Cisco's PIX firewalls and Cisco ASA 5500 Series adaptive security appliances integrate next-generation firewall, intrusion defense, and Virtual Private Network functionality in an affordable, single-box package. Both of these product lines have been superseded by the ASA 5500-X line of firewalls with Firepower. (See configuration and troubleshooting help with Cisco AA 5500-X firewalls with Firepower Services.) Nevertheless, both PIX and previous-generation ASA 5500 Series firewalls are extensively used and continue to provide small and mid-size organizations a viable firewall environment.

PIX and the original ASA 5500 firewalls offer robust client and application policy support, mutlivector assault defense, and safe connectivity features. The enhanced intelligence sharing of integrated protection services in a single platform provides users deploying these integrated solutions the advantages of enhanced protection, lower cost of ownership, and minimal management expense.

PIX firewalls and Cisco's ASA 5500 product line join IOS Firewall, the Firewall Services Module for Cisco Catalyst 6500 switches, and Cisco 7600 family routers as parts of Cisco's versatile, integrated firewall line. Based on a scalable, modular approach, each device is designed with a particular array of options to deliver better security to a variety of network situations. These products can be independently installed to protect certain facets of the network infrastructure, or can be combined for a layered, protection-in-depth strategy based on the design leading practices outlined in Cisco's SAFE Blueprint. Rounding out the integrated firewall product line, Cisco provides a comprehensive security management catalog, spanning Cisco security device and IOS security features and embedded device controllers, to standalone management programs, helping to ensure that businesses can productively use their Cisco security infrastructure purchases.

Cisco PIX Security Appliance Series
PIX Security Appliance Series deliver reliable policy enforcement, multivector invasion defense, and secure networking features in economical, out-of-the-box modules. These specialized appliances offer a wealth of integrated protection and networking services such as process-aware firewall services, Voice over IP (VoIP) and multimedia protection, reliable multi-site and remote-connectivity IPcec VPN networking, high availability, intelligent networking features, and flexible management options. The Cisco PIX Security Appliance Series product line spans compact plug-and-play desktop units for small offices and at home offices to stackable high-bandwidth products with investment protection for large business and service-provider customers, PIX firewalls provide high levels of security, speed, and reliability for networks of any size.

Cisco PIX Firewalls Experts

Based upon a tested, purpose-built software platform that delivers a wealth of security features, PIX firewalls offer a high level of protection and have received Common Criteria Evaluation Assurance Level (EAL) 4 status and ICSA Firewall and IPsec certification. Cisco PIX firewall appliances offer security for a wide array of Voice over IP and additional multimedia conventions such as H.323 v. 4, SIP, Cisco Skinny Client Control Protocol, Real-Time Streaming Protocol, and Media Gateway Control Protocol (MGCP), helping organizations to safeguard deployments of a broad array of contemporary and next-generation VoIP and mixed-media applications.

Cisco PIX firewalls offer a variety of configuration, monitoring, and troubleshooting features, giving IT managers the versatility to utilize the techniques that most closely meet their requirements. Administrative options include common, policy-based management utilities, integrated web-accessible administration, and support for remote-monitoring protocols like SNMP and syslog. The integrated Adaptive Security Device Manager system provides a powerful web-accessible management solution that significantly streamlines the installation, in-place configuration, and monitoring of a single PIX security appliance without requiring any extra software other than a standard web browser and Java applet to be running on an administrator's PC.

IT managers can also remotely set up, monitor, and troubleshoot Cisco PIX security appliances via a command-line interface. Secure command-line interface communication is possible through a number of techniques including Secure Shell Protocol, Telnet through IP Security, and out-of-band via a console port. PIX firewall appliances also include dependable automatic-update features, a set of secure remote-administration services that ensure firewall configurations and software images are kept up to date.

Cisco ASA 5500 Series Firewalls
Cisco ASA Firewalls are purpose-built devices that incorporate advanced, industry-leading security and Virtual Private Network services plus a flexible architecture. The result is a powerful, multifunction network protection solution better able to defend small and medium company and larger networks and, simultaneously, reduce the total installation and operations expenses previously associated with this high level of security.

Cisco Adaptive Security Appliances 5500 Series Firewalls Experts
Cisco ASA 5500 Series Firewalls build on engineering developed for Cisco's PIX 500 Series Security Appliance, Cisco's IPS 4200 family Intrusion Prevention System, and the VPN 3000 family concentrator. These technologies enable the Cisco Adaptive Security Appliances 5500 Series Firewall family to deliver a firewall that defends against a wide range of attacks. Cisco Adaptive Security Appliances 5500 Series Firewalls deliver application security, local containment and control, and clean VPN functionality throughout Cisco's product portfolio. This breadth of security allows defense of any network segment, including the most common threat vectors like remote sites, locally-attached inside users, and remote connected Virtual Private Networks.

Cisco Adaptive Security Appliances (ASA) firewalls provide robust application protection through smart, application-aware inspection processes that examine traffic at Layers 4-7. This produces a safer environment including web, voice, and mobile wireless access. To defend networks from application-layer attacks and to offer businesses greater control over the applications and protocols utilized in their networks, these inspection engines incorporate broad application and protocol knowledgebases and rely on security enforcement technologies that include anomaly detection and application and protocol state monitoring. Also incorporated are attack detection and mitigation techniques such as application/protocol command filtering and URL deobfuscation. Cisco Adaptive Security Appliances (ASA) firewall inspection engines also deliver management of IM and tunneling applications, allowing businesses to enforce usage policies and conserve network bandwidth for crucial business applications.

At the same time as improving network security, Cisco Adaptive Security Appliances (ASA) firewalls also lower deployment and operational expenses. By offering broad VPN and protection services, the Cisco Adaptive Security Appliances (ASA) firewall can be a single device for a multitude of uses, enabling platform standardization. The Cisco Adaptive Security Appliances (ASA) firewall can be used as a converged threat-prevention device at the datacenter by taking advantage of its access control, application inspection, and malware remediation technologies. The Cisco Adaptive Security Appliances (ASA) firewall can also be deployed as a dedicated remote access solution using its Virtual Private Network features. As another option, the Cisco ASA firewall performs equally well in the network interior for inter-office connectivity control and to guard against malicious assaults inside workers might unwittingly introduce into the environment. For small business and satellite office networks, the Cisco Adaptive Security Appliances firewall acts as a total solution device offering complete threat defense and VPN services while suiting the budgets and operational models of such deployments.

This adaptive single-platform, many-use design reduces the number of appliances that must be deployed and maintained while providing a common functional and management system throughout all deployments. This approach simplifies the training of configuration, tracking, support, and protection staff. To further minimize operations expenses, Cisco ASA firewalls are also exceptionally network aware, allowing these devices to insert seamlessly into the environment without disrupting authorized traffic and processes.

How Progent Can Assist You with Cisco PIX and ASA Firewalls
Cisco's ASA 5500 Series firewalls and PIX family security appliances incorporate a wealth of configuration, monitoring, and troubleshooting features that offer you the flexibility to set up these firewalls to match your business needs. Progent's CCIE authorized network consultants can show you how to maintain your current network infrastructure that incorporates Cisco ASA and/or PIX security appliances and that offers protection, fault tolerance, performance, and manageability. Progent's firewall experts can also help your organization to upgrade to ASA 5500-X firewalls with Firepower Services.

Progent's CISA and CISSP-ISSP-premier IS security engineers can help your business to develop a security strategy appropriate for your environment and can configure your PIX or ASA firewall to support your security strategy. Progent's security assessment engineers can evaluate the effectiveness of your existing firewall solution and validate the overall security of your entire information system environment. Progentís Help Desk support team can provide urgent online technical support for Cisco products and can give you fast access to a Cisco CCIE expert.

Integration of Cisco and Third-party Security Technology
Progent offers expertise in firewall and VPN products from all major vendors and can help you integrate Cisco technology with additional security solutions to help you build a cost-effective network infrastructure that provides a level of security and flexibility appropriate for your business. Third-party firewall and VPN support services available from Progent include:

To find out about Progent's consulting and support services for additional Cisco products and technologies, select a topic: For additional information concerning Progent's engineering support for Cisco technology, select a topic: For more information about Progent's consulting and support services for Cisco technology, call 1-800-993-9400 or visit Contact Progent.

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