MFD (Copier) Firmware – Who updates it & how?February 24, 2009
I have recently met with a number of security people and this question has come up a few times, so I thought that it was worth the time to address it here.
Who updates the firmware on my copier MFD? How can I be assured that it’s getting done?
Here is how we do it at my company. This may give you a starting point for a similar discussion for you to have with your servicing dealer.
“Copier” MFD – Firmware updates
NECS, Canon, and Konica Minolta have a number of policies and procedures in place to ensure that there is current firmware installed on the machines in the field (MIF).
1. NECS Technician all carry laptops not just because it makes it easier to have all of their Tech Manuals in a searchable PDF format BUT also so they will always have the current firmware for the MFDs that they service. The way NECS accomplishes this is by requiring the Technicians (when they come into any of our offices) to logon to the company network with their laptop. When they do this a script runs that downloads any new firmware of technical bulletins that are available. This automates the process of making sure that the NECS technicians always have the current firmware and all current technical bulletins when they need it.
2. Canon & Konica Minolta Tech support also has a policy and procedure in place to make sure that the firmware is kept current. When an Authorized Technician calls the Canon or Konica MinoltaTech Support Help line one of the first questions that the Help Desk asks is what is the current level of firmware on this MFD? If it is not up to date, they require the technician to first update the firmware (which in many cases that alone can fix a problem) before they proceed with the help desk support.
3. It also seems like the Manufacturers are becoming more aware of the customer sensitivity to this issue and we are hearing that they are moving towards giving the Dealers and/or the customers easier ways to check and or update the firmware. While I have not seen this released yet, we have heard talk that it is coming. Stay tuned for more info
NOTE: It is important for us to compare and contrast MFD firmware updates from a PC or MACs OS Service Pack or Patch. Not all firmware is designed to work on all configurations of an MFD. It is true that there are certain versions made for the general MFD. But we have seen, and do see specific levels of firmware design for an MFD that has a certain option (like a Booklet Maker Finisher) or a specific Print Engine (like a MicroPress RIP). In some cases loading the latest & greatest firmware that is available for a particular MFD will actually cause a problem (I have seen it happen).
So how do you know that youhave the correct level of firmware for your MFD. The factory trained and authorized technician has access to this information via the manufacturer’s support web site. It is one of the reasons that you REALLY need to have an Authorized Dealer servicing your equipment.
That’s my $0.02
PS: The Canon Ikon letter stated that Ikon would recieve “certain technical support” from Canon for one year. The way I read that is after one year they will recieve no technical support from Canon (Isn’t that what it implies?). If that is the case then the Canon MFDs that Ikon continues to service would NOT be able to get a firmware update, at least not form an Ikon tech. What are the security ramifications of that? If you fall into this category you may may want to talk to Ikon about this serious problem, or better yet speak to you local Authorized Canon Dealer. They definitely will be able to update your firmware!