Cisco ASA Next-Gen Firewall vs Cato Networks

Networking powerhouse Cisco is angry as heck, having watched former Pions like Arista Networks, Palo Alto Networks, and many others come in and eat their switching and security lunch. Cisco is hell bent on turning the page to a new beginning, especially in the cyber security space. Cisco just reported Q2 results, and security sales rose to $462M,  which is 11% higher than last year. According to a Cisco Product Manager, Cisco plans on capturing billions of the “$19B opportunity over the next 10 years”.

Cisco’s secret weapon is their new “ASA  with FirePOWER” Services. The top of the line firewall in this product line is the “ASA 5585-X with FirePOWER SSP-60” that comes in 2U and is action packed with 20Gbps-Firewall and 10Gbps-IPS capabilities. All this sounds nice and dandy but what’s wrong with the picture? First, the word ASA brings back memories of the Cisco Pix, an ancient security appliance that was “it” back in the days. Second, how is a security appliance, a metal box if you will, which can only be at one place at a time and not scale very well going to compete against an innovation driven startup like Cato Networks who operates in the cloud.

Its a clash of old business model vs new business model and the fight isn’t even fair. Its like a metal box vs the cloud, typewriter vs PC, and fax machine vs email. Cisco will probably capture billions in security spend over the next few years, or maybe they won’t, but going to market with a metal box in an everything cloud environment is a risky proposition, because we can all agree that everything is moving to the cloud – business applications, VoIP, MPLS, Netflix, and so on.

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