. It's not really real-time. Let's say there's a delay of more than 20 seconds. If they had a monitoring system, something to minimize this delay, it would be good.

It would be ideal if I could give more bandwidth to certain sites, such as Youtube.

I work with Fortinet also, and I find that Fortinet is easier now. Before it was Cisco that was easier. Now Fortinet is simpler to work with.

On firewall features, Fortinet is better. Cisco needs to become more competitive and add more features or meet Fortinet's offering.

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Technical Specialist, consultant at a computer software company with 10,001+ employees

It can probably provide a holistic view of different appliances because many customers do not have only one brand, besides the traditional SNMP protocols, to cover all their devices. There are some specific requirements in terms of configurations or actions that sometimes have to be done in a very manual way because of the different versions or brands in a customer's infrastructure.

It could also have some additional analytics capabilities. It has some very interesting ways to monitor the traffic and identify false positives from the architecture and the environment. It would be good if there is a way to patch with some other industry-specific solutions and synchronize some of the information, such as what other customers experience in their operations and probably share some additional information that could be leveraged or shared among the industry. Such information would be something interesting to see. It could have AI capabilities related to how the appliances could benefit from learning the current environment and different exposures.

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Presales Engineer at a comms service provider with 51-200 employees

It would be ideal if the solution offered a web application firewall.

We've had some issues with stability.

The solution has some scalability limitations.

The firewall itself has become a bit dated.

The pricing on the solution is a bit high.

Some individuals find the setup and configuration challenging.

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Assistant Director IT at Punjab Education Foundation

The solution lacks the abilities of an FTD type which are the abilities we need, and they are not in the firewall. We're looking for a next-generation firewall instead.

The graphical interface could be improved. From what I have seen, Fortinet, for example, has a nicer GUI.

The solution needs to be easier to use. Right now, it's overly complicated. 

The initial setup is a bit complex. 

The cost of the solution is very high.

The product should add free URL filtering. It's another product, or part of another product, however, it should be available as part of this offering as well.

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Voice and data infrastructure specialist at a tech services company with 1,001-5,000 employees

Today, ASA firewalls are leaving the market and are being replaced by firepower equipment - a technology with which I am not very familiar. However, in the training or research, I have done on this new product, I see that it has many additional tools such as centralization of the administration through a single team (in the case the firepower management). It is something that we do not have, yet we are already considering it since this type of technology will help us to have better management and better administration of the equipment through a single platform. The management of additional services with this new module will certainly help us to have the internet network much more secure with connections to the outside.

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CEO & Co-Founder at a tech services company with 51-200 employees

You need to have a little bit of knowledge to be able to configure it. Otherwise, it would be very difficult to configure because there is no GUI. The latest software available in the market has a GUI and probably zero-touch provisioning and auto-configuration. All these things are not available in our version. You need to manually go and configure everything in the switch.

In terms of new features, we would definitely want to have URL-based filtering, traffic steering, and probably a little bit steering in the bandwidth based on the per-user level and per-user group. We will definitely need some of these features in the near future.

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Network Consulting Engineer at a comms service provider with 201-500 employees

The SecureX ASA administration platform should be improved.

The orchestration of modules should be improved.

I would like to see the inclusion of a protocol that can be used to protect databases. This would be a good feature to have added.

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Group IT Manager at a manufacturing company with 1,001-5,000 employees

In NGFW, Cisco should be aligned with the new technology and inspection intelligence because Cisco is far behind in this pipeline. Nowadays IoT, Big Data, AI, Robotics, etc. are all evolving and shifting from automatic to intelligent. All brands that do not follow will be extinct.

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Executive Director at ict training and development center

The user interface isn't as good as it could be. They should work to improve it. It would make it easier for customer management if it was easier to use.

Cisco does not have a lot of web management. We have to use ASTM server management to make up for it.

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Senior MIS Manager at a tech company with 201-500 employees

The solution is difficult to use. There's more required than a typical firewall. It's different than, for example, Palo Alto and Fortinet, which we find are easier to set up. 

If the implementation was easier, it would be a lot better for us.

It would be such a great product for us if it was easier to manage.

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Network security engineer at a tech services company with 1,001-5,000 employees

Cisco should work on ASDM. One of the biggest drawbacks of Cisco ASA is ASDM GUI. Cisco should improve the ASDM GUI. The configuration through ASDM is really difficult as compared to CLI. Sometimes when you are doing the configuration in ASDM, it suddenly crashes. It also crashes while pushing a policy. Cisco should really work on this.

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President at a tech vendor with 11-50 employees

They should improve their interface and ensure that people actually know what they're doing before they start programming; that would make me happy. But that's never going to happen — it's a total pipe dream.

Some of the next-generation stuff that Cisco is doing now allows you to add web filtering and provides more security inside the device. That's why we were looking at the Next-Generation Firewall.

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Network Security Engineer at a tech services company with 201-500 employees

The VPN portion of the solution isn't the greatest.

The stability is not the best.

The solution is far too expensive.

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In terms of what could be improved, the UTM part should be more integrated for one price, because if you buy ASA from Cisco, you need to buy another contract service from Cisco as a filter for the dictionary of attacks. In Fortinet, you buy a firewall and you have it all.

I would like to see all the features like Fortinet has. If I buy ASA, I would like to see a Fortinet-like interface.

It would be good if Cisco could improve their web interface to configure the equipment. Cisco is very reliable and very secure, but has to compete with Fortinet which is very hard.

On a scale of one to ten, I would give Cisco ASA Firewall a nine.

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Sr Network Administrator at Orient Petroleum Inc

The annual subscription cost is a bit high. They should try to make it comparable to other offerings. We have a number of Chinese products here in Pakistan, which are already very cheap and have less annual maintenance costs compared to Cisco.

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Sr Technical Consultant at a tech services company with 51-200 employees

There is huge scope for improvement in URL filtering. The database that they have is not accurate. Their content awareness and categorization for URL filtering are not that great. We faced many challenges with their categorization and content awareness. They should improve these categorization issues.

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Network Administrator at Novabase

The solution has not had any layer upgrades. It does not have layer five and upwards, it only has up to layer four. This has caused some problems for us.

In the future, it would be wonderful to have an antivirus, log analyzer, and PDF/Excel data exportation features build into the solution. The data export would be great to be able to look at the access list.

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Head of ICT Infrastructure and Security at City of Harare

An area for improvement is the graphical user interface. That is something that is coming up now. They could make the product more user-friendly. A better GUI is something that would make life much easier. Traditionally, Cisco products have been command-line-based.

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Network & Systems Administrator at T-Systems

It would be ideal if the solution offered more integration capabilities with other vendors. For example, if you had a web security appliance, it would be great to be able to integrate everything in order to better report security events.

While I can't think of specific features I'd like improved, overall, they could do more to continue to refine the solution.

It would be nice if you didn't have to configure using a command-line interface. It's a bit technical that way.

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Network Administrator at a manufacturing company with 10,001+ employees

It is hard to collaborate with our filtered environment. 

If Cisco could combine the Bottleneck feature of ASA, their platform called Umbrella, and the other team they have that has similar malware protection into one, this would be perfect. 

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General Manager at MS Solutions Ltd.

In the future, I would like to be able to use an IP phone over a VPN connection.

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Information Security Manager at a financial services firm with 501-1,000 employees

In the next year, we are planning to migrate to the Cisco Firepower. Our planned product would be Cisco Firepower 20 or the 40 series.

In the next release, I would like to see the VPN and UTM features included.

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Lead Network Engineer at a tech services company with 51-200 employees

We don't have any serious problems. The firewall models that we have are quite legacy, and they have slower performance. We are currently investigating the possibility of migrating to next-generation firewalls.

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Network Security Engineer at a tech services company with 51-200 employees

I think the ASA layer is thin. It's always Layer 3 or Layer 4 source controller and doesn't control the Layer 7 traffic at all. It's important, and you'll need an additional firewall. 

All next-generation firewalls don't have much control over Layer 7, but there's a little bit of control for inspection. ASA never controlled Layer 7, and it's a bad point.

 I don't like to use ASDM, a graphical interface, and other solutions for ASA. I wouldn't say I like this, and it's not good(ASDM).

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Network Engineer at a tech services company with 201-500 employees

The solution needs to have better logging features.

Cisco needs to migrate its ASA Firewall to a management console or to a web console.

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Principal Network Engineer at a manufacturing company with 501-1,000 employees

Cisco ASA is not a next-generation firewall product.

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Senior Information Security Analyst at a manufacturing company with 10,001+ employees

When comparing the graphical interface of this solution to other vendors it is more difficult to configure. There is a higher learning curve for administrators in this solution.

A lot of vendors, such as Palo Alto, are going toward cloud-based systems and Cisco should follow.

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C.T.O at Sastra Network Solution Inc. Pvt. Ltd.

The interface needs improvement. I would like a better interface for Cisco. Other solutions such as Palo Alto have a user-friendly dashboard.

They need a user-friendly interface that we could easily configure.

It would be beneficial to have some of the features that Cisco has, integrating with other types of security.

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Network Security Engineer at a tech services company with 1,001-5,000 employees

It lacks management. For me, it still doesn't have a proper management tool or GUI for configuration, logging, and visualization. Its management is not that easy. It is also not very flexible and easy to configure. They used to have a product called CSM, but it is no longer being developed. FortiGate is better than this solution in terms of GUI, flexibility, and user-friendliness.

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Administrator at a university with 1,001-5,000 employees

It would be a benefit to improve the integration with other similar products from other vendors on the market, for example, Huawei or Fortinet products. Comparing Cisco solution to others, it is expensive, it would be better for it to be cheaper.

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ICT Systems Engineer at a insurance company with 11-50 employees

The management of the application can be improved with enhancements to the user interface.

I would like the ability to drill down into certain reports because currently, that cannot be done. In fact, this is one of the reasons that we want to move away from Cisco. Better reporting tools would be an improvement.

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Gerente de Unidad at Redescomm, C.A.

The graphical interface should be improved to make the configuration easier, to do things with a single click.

There should be better integration with open-source products because some of our clients use them. It would be helpful if they integrated well.

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Systems Administrator\Ag. IT Manager at a construction company with 201-500 employees

Its configuration through GUI as well as CLI can be improved and made easier.

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Consulting Engineer at IV4

I have worked with the new FTD models and they have more features than the ASA line.

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Lead System Engineer at a comms service provider with 201-500 employees

It is my understanding that they are in the process of discontinuing this device.

They are in the process of shutting down this ASA series and will continue with Firepower.

In the next release, it could be more secure.

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IT Consultant at Hostlink IT Solutions

It doesn't have Layer 7 security.

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Sr. Network Engineer at a construction company with 10,001+ employees

There are other solutions that are better such as Palo Alto.

The management test needs improvement. The ACM requires Java and you need to know which version of Java is compatible with your Cisco version. It needs a client.

The pricing could be reduced.

I would like to see the issue with the client resolved. You shouldn't have to use the ASDM to help manage the client. Also, it should be subscription-based similar to Palo Alto.

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Group Information Technology Manager at a mining and metals company with 201-500 employees

In terms of improvement, we'd like to see a good graphical user interface. I'd also like to see the initial setup simplified. In comparison, if I were to implement the Fortigate firewall from scratch, it's a fairly simple set up. That is not the case with the ASA firewall, where you really need to have the skill and know what you're doing.

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Program director at a tech consulting company with 201-500 employees

The price can be better.

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Jr. Engineer at a computer software company with 5,001-10,000 employees

The cost is very high. Most organizations cannot afford it.

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Enterprise Integration Architect at a insurance company with 10,001+ employees

The content filtering on an application level is not as good as other solutions such as Palo Alto.

While the price is fair with all of the features that it has, it should be cheaper.

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Network Administrator at a transportation company with 201-500 employees

Cisco ASA Firewall could improve by adding more advanced features such as web filtering, which is available in the next-generation firewalls. However, the Cisco ASA Firewall I am using could be old and these features have been updated.

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System Engineer at a tech services company with 501-1,000 employees

The configuration is an area that needs improvement.

In the next release, I would like to see the UI include or provide web access, and more integration.

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IT Administration at a manufacturing company with 11-50 employees

This is an older product and has reached end-of-life.

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Network Engineer at a pharma/biotech company with 1,001-5,000 employees

Technical support could be improved, they take a long time to respond. 

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Consultor at a government with 201-500 employees

I do not like the assembly of this solution. For example, they should combine FirePOWER into one solution.

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Learn what your peers think about Cisco ASA Firewall. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: November 2021.
552,695 professionals have used our research since 2012.