Difference Between Cisco ASA and Palo Alto

For many organizations, such as businesses and universities, it is exceptionally essential to invest in firewall solutions such as Cisco ASA and Palo Alto that is an extraordinary next-generation firewall.

Moreover, they are also extremely rich in features. Cisco ASA and Palo Alto are extraordinarily similar, yet they are different too.

Cisco ASA vs Palo Alto

The main difference between Cisco ASA and Palo Alto is that Cisco ASA has integrated deep packet inspection, giving the visibility over every bit of traffic on the network, whereas Palo Alto Networks only inspects traffic as it passes through its gateway device, giving the active security without allowing any threat to pass through.

Cisco ASA vs Palo Alto

Cisco ASA can be used as the first line of defence against hackers. Moreover, it works as a security guard.

The Cisco ASA device monitors all the traffic on an internal network, and it can block malicious connections before they get to the network servers.

A Palo Alto firewall can guarantee that the entire network is secure from all threats. Palo Alto Networks collects data at granular rates.

However, it does not inspect every single bit of traffic coming into or going out of the company’s office.

It does not have the processing power to inspect every one of the tens of billions of packets that come through an office network every second.

Comparison Table Between Cisco ASA and Palo Alto

Parameters of Comparison Cisco ASA Palo Alto
Focal PointCisco ASA emphasis on to control the flow of traffic between networks. Palo Alto emphasis securing the entire network from all possible threats by providing context-aware security services that are invisible to end-users.
Defense SystemCisco ASA is highly destructive by malware.Palo Alto is invulnerable.
InvestigationCisco ASA can inspect traffic at a line rate. Palo Alto cannot inspect traffic at a line rate.
AffinityThe Cisco ASA is affined with Windows, Linux, and other UNIX-like platforms. Palo Alto is affined with UNIX-like platforms.
Multi-platform AbilityThe Cisco ASA creates an infrastructure of multi-platform firewalls and security appliances that can support many different protocols and functions. Palo Alto does not create an infrastructure of multi-platform firewalls and security appliances.

What is Cisco ASA?

Cisco ASA is a firewall containing software and hardware used to monitor, filter, and encrypt network traffic.

The device scans network packets or inbound server communications for malicious patterns that can indicate attacks on other devices on the private or public networks.

It recognizes these attacks with signatures that are dynamically updated by Cisco security researchers so that they are always up-to-date with emerging threats.

The Cisco ASA has a variety of features that allow its ease of use and configuration.

One feature is the Cisco AnyConnect VPN that establishes encrypted connections to external networks from the Internet by maintaining an encrypted tunnel between endpoints.

It connects to enterprise networks from outside through Cisco secure mobility gateway (SMG) devices. It also employs intrusion prevention, which detects and blocks attacks against the corporate infrastructure.

The Cisco ASA supports many interfaces, both physical and virtual. The virtual interfaces are provided by the Cisco Adaptive Security Virtual Appliance software, which is also available separately as a hardware appliance.

The Cisco ASA performs most of the functions available in the ASA software. Cisco ASA is a virtual firewall that is compatible with many different operating systems.

What is Palo Alto?

Palo Alto firewalls work with Internet service providers to flood your network with one-way traffic.

This is a great security feature that uses the bandwidth of the Internet Service Provider to bridge networks while filtering traffic and mitigating attacks.

So if the organization’s system or data gets infected by malware, a Palo Alto firewall works with the ISP to defuse the situation.

Palo Alto firewalls allow a central management point between the inside and outside of the network,

and this is where it can configure security policies that control which devices or users can access specific networks, applications, or data sources in real-time.

Palo Alto firewalls help to detect the most commonly used malware and block the most dangerous applications. It can be used for data centre security, branch office security, and home office security.

Palo Alto offers the ability to scale and delivers complete high availability for continuous security operations.

Main Differences Between Cisco ASA and Palo Alto

  1. The focal point of Cisco ASA has the power to limit the flow of traffic between networks, whereas the focal point of Palo Alto prioritises protecting the network from all damaging threats.
  2. The defence system of Cisco ASA is extremely delicate, whereas the defence system Palo Alto is indomitable.
  3. The investigation traffic of Cisco ASA takes place at line rate, whereas the investigation traffic of Palo Alto is not at line rate.
  4. The affinity of Cisco ASA is with Windows, Linux, and other UNIX-like platforms, whereas the affinity of Palo Alto is with UNIX-like platforms.
  5. The multi-platform ability of Cisco ASA generate an infrastructure of multi-platform firewalls and security appliances, whereas Palo Alto does not have the multi-platform ability.


Many businesses and universities rely on software and hardware solutions that are either outdated or significantly unsupported by their manufacturers.

Cisco ASA and Palo Alto firewalls are focused on keeping intruders out of networks and limiting access to specific networks or services.

Cisco ASA is an integrated firewalling product that can protect a network from threats that are related to traffic processing, including denial of service (DoS), data poisoning, and application-layer attacks.

Palo Alto is designed for offices just like ones where basic protection like packet filtering is all that is required, and a gateway device sits at the end of the line looking at traffic going out and blocking anything malicious.


  1. https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-319-54978-1_114
  2. https://www.diva-portal.org/smash/record.jsf?pid=diva2:871649
  3. http://computerresearch.org/index.php/computer/article/view/606
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