August News:

On The CalendarAugust at The Fulcrum Group Our Fall Lunch & Learns Are Here! Register for our Fall 2019 Lunch & Learns here!     Tuesday, September 17th & Thursday, September 19th from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. You are invited to come join us in Fort Worth or Dallas, Ruth's Chris locations for a superb steak lunch and great information you can implement right now in your organization - this fall's topic: Cybersecurity & Risk - Not Just A Board Game. These events are for civic leaders, practice managers, owners, CEOs/CFOs, and security/privacy officers.  Together, we'll discover the science behind cybersecurity!  Details and registration on our Events page. We would like to introduce Platform Services Engineer, Jessica Chindemi.  Interestingly, Jessica learned how to fly before she learned how to drive, during her time with Civil Air Patrol. She achieved full ground team certification, held a radio operators license, and participated in numerous search and rescue missions as well as disaster relief operations in the gulf coast region. This crisis management, rapid triaging, prioritization and coordination of multiple critical issues, plus teamwork skills developed during that time aid her today as she manages our platform services including backups, patching, monitoring, and anti-virus systems. Those of us relying on Jessica for oftentimes critical missions here at The Fulcrum Group - both onsite and offsite - sure do appreciate her calm and always-thoughtful approach! We notified you last month, don't forget end of support for some Microsoft products is coming up. Beyond Windows 7, here's a list of other affected Microsoft products. We'll let you know about any additional upcoming special events through our social media pages, which we'll update on our Events page as they occur. Quick links to our social media pages are accessible right from our website and in every monthly newsletter email you receive from us. If you're new to our newsletter and you'd like to subscribe, let us know.
Why Hardware Firmware Updates Are Important Why Hardware Firmware Updates Are Important A typical business has anywhere from 5 to 50 or more hardware devices that run firmware.  This is increasing at an exponential rate as Internet of Things (IoT) devices are added your networks.  These devices run firmware, which is software that's embedded in a piece of hardware. You can think of firmware simply as "software for hardware." However, firmware is not an interchangeable term for software. Firewalls, network switches, Wireless Access Points, and Server Remote Access Controllers are just a few of the devices on your network that run firmware and need to be updated regularly.  Below are the top 4 reasons to update firmware.
  • Address Security Vulnerabilities – This is the most important reason.  Major vulnerabilities are often discovered in firmware, and need to be addressed.
  • Performance Upgrade – Some firmware updates improve performance through efficiency.  Since firmware updates are generally free, this can result in performance upgrades for free!
  • Fix Bugs – If your devices display symptoms of firmware bugs (i.e. they don’t always function as intended), applying firmware updates that include bug fixes can often solve that problem.
  • New Features – Firmware updates are often released to provide new features.  Another example of getting something for free!
IT Managers should be including hardware devices in their patching/maintenance window to reduce security vulnerabilities, improve performance, and providing new features to their users.
Types of Devices with Firmware Devices with Firmware
  • Computer/Server BIOS
  • Firewalls
  • Network Switches
  • Wireless Access Points
  • Internet of Things (IoT) Devices – Security Cameras, Network-Connect manufacturing & medical equipment, etc.
  • Remote Access Controller such as Dell iDRAC
  • Server RAID Controllers such as Dell PERC
  • Network Management Appliances
  • NAS Storage Appliances
  • And many other devices
Feel free to reach out to your Fulcrum Group Account Manager if you have any questions about your firmware updates.

Click to read this month's Security Awareness Newsletter.

Cybersecurity SPOTlight: Data Classification, PII and Compliance Regulations It's August and we're talking about defending our data.  Classifying data is one way we keep data safe - by organizing data into distinct categories, we’re able to implement controls, safeguards, and policies that map out the data’s sensitivity and subsequent security requirements. We all have a role in keeping data within our organizations safe. This month, we discuss the importance of Personally Identifiable Information, on up to compliance regulations. For more great info on these cybersecurity topics, check out this month's Security Awareness Newsletter!            
Vistage Executive News - Avoiding "The Comfort Coma" Vistage Executive News As a business professional, there are actionable steps you can take to protect yourself and your employees from the pitfalls of a "comfort coma". To be a great leader, you can’t let your employees rest in a comfort coma. Here are some great tips to avoid "The Comfort Coma."
Fulcrum Group Did You KnowDid You Know...? Firmware Updates Did You Know...SPOT Managed IT Services includes regular firmware updates on all network-connected hardware devices? Reach out to your Fulcrum Group Account Manager for details!