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 Both of these product lines have been replaced by the ASA 5500-X line of security appliances with Firepower.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

PIX and the original ASA 5500 firewalls deliver robust client and program policy enforcement, mutlivector attack defense, and secure connectivity features. The enhanced knowledge sharing of consolidated protection services in a stand-alone platform provides customers implementing these integrated solutions the advantages of enhanced security, lower cost of ownership, and smaller maintenance costs.

PIX firewalls and the ASA 5500 Series join Cisco IOS Firewall, the Firewall Services Module for Cisco Catalyst 6500 Series switches, and Cisco 7600 Series routers as components of Cisco's versatile, self-contained firewall product. Engineered with a scalable, building-block approach, each device is equipped with a particular array of options to provide more efficient security to a variety of networking environments. These products can be individually installed to protect specific areas of a network infrastructure, or can be combined for a systematic, protection-in-depth strategy based on the architecture best practices described in the Cisco SAFE framework. Completing the modular firewall solutions, Cisco has developed a comprehensive security management portfolio, spanning Cisco security appliance and IOS Software security components and embedded appliance controllers, to self-contained management applications, moving to ensure that businesses can productively manage their Cisco security solution purchases.

Cisco PIX Firewalls
PIX firewall appliances deliver robust user and application policy enforcement, multivector attack protection, and secure connectivity features in affordable, out-of-the-box solutions. These specialized appliances provide a wealth of built-in protection and networking capabilities such as process-aware firewall services, VoIP and multimedia security, reliable multi-site and remote-access IP Security (IPsec) Virtual Private Network (VPN) connectivity, high availability, intelligent networking services, and flexible administration solutions. The PIX Security Appliance Series product line spans small plug-and-play desktop units for small offices or at home offices to stackable gigabit products with investment protection for large business and ISP environments, PIX Security Appliance Series provide dependable protection, speed, and reliability for environments of all sizes.

Cisco PIX Firewalls Help

Based around a hardened, specialized software platform that offers rich protection features, Cisco PIX firewall appliances offer a high level of security and have received Common Criteria Evaluation Assurance Level 4 status and ICSA Labs Firewall and IPsec certification. PIX security appliances offer protection for a wide range of Voice over IP and other multimedia conventions including H.323 Version 4, SIP, Cisco Skinny Client Control Protocol (SCCP), Real-Time Streaming Protocol (RTSP), and Media Gateway Control Protocol (MGCP), enabling businesses to protect deployments of a broad range of contemporary and next-generation VoIP and mixed-media applications.

Cisco PIX security appliances feature a variety of setup, monitoring, and troubleshooting features, providing IT managers the versatility to use the techniques that most closely match their needs. Management solutions include common, policy-based management utilities, integrated web-accessible administration, and compatibility with remote-tracking protocols such as Simple Network Management Protocol and syslog. The integrated ASDM system offers a powerful web-accessible control platform that significantly simplifies the deployment, ongoing configuration, and monitoring of a specific Cisco PIX firewall appliance without the need of any extra software beyond an ordinary browser and Java plug-in to be installed on an administrator's PC.

IT managers can furthermore remotely configure, monitor, and analyze PIX firewalls using a command-line interface (CLI). Secure command-line interface communication is possible through a number of methods such as Secure Shell Protocol, Telnet through IP Security, and out-of-band via a console port. Cisco PIX firewalls also have dependable auto-update capabilities, a collection of secure remote-administration services that ensure firewall configurations and software images are always current.

Cisco Adaptive Security Appliances (ASA) 5500 Series Firewalls
Cisco ASA Firewalls are purpose-built devices that bring together market-proven, best-of-breed protection and Virtual Private Network support with a flexible design. The end product is a powerful, versatile network security appliance better suited to protect small and medium business (SMB) and larger networks and, at the same time, lower the overall installation and maintenance costs formerly associated with this enhanced degree of protection.

Cisco Adaptive Security Appliances (ASA) 5500 Series Firewalls Support
Cisco ASA Firewalls leverage engineering behind the PIX 500 family Security Appliance, the IPS 4200 Series sensor, and the Cisco VPN 3000 family concentrator. These technologies converge on the Cisco ASA 5500 Series Firewall family to offer a platform that stops a broad range of attacks. Cisco ASA 5500 Series Firewalls provide program security, network containment, and safe VPN functionality across Cisco's product portfolio. This broad scope of protection allows defense of any network area, which includes the most typical threat conduits like remote sites, LAN-attached inside users, and off-site access Virtual Private Networks.

Cisco Adaptive Security Appliances (ASA) 5500 Series firewalls deliver strong application security through smart, application-sensitive inspection engines that analyze traffic at Layers 4-7. This results in a more secure environment including web, voice, and mobile wireless services. To protect environments against application-layer attacks and to offer organizations greater control over the applications and protocols utilized in their environments, Cisco's inspection engines incorporate extensive application and protocol knowledge and employ protection enforcement technologies such as protocol anomaly detection and state tracking. Also incorporated are attack detection and mitigation technology including application/protocol command filters and content verification. Cisco Adaptive Security Appliances 5500 Series firewall inspection engines also deliver management of instant messaging and tunneling applications, enabling businesses to police usage policies and conserve network bandwidth for vital business processes.

While improving security, Cisco ASA firewalls also lower installation and operational costs. By providing extensive VPN and security services, the Cisco ASA 5500 Series firewall can be used as the single device for many uses, allowing product commonality. The Cisco Adaptive Security Appliances (ASA) firewall can be used as a consolidated threat-prevention appliance at a central location by leveraging its access control, application inspection, and malicious assault remediation technologies. The Cisco Adaptive Security Appliances (ASA) firewall can also be used as a specialized remote connectivity solution using its Virtual Private Network capabilities. Alternatively, the Cisco Adaptive Security Appliances firewall operates equally well in the network interior for inter-office connectivity control and to defend against worms, viruses, and other malicious code inside users may unwittingly release into the network. For small company and satellite office environments, the Cisco ASA firewall acts as a total solution device providing complete threat defense and VPN functionality while suiting the cost structure and operational models of such deployments.

This adaptive one-platform, multiple-use approach minimizes the number of devices that must be installed and maintained while providing a standard operating and administrative system across all those installations. This architecture simplifies the education of setup, monitoring, troubleshooting, and protection staff. To further reduce maintenance costs, Cisco ASA 5500 Series firewalls are also highly network aware, enabling these devices to integrate seamlessly into the environment without disrupting legitimate traffic and applications.

How Progent Can Assist Your Business with Cisco PIX and ASA Security Appliances
Cisco's ASA Series adaptive security appliances and PIX family security appliances incorporate a wealth of configuration, monitoring, and analysis features that give you the flexibility to deploy these security appliances to align optimally with your company's requirements. Progent's CCIE certified network professionals can show you how to maintain your current network infrastructure that includes Cisco ASA or PIX security appliances and that provides security, resilience, performance, and recoverability. Progent's firewall experts can also assist you to migrate to ASA 5500-X firewalls with Firepower Services.

Progent's CISA and CISSP-ISSP-certified IS security consultants can assist you to create a security policy that makes sense for your situation and can configure your PIX or ASA firewall to enforce your security strategy. Progent's risk evaluation experts can assess the strength of your existing firewall solution and validate the security of your whole information system network. Progent’s Technical Response Center (TRC) can provide emergency remote troubleshooting for Cisco products and can give you fast access to a Cisco CCIE network engineer.

To see more information concerning Progent's professional assistance for Cisco networking products, choose a topic:

To contact Progent about professional assistance for Cisco products, call 1-800-993-9400 or go to Contact Progent.

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