Why use Cisco ASA 5500 security appliance?

I am trying to understand why and what the advantage of deploying CISCO ASA 5500 if all my computers in the WLAN are windows XP based and windows XP supports IPSec as well as VPN.

xewooxAsked:
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Ken BooneConnect With a Mentor Network ConsultantCommented:
Security is something that needs to be handled in layers.  You want to have defense in depth.  Having a firewall like the ASA provides that layer.   From a VPN perspective it can ease the management.  It can provide appllication inspection which you are not going to get from your XP boxes.  Not sure about the vpn setup you need, but if you are talking to a server at another company via a vpn, you can set up a client vpn session on each one of your machines to connect to their network, but if you have an ASA you can set up an always on LAN to LAN vpn so you don't have to touch your workstations.
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MikeKaneConnect With a Mentor Commented:
Let me add that the ASA is also geared towards businesses incorporating into the network infrastructure providing one layer of security as ken mentioned, and adding functionality for large subnets (i.e. packet inspection, flexible policies, vpn endpoint for client and site 2 site, CSM add-in for security or ids).   It can handle up to many thousand of requests, has a failover option, flexible configuration as opposed to many consumer model firewalls....  

The ASA can be deployed as part of an overall lan solution.  Its just 1 available tool that can be incorporated into an overall network design.  


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