Volume IV, Issue 1 (January, 2018)
Best Practices Corner
Quarterly firmware review – to update or not to update?
While software updates and hardware replacement are commonly known ways to keep your IT infrastructure safe, secure, and performing correctly, an often overlooked area of concern is how up-to-date your firmware is.
There are three primary reasons to consider a regular review of the firmware on your network devices and infrastructure:
- Updates addressing security threats and holes.
- Updates providing new features.
- Updates fixing known bugs, from those that aren’t noticeable to ones of upmost importance.
So what devices would be included in the list of those needing a periodic, most likely quarterly, review of the firmware? The most common pieces of hardware to look at include routers, switches, firewalls, wireless access points, wireless controllers, as well as storage SAN and NAS devices. In general, if you purchased the device from Verus, it is one that we can help you determine a schedule for and plan for firmware updates.
While there isn’t a hard and fast timetable for doing firmware updates, Verus can help you determine the best schedule and plan based upon your specific business needs. For instance, a company that runs on a 24/7/365 production schedule, being down for several hours for firmware updates can be quite costly. For other organizations, security takes precedence over all other issues.
Verus believes that the best practice in regards to firmware updates is to do an evaluation every quarter to determine which updates are necessary and which ones can be skipped or delayed. This doesn’t mean that we recommend performing all of the updates each quarter. Verus may also recommend waiting on some updates to avoid any unknown bugs/issues with it. For example, we might suggest an update to the second or third most recent update available.
Other times, like in the case of a major bug or security issue, Verus would suggest updating the firmware as soon as possible. It comes down to a case-by-case basis, but should be reviewed every three months.
Some other factors contributing to the decision to upgrade to the most recent firmware include labor costs, downtime, and the success of the new update vs. a rare, but possible, failure. Another factor would be whether any added features or benefits are worth the update.
The device itself can be a detail to determine a firmware update schedule as well. For example, updating firewall firmware on a regular basis is much more important from a security standpoint than an update to switch firmware.
If you would like assistance from Verus in setting up a firmware update review and implementation plan, please contact your sales representative today, or email email@example.com, or call 763.354.2200.
News & Notes
JOIN VERUS FOR A GREAT CAUSE – FEED MY STARVING CHILDREN
ON THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 8, IN COON RAPIDS
Back in November, Verus employees, family members, friends and customers gathered to pack 43 boxes of food, with 9,288 meals, enough to feed 27 kids for one full year. Verus also donated the cost of the meals, $2,043.36, to Feed My Starving Children.
Verus is excited to hold another event on Thursday, February 8, 2018, from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., at the Coon Rapids location. This event is open to our customers and their family members to join us in packing meals for Feed My Starving Children.
Verus will match the costs of how ever many meals are packed by our group for this event. A reception with food and drinks will be held afterward for all those who participate at The Muddy Cow in Coon Rapids.
To register to participate, please email firstname.lastname@example.org, with the subject line FMSC, and indicate the names and ages of people who will be joining us for this great cause.
DECEMBER CUSTOMER SURVEY DRAWING WINNER ANNOUNCED –
DON’T MISS OUT ON YOUR CHANCE TO WIN!
In a continued effort to improve our customer service and technical skills at Verus, we are pleased to announce the winner of the December monthly customer service survey drawing. Congratulations to Margarita Carmona of Metro Urology!
Each month, Verus does a random drawing of all customers who filled out the customer satisfaction survey in that month, and the winner receives a prize worth $50 – whether that’s a drone, a personal firewall, a gift card to a local business – the prizes will change each month to keep people interested.
Market Research Report: Flash Based Array Market
will exceed $17.8 billion by 2024
Tegile’s future is looking bright if a recent year-end report by The Persistence Market Research (PMR) is any indication. PMR’s outlook on “Flash-based Array Market: Global Industry Analysis and Forecast, 2016–2024” indicates that the global market for flash-based arrays is set to ride on a robust CAGR of 18% between 2016 and 2024 to reach US$ 62,840.2 Million by 2024-end. According to the report, some key drivers into this prediction include shrinking cost and impressive performance capabilities of flash arrays, and widespread use of flash-based arrays for high-intensity transactional workloads and development of virtual storage infrastructure. Robust adoption of mobile devices, cognitive systems, machine learning, cloud computing, Internet of Things (IoT), and artificial intelligence is necessitating real-time data processing to enable resourceful service delivery along with the flexibility of time. Another significant trend identified was that start-ups hold an important position in the market as these enterprises provide cutting edge storage solutions through flash-based SSD capable of storing data on a solid-state flash memory. This bodes well for Tegile, coming off their 2017 purchase by Western Digital.
Cisco to release patches for Meltdown,
Spectre CPU vulnerabilities, just in case
Cisco is the latest company to prepare patches to tackle the serious security vulnerabilities affecting the majority of CPUs, Meltdown and Spectre. Cybersecurity group CERT has warned companies that the only way to protect themselves from the flaw was to rip out and replace their processors. It has since backtracked on that advice, saying patches or repairs should do the job instead. Outfits to have released patches so far include Amazon, Microsoft, Linux and Apple. In a statement, Cisco noted that in order to exploit any of these vulnerabilities, an attacker must be able to run crafted code on an affected device. “The majority of Cisco products are closed systems, which do not allow customers to run custom code on the device,” it said. However, it added that the underlying CPU and OS combination in some products could leave them vulnerable. “Only Cisco devices that are found to allow the customer to execute their customized code side-by-side with the Cisco code on the same microprocessor are considered vulnerable. “A Cisco product that may be deployed as a virtual machine or a container, even while not being directly affected by any of these vulnerabilities, could be targeted by such attacks if the hosting environment is vulnerable. “Cisco recommends customers harden their virtual environment and to ensure that all security updates are installed.” As such, Switchzilla said it will release software updates that address this vulnerability.
Food For Thought
An old favorite with a twist: Creamy Tomato Soup and Cheese Toasties
- 6 garlic cloves
- 2 large onions
- 2 medium carrots
- 1 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes
- Cut 1 garlic clove in half and set aside. Smash remaining 5 garlic cloves and peel. Peel 2 onions and coarsely chop. Peel 2 carrots and coarsely chop. Open and drain 28-oz. can tomatoes into a colander set over a large bowl to catch juices.
- Heat 3 Tbsp. oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium. Add garlic, onion, and carrots; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until onion is translucent and just starting to brown around the edges, 8–10 minutes.
- Add 1 tsp. paprika and stir to coat vegetables. Cook, stirring, until fragrant. Add whole tomatoes and cook, stirring often, until tomatoes start to burst and break down, 10–15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, grate 4 oz. cheddar cheese on the large holes of a box grater.
- Add 15-oz. can crushed tomatoes, reserved tomato juices, 2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce, and 1 cup water to pot and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat to low, and cook 8–10 minutes, just to help flavors meld.
- Remove from heat and purée soup with an immersion blender until smooth.
- Stir about ¼ cup hot soup into ¼ cup sour cream in a small bowl, then stir back into soup (for a creamier soup, feel free to add more). Taste and season with more salt and pepper, if needed. Don’t let soup come back to a boil at this point or sour cream may split.
- Place a rack in top position of oven; heat broiler. Place 4 slices bread on foil-lined rimmed baking sheet and drizzle both sides with remaining 2 Tbsp. oil.
- Broil bread until one side is golden and toasted, then remove from oven and turn slices. Broil until second side is golden.
- Remove from oven and rub cut sides of remaining garlic cloves over top of toasted bread.
- Arrange grated cheese over bread, dividing evenly. Broil until cheese is melted and bubbling.
- Ladle soup into bowl and top with a dollop of sour cream.
- Cut bread into soldiers and serve with soup.