Cisco Provides More Firepower to Security Portfolio

Cisco expands its Next Generation Firewall product portfolio with the new Firepower 2100 Series, alongside new security management capabilities enabling organizations to manage security both on device hardware and from a centralized location.

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Cisco is expanding its network security portfolio with new hardware announced on Feb. 22 that provides next-generation firewall protection and management capabilities. The new hardware includes the Cisco Firepower 2100 Series NGFW, which initially will have four different models.

The Firepower NGFW technology originally came to Cisco in 2013 as part of the $2.7 billion acquisition of Sourcefire. In October 2016, Cisco announced its new Firepower NGFW as the next generation of Cisco's firewall hardware, with the aim of providing firewall, IPS and URL filtering capabilities as well as integration out to secure endpoints.

"The Firepower 2100 is expected to be an alternative to NGFW customers who would have previously considered some of the ASA 5500-X product line, specifically, the ASA5525-X, 5545-X and 5555-X," Mark Bagley, director, product management of Network Security at Cisco, told eWEEK. "For customers interested in NGFW, the 2100 series presents a price-performance advantage."

The Cisco ASA 5500 had been the top end of Cisco's Firewall portfolio for over a decade, first launching back in February 2006.

The difference between the four new Cisco Firepower 2100 NGFWs is largely about throughput. The Firepower 2110 provides up to 1.9G bps, the 2120 is rated at 3G bps, the 2140 at 4.75G bps and the 2140 clocks in at 8.5G bps of Firewall throughput.

In addition to the new Firepower hardware, Cisco is debuting enhanced management capabilities with the Firepower Management Center (FMC), Firepower Device Manager and Cisco Defense Orchestrator.

"Firepower Management Center is the next generation of our Enterprise management technology, made from a fusion of the FireSIGHT Manager and Cisco Security Manager offerings," Bagley explained.

The Device Manager technology is a new addition to the Cisco portfolio, providing an on-box web-based interface for Cisco Firepower NGFW deployment. The Cloud Defense Orchestrator is a new system providing cloud-based security policy management. As such, Cisco now provides three different ways for organizations to manage NGFW deployments, with the on-box Device Manager, the centralized Management Center and the cloud-based Defense Orchestrator.

"It would be common for an organization to consider using centralized management when they scaled past more than 10 firewalls under management, or had specific needs for advanced analytics or policy tuning capabilities included in the FMC," Bagley said.

While Cisco has expanded its security portfolio significantly in recent years, it doesn't currently have its own SIEM (Security Information and Event Manager) product. Bagley noted that Cisco integrates its network security offerings with SIEM technologies primarily through the use of Cisco's eStreamer API. He explained that eStreamer enables the fast flow of event context, which is supported by most SIEM and log management systems in use today.

Looking forward, Cisco has more plans to further expand the capabilities of its network security portfolio.

"Further enhancements in support of our customer requests for solutions that increase the simplicity of adopting our offerings that support open interfaces, allowing for automated, more effective outcomes, are on the way," Bagley said.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at eWEEK and Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

Sean Michael Kerner

Sean Michael Kerner

Sean Michael Kerner is an Internet consultant, strategist, and contributor to several leading IT business web sites.