Home > Articles > Introduction to and Design of Cisco ASA with FirePOWER Services

Introduction to and Design of Cisco ASA with FirePOWER Services

  • Sample Chapter is provided courtesy of Cisco Press.
  • Date: Nov 19, 2016.

Chapter Description

In this chapter from Cisco Next-Generation Security Solutions: All-in-one Cisco ASA Firepower Services, NGIPS, and AMP, authors Omar Santos, Panos Kampanakis, and Aaron Woland provide an introduction to the Cisco ASA with FirePOWER Services solution. It also provides design guidance and best practices for deploying Cisco ASA with FirePOWER Services.

Cisco ASA FirePOWER Services Licensing

You have already learned that the Cisco ASA FirePOWER module can be managed by the Firepower Management Center or ASDM, in the case of the Cisco ASA 5506-X and 5508-X. The Firepower Management Center and the Cisco ASA FirePOWER module require different licenses. These licenses are installed in the Cisco FirePOWER module and the Cisco Firepower Management Center. There are no additional licenses required in the Cisco ASA.

The following are the different types of Cisco ASA FirePOWER Services licenses:

  • Protection

  • Control

  • Malware

  • URL Filtering

Table 2-2 provides a high-level overview of each license.

Table 2-2 The Different Types of Cisco ASA FirePOWER Services Licenses




Intrusion detection and prevention

File control

Security intelligence filtering


User and application control


Advanced malware protection (network-based malware detection and blocking)

URL Filtering

Category and reputation-based URL filtering

The Protection License

The Protection license enables a network security administrator to perform intrusion detection and prevention, file control, and security intelligence filtering. The intrusion detection and prevention capabilities are used to analyze network traffic for intrusions and exploits, to alert the network security administrator and optionally block offending packets. File control allows network security administrators to detect and (optionally) block users from sending or receiving files of specific types over specific application protocols.

Security intelligence filtering allows network security administrators to blacklist different hosts/IP addresses before the traffic is analyzed by access control rules. Cisco provides dynamic feeds, allowing a network security administrator to immediately blacklist connections based on the Cisco threat intelligence capabilities, fueled by Cisco’s research organization, Talos. You can also configure this to be monitor only.

The Control License

The Control license allows a network security administrator to implement user and application control. The administrator does this by adding user and application settings to access control rules. As with the Protection license, you can add user and application conditions to access control rules without a Control license. You cannot apply the policy until the Control license is installed and enabled in the Cisco ASA FirePOWER module, however.

The URL Filtering License

The URL Filtering license allows a network security administrator to implement access control rules that determine what traffic can pass through the firewall, based on URLs requested by monitored hosts. The Cisco ASA FirePOWER module obtains information about those URLs from the Cisco cloud, as illustrated in Figure 2-9.

Figure 2-9

Figure 2-9 URL Filtering Information Obtained from Cisco’s Cloud

You can configure individual URLs or groups of URLs to be allowed or blocked by the Cisco ASA FirePOWER module without a URL Filtering license; however, you cannot use URL category and reputation data to filter network traffic without a URL Filtering license. The example in Figure 2-9 applies to Cisco ASA FirePOWER modules managed by ASDM. If the Cisco ASA FirePOWER module is managed by the FMC, the URL categorization and reputation information is received from Cisco by the FMC and then sent to the managed devices (that is, Cisco ASA FirePOWER modules, NGIPS, FTD, etc.).

The Malware License

The Malware license enables Advanced Malware Protection (AMP) in the Cisco ASA FirePOWER module. With AMP you can detect and block malware potentially being transmitted over the network.

Malware detection is configured as part of a file policy, which you then associate with one or more access control rules.

Viewing the Installed Cisco ASA FirePOWER Module Licenses

You can view the installed licenses in the Cisco ASA FirePOWER module by navigating to System > Licenses in the Cisco Firepower Management Center. The Licenses page lists all the licenses in the devices managed by the Cisco Firepower Management Center, as shown in Figure 2-10.

Figure 2-10

Figure 2-10 Cisco Firepower Management Center Licenses Page

In Figure 2-10, a Cisco ASA 5515-X is being managed by the Cisco Firepower Management Center. The Protection, Control, Malware, and URL Filtering licenses are enabled.

Another way to view the installed licenses in the Cisco ASA FirePOWER module is by navigating to Devices > Device Management in the Cisco Firepower Management Center. Then click the device for which you want to see the details, as shown in Figure 2-11.

Figure 2-11

Figure 2-11 Cisco Firepower Management Center Device Management

Adding a License to the Cisco ASA FirePOWER Module

This section covers how to add a license to the Cisco ASA FirePOWER module after you receive the activation key provided by Cisco when you purchase the license. The following are the steps to add a license:

  • Step 1. Navigate to System > Licenses in the Cisco Firepower Management Center, as shown in Figure 2-12.

    Figure 2-12

    Figure 2-12 Adding a New License in the FMC

  • Step 2. Click Add New License on the Licenses page.

  • Step 3. Copy and paste the license into the License field and click Submit License. If you do not have the license, follow the instructions onscreen to obtain your license.

If you are configuring the Cisco ASA FirePOWER module using ASDM, you can manage and install FirePOWER licenses by navigating to Configuration > ASA FirePOWER Configuration > Licenses, as shown in Figure 2-13.

Figure 2-13

Figure 2-13 Adding a New License in ASDM

6. Cisco ASA FirePOWER Compatibility with Other Cisco ASA Features | Next Section Previous Section

Cisco Press Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from Cisco Press and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about Cisco Press products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information

To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.


Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites; develop new products and services; conduct educational research; and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.


If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email information@ciscopress.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information

Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by Cisco Press. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.ciscopress.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information

Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents

California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure

Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact

Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice

We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020