Difference Between Cisco FTD and ASA (With Table)

Cisco Systems’ Firepower Threat Defense (FTD) and Cisco Adaptive Security Appliance were launched in July 2016 to give enterprise customers a streamlined, easy-to-manage product that could be used to protect against all forms of cyber threats. Both Cisco FTD and ASA are exceptionally similar to each other, yet they are different in many aspects.

Cisco FTD vs ASA

The difference between Cisco FTD and ASA is that Cisco FTD and ASA is that the former is a turnkey appliance, where Cisco Firepower Threat Defense (FTD) does not have any access to VPN and multiple contexts. Cisco Adaptive Security Appliance (ASA), on the other hand, has access to VPN and multiple contexts. Moreover, Cisco FTD replaces the Cisco ASA software with its best performance.

Cisco FTD is a turnkey security appliance that is easy to deploy and highly effective. Moreover, the Cisco FTD device includes a single firewall to protect against threats from all traffic directions inbound, outbound and internal to the enterprise. Cisco FTD can be used to protect networks against advanced threats, including malware and exploits.

Cisco ASA is the brand name given to a line of Cisco Systems’ security appliances. The products include routers, servers, firewalls, VPN gateways, and IDS/IPS devices security for networks against multiple types of attacks. The ASA 5500 series supports protocol inspection, deep packet inspection (DPI), application inspection, and others.

Comparison Table Between Cisco FTD and ASA

Parameters of ComparisonCisco FTD Cisco ASA
VPN AcessNo VPN accessVPN can be accessed.
PerformanceHigh-PerformanceLow-performance
Multiple Context AssistanceNo multiple context assistance.It can assist multiple contexts.
Cost Available at a very affordable price. It is high-priced.
Time Cisco FTD appliance requires fewer configurations and is fast.Cisco ASA software is time-consuming and involves a great deal of manual work.

What is Cisco FTD?

The Cisco Firepower Threat Defense (FTD) appliance offers a faster and more cost-effective way of managing an enterprise’s security infrastructure. It can be used to protect networks against advanced threats, including malware and exploits. Moreover, the Cisco FTD appliance requires fewer configuration steps that can be done from a single console.

Cisco FTD enables service-level agreements (SLAs) by supporting real-time in-service monitoring, analysis, and control of the network to optimize performance for mobile applications. Elements of Cisco FTD Assurance include call admission control, network topology discovery, IP multimedia services switching solutions, and IP multicast optimization. Additional features include mobile network forensics and adaptive quality of service (QoS) to improve the delivery of mobile applications.

Cisco FTD is Cisco’s first software platform that includes capabilities to help ensure the delivery of protected mobile and fixed-line services, enable enterprise mobility management (EMM) and data security, and simplify network operations with intelligent automation.

Cisco FTD also integrates and simplifies the management of different security components and services, such as firewall, network, and endpoint protection. Cisco Systems’ Firepower Threat Defense (FTD) gives enterprise customers a streamlined, easy-to-manage product that could be used to protect against all forms of cyber threats. Moreover, Cisco FTD replaces the other Cisco software.

What is Cisco ASA?

Cisco Adaptive Security Appliance (ASA) is a family of integrated security solutions offered by Cisco Systems. The product line includes routers, servers, firewalls, VPN gateways, and IDS/IPS devices. Moreover, It provides enterprise-gigabit-class network security, application visibility and control, and traffic management. The ASA is the core of Cisco’s Next-Generation Firewall, which is designed to provide increased throughput while reducing response time for firewall rule processing.

The Cisco ASA products are designed to operate in the data centre or to be managed over an IP network. The Cisco ASA also can support Dynamic Multipoint VPN (DMVPN), which was designed to reduce bandwidth costs for branch offices by supporting simultaneous VPN tunnels across multiple links. The Cisco ASA software has evolved to best fit the needs of various data centre environments, including security, performance, appearance, and other considerations.

Cisco ASA helped shape the commonly used firewall technologies that are widely found in the present data centres. The Cisco ASA 5000 series was first introduced in 2003, with an upgrade to the 5500 series in mid-2009. The ASA 5500 series supports protocol inspection, deep packet inspection (DPI), application inspection, and others.

The Cisco ASA product line comes in various configurations, each for a different purpose. The ASA 5505 Adaptive Security Appliance (ASA), the Cisco ASA 5585-X with SSP-10, and the Cisco ASA 5585-X with SSP-20 are designed for small offices or homes. The security appliances can be managed over an IP network, enabling centralized management of remote sites.

Main Differences Between Cisco FTD and ASA

  1. Cisco FTD does not have access to VPN, whereas Cisco ASA has access to VPN.
  2. Cisco FTD does not assist multiple contexts whereas, Cisco ASA assists multiple contexts.
  3. Cisco FTD is available at a very affordable price, whereas Cisco ASA is high-priced.
  4. Cisco FTD is found to have high-Performance and high capacity, whereas Cisco ASA has low performance and low capacity.
  5. Cisco FTD appliance requires fewer configurations and is fast, whereas Cisco ASA software is time-consuming and involves a great deal of manual work.

Conclusion

The Cisco Firepower Threat Defense software and services enable carrier and enterprise customers to deliver a variety of next-generation multimedia services overall networks from a broad portfolio of Cisco enterprise networking equipment.

The Cisco FTD solutions address the challenges associated with the rapid growth of mobile services. Moreover, it helps reduce customer churn and increase operational efficiency by automating provisioning, activation, and management of mobile services.

The Cisco ASA was originally designed in the United States to be an appliance that could protect a far greater scale than what was possible with traditional router technologies used before it. It could act as a firewall, VPN gateway, IPS, and NGFW (Next-Generation Firewall), making it very valuable to the enterprise.

Both Cisco Firepower Threat Defense and Cisco Adaptive Security Appliance are the best software appliance with high performance and capacity that are widely available in the market. However, they can be chosen according to customer’s needs and required services.

References

  1. https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=Z3qkDAAAQBAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PT29&dq=Difference+Between+Cisco+FTD+and+ASA&ots=RnOII1vDaS&sig=af6X11crwoDXhyDtkN_UjivvD00
  2. http://www.paniz.co/media/attachments/2018/12/16/magic-quadrant-for-enterprise-network-firewalls-2018.pdf
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