Guest Column | May 25, 2020

4 Ways MSSPs Can Improve Their Security Offering Through Automation

By Stephen Helm, WatchGuard Technologies

security computer msp

As businesses of all sizes grapple with the voracity of today’s threat landscape, demand for cybersecurity protections has never been more urgent. Cybercriminals don’t discriminate when it comes to selecting their victims, and midmarket organizations without the same cybersecurity expertise and resources as their enterprise counterparts are often left without the defenses they need. At the same time, the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the decentralization of our global workforce, introducing new remote work security risks and other challenges to the cybersecurity paradigm, many of which the average business is ill-prepared to deal with.

As the perimeter becomes less tangible, businesses need to be able to extend the security capabilities of their network to users and devices, no matter where they are located. Employees, contractors, visitors, and their devices regularly enter and leave your customers’ networks as they perform on- and off-premises duties. Yet, in today’s aggressive threat landscape, a single infected endpoint or stolen password could open the floodgates for an attacker. Securing your customers in the 2020s requires more than a locked door; it requires careful consideration of your points of vulnerability, and the ability to quickly, proactively, and effectively address them. These are just a few reasons why organizations are increasingly looking to their trusted MSSP for security expertise and support.

So more than ever, service providers need a high degree automation built into their security offerings to keep pace with the increasingly sophistication and volume of threats, and scale to meet rapidly changing customer needs. Here are four ways automation can help you deliver better-managed security to your customers and grow your business:

  1. Fill The Skills Gap – All across the world, the security skills gap continues to widen. This places your business in competition with virtually every other employer to hire skilled security experts. The average MSSP spends hundreds of man-hours each week cleaning, fixing and/or patching networks, applications, and devices on behalf of customers. With the bulk of endpoint devices now operating off-site, properly responding to threats is a challenge – especially without the necessary security resources. Using automation to speed up threat detection, scoring, and remediation processes can help free up your team and ensure they’re devoting more of their attention to tasks that will help grow your business.
  2. Streamline Security Deployments – Even before the COVD-19 outbreak, deploying security appliances in remote locations was often a costly and resource-intensive challenge for many MSSPs. Now, with fewer people in offices and data centers, and significant restrictions on travel, requiring a member of your team to be physically present for deployment can be simply untenable. Cloud deployment using automation can eliminate much of the labor involved in setting up firewalls at customer sites, without ever having to leave your home or office. With the right solutions, security appliances can be pre-configured in the cloud and shipped to customers who simply need to power them on and ensure there’s an internet connection. From there, the automated configurations are accepted and you can manage security remotely from any location.
  3. Provide Complete Network Management – Beyond protection, your security solutions should also take advantage of the automated capabilities delivered by the other management tools in your arsenal. By integrating your security with the Professional Services Automation (PSA) and Remote Monitoring Management (RMM) platforms you are already using, you can better manage your customers’ networks without encumbering your team with additional management tools. Integrating your firewall offering, for example, can help streamline end-to-end service management, including ticketing, automated reporting, and auto-synchronization of device information.
  4. Block More Threats At The Gateway – Stopping an attack from entering your customer’s environment in the first place is the best way to keep them safe. However, the rapidly evolving nature of cyber threats means manually tracking and blocking every attack is a near impossibility. When armed with artificial intelligence (AI) and automation, you can block cyberattacks with greater efficiency, and even predict and prevent unknown threats without manual intervention. Instead of using signatures and known behaviors, AI- and automation-enabled approaches to security can anticipate the next evolution of a threat and develop protections against what’s likely to come. When properly implemented, AI and automation can act as a cyber sentry, working independently from your team to stop threats in their tracks without anyone lifting a finger.

Automation is an incredibly powerful technology that can help MSSPs gain a competitive edge by speeding up processes, proactively killing security threats, and boosting productivity by empowering teams to do more with less. It also can help to extend protection to any computing environment in which your customers operate, from the LAN to the cloud, all the way to individual endpoints. If you’re looking for ways to simplify and strengthen your managed security offerings and upgrade your productivity and profitability, it’s time to take a closer look at the role automation plays in your business.

About The Author

Stephen Helm is Product Manager at WatchGuard Technologies.