Do firewall appliances expire like a carton of milk?

Something that many people don’t know is that there are actually expiration dates on hardware and software.

Let’s say you buy a Cisco ASA 5505 security appliance (firewall) for your business, and you keep it up to date. When do you expect to replace it? Chances are, you feel that the firewall should be left in place until it dies of old age or fails due to some other event like a power surge or lightning strike, etc.

That is exactly what an attacker hopes for, that you will “set it and forget it”. See, each security product receives many updates over the course of its life. The manufacturer finds security holes and produces patches to those vulnerabilities that must be installed, just like on your Microsoft Windows or Apple Mac OS. If you do not apply those patches, you run the risk of a security breach due to an attacker exploiting a known “hole” in a device.

So back to this “expiration date”. Each product actually has an “end of life”, and that is the date that the manufacturer will no longer support it. That comes in many flavors. It may be an end of sales cycle, or a complete end of support. Products that reach the end of life and are no longer updated are the prime targets of attackers.

Manufacturers have to leave behind old hardware because of changes in the firmware technology which could require additional processor or RAM capabilities, far beyond what your 5 year old firewall may have.

If you have an older piece of hardware, you may want to see if it is at its end of life, and at the very least ensure that the latest patches / updates from the manufacturer are installed.

Should you require assistance with this in Greenville or Upstate SC, please call us! We support all common brands of security firewall appliances and we are partners and dealers for Cisco, WatchGuard, SonicWALL and more!

864.990.4748 or email

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *