The Beauty of Managed, Automated Security for IT

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Security has gotten too complex for an SMB IT staff to fully manage without help. The threats posed by cybercriminals are worse than ever, and the damage that they do is unparalleled. Keeping up is tough enough. Staying ahead seems near impossible.

Security is Job One

As a member of the IT department, your most important function is to protect the network and safeguard your organization’s critical data. While down servers and unstable applications can make your department look bad, the most visible failure is a security breach. That’s ‘heads rolling’ territory.

Security is also a visibility issue for companies who see their reputation and business possibly ruined due to breach publicity.

These fears are what makes security the number one priority for business leaders and the top way they judge IT.

Meanwhile most SMB IT staffs don’t have the time, budget, manpower or the tools to handle security in an optimum way.

So what’s a responsible IT department to do? Stiffen up your defenses. Make sure you have layered or defense-in-depth security; that all the tools you use are up to snuff; and find a way all of this can be easily managed by your existing IT staff. Even better would be to actually decrease the time it takes to manage security – and improve your security posture dramatically at the same time.

Learn from the Big Boys

Most large enterprises and all those on the upper scale of IT maturity automate their IT security. That means the systems automatically discover all the devices that need protecting, and continually updates that list. Based on the audit, key security tools are applied to end points automatically. At the core of this is antivirus/anti-malware. Here not only is the software pushed out based on IT–defined policies, but new definitions and other security data is constantly updated and applied.

At this level of maturity, patches and updates aren’t parceled out on a piece meal basis and anti-malware isn’t applied or updated when there is an “oops.” All this is handled continuously without bogging down the IT admin staff.

Again an audit shows your devices and in this case the OS and update status. After that patches are sent out when they need to be — and installed. When there is a problem with a patch, it can be uninstalled, tested, and reapplied when the issues are resolved.

This level of automation is the Managed in Managed Security.

You Can Get There From Here

Turning security from an ad hoc manual process into an IT-created managed service is easier than you think. While large enterprises have massive budgets and dedicated security staffs, SMBs can achieve the same results with automation. The core piece that makes this all happen is a Remote Monitoring and Management (RMM) solution, also known to IT pros as Endpoint Management. This software provides a central location from which core security functions are performed such as patching and updating anti-malware tools.

That is step one. Step two is using the automation features built into the Endpoint Management solution. For tasks more unique to your shop, you can create your own automation through scripts or other means

There are all manner of outsourced Managed Security Services, most backed by Managed Security Providers (MSPs). But many IT shops want to go it alone, and they can – by using the same automated tools that drive MSP security offerings. Even better is that these solutions have been battle-tested since they are the foundation of services used by hundreds and thousands of MSPs with millions of client companies. That means you can use the exact approach successful  MSPs take to create your own architecture and processes.

Maturity through Automation

IT grew up being used to doing everything manually. But our systems have outgrown that in terms of numbers and complexity. Nowadays each individual likely has several intelligent devices they use for work – PC, tablet, smart phone, etc.

The best way to keep these devices updated and running, not to mention all your servers, is IT automation. Consider automating as many IT functions as possible, including:

  • Discovery of your computing assets including non-approved apps
  • Safe and disciplined software deployment
  • User privileges and access
  • Password management
  • Auditing and reporting
  • Mal-ware and virus interdiction
  • Detect system problems such as a breach and provide remediation

Even better, policy-based automation drastically improves staff efficiency. Discovery, audit, software deployments (including third party software), patches, antivirus updates, backup, and more, can all be automated based on defined policies that make sense for your company and your IT organization.

Look for solutions that go beyond simple remediation to make sure that SOPs and policies are routinely enforced; remediation’s and all access and alterations are recorded; and that reports and dashboards are up-to-date and real time.

Authentication Moves To The Cloud, Reborn As An IT Service

Identity and Access Management (IAM) are critical to a secure network. As more apps move to the cloud, so too should the authentication, many believe. “By 2019, 40% of identity as a service (IDaaS) implementations will replace on-premises IAM implementations, up from 10% today,” predicted Gartner analyst Earl Perkins at the company’s recent Security and Risk Management Summit,

IT should take advantage of this trend, and should have strong authentication such as two-factor authentication (TFA) or Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA). As your environment shifts, IAM should shift as well and be more of an IT service. IAM can be complex and moving it to the cloud removes the need to manage the IAM infrastructure.

This means there is a shift to how authentication and passwords are handled – and multi-factor approaches and biometrics are coming to the fore. While passwords remain a front line of defense, a single password is far too crackable. The answer may be recognition techniques such as fingerprints, facial and iris recognition and other means. “By 2019, use of passwords and tokens in medium-risk use cases will drop 55%, due to the introduction of recognition technologies,” Perkins said.

With automated solutions that handle your core security and authentication needs, most any IT shop can turn security into Managed Security and reap the economic, productivity and protection benefits such an approach affords.

The good news is that Kaseya is your one-stop shopping place for rich and IT security automation to enable your managed security for IT.

Kaseya VSA 9.3 is the Next Generation Endpoint Management Solution

Kaseya VSA 9.3, released this spring, is the next generation Endpoint Management solution. VSA 9.3 includes all the automation capabilities listed above, plus new security capabilities and automation including:

  • Security Automation: Policy-driven “best practice” automation templates based on Kaseya’s experience working with thousands of customers, ensures that all end points are secure and are consistently updated to provide the highest threat protection.
  • Selectable Security Posture Levels: Customers can now quickly select between pre-built levels of security monitoring to automatically enable the appropriate level of scanning and remediation for workstations or servers that can be applied to groups guaranteeing compliance with internal or industry standards.

Learn More, Get a Free Trial

Learn more about the new Kaseya VSA 9.3 release.

To learn more about automation and IT security and efficiency, check our our white paper Automation Cheat Sheet.

AuthAnvil Multi-Factor Authentication

Strong authentication, password management and single sign-on are critical to modern security

Kaseya AuthAnvil provides two- and multi-factor authentication – as well as the ability to encrypt all user passwords and the data as it is transmitted.

To learn about Kaseya AuthAnvil Multi-Factor Authentication: Click Here
For details on Kaseya AuthAnvil Single Sign-On: Click Here

Posted by Doug Barney
Doug Barney was the founding editor of Redmond Magazine, Redmond Channel Partner, Redmond Developer News and Virtualization Review. Doug also served as Executive Editor of Network World, Editor in Chief of AmigaWorld, and Editor in Chief of Network Computing.
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