Cisco ASA vs Palo Alto: Difference and Comparison

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

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

Key Takeaways

  1. Cisco ASA is a security appliance offering firewall, VPN, and intrusion prevention features, while Palo Alto Networks provides next-generation firewalls with advanced threat detection and prevention capabilities.
  2. Palo Alto firewalls utilize application-based policy enforcement, enabling more granular control over network traffic than Cisco ASA.
  3. Cisco ASA has a long history and more established presence in the market, but Palo Alto Networks is known for its innovative technologies and focus on continuous improvement.

Cisco ASA vs Palo Alto

Cisco ASA is known for its ease of use and reliability, while Palo Alto is known for its advanced threat prevention capabilities and granular control over network traffic. Cisco ASA is also more affordable than Palo Alto, but Palo Alto is considered to be more effective.

Cisco ASA vs Palo Alto
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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 can block malicious connections before they get to the network servers.

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

However, it does not inspect every bit of traffic coming into or leaving 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

Parameters of Comparison Cisco ASAPalo Alto
Focal PointPalo Alto emphasises securing the entire network from all possible threats by providing context-aware security services that are invisible to end-users. Defence System
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 to monitor, filter, and encrypt network traffic.

The device scans network packets or inbound server communications for negative patterns indicating attacks on other devices on private or public networks.

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

The Cisco ASA has various features that allow it 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 Cisco Adaptive Security Virtual Appliance software provides the virtual interfaces, 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 compatible with many different operating systems.

cisco asa

What is Palo Alto?

Palo Alto firewalls use 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, branch, and home office security.

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

palo alto firewalls

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. In contrast, 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 of Palo Alto is indomitable.
  3. The investigation traffic of Cisco ASA takes place at the line rate, whereas the investigation traffic of Palo Alto is not at the 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 generates an infrastructure of multi-platform firewalls and security appliances, whereas Palo Alto does not have the multi-platform ability.

References

  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

Last Updated : 13 July, 2023

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