To upgrade or not to upgrade?

April 2019 Integrated Solutions

I recently installed a new boiler at home. After an undisclosed number of hours well spent, I got it integrated nicely with my increasingly smarter home. Several automation routines could now tell the boiler what temperature to use (hello home automation communities!).

Sebastian Hultqvist.
Sebastian Hultqvist.

Over the next couple of weeks, all our guests had to listen to how marvellously this worked, and they only had to fake their interest a little. But then one morning the shower was freezing cold, and other family members’ appreciation for our smarter home dropped quite rapidly. Apparently, the boiler had performed a firmware upgrade during the night and broken my once-perfect integration.

This shines light on one of the major contradictions in the security industry today: whether firmware updates help or hinder the integrity of systems. Many abstain from firmware upgrades as, once they have purchased a system and it fulfils the purpose, they reason that there is no need to undertake a costly upgrade and risk system compatibility.

The reluctance to perform upgrades is understandable. New firmware might require an update of third-party software to maintain compatibility and – guess what – that new version requires a new operating system which is not supported by your current hardware. It is enough to have been down this road once to understand why the motivations for an upgrade will be scrutinised.

However, by not updating the system, over time businesses are exposing themselves to an increasing risk. If their system is not regularly maintained through an update, the firmware will become susceptible to security vulnerabilities which can cause serious financial damage or system downtime.

The last couple of years have shown an increasing number of security attacks. Unpatched systems are one of the first things targeted. It also causes businesses to miss out on the stability improvements, preventing them from reaping the benefits of their equipment. Damned if you do and damned if you don’t.

This results in a practical requirement for a solution that mitigates risks and vulnerabilities encountered from ignoring a system upgrade. Ideally, such a system should allow businesses to obtain regular maintenance for the system, without disrupting the existing system compatibility. It is not enough to have a long period of guaranteed software support, you also need to be confident that each upgrade will not create havoc with your system.

The IT industry has for long been exposed to this problem, and there the concept of long-term support (LTS) releases is known as a good remedy. Specific branches receive only security and stability improvements but no new features, keeping compatibility changes to a minimum. This allows quicker patching without the need to re-qualify the entire system. With the correct firmware track adopted, the fear of upgrading can be effectively addressed and in the long run regular firmware maintenance is a beneficial investment to make.

My hope is that eventually firmware upgrades in the security industry will be viewed with less drama. Adopting best-practices solutions like LTS, which resolves many of the concerns raised, makes the question in the title of this article redundant, and hopefully supplies warm water for everyone.

For more information contact Axis Communications, +27 11 548 6780, [email protected], www.axis.com



Credit(s)




Share this article:
Share via emailShare via LinkedInPrint this page



Further reading:

Cyber resilience is more than cybersecurity
Technews Publishing Cyber Security Integrated Solutions IT infrastructure
Hi-Tech Security Solutions held a round-table discussion focusing on cyber resilience and found that while the resilience discipline includes cybersecurity, it also goes much further.

Read more...
Compact, lightweight bullet cameras with support for analytics
Axis Communications SA Products CCTV, Surveillance & Remote Monitoring
Axis Communications announced two new outdoor-ready bullet-style cameras featuring deep-learning processing units for analytics based on deep learning on the edge.

Read more...
A key to urban transport challenges
Axis Communications SA Transport (Industry) CCTV, Surveillance & Remote Monitoring Integrated Solutions Logistics (Industry)
There are many enabling technologies that can impact transportation in South Africa, but a good place to start is by considering the applications for smart physical technology with the ability to collect and respond to data.

Read more...
Hikvision aims for solutions
Technews Publishing Hikvision South Africa Editor's Choice CCTV, Surveillance & Remote Monitoring News Integrated Solutions Conferences & Events
Hikvision recently held a roadshow titled Industry X, where the company highlighted its latest products and solutions, supported by partners and distributors.

Read more...
Technology and the future of security installation in South Africa
Editor's Choice Integrated Solutions Security Services & Risk Management
What are the technologies and trends shaping installation, service and maintenance teams globally, and how will they shape South African businesses today and in the future?

Read more...
Upgraded security and AI monitoring at upmarket estate
Watcher Surveillance Solutions Editor's Choice CCTV, Surveillance & Remote Monitoring Integrated Solutions Residential Estate (Industry)
Estate upgrades and enhances its security through a partnership between surveillance specialist Watcher and the incumbent guarding company.

Read more...
Streamlining processes, integrating operations
Security Services & Risk Management Integrated Solutions Transport (Industry) Logistics (Industry)
With Trackforce Valiant, Airbus now has one single platform that connects its security guards, supervisors and management across its organisation.

Read more...
Nomad launches early adopter programme
Editor's Choice News Integrated Solutions Smart Home Automation
Participants in Nomad’s Early Adopter Programme will receive 10% of their volume order to facilitate testing before the commercial launch later this year.

Read more...
Privacy shield with optional face blur
Axis Communications SA Products CCTV, Surveillance & Remote Monitoring
Axis Live Privacy Shield compares a live camera view to a set background scene and applies dynamic masking to areas of change.

Read more...
Improve data connectivity in fleet management
Flickswitch Transport (Industry) Integrated Solutions Products
While the market is still dominated by tracking systems, more advanced fleet management solutions are gaining traction on the market.

Read more...