It is commonly understood that computer systems need to be kept up to date in order to keep them secure, and to fix bugs. End-user computers have updates that either automatically happen, or at least notify the user when they are ready to be installed. For servers, it is typical to have scheduled maintenance to install updates and reboot.
Unfortunately, network routers, firewalls, and switches are often not given the same care. There are several reasons that this may happen:
- The appropriate decision maker is not aware of the need
- There is a desire to not modify network devices that are deemed “working”
- There is a desire to not have any outages of network devices
- A support contract is often required to get the latest software.
For #1, it is simply a matter of education, which we hope this article serves to help.
For #2, it needs to be understood that by not keeping network systems up-to-date, you are potentially exposing your network to security issues, and denial-of-service attacks.
For #3, there are a variety of techniques to make your network redundant, so that outages caused by updates are minimal. These features also make your network more robust in general, protecting against device failure. First Network Group can help to design and deploy a network architecture that is less vulnerable to outages.
#4 should be considered as a required cost of doing business. Depending on the hardware vendor, the costs will vary. There are some vendors whose support contracts are significantly less costly than others. It is important to factor in the ongoing operational costs when deciding on the particular brand and model of gear for your needs.
The bottom line is that updates to all server, storage, and network devices are critical to keeping your network secure and available to serve your customers.
To discuss your options, contact Randy Carpenter, Vice President of IT Services: firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-800-578-6381, option 2