Cisco stuffs new firewall with Sourcefire for threat detection

Cisco has launched Cisco ASA with Firepower Services, a threat-focused firewall aimed at providing businesses with controls to assess threats, correlate intelligence, and optimise defences to protect networks.

Aside from large organisations, such as financial institutions, which have internal groups to deal with security threats, a majority of businesses cannot afford to focus on security and respond to threats as well as they should, according to Cisco.

Cisco Security Australia and New Zealand general manager Anthony Stitt said organisations that have been compromised often take weeks or months to uncover the issue before cleaning it up.

He drew on the recent Target breach that occurred in the US as an example to illustrate that it's a long and costly process. In fact, the retailer reported a net expense of $110 billion as a result of the data breach.

"Why the Target breach was interesting was the cost of the clean-up was so massive. Trying to find out what had gone wrong and to clean the system that was affected was a very difficult job," Stitt said.

Stitt, however, acknowledges that to do security well is a difficult task, but believes that businesses are changing "their expectations about how much money they need to spend on this, the resources they need to devote to it, and the technology they need to apply to get the job done".

In light of this, Cisco has launched what it claims in the industry's first "threat-focused next-generation" firewall, Cisco ASA with Firepower Services, that provides application control, intrusion prevention systems, and advanced malware protection from Sourcefire. Pricing starts at $5,000.

Image: Cisco

Stitt said the solution is a "Nirvana" for organisations, and a leap forward in giving businesses visibility and control over multi-vector threats across all of their networks.

"The ability to run Sourcefire software on existing Cisco ASA hardware is what's unique about that. It's the first time you've got two market-leading pieces of technology coming together: A market-leading firewall and a market-leading intrusion, prevention, and threat visibility device being combined on a single platform," he said.

At the same time, Stitt said the aim of the solution is to give organisations the opportunity to be able to detect and respond to a threat when it's in their environment, and reduce that process down to weeks, days, or even hours.

"Recognising the compromise will happen sooner, and we're giving businesses a pool of tools to help them understand what's happened so they clean up quickly and get on with the job of running their business," he said.

The solution will also be available as a virtual solution, to meet the "extreme level" of interest, especially in Australia, around deploying capabilities to protect cloud resources.

Cisco ASA with Firepower Services signals Cisco's efforts in integrating Sourcefire into the company's security portfolio, after it acquired the security software maker for $2.7 billion last July.