IT and Business Insights for SMB Solution Providers

Why Automation Is the Key to MSSP Growth and Profitability

Automation helps you keep up with increasingly sophisticated threats, making your security practice more efficient while improving customers’ security posture. By Stephen Helm

With cyberattacks on the rise, suffering a breach can feel a bit like a rite of passage for many midsize businesses. In fact, according to Verizon, nearly a third (28%) of breaches in 2020 involved a small to midsize business. Long gone are the days when midsize businesses could reasonably expect to be out of the crosshairs of cybercriminals. Ransomware, phishing, and advanced malware are impacting businesses of all sizes—at a time when resources are already stretched too thin.

As midsize businesses continue to manage more data and applications than ever, they’re also dealing with rampant “shadow IT” and an increased remote work force that’s degrading traditional security controls. Before the pandemic, it took an average of 800 days for a midsize business to detect a breach, nearly four times that of enterprise counterparts. With attacks continuing to grow, increased challenges are sure to follow suit.

Many midsize IT teams simply don’t have the head count to properly manage and navigate the current cybersecurity landscape. As a result, it should be no surprise that organizations are turning to the expertise of managed security service providers (MSSPs) to lighten and offset the complexity of their environments. The need for MSSPs to help businesses stay safe and meet their digital transformation goals has never been greater. According to a survey by IDG, 99% of businesses recognize that they will require managed cybersecurity services to meet remote work needs in the near term.

While the opportunity is great if you’re an MSSP, the challenge is daunting. In today’s aggressive threat landscape, a single infected endpoint or stolen password can open the floodgates for an attacker. Securing customers today requires more than a locked door; it necessitates careful consideration of their points of vulnerability, and the ability to address them quickly, proactively, and effectively. More than ever, you need a high degree of automation built into your security offerings to keep pace with the increasing sophistication and volume of threats (and scale to meet rapidly changing customer needs).

To help understand and address those challenges, here are five ways you can use automation to improve the security posture of your customers, while also making your security practice more efficient and profitable:

1. Block more threats at the gateway with artificial intelligence.

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 cyberthreats makes manually tracking and blocking security attacks nearly impossible. With defensive solutions that leverage artificial intelligence (AI) and automation, you can block cyberattacks with greater efficiency, and even predict and prevent unknown threats without manual intervention.

2. Automate telemetry correlation and scoring.

Sophisticated malware is no longer rare, it’s widely available on the dark web. Evasion techniques are now common. Staying on top of threats requires persistent, advanced security that goes beyond endpoint anti-virus. Correlating telemetry across users, hosts, networks, and applications exposes stealthy threats and eliminates alert confusion. And, with correlated threat scoring, you can take the guesswork out of the process.

3. Use artificial intelligence in threat triage.

Even with the guidance a threat score provides, you can be left dealing with a host of threats labeled as suspicious. The process of investigating each can claim a disproportionate amount of your team’s time, with the average business spending over 286 hours a week on indicators that turn out to be false positives, according to research from the Ponemon Institute. AI trained to identify patterns humans may miss can provide tremendous value and allow you to automate the process of triaging suspicious threats.

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