Firewall patching (updating firmware) is one of the most prudent aspects of network security management that, if neglected, can have dire consequences for your company. Now more than ever, consistent firewall patching is a must have for every business, big or small. With the rapid rise in ransomware attacks, many companies are in danger of being compromised due to a lack of up-to-date patch installations.
Maintaining up to date firewall patching is critical, as the firewall is the first and last border separating your private local network from the rest of the world. People across the globe are scanning the internet’s IP addresses 24/7, trying to identify what IPs belong to which companies, and what security measures they have in place. These same individuals look to identify which firewall models companies have and search for ways to gain access past them.
What Is Patching?
Patches are meant to repair flaws and vulnerabilities within a system’s software. In the case of firewalls, these flaws can be as small as user interface bugs, or critical vulnerabilities that people outside of your organization can exploit in order to gain full access to your network. Patching is a way firewall companies address each of these flaws as they are discovered.
Reasons Firewall Patching is Critical for Your Business
- Firewall patching protects your company from the most recently discovered exploits. Threat actors around the globe are searching for ways to bypass firewalls of every make and model with the hopes of gaining access to your company’s private data. Once these “holes” are discovered, threat actors look for companies that haven’t “patched” these holes, so they can break into their networks and encrypt their data with the goal of holding the data ransomed for profit.
- Security regulators demand up-to-date patching in order to maintain compliancy. By not staying on top of firewall patching, your organization could face financial penalties from security regulators. Many cyber insurance providers require companies to have the latest software updates installed on their systems. Keeping up to date on firewall patching ensures that your company is in compliance with regulators.
- You’ll have access to new features and improved software performance. Firewall updates contain a lieu of software bug and performance fixes. By maintaining the latest firewall software, your firewall will always have the latest and greatest tools for security and management.
Other Important Factors Associated with Firewall Management
- Maintaining backups of firewall configurations in case of hardware or software failure. Even without the threat of attackers online, hardware can still fail. Most firewalls have the ability to have their rules and configurations saved as a backup that can be restored to a new firewall in case of failure.
- Patching often requires firewalls to shut down to apply the updates, which creates network downtime. Since firewalls act as the bridge between a company’s network and the internet, when patching the firewall, users may not be able to access the internet. Large companies get around this issue with multiple firewalls to provide high availability. But for most small to mid-size companies, firewalls must be patched outside of business hours.
Patching, while vital to network security, can be a time consuming practice. It’s not always prudent to update your firewall when the latest security patch is released. Some updates that are released can create new unforeseen security vulnerabilities or damage firewall configurations within an organization. Most companies now test firewall patches in a lab environment to ensure patches work as intended within the company’s network.
If your company needs assistance with firewall patch management, Alvaka Networks can help. We leverage years of experience and understanding to provide highly effective patch management as a service, helping to ensure your systems, databases, and applications are up to date with the latest features, functionality, and security.