As a consumer of technology and adopter of video security systems for your bank, you've probably heard of firmware. But you may not fully appreciate what it is, nor how uniquely important it is to your video security system. Firmware ensures that all components can communicate with one another. Without it, your video security system simply wouldn't function and without regular updates, you open your FI up to security vulnerabilities.
Here, we'll elaborate on what firmware is all about, the role updates play in security and why partnering with an electronic security managed services provider can boost your bank's security and performance.
What is firmware?
Firmware is a type of permanent software that comes preloaded onto a wide variety of hardware, from washing machines to televisions to IP cameras and more. At its core, firmware serves as a communication mechanism and is what allows hardware to perform and function as the manufacturer intended. You can think of firmware as an instruction manual. It provides the directions or script that hardware "reads from" so that it can act or behave in a prescribed manner. From smartphones to DVRs to refrigerators and even traffic lights, all of these hardware systems have some kind of firmware built within them, typically by the manufacturer.
"Firmware also serves as a way for technologies to communicate with one another."
As noted, firmware also serves as a way for technologies to communicate with one another. In the context of video security, firmware works hand in hand with the software that is on the DVRs as well as the software that is on the cameras. All respective firmware operates independently, but also creates a path for collaborative activity to take place, such as viewing what's captured by a camera and recorded onto a DVR.
Firmware makes all of these sophisticated actions possible and works as a middleman in group technologies like video security surveillance.
In what way has firmware changed?
In short: Every way. Just as technology is in a constant state of advancement, firmware continues to develop significantly, enabling hardware to perform better and to adapt over time. This is facilitated by updates and downloads released by manufacturers. Decades ago, when there were only analog cameras, there was no means by which firmware could be updated. You simply could not improve functionality aside from buying another system. Times have changed.
Today, IP cameras have an IP or Mac address and can therefore be upgraded to the required firmware levels for optimal equipment performance.
Indeed, many top-of-the-line IP cameras now have onboard analytics which is basically AI. This allows you to set up a motion area, supporting forensic analysis. This makes it easier and more convenient to review what's recorded in real time but also assists with investigations.
But the only way you can maximize capabilities is if you have the DVR firmware that is compatible with the firmware on the cameras; all updated to the latest versions. Thanks to smart technology and IP addresses, the firmware found in the hardware of today makes these enhanced capabilities possible.
Why you need managed services
At this point, you may be wondering, "So what? How does a video firmware update affect my FI's security posture?" Much like your smartphone, new firmware versions are coming out all the time, largely in response to new security threats or detected vulnerabilities. The updates adjust to these risks so your network isn't hacked, and most of them are available for free.
"You're always in good hands because you never have to worry about the latest security threats."
But think about it: When was the last time you updated your firmware? What's more, do you even know how to do so? Unless you're an electronics or IT security expert, the answer may be a hard "no" to both.
That's where a managed services provider comes in. With a partner that specializes in these concerns, you're always in good hands because you never have to worry about the latest security threats. Firmware may be the mechanism by which hardware works, but when it's not updated regularly, it can serve as an open door for those looking to exploit your network and potentially compromise your bank's security.
BranchServ is an electronic security managed services provider that can help your financial institution reduce its firmware risk. For more information on our behind-the-scenes security capabilities and how we can better protect your facilities, please contact us today.