What Is MSP Security Automation Process?

Systems and processes today are so complex and convoluted. No one knows that better than managed service providers (MSPs).

To successfully navigate this challenging landscape, MSPs need a set of procedures to help them identify vulnerabilities, assess risks and monitor changes. But these systems are simply too large to accomplish this manually.

Implementing automation tools helps MSP teams increase their productivity 10-fold. It also adds resilience to the changing tech stack.

By employing automation, MSPs can gain a competitive edge, reduce the risks of human error and expand their capacity to respond to incoming threats without downtime. Most importantly, automated cybersecurity systems allow for continuous integration, delivery and deployment without the need for active intervention by IT staff members.

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Why CIS Matters to managed service providers

Unfortunately, the wide range of services MSPs offer their customers attract cyber threats, and threat intelligence shows increased cyber threat actors targeting MSPs.

Given the reams of data they control, MSPs are high-value targets as they often have extensive access to multiple customers’ networks and systems.

There is a ton to keep track of, and in recent years, the cybersecurity community has published various security frameworks. Frameworks give organizations peace of mind that they’ve got their bases covered. Without a framework, it is difficult, if not impossible, to be certain they are keeping track of all the right metrics for the needed outcomes.

These frameworks offer a roadmap of practical and proven processes that can help MSPs navigate the increasingly dangerous world.

The non-profit Center for Internet Security (CIS) has developed configuration policy benchmarks that organizations of all sizes should follow to protect themselves and mitigate risks. But these business processes will only work as designed if companies view these standards as guidelines and not strict compliance requirements.

The Challenge of Finding New Talent vs. Adopting New Tools

MSPs’ challenge is balancing the need to find new talent against adopting new tools. The reality is good techs are hard to find, and organizations don’t want to burn out the ones they have.

Companies continue to face concerns about the economy and difficulty hiring talent — let alone the right talent. The business landscape is fraught with challenges, and, unfortunately, today’s business problems often compound one another.

Investing in MSP automation tools is the best and only path forward.

For a company to grow, they need the right talent. But one of the most significant issues facing companies in nearly every industry is a lack of skilled talent.

Today’s systems require more than warm bodies to perform tasks. The situation requires MSPs to consider new ways to approach the tech stack and overcome the prevailing headwinds: leveraging automation to help with repetitive tasks instead of relying on manual management.

Intelligent technologies and robotic process automation can help companies avoid the need to hire additional team members while increasing operational efficiency. Rather than worry about assembling the right team, businesses — and MSPs — should ensure their teams have the right automation tools to maximize their efforts.

MSPs can boost their profitability by either increasing sales or finding ways to enhance the productivity of their workers. It can also give them a competitive advantage that will help them not only meet customer expectations but exceed them.

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Designing a Scalable Security Automation Process

While automation is becoming a bit of a buzzword today, it holds endless power for providers of managed services.

Organizations can use the vast amount of data at their disposal to work for them and improve their operations.

Consider exploring data like hitting the open road. Driving requires direction; otherwise, you risk heading down the road path and veering off course. Advanced automation technology allows us to delve deeper, gather more information, and wisely allocate resources to achieve optimal results.

Ensuring a business stays safe starts with building a good defense. That requires a renewed focus on the basics — and concept automation can help address:

Security assessments

Security assessments

Vulnerabilities exist in every system, and the only way to mitigate them is by regularly assessing security. The goal is to identify and address potential vulnerabilities before they pose a problem.

Strong passwords

Strong passwords

Security breaches are often caused by weak passwords. Strong, unique passwords and two-factor authentication are effective ways to make it harder for threat actors to hack passwords.

Employee training

Employee training

To prevent potential threats, educating employees on security best practices and recognizing and reporting suspicious activity — such as phishing and spear-phishing — is essential.

Make updates

Make updates

Outdated software can leave businesses vulnerable to threat actors. Organizations must regularly update all software with the latest security patches to ensure maximum protection. Failure could result in significant security breaches and damage to the business.

Backup data

Backup data

Regularly backing up data can help prevent data loss in a security breach or other disaster.

As they embark on this journey, the incumbency is to design security process automation — tools and processes that help identify potential issues before they grow into major problems — that scale.

Automated processes are no longer optional; it’s table stakes for MSPs. Ransomware attacks pose a serious threat to any business, regardless of the extent of the damage caused. They can disrupt services or result in substantial financial loss due to recovering sensitive data. This can ultimately affect operations and affect customer expectations.

Unifying Visibility into Your Different Tools

Every customer’s business has unique requirements, creating wide variations in the tech stack. MSPs need unified visibility into these different tools to engender business success.

Liongard’s Deep Data Platform contains a living system of record, giving MSPs unified visibility across the stack. Unified Visibility provides coverage and context across the IT stack, rich system configuration details that subject matter experts (Level 3 Engineers) seek and an irrefutable timeline that represents a system of record for IT.

Adopting new tools is challenging, especially considering they don’t integrate well with other platforms and solutions. Information from different tools comes in different formats and makes life harder.

Additionally, users must manage multiple logins, so they may waste time looking for information. Once they log in, they must go separately into multiple — potentially dozens — systems to review changes and hunt for data. Remote management and remote monitoring can help, but that’s just the start.

MSP automation can help simplify the process, reducing the number of repeatable tasks team members must perform while also reducing the likelihood of human error.

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Resilience to Changing Tech Stack

Tech stacks come and go, which is why MSPs need a living system of record across their stacks.

Adding new tools is tough because there’s a trade-off. They don’t always integrate well. When a change happens or breaks, the MSP must invest resources to make the fix.

Technology constantly evolves, and new tools and languages are constantly introduced. Keeping up with all the changes can be daunting, but remaining adaptable and receptive to learning is crucial.

One way to increase resilience is to focus on the core concepts areas across the various tech stacks, but even that provides no guarantee that something won’t be missed. The best approach is to deploy automation.

Ultimately, resilience to changing tech stacks is about having a growth mindset and being willing to learn and adapt continuously, and it’s about having an automation solution that can scale as a business grows. It’s not always easy, but we can thrive in a constantly evolving industry by embracing change and staying flexible.

Utilizing Security Frameworks

The first step to securing data and systems is to employ a security framework that provides guidelines and best practices for implementing automation and security measures that can help mitigate risks and — ideally — prevent cyber-attacks.

These frameworks — Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC), National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), Essential Eight and CIS — each have a unique approach to security. But they all aim to provide a comprehensive and effective security strategy.

To minimize the negative impact on the end user and reduce unnecessary interactions while maximizing the protection level possible, companies must find a happy medium with good security tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs).

Governance, the process of validating that teams are using tools correctly and adhering to procedures, plays a crucial role in keeping the approach to mitigating cybersecurity risks intact. Complying with policies is crucial for a company to maintain a strong security stance.

Unfortunately, governance is frequently disregarded, and adherence is not accomplished as often as it should be. If a company fails to monitor adoption, they are risking its security defenses even with the best tools in the world.

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Learn More with Liongard

Liongard’s Deep Data Platform™ unlocks the intelligence hidden deep within IT systems to give MSPs an operational advantage. Liongard’s automation tools, documentation, customized alerts and audit reporting gives MSPs unified and unparalleled visibility across the systems they manage, allowing MSPs to implement strong and effective automation solutions to protect themselves — and their customers — from ransomware and other cybersecurity threats that may threaten the health and integrity of their business.

Are you positioned to tackle today’s challenges? We thrive on empowering service providers to deploy automation to maximize their potential, keep companies safe, improve business performance and partner with more customers.

Check out our content hub to see how Liongard helps with automation to augment your security efforts. Drop us a line to connect and schedule a time for a demo of how Liongard can help your business harness the power of automation.

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