The extra work required, on the backbone of a small business network, just to keep the equipment itself updated and secure. What I speak of is called Firmware. Wikipedia describes Firmware as a type of software that provides control, monitoring and data manipulation of engineered products and systems. It’s basically a language update for things like firewalls, printers, switches, computers and servers. Every device that is on the network requires these updates so that the hardware components themselves stay secure in how they communicate with the operating system that is running on the hardware.

Generally, Firmware is highly neglected and therefore vulnerable, if it isn’t updated at least once a year. Not feeling like this is very important to you? Do you have a home internet router? Do you know if it’s a model that is susceptible to hacking? Look at this Bing search for this topic:

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Now if a HOME router is this big of a target, just think what your small business devices mean to a cybercriminal.  Pay dirt.

Firmware for network devices are not always easy to manage and can be laborious.  A lot of equipment requires onsite techs to initiate the Firmware update.  Most firewall vendors issue Firmware updates and then tell us “don’t install the most recent one yet; it’s problematic.”  Or they say “skip the version 8 update and do 7 and 9 instead.”  So, we have to call the
vendor, review the updates available for that specific device, download the updates, and deploy them. Then we cross our fingers that the device comes back online after the restart.  Here’s where the onsite tech comes into play – as a safety precaution, we would only perform some of these equipment Firmware updates with a tech onsite.

Does your IT company protect you with the necessary Firmware updates?  Ask them to show you the list of devices and updates they’ve done recently.

It’s necessary and it’s not pretty.  As we watch the rising tide of cyber security flaws and intrusions hit small businesses, this is one of the things we are rethinking – how do we provide COMPLETE device management for our clients, keeping them secure, at an affordable price?

Know that we’re ramping up to cover these small, ugly details at an affordable price. We know it’s not pretty or exciting.  But, it’s critical to keeping your network secure.