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Cisco Next-Generation Firewalls (NGFWs) vs. Palo Alto Firewall

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Introduction

Cisco and Palo Alto Networks are among the top 10 NGFW providers, and both have Next-Generation Firewalls (NGFWs) capable of meeting enterprise security requirements. However, each solution has a unique set of advantages and disadvantages. The comparison of the Cisco Firewall and Palo Alto Firewall and their fundamental differences is provided below.

 

Cisco NGFWs

Cisco’s Firepower NGFWs are made to give users, hosts, networks, and infrastructure a single view of telemetry and potentially hazardous file activity through the Firepower Management Centre.

The Cisco NGFW is automatically updated with Cisco Talos threat data and rule sets, allowing users to concentrate on higher-priority tasks due to the solution’s automated policy application and enforcement.

 

Features

Comparable to Fortinet FortiGate in capabilities is Cisco Firepower. The IPS and IDS pieces are Firepower’s most distinctive features. They aid in identifying any vulnerabilities that could be exploited. Traffic estimates can be produced, and any unauthorized users can be found. A few more security features are URL filtering, inspection, etc. Any hardware can be changed quickly and without disrupting the network.

 

Cisco NGFW Next-Generation Firewall Benefits

The finest next-generation firewalls provide the following five main advantages to businesses of all sizes, from SMBs to corporations:

 
  • Breach Prevention and Advanced Security

Preventing breaches and attacks should be the firewall’s primary goal. NGFWs should be able to identify sophisticated malware as soon as they can get past the front-line security measures and maintain the organization’s security. A built-in next-generation IPS would be a fantastic addition to identify and stop stealthy attacks swiftly.

Built-in URL filtering, Sandboxing, and strong malware protection that continuously monitors file activity to identify and eliminate threats are further NGFW capabilities. It also has a top-tier threat intelligence organization that feeds the firewall the most recent information to thwart emerging threats.

 

  • Comprehensive Network Visibility

To monitor threat behavior across users, hosts, networks, and devices, NGFW offers a complete picture of activity and full contextual awareness.  Along with exchanges between virtual machines and file transfers, active programs and websites are also visible.

 
  • Flexible Management and Deployment Options

The NGFW must meet the unique requirements of your company. Management is required for all use cases across all appliances, either on-box or centralized. Additionally, it must be adaptable and set up locally, digitally, or in the cloud. Extra features should be provided by subscription, and there should be a selection of throughput speeds.

 

  • Fastest Detection Time

Threats are identified in a matter of seconds, and breaches in a matter of minutes or hours. For you to react to threats swiftly and precisely, alerts are prioritized. All areas of the organization are subject to the automatic execution of uniform security policies.

 
  • Automation and Product Integrations

NGFWs communicate and work together with the other components of the security architecture. Other tools from the same provider that it integrates well with. Threat information, policy, event data, and contextual information are all transmitted automatically, along with security duties.

 

What Makes Next-Generation Firewalls Different?

Most next-generation firewalls among these products incorporate at least three fundamental features: enterprise firewall capabilities, an IPS, and application control. NGFWs give more context to the decision-making process of traditional firewalls, much as the advent of stateful inspection.

 

Palo Alto NGFWs

Regardless of location or device type, NGFWs scan all communication, including apps, threats, and content, and link it to the user. The objective is to manage apps, people, and material by categorizing all traffic, specifying the business use case, and assigning policies to secure access to pertinent applications and forbid hazards. Next-Generation Firewalls (NGFWs) from the company are offered as both virtual appliances and hardware appliances designed for various cloud scenarios.

 

Features

Palo Alto allows for effective single-flow traffic scanning. It increases each user’s response time and aids in the smooth operation of the network. Its most distinctive feature is Alto Palo’s Automatic Verdict, which can identify any threat range. In the event of a security breach, it immediately notifies all subscribers who have access.

 

Benefits of Palo Alto NGFWs

 
  • Complete visibility and precise control

Based on apps, users, content, and devices, our next-generation firewalls offer total insight into all network traffic.

 

  • Automated Security

Innovative elements reduce manual tasks and improve your security posture, for instance, by using dynamic address groups in security rules to avoid frequently updating server IP addresses, correlating a series of related threat events to indicate a likely attack on your network, and disseminating protections from previously unknown threats globally in near-real time.

 

  • Protection For Your Users and Data Everywhere

No matter where the users and data are located—on your network, on your endpoints, or in the cloud our next-generation firewalls are natively linked with our security platform to prevent advanced and unidentified cyber threats.

 

What Makes Palo Alto Firewall Different?

Unlike other vendors who employ several modules or multiple management systems to offer NGFW functionality, Palo Alto Networks uses a single platform, parallel processing, and single administration system to deliver all of the next-generation firewall features.

 

Differences Between Cisco Firewall and Palo Alto NGFW

  • There is a web-based access GUI for Cisco Firewall, but one must be for Palo Alto.
 
  • Palo Alto is outfitted with a Unit 42 intelligence unit, while Cisco Firewall is outfitted with a Talos intelligence unit.
 
  • Palo Alto concentrates entirely on security, whereas Cisco Firewall emphasizes networking and an integrated strategy with security.
 
  • Palo Alto offers BGP, a VPN with a route-based architecture, whereas Cisco Firewall contains various unique features, including wireless switching, firewalls, routing, etc.
 
  • Palo Alto is a pricey solution. However, the Cisco Firewall is a cheap service.
 
  • The Cisco Firewall focal point has the authority to regulate network traffic flow. Palo Alto, in contrast, places a high priority on shielding the network from all harmful threats.
 
  • The defense mechanism of Palo Alto is unbreakable in contrast to Cisco NGFW’s, which is quite fragile.
 
  • While Palo Alto’s investigation traffic is not at a line rate, Cisco NGFW’s investigation traffic operates at a line rate.
 
  • While Palo Alto is more suited to UNIX-like platforms, Cisco NGFW is more compatible with Windows, Linux, and others.
 
  • In contrast to Palo Alto, which lacks the multi-platform capability, Cisco NGFW produces an infrastructure of multi-platform firewalls and security appliances.
 

Deployment

The Cisco NGFWs are offered as hardware appliances, with either the on-box Firepower Defense Manager solution or the Firepower Management Centre for centralized management. With the Firepower NGFW Virtual (NGFWv), virtual and public cloud options are also accessible.

The Palo Alto NGFWs are offered as hardware appliances (PA Series) as well as the VM Series for use in a virtualized or cloud environment.

 

Conclusion

While Palo Alto concentrates primarily on security, Cisco Firewall emphasizes networking and an integrated strategy with security. Palo Alto offers BGP, a VPN with a route-based architecture, whereas Cisco Firewall contains a variety of unique features including wireless switching, firewalls, routing, and so forth.

Although Palo Alto Networks and Cisco both receive high marks from clients and industry observers, there are some critical differences between the two. Customers laud Cisco’s customer service, making it an excellent option for companies seeking various security services that work with their firewalls. Palo Alto is a good choice when performance and cutting-edge features precede price.

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