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Cisco Vs. FireEye – What’s the Difference?

Cisco makes Cisco FirePOWER and Virtual Next-Generation IPS (NGIPSv) for VMware. Cisco’s competitor, FireEye has developed FireEye Network Security (NX).

For the IT support professional, the differences between the products of these manufacturers are apparent, but for the average Los Angeles business owner, the nuances between the two may not be as obvious.


Because business executives have better things to do with their time than to do deep dives into tech manuals to study and track the latest developments in technology for business.

That’s why you have turned to the internet and the IT services professionals at LA Networks.

Let’s take a few moments together to discuss the differences between Cisco and FireEye and help you determine which solution may be most suitable for your company.

Let’s begin with the simple questions.

What is Cisco FirePOWER?

Cisco describes FirePOWER hardware solution as, “an integrated threat defense across the entire attack continuum — before, during, and after an attack. It combines the proven security capabilities of the Cisco ASA Firewall with industry-leading Sourcefire threat and advanced malware protection features in a single device.”

What is Cisco Virtual Next-Generation IPS (NGIPSv) for VMware?

NGIPSv for VMware is the virtual solution that Cisco has developed parallel to Cisco FirePOWER. This is how Cisco markets NGIPSv. “Cisco NGIPSv for VMware addresses the risks posed by virtualization by enabling you to deploy Cisco’s leading NGIPS solution within your virtual environments. This virtualized NGIPS is able to inspect traffic between virtual machines and make it easier to deploy and manage NGIPS solutions at remote sites where resources may be limited, increasing protection for both physical and virtual assets.”

What is FireEye Network Security (NX)?

FireEye uses the following for a high-level description of their Network Security offering. FireEye Network Security is an effective cyber threat protection solution that helps organizations minimize the risk of costly breaches by accurately detecting and immediately stopping advanced, targeted and other evasive attacks hiding in Internet traffic.”

Now That We Have Gotten All The Readers Up To Speed, Let’s Begin Breaking Down The Differences Between Cisco And FireEye.

Cisco differs from FireEye in that Cisco is involved in a wider swath of the market than FireEye. While FireEye focuses nearly exclusively on security, Cisco sees security as a central component in the hardware and software that they develop for networking and digital communication. In the end, the difference in focus is a result of two unique business models. While each company offers a comparable product, their business model determines how that product is framed in the broader context of their other offerings.

In order to boost the capabilities of each of their security solutions, both Cisco and FireEye have acquired smaller cybersecurity companies over the past few years. These acquisitions have helped them stay competitive and have filled in the gaps that each had in previous offerings.

When it comes to capability, FireEye and Cisco are pretty well matched – at least at first glance. A deeper dive will show that because of Cisco’s involvement in a broader scope of networking and digital communications hardware their cybersecurity products are more readily integrated with the rest of the Cisco ecosystem because they were designed to do so. FireEye, on the other hand, is more of a stand-alone security product and as such, does not have the family of products with which to integrate.

What is the price difference between Cisco and FireEye?

This is a simple case of “you get what you pay for.”

Let’s compare the entry models of each manufacturer. In this head-to-head matchup, the FireEye NX900 retails at about 2/3 of the price of the Cisco ASA 5505.

While the price difference may seem attractive to some at the outset, the sheer expanse of Cisco’s industry experience and the option to integrate their other products outweighs the cost difference. Sure, FireEye can connect to third-party applications via API if needed, but that’s not the same as having a line of Cisco hardware that’s been created to work in harmony.

What’s the learning curve with Cisco or FireEye?

Cisco’s entry level is not difficult for a company’s system admin to implement, but to get the full impact of Cisco’s capability, you’ll have to go from GUI to CLI. The CLI stage will likely require an experienced IT support technician to implement and maintain, but the advantages outweigh the complexities.

FireEye has a relatively user-friendly implementation and management setup. At the entry-level price point, it is easier to setup and use than Cisco’s entry-level option. The trade-off with FireEye comes when you need to scale to bigger enterprise-level infrastructures. At that level, the implementation, management, monitoring, and maintenance of FireEye gets beyond the capability of the average network admin, and IT professionals must be called in to support the company’s internal IT staffers.

Gartner gives us the following sampling of review-driven ratings for each manufacturer. Check out their review page for even more customer reviews.

  Cisco FireEye
Capability 4.5 4.4
Detection 4.2 4.8
Containment and Remediation 4.5 4.6
Willingness to Recommend 82% 77%


Should You Buy Cisco or FireEye?

Because these two solutions are very evenly matched, you should be looking for the “X” factor.

What’s the “X” factor when it comes to choosing between Cisco and FireEye?

It’s the support team you choose!

Having a support team that specializes in either Cisco or FireEye will make the difference between a security solution that works and a security solution that works to it’s highest capacity.

The LA Networks team specializes in Cisco products.


Because we are convinced by our experience with Cisco and the track record that Cisco has established worldwide.

The added benefit to the business owner is that Cisco is not singularly focused on security. Sure, security is a huge component of what makes Cisco products great, but the fact that their product line goes much further than security hardware and software allows us to offer a more comprehensive hardware and software offering within the protected Cisco environment.

Want to learn more about network security? Check out these articles.

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