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Cisco Alternatives: Similar Firewalls

Cisco Systems is a major firewall manufacturer that provides network devices such as Cisco UTM and Cisco Next-gen Firewall for any need and has a huge, established track record over the last 30 years. Every network administrator is familiar with the name Cisco Systems, and the brand needs no additional introduction in the network security sector.

The Cisco ASA Security Appliance Family secures business networks and data centers of all sizes. It gives consumers extremely secure access to data and network resources at any time, from any location, using any device. With over 1 million security appliances installed worldwide, Cisco ASA devices represent more than 15 years of proven firewall and network security engineering and leadership.

The core operating system for the Cisco ASA Family is Cisco Adaptive Security Appliance (ASA) Software. It provides enterprise-class firewall features for ASA devices in a variety of form factors for any distributed network environment, including standalone appliances, blades, and virtual appliances. ASA Software also interfaces with other essential security technologies to provide complete solutions that address ever-changing security requirements.

Cisco ASA Software has the following advantages:

  • Provides IPS, VPN, and Unified Communications features all in one.
  • Through high-performance, multi-site, multi-node clustering, companies may expand capacity and enhance performance.
  • Provides high availability for high-reliability applications.
  • Allows physical and virtual devices to collaborate.
  • Provides context awareness with Cisco TrustSec security group tags and identity-based firewall technology to meet the specific demands of both the network and the data center.
  • Per-context dynamic routing and site-to-site VPN are made possible.

Next-generation encryption standards, such as the Suite B collection of cryptographic algorithms, are also supported by Cisco ASA software. It also works with Cisco Cloud Web Security to deliver web-based threat prevention.

Are you looking for alternatives to Cisco Secure Firewall? Explore what Network Firewalls can do. Users of Cisco Secure Firewalls also took this into account while making their purchase choice.

In this writing, we have mentioned some of the major alternatives of Cisco Firewalls, these are;

  1. Zenarmor
  2. Barracuda CloudGen Firewall
  3. Juniper SRX Series
  4. Fortigate Next-Generation Firewall
  5. SonicWall NSA Series
  6. Watchguard Firebox
  7. Palo Alto PA Series
  8. pfSense Software

Cisco Alternatives: Similar Firewalls

Figure 1. Cisco Alternatives: Similar Firewalls

1. Zenarmor (Sensei)

Zenarmor (Sensei) is a software-only instant firewall that may be installed nearly anyplace.

It can be rapidly deployed onto any platform with network connectivity because of its appliance-free, all-in-one, all-software, light-weight, and simple design. Whether virtual or raw metal. On-premises or in the cloud? Almost any cloud.

  • The product's underlying technology is a lightweight yet powerful packet inspection core that can perform a wide range of enterprise-grade network security operations.
  • Deploy zero-latency security without the need to backhaul data packets between POPs and data centers.
  • The single-pass architecture used by Zenarmor processes packets just once for all security measures.
  • For unparalleled consistency in executing security policies, the same security stack operates wherever it is installed.

Next-generation Firewall Features

  1. Application Control
  2. Cloud Application Control (Web 2.0 Controls)
  3. Advanced Network Analytics
  4. All-ports full TLS Inspection (for every TCP port, not just HTTPS) *Coming soon
  5. Cloud Threat Intelligence
  6. Encrypted Threats Prevention
  7. Web Filtering and Security
  8. User-based Filtering and Reporting
  9. Active Directory Integration
  10. Policy-based filtering and QoS
  11. Application / Web category based Traffic Shaping and Prioritization
  12. Cloud based centralized management & Reporting

Supported Platforms

Zenarmor is currently available for:

  • OPNsense ® (OPNsense 19.x - 21.x, fully integrated into the OPNsense WebUI)
  • FreeBSD ® (FreeBSD 11,12,13)
  • pfSense ® software (pfSense 2.5.x)
  • Ubuntu Linux (Ubuntu 18.04 LTS, 20.04 LTS, 21.10)
  • Debian Linux (Debian 10, 11)
  • Alma Linux (AlmaLinux 1)
  • Centos Linux (Centos 7, 8)

Zenarmor deployments on all Linux platforms, as well as FreeBSD-based firewalls, may be controlled collaboratively and smoothly using the same interface: Cloud Management Portal Centralized.

Zenarmor may be deployed as a gateway or on a per-server basis in any Cloud environment.

Zenarmor provides a free edition as well as three premium membership levels based on your demands and budget:

The following paid subscriptions provide a comprehensive set of next-generation firewall features:

  • Home Edition
  • SOHO Edition
  • Business Edition

You can purchase a Business Edition through Sunny Valley Networks Cloud Portal or through one of our authorized partners.

For a complete feature, comparison see Subscription Plans.

2. Barracuda CloudGen Firewall

Cybersecurity dangers, such as ransomware and advanced persistent threats, targeted cyberattacks, and zero-day threats, demand more complex security techniques that balance accurate threat identification with quick reaction times. SQL injections, cross-site scripting, denial of service attacks, trojans, and other network threats, vulnerabilities, and exploits are among the threats that Barracuda CloudGen Firewall protects against in real time. Viruses, worms, spyware, and other malicious software are examples.

Barracuda firewalls may be deployed on-premises, as well as in Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services, and Google Cloud Platform.

Barracuda CloudGen Firewall employs multiple detection layers, including advanced threat signatures, behavioral and heuristic analysis, static code analysis, and, finally, comprehensive sandboxing, to provide accurate detection and comprehensive protection against ransomware, malware, and other advanced cyber-attacks.

Barracuda Advanced Threat Protection is based on a full-emulation sandbox that will 'detonate' any attachment that hasn't been adequately vetted by the previous levels. The data is transmitted to the pre-filtering layers when a new threat is identified and a signature is created. The next time the same threat attempts to gain access to your network, it will be blocked without the need for a resource-intensive sandbox investigation. This ensures that sandboxing is used as effectively as feasible while causing little disruption to operations.

Barracuda's Advanced Threat Protection service is connected to the company's global threat intelligence network, providing real-time protection against the most recent attacks. Barracuda gathers threat information from millions of sources throughout the world, including network, email, website, and web browser assaults. When a threat is detected, the information is shared with all connected security systems, allowing your threat defense to develop and grow more effective over time.

You can take advantage of the benefits of SaaS and public-cloud services and infrastructures with simple, automated deployment, setup, and maintenance. Barracuda CloudGen Firewall is built for distributed networks and cloud environments, with templates, APIs, and deep integration with cloud-native features making cloud deployment simple. You may use Zero-Touch Deployment to install equipment to remote locations that lack qualified IT personnel.

The Barracuda CloudGen Firewall, which can be implemented on-premises or in the cloud, has SD-WAN features and can connect to distributed sites, various clouds, and remote users. There is no need to buy a separate SD-WAN to handle connections across several distributed sites.

Barracuda CloudGen Firewall is somewhat superior than Cisco Firewalls in various ways. These are the following:

  • Ease of Implementation

  • The effectiveness of end-user training

  • Using standard APIs and tools, integration is simple.

  • Quality of Technical Support

3. SRX Series

Juniper Networks® SRX Series Branch Services Gateways combine next-generation firewall and unified threat management (UTM) services with routing and switching in a single, high-performance, cost-effective network device.

The SRX Series Services Gateways for the branch are next-generation security gateways that provide important features for connecting, securing, and managing workforce locations ranging in size from a few to hundreds of users. Enterprises can safeguard their resources while also delivering innovative services, safe connections, and a pleasing end-user experience by unifying fast, highly available switching, routing, security, and next-generation firewall features in a single device.

All SRX Series Services Gateways, including products scaled for Enterprise branch, Enterprise edge, and Data Center applications, are powered by Junos OS, the proved-and-true operating system that delivers unrivaled consistency, better service performance, and superior infrastructure protection at a lower total cost of ownership.

The main features of Juniper SRX Series can be summarized as follows;

  • Next-generation firewall: To protect and manage your corporate assets, the SRX Series Services Gateways provide next-generation firewall security with application awareness and broad user role-based control options, as well as best-of-breed UTM. Next-generation firewalls are capable of performing comprehensive packet inspection and enforcing security policies based on layer 7 data. This means that you can create security policies based on the application running on your network, the user receiving or sending network traffic, or the content traveling across your network to protect your environment from threats, manage how your network bandwidth is allocated, and control who has access to what.
  • AppSecure: AppSecure is a set of application security features for Juniper Networks' SRX Series services Gateways that detects applications for improved network visibility, enforcement, management, and protection.
  • Intrusion Prevention: To avoid application-borne security attacks that are difficult to identify and prevent, the intrusion prevention system (IPS) knows application behavior and vulnerabilities.
  • Unified threat management: With unified threat management, the SRX Series can provide full content protection against malware, viruses, phishing attacks, intrusions, spam, and other threats (UTM). By simply adding these services to your SRX Series Services Gateway, you may have a best-of-breed solution with anti-virus, anti-spam, web filtering, and content filtering at a low cost. Both cloud-based and on-premises options are offered.
  • User Firewall: Juniper provides a number of firewall control solutions based on user roles that allow dynamic security policies. The SRX Series Services Gateways have user role-based firewall features for typical next-generation firewall controls. Through the integration of SRX with a Juniper Unified Access Control system, more broad, scalable, and granular access controls for defining dynamic rules are accessible.
  • Adaptive Threat Intelligence: Some SRX Series Services Gateways incorporate threat intelligence via integration with Spotlight Secure to handle the growing threat landscape, which has made it vital to integrate external threat intelligence into the firewall for repelling sophisticated malware and other attacks. The Spotlight Secure threat intelligence platform collects threat feeds from numerous sources and delivers open, aggregated, actionable data to SRX Series Services Gateways throughout the enterprise for policy enforcement. Juniper threat feeds, third-party threat feeds, and threat detection solutions that the client can implement are among these sources.

Administrators may set enforcement policies from all streams using Junos Space Security Director, a single, centralized administration point.

This solution's cost is competitive when compared to Cisco Secure Firewalls. One of the prominent advantages of compared to the Cisco Secure Firewalls are;

  • Pricing Flexibility
  • Ease of Deployment
  • Quality of End-User Training
  • Ease of Integration using Standard APIs and Tools
  • Quality of Technical Support

4. FortiGate Next-Generation Firewall

FortiGate Next-Generation Firewalls (NGFWs) provide enterprise security for every edge at any scale, with complete visibility and threat prevention. Organizations may integrate security into hybrid IT architectures and develop security-driven networks to meet the following goals:

  • End-to-end security that is ultra-fast
  • FortiGuard Services provides consistent real-time defense
  • With security processing units, the user experience is excellent
  • Workflow automation and operational efficiency

FortiGate firewalls reduce deployment complexity and save IT resources by supporting wired and wireless networks, providing a single-pane-of-glass administration interface, and providing end-to-end visibility. Full-featured network firewall, application control, intrusion prevention, sandboxing, anti-malware, and web filtering are all included FortiGuard services. FortiGate firewalls are designed for enterprise edge, cloud, and data center environments, as well as decentralized and remote sites. FortiGate NGFWs may also be placed in internal network segments to improve threat visibility, breach detection, and mitigation, hence preventing the uncontrolled propagation of attacks within the network.

Enterprise firewalls from FortiGate include:

  • Consolidated security strategy for complete protection against sophisticated threats and the avoidance of any one point in the network introducing vulnerability
  • Security processor (SPU) technology for high-performance application layer security services (NGFW, SSL inspection, and threat protection)
  • The SSL inspection engine assists defend against malware hidden in SSL/encrypted communication.
  • Management through a single pane of glass simplifies deployment and allows uniform security rules with granular control and visibility across the network.

Some of the strengths compared to Cisco Firewall are;

  • Pricing Flexibility
  • Ease of Deployment

5. SonicWall NSA Series

The SonicWall Network Security appliance (NSa) series delivers sophisticated threat prevention in a security platform to companies ranging in size from mid-sized networks to dispersed corporations and data centers. The NSa series provides enterprises with automatic real-time breach detection and prevention by leveraging breakthrough deep learning algorithms in the SonicWall Capture Cloud Platform.

We can summarize its main features as follows.

  • Network control and flexibility: SonicOS, SonicWall's feature-rich operating system, lies at the heart of the NSa series. Through application intelligence and control, real-time visualization, an intrusion prevention system (IPS) with sophisticated anti-evasion technology, high-speed virtual private networking (VPN), and other security features, SonicOS provides organizations with network control and flexibility they require.
  • Threat prevention: The NSa series next-generation firewalls (NGFWs) combine two sophisticated security technologies to provide attack prevention that keeps your network one step ahead of the competition. Patent-pending Real-Time Deep Memory Inspection (RTDMITM) technology enhances SonicWall's multi-engine Capture Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) service.
  • SonicWall's Capture Cloud Platform: SonicWall's Capture Cloud Platform provides cloud-based threat prevention and network administration, as well as reporting and analytics, to businesses of all sizes. The platform collects threat intelligence from a variety of sources, including multi-engine network sandboxing service, Capture Advanced Threat Protection,
  • Deep Packet Inspection Engine That Doesn't Need To Be Assembled: The SonicWall Reassembly-Free Deep Packet Inspection (RFDPI) system performs stream-based, bi-directional traffic analysis at high speed without proxying or buffering to effectively uncover intrusion attempts and malware downloads while identifying application traffic regardless of port and protocol.

6. Firebox

WatchGuard has the most comprehensive portfolio of network security providers on the market, with services ranging from basic IPS, GAV, application control, spam blocking, and web filtering to more sophisticated services that protect against advanced malware, ransomware, and data loss. WatchGuard also provides a comprehensive network visibility and management solution.

  • Reputation Enabled Defense Service (RED): Reputation Enabled Defense Service (RED) is a cloud-based reputation search service that protects users from dangerous websites and botnets while significantly accelerating web processing.
  • Intrusion Prevention Service (IPS): Intrusion Prevention Service (IPS) scans traffic on all main protocols using constantly updated signatures to provide real-time protection against network threats.
  • URL Filtering in WebBlockers: Blocks known dangerous sites automatically, with content filtering settings to limit unwanted information and increase productivity.
  • Application Management: Allow, prohibit, or restrict app access based on department, job function, or time of day - then monitor what's being accessed and by whom in real-time.
  • Real-time spam detection: SpamBlocker detects spam in real time. SpamBlocker by Firebox is so fast and effective that it can process up to 4 billion messages every day.
  • Network Exploration: A subscription-based service that creates a visual map of all nodes on your network so you can readily understand where you could be vulnerable. Continuously updated signatures in Gateway AntiVirus (GAV) identify and stop known spyware, viruses, trojans, and other threats - including new variations of recognized infections.
  • APT Blocker - Advanced Malware Defense: Counts on an award-winning next-generation sandbox to identify and fight the most complex attacks, such as ransomware and zero-day threats.
  • Detection and Response to Threats: Threat intelligence is used to correlate network and endpoint security events in order to detect, prioritize, and prevent threats.
  • IntelligentAV: IntelligentAV is a signature-free anti-virus solution that uses artificial intelligence to detect malware. It can categorize existing and future malware in seconds using extensive statistical analysis.
  • DNSWatch: DNSWatch helps to prevent malware infections by preventing harmful DNS requests and diverting users to information that reinforces security recommended practices.

All of WatchGuard's security services are accessible as a single solution in the Firebox® appliance, which is easy to operate and cost-effective in both physical and virtual configurations. With WatchGuard, you'll never have to choose between security and performance. Each Firebox appliance is equipped to provide a full range of security services, as well as a set of management and visibility tools to help you stay on top of the ever evolving threat landscape. We make it simple to upgrade the program to integrate the most recent solutions when new technologies become available.

7. PA-Series

The Palo Alto PA-Series next-generation network firewalls serve as a robust networking security foundation, providing a familiar yet modern security administration interface as well as unequaled security features to keep us totally protected in a dangerous environment.

The PA-Series next-generation firewall is excellent for both small and big organizations, as well as branch offices and retail locations, allowing their apps to function safely while simultaneously safeguarding them from new cyber threats and securing their most critical data centers. It is an out-of-the-box security solution with a lot of granular customization possibilities for all circumstances that are straightforward to set up. This has saved us from catastrophic data loss multiple times by reacting in real-time and notifying us during the threat's full lifespan.

The ML-Powered Next-Generation Firewall (NGFW) prevents unexpected attacks, sees and secures everything, including the Internet of Things (IoT), and reduces mistakes with automated policy suggestions.

The PA-400 Series is controlled by PAN-OS®, the same software that powers all Palo Alto Networks NGFWs. PAN-OS natively identifies all traffic, including apps, threats, and content, and then associates that traffic with the user, independent of location or device type. The application, content, and user, in other words, the elements that drive your business then serve as the foundation of your security rules, resulting in enhanced security posture and shorter incident response times.

Palo Alto Networks' PA-4000 Series and PA-2000 Series, as well as the newly launched PA-500, are examples of next-generation firewall model families with throughput capacities ranging from 250Mbps to 10Gbps. Palo Alto Networks' next-generation firewalls are built on a solid networking foundation, have a familiar policy administration interface, and provide unparalleled security features for your infrastructure.

According to the size of your network infrastructure, you can select the PA series that fit your needs

  • PA-400 Series
  • PA-220 Series
  • PA-800 Series
  • PA 3200 Series
  • PA 5200/5400 Series
  • PA 7000 Series

8. pfSense® software

The pfSense® software is a FreeBSD-based operating system designed to install and configure a firewall that can be simply set up and deployed on any PC via the web interface. It's difficult to imagine that pfSense® software is a free and open-source firewall solution with all of its enterprise-grade capabilities and security.

The pfSense® software project is a free network firewall installation based on the FreeBSD operating system and enhanced with third-party free software packages. Using the package approach, pfSense® software can provide the same or more capacity as traditional commercial firewalls, without any artificial limitations. In innumerable deployments throughout the world, it has successfully replaced every major commercial firewall on the market, including Check Point, Cisco PIX, Cisco ASA, Juniper, Sonicwall, Netgear, Watchguard, Astaro, and others.

It is most frequently compared to OPNsense among all pfSense® software rivals. In terms of user interface and usability, OPNsense shines. pfSense® software excels in terms of documentation and online resources. OPNsense's security is slightly enhanced due to HardenedBSD and more frequent updates. For pfSense® software, OPNsense plugins such as Zenarmor are also available.

Apart from the fact that the pfSense® software firewall is completely free to use and configure, there are a number of other reasons why you should use it, whether you want to tailor it or just have a reliable firewall. Some of the biggest attractive reasons to use pfSense® software can be listed below as;

  1. pfSense® software is Flexible

  2. pfSense® software is Open Source

  3. pfSense® software is user friendly

  4. pfSense® software is powerful

  5. pfSense® software is well-supported

What Should Be Considered While Choosing Cisco Alternatives?

Firewalls are critical for protecting networks and data from both internal and external attacks. They are virtual gates that divide networks from the internet, filtering traffic, limiting access to internal networks, and preventing threats. Without an effective firewall in place, a network may be subject to breaches and other online assaults, which might lose your organization not just money but also customers.

The challenge is determining how much security you require. Is it important to install a firewall at home? Yes. If you don't employ a firewall, you risk allowing any connection into your home network. You wouldn't be able to recognize coming threats since you wouldn't be able to notice them. Because of this open access, your gadgets and personal information are at risk.

Because of this open access, your devices and private information may be hijacked and utilized for malicious purposes. Intruders may take control of your computer or network, destroy your data, or use your personal information to commit identity theft and other sorts of online crime.

The best sort of firewall for a firm is decided by its needs. If you own a small business and don't handle a lot of sensitive data, a simple solution may be the most convenient and cost-effective alternative. Larger organizations, on the other hand, may require the improved security afforded by firewalls and unified threat management (UTM) systems.

One of the most crucial components of your security system is selecting the right firewall. Here are some important factors to consider before purchasing a firewall to help you select the right one as an alternative to Cisco.

  1. Price

  2. Select a Firewall with Reliable Random Access Memory (RAM)

  3. Keep an eye on the number of users.

  4. DDoS protection should be provided.

  5. Should an Attack Alert Be Sent?

  6. The Seller's Customer Service Is Critical

  7. Take into account remote users

What are the Best Cisco Firewall Alternatives for Enterprises?

Here are the best alternatives to Cisco Firewall for Enterprise needs.

  • FortiGate: Next-Generation Firewall (NGFW)
  • Check Point Quantum
  • PA-Series
  • Sophos Firewall
  • SRX Series
  • Firebox
  • Barracuda CloudGen Firewall
  • SonicWall NSA Series

What are the Best Cisco Firewall Alternatives for Small Business?

Here are the best alternatives to Cisco Firewall for small business needs.

  • Zenarmor: Best cloud-based instant firewall
  • Sophos: Most versatile firewall option
  • WatchGuard: Fastest unified threat management (UTM) option
  • Norton: Best host-based firewall software
  • McAfee: Best firewall + antivirus software