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Cisco Firepower NGFW Firewall Room for Improvement

Engineering Services Manager at a tech services company with 201-500 employees

I'd like to see Cisco continue its approach to making it easier to navigate the UI and FMC and make it easier to get from point A to point B. Generally, the room for improvement is going to be all UI-related. The platform, overall, is solid.

I'd also like them to continue to approach things from a policy-oriented perspective. They are moving more and more in that direction. 

Also, the change-deployment time can always be improved. Even at 50 seconds, it's longer than some of its competitors. I would challenge Cisco to continue to improve in that area. It's very reasonable at 50 seconds, it's not like it used to be in early versions of Firepower, where it was around seven minutes. Still, it could be quicker. The faster we can deploy changes, the faster we can roll back changes if we have messed something in the configuration. Low deploy times are really good to have. 

I would also like to see more features that will help us connect things to the cloud dynamically, and connect things to other sites dynamically. There should be more SD-WAN features in the boxes. If I can use one box to solve cloud connectivity problems, and not have to do stuff so statically, the way I have to do things today on them, that would be helpful.

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Cyber Security Practice Lead at Eazi Security

FlexConfig is there as a bridge for features that are not yet natively integrated into Firepower. It is a way of allowing you to be able to configure things that wouldn't otherwise be possible until the development team can add them into Firepower's native capability. There is still some work that needs to be done around FlexConfig. There are still quite a few complex things, like policy-based routing, that have to be done in FlexConfig, and it doesn't always work perfectly. Sometimes, there are some glitches. It is recommended that you configure FlexConfig policies with Cisco TAC. It would be good to see Cisco accelerate some of those configurations that you can only do in FlexConfig into the platform, so that they are there natively.

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IT Administrator / Security Analyst at a healthcare company with 11-50 employees

It would be great if some of the load times were faster. My general sense is that it's probably related to them taking a couple of different technologies and marrying them together. We are using virtual, so the way that I handled that was to throw more RAM in it, which these days, is pretty cheap. I could see some improvement with the speed of deploying policies out, although it's not terrible by any means. One thing about Cisco is whatever they're doing, it keeps getting better.

The speed of deploying policies could be improved, although it is not terrible by any means.

Another legitimate criticism of Cisco that comes to mind is that you need to make sure you've got your licensing straightened out. I haven't had any problems in a long time, but I know people that haven't used Cisco products sometimes can run into issues because they haven't figured out so-called smart licensing. Depending on the Cisco person you're working with, make sure you have all that stuff all set to go before you start the implementation.

That's an area that Cisco has been working on, I know. But licensing is a common complaint about Cisco. I suggest making sure that you have that stuff in place and you've got all your licenses all ready to go. It seems like a dumb thing, but my most common complaint about Cisco before we entered into our enterprise agreement was licensing. When it's working, it's great, but God help you if you've got a licensing problem.

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Learn what your peers think about Cisco Firepower NGFW Firewall. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: December 2021.
554,873 professionals have used our research since 2012.
Project Engineer at Telindus B.V.

The Firepower FTD code is missing some old ASA firewalls codes. It's a small thing. But Firepower software isn't missing things that are essential, anymore.

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Director IT Security at a wellness & fitness company with 5,001-10,000 employees

Try to understand if there is a need, e.g., if there is a need to log this information, get these logs out, and forward to some sort of a SIEM technology or perhaps a data store that you could keep it for later. There is limited data storage on the appliance itself. So, you need to ship it out elsewhere in order for you to store it. The only point of consideration is around that area, basically limited storage on the machine and appliance. Consider logging it elsewhere or pushing it out to a SIEM to get better controls and manipulation over the data to generate additional metrics and visibility.

In some cases, I could see how SIEM is not an option for certain companies, perhaps they either cannot afford it, or they do not have the resources to dedicate a security analyst/engineer who could deploy, then manage the SIEM. In most cases, Firepower is a useful tool that a network engineer can help set up and manage, as opposed to a security engineer. To make the solution more effective and appealing, Cisco could continue to improve some of the reporting that is generated within the Firepower Management Console. Overall, that would give a suitable alternative to a full-fledged SIEM, at least on a network detection side, application identification side, and endpoint identification and attribution side. Potentially, a security analyst or network engineer could then simply access the Firepower Management Console, giving them the visibility and data needed to understand what is going on in their environment. If Cisco continues to improve anything, then I would suggest continuing to improve the dashboarding and relevant operational metrics present within the platform, as opposed to taking those logs and shipping them elsewhere.

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IT Technical Manager at Adventist Health

One of the few things that are brought up is that for the overall management, it would be great to have a cloud instance of that. And not only just a cloud instance, but one of the areas that we've looked at is using an HA type of cloud. To have the ability to have a device file within a cloud. If we had an issue with one, the other one would pick up automatically.

The other part of that is that applying policy still takes longer than we expect. Every version that comes out, the speed is actually increased, but I would love to see that, even a little more as far as when we're actually deploying policy.

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Systems Engineer at a tech services company with 11-50 employees

On the VPN side, Firepower could be better. It needs more monitoring on VPNs. Right now, it's not that good. You can set up a VPN in Firepower, but you can't monitor it. 

Firepower Management Center is slow. It could be better. And the Firepower Device Manager doesn't have all the features that the ASA has, and that's despite the fact that it's almost the same product. Cisco could use many more features from ASA in Firepower Device Manager.

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Practice Lead at IPConsul

We saw a lot of improvements on Cisco Firepower when Snort 3 came along. Before, with Snort 2, we were able to do some stuff, but the bandwidth was impacted. With Snort 3, we now have much better performance.

I would like to see improvement when you create policies on Snort 3 IPS on Cisco Firepower. On Snort 2, it was more like a UI page where you had some multiple choices where you could tweak your config. On Snort 3, the idea is more to build some rules on the text file or JSON file, then push it. So, I would like to see a lot of improvements here.

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CISO / Associate Vice President - IT Infrastructure at a pharma/biotech company with 501-1,000 employees

The solution has positively affected our organization’s security posture. I would rate the effects as an eight (out of 10). There is still concern about the engagement between Cisco Firepower and Cisco ASA, which we have in other offices. We are missing the visibility between these two products.

We would like more application visibility and an anti-malware protection system, because we don't have this at the enterprise level.

The central management tool is not comfortable to use. You need to have a specific skill set. This is an important improvement for management because I would like to log into Firepower, see the dashboard, and generate a real-time report, then I question my team.

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Technical Consulting Manager at a consultancy with 10,001+ employees

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. 

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Network Engineer at a pharma/biotech company with 201-500 employees

FirePOWER does a good job when it comes to providing us with visibility into threats, but I would like to see a more proactive stance to it. Maybe more of an IDS approach. I don't know a better way to say it, but more of a heavier proactive approach rather than a reactive one.

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Senior Network Security Engineer at a tech services company with 11-50 employees

It needs better patching and testing as well as less bugs. That would be nice.

I would like it to have faster deployment times. A typical deployment could take two to three minutes. Sometimes, it depends on the situation. It is better than it was in the past, but it could always use improvement.

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Network Engineer at LEPL Smart Logic

When you make any changes, irrespective of whether they are big or small, Firepower takes too much time. It is very time-consuming. Even for small changes, you have to wait for 60 seconds or maybe more, which is not good. Similarly, when you have many IPS rules and policies, it slows down, and there is an impact on its performance.

In terms of tracking users, the Palo Alto Networks firewall is better than Cisco Firepower.

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Network Engineer at a computer software company with 51-200 employees

The visibility the solution gives when doing deep packet inspection can be complex. I really like the visibility, but it's not always intuitive to use. I also help other customers. We are a contracting company that implements their solutions, and I've found that it's not always easy to get everyone to utilize some of the visibility features. But for me personally, I think they're very valuable. 

The ease of use when it comes to managing Cisco Firepower has a lot of room for improvement. When monitoring a large set of firewall policies, the user interface could be lighter. It's sometimes heavy in use, and there could be improvements there. I know they're trying to make improvements.

It's mainly the UI and the management parts that need improvement. The most impactful feature when you're using it is the user interface and the user experience.

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Lead Network Security Engineer at TechnoCore LTD

I believe that the current feature set of the device is very good and the only thing that Cisco should work on is improving the user experience with the device. 

Also, they need to ensure that all of the implemented features are working as they should, and able to integrate with more third-party software in an easier manner.

As it stands currently, Cisco is doing this, but I am not confident enough to say that their QA team is doing as good a job as they should as there have been software releases that were immediately pulled back the same day as they were released.

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Senior Systems Engineer at a tech services company with 201-500 employees

The visibility for VPN is one big part. The policy administration could be improved in terms of customizations and flexibility for changing it to our needs.

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Networking Specialist at a healthcare company with 1,001-5,000 employees

The configuration in Firepower Management Center is very slow. Deployment takes two to three minutes. You spend a lot of time on modifications. Whereas, in FortiGate, you press a button, and it takes one second.

Three years ago, the Firepower Management Center was very slow. The solution has improved a lot in the last couple of years. It is now faster. I hope that continues to improve. 

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Chief Technology Officer at Future Point Technologies

There needs to be an improvement in the time it takes to deploy the configurations. It normally takes two to four minutes and they need to reduce this. The deployment for any configuration should be minimal. It's possibly improved on the very latest version. 

An additional feature I would like to have in Firepower would be for them to give us the data from the firewall - Cisco is probably working on that. 

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Lead Network Engineer at a government with 1,001-5,000 employees

They need a VTI. I know it's going to be available in the next software version, which is the 6.7 version. However, the problem with that is that the 6.7 is going to deprecate all the older IKEv1 deployment tunnels. Therefore, the problem is that we have a lot of customers which are using older encryptions. If I do that, update it, it's not going to work for me.

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IT Infrastructure Engineer at Atlas Group

One feature I would like to see, that Firepower doesn't have, is email security. Perhaps in the future, Cisco will integrate Cisco Umbrella with Firepower. I don't see why we should have to pay for two separate products when both could be integrated in one box.

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System Administrator at a non-profit with 1-10 employees

The solution could offer better control that would allow the ability to restrictions certain features from a website. For example, If we want to allow YouTube but not allow uploads or we want to allow Facebook but not allow the chat or to playing of videos. This ability to customize restrictions would be great.

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Senior Solution Architect at a tech services company with 51-200 employees

The product line does not address the SMB market as it is supposed to do. Cisco already has an on-premises sandbox solution. They should include a cloud-based sandbox as part of the security subscription service. In my experience, apart from the expensive price, SMB customers are lured away by other vendor solutions because of these reasons.                      

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Security Consultant at IKUSI

The initial setup can be a bit complex for those unfamiliar with the solution.

There are better solutions in terms of border security. Palo Alto, for example, seems to be a bit more advanced. 

The cost of the solution is very high. Fortinet, as an example, has good pricing, whereas Cisco has very high costs in comparison.

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Senior Solutions Consultant at a comms service provider with 10,001+ employees

The security market is a fast-changing market. The solution needs to always check if the latest threats are covered under the solution. 

It would always be helpful if the pricing was improved upon a bit.

In a future release, it would be ideal if they could offer an open interface to other security products so that we could easily connect to our own open industry standard.

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Network Security Engineer at a financial services firm with 1,001-5,000 employees

Its interface is sometimes is a little bit slow, and it can be improved.

When you need to put your appliance in failover mode, it is a little difficult to do it remotely because you need to turn off the appliance in Cisco mode. 

In terms of new features, it would be good to have AnyConnect VPN with Firepower. I am not sure if it is available at the moment.

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Senior Network Engineer at BCD Travel

We cannot have virtual domains, which we can create with FortiGate. This is something they should add in the future. Additionally, there is a connection limit and the FMC could improve.

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Information Systems Coordinator at a insurance company with 51-200 employees

The initial setup could be simplified, as it can be complex for new users.

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

Cisco Firepower NGFW Firewall can be more secure. But no product is 100% secure, so it's a case of always wanting more security. The product is also really expensive. It would help if they provided free academic access to the enterprise edition for students for a whole month, two months, three months, or a year.

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

web filtering needs to improve because cisco firepower sync with bright cloud website for the website category. sometimes your URL is falling in the wrong category because of the bright cloud. so if you want to change the category you will have to drop the mail to the bright cloud and they will take action and it's a very long procedure. 

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Solution Architect at a tech services company with 11-50 employees

This product is managed using the Firepower Management Center (FMC), but it would be better if it also supported the command-line interface (CLI). Cisco's FTD devices don't support the command-line interface and can only be configured using FMC.

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To configure the FirePower it is required an external console. It would be nice to have the console embedded in the Firewall so you don't require an extra device. I'd like to see some kind of SD-WAN included as a feature. 

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

The price and SD-WAN capabilities are the areas that need improvement.

In the next release, I would like to see more of the FortiGate features added. FortiGate is compatible with Cisco ACI, but I can't see Firepower with Security Fabric. For example, if I had Fortinet activated, could I integrate with it?

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

Report generation is an area that should be improved.

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System Engineer at a non-profit with 10,001+ employees

When using this product, our network is slower. The performance should be improved.

The installation could be made easier.

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Acting Director, Office of Talent Management at a government with 10,001+ employees

Cisco makes horrible UIs, so the interface is something that should be improved. Usability is poor and it doesn't matter how good the feature set is. If the UI, whether the command-line interface or GUI, isn't good or isn't usable, then you're going to miss things. You may configure it wrong and you're going to have security issues.

Security vendors have this weird approach where they like to make their UIs a test of manhood, and frankly, that's a waste of my time.

The SNMP implementation is incredibly painful to use.

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Programming Analyst at a tech services company with 201-500 employees

An area of improvement for this solution is the console visualization.

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Learn what your peers think about Cisco Firepower NGFW Firewall. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: December 2021.
554,873 professionals have used our research since 2012.