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Product upgrade dilemma: ASA to ASA-X VFM question from management



I work for a non-profit organization with 17 offices worldwide. We are a pure Cisco shop when it comes to networks.

We are planning to upgrade (or replace) our firewalls which currently are Cisco ASAs which have been super stable. The management is evaluating options and is being bombarded by demos and sales teams from competition. Being a non-profit, the board speaks the language of money primarily.I have been pushing to keep Cisco citing the stability (just one outage in 8 years !)  and not being vulnerable to heartbleed (see, I am desperate here) but the offers from competition is way cheaper (sometimes 1/10th of Cisco).

I am finding it hard to justify the costs for Cisco firewalls. So here are my questions:

  1. How do you justify the high licensing costs charged by Cisco for products with lesser features than the competition to management?
  2. How stable is ASA-X compared to ASA? ASA-X were vulnerable to HeartBleed. I wonder if it is just another repackaged opensource system (like many competitors).
  3. Are ASA-X WAF addon capabilities good?
  4. Do you have confidence in Cisco's security product road map? It looks like they are just trying to re-label their acquisitions and no real innovation or market positioning is happening.

My local Cisco sales partner has only one answer - "It is CISCO". That doesn't cut it with the procurement board - not any more.

Thank you.

1 Reply 1

Nilo Noguera

Hi Pete Witt,

For nonprofit organizations (NPOs), you might benefit on Product Grant Program wherein Cisco donates networking technology to qualified nonprofit organizations to help them realize significant gains in productivity, scalability, and cost-efficiency. Together, we build public benefit programs that make innovative use of the Internet and communications technology and have a measurable impact.

You can check the following resources for more information:

Product Grant Program

Eligibility Requirements for Product Grants

Application Process for Product Grant Program

Thank you for the opportunity to assist you.

Best regards,


Nilo Noguera

.:|:.:|:. Specialist, Cisco Global Virtual Engineering - Cisco Partner Help

"niLz" Nilo Noguera Jr. | Specialist, Virtual Engineering - Partner Helpline Organization together we are the human network
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