One of the big advantages the ISA firewall has over other firewalls is its ability to update itself without you having to manually perform any update tasks. By using Microsoft Update, you can configure the ISA firewall to automatically update it’s core Windows operating system and the ISA firewall software. Remember that you must first configure the ISA firewall device to use Microsoft Update, as Windows Update will not automatically update the ISA firewall software. By using MS Update, you avoid the pitfalls I’ve seen in many non-ISA firewall shops, where the firmware of the firewalls and other network security devices haven’t been updated in years.
If you haven’t configured your ISA firewalls to use Microsoft Update, do it now. Open the Windows Update page and you’ll see an option to use Microsoft Update. Click on that option to download the MS Update control. After doing that, the ISA firewall will use Microsoft Update instead of Windows Update to update itself.
Remember to configure the ISA firewall to not only download the updates, but install them automatically.
Just right click on the My Computer icon on the desktop and click Properties. Click on the Automatic Updates tab and select the Automatic (recommended) option. Set the check frequency and the time of day when you want the ISA firewall to download and install them. The default is 3AM local time. If the system needs to reboot, it will reboot itself, so make sure you set it for a time of day when you don’t have a lot of users connecting. While some users will need to reconnect after the ISA firewall comes back online, you have the confidence that your ISA firewall is more secure than “hardware” firewalls that haven’t been updated in years
Thomas W Shinder, M.D.
MVP — ISA Firewalls