Security Management, Managed Security Services

Embracing Automation: The Key to Proactive Security 

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Security or operations leaders in managed service providers are used to juggling priorities. Keeping devices and data safe for customers is paramount, but trade-offs are common.

You want access to the best tools for the job, but having a broad set of suppliers increases risk and adds complexity to hiring and training staff. Trusting a single platform provider carries risk as well. You may have to accept reduced capabilities in some areas to gain increased component integration.

A recent study by industry analysts Omdia reveals techniques organizations use to adopt a proactive approach to cybersecurity. MSPs should take heed of these trends and embrace them to improve their service delivery. 

The Power of Proactivity 

Gone are the days of reactive security measures. The time to act is before a threat emerges, not after. This  report explores the transformative impact of automation on security strategies, offering a roadmap to reduce risk and stay ahead of potential incidents. Service providers have come under increasing threat from a surprising vector over the last two years. Security, operations, and access applications designed to keep service providers secure have proven to be a liability, with high-profile attacks on SaaS management vendors like SolarWinds, Kaseya, and Okta. Such attacks are inevitable. Time invested in breaching a single software supplier can compromise many businesses, even more when those customers include managed service providers.  

Despite fewer successful attacks arising from social engineering in supply chain partners, 2023 was a bumper year for Zero-day vulnerabilities. Threat actors can use generative AI to identify vulnerabilities faster. And this is a growing trend. Zero-day vulnerabilities are inevitable for high-profile vendors like Microsoft, Google, and Apple; their pace of development and breadth of products mean perfection is impossible. Furthermore, the number of vendors affected by zero-day vulnerabilities has grown significantly; 31 organization had zero-day exploited vulnerabilities in 2023.

In 2024, we have seen more vulnerabilities likely to impact service providers, including Ivanti, Palo Alto, and Progress Software. It is no longer enough to be able to see where vulnerabilities are. Proactive detection and remediation of these vulnerabilities is essential, and this requires automation.  

In 2023, for the second time in three years, more mass compromise events arose from zero-day vulnerabilities than from n-day vulnerabilities. 53% of new widespread threat vulnerabilities through the beginning of 2024 were exploited before software producers could implement fixes... a return to 2021 levels of widespread zero-day exploitation (52%) after a slight respite (43% in 2022). Source: rapid7_2024_attack_intelligence_report.pdf 

Automation as a Catalyst Unlike AI, automation is more than a buzzword; it’s proven essential to building a profitable service provider business. By integrating automation, service providers can improve their ability to detect and respond to threats faster. Crucially, automation offers the possibility of preventing security incidents in the first place. If your team can automatically detect devices impacted by a software vulnerability or misconfiguration, and remediate it, they can avoid time-consuming, repetitive activities.

Automation can empower your team to improve services and address priority issues requiring their expertise. The key is to look for solutions that offer intelligent automation. Low-code and no-code orchestration should be a goal for service providers looking to automate their tech stacks. Adaptable workflows help security and operations teams to collaborate and create remediations for new threats faster.  

A Guide for the Future This comprehensive report is more than just an analysis; it’s a guide for action. It provides practical steps and strategies to elevate your security posture and protect your most valuable assets. 

We invite you to explore the full report and discover how automation can revolutionize your approach to security. “Automation: A Critical Capability for a Proactive Security Strategy,” authored by Andrew Braunberg. 

Blog courtesy of Syxsense. Regularly contributed guest blogs are part of MSSP Alert’s sponsorship program. Read more Syxsense news and guest blogs here.