Why MSPs Shouldn’t Rely on Documentation Tools to Store and Manage Their Privileged Accounts and Passwords
Today’s managed service providers (MSPs) need a security-focused approach to storing and managing the passwords they use in their daily support workflows.
While many MSPs use documentation tools to store and manage these credentials today, a documentation tool can’t support the best practices MSPs must follow to proactively address threats to their critical accounts.
Eliminate Standing Privilege
Whether you’re an MSP that offers co-managed IT with a client, brings in freelance technicians for individual projects, or even seeks to safeguard their sensitive data by only offering access to sensitive accounts when they need it, you need a cybersecurity partner that enables you to create Just-in-Time (JIT) accounts on-demand, when technicians need them for their work.
While an MSP’s industry-leading documentation tool offers a convenient way of storing and sharing these passwords, they do not offer this level of risk management, and are designed to manage admin accounts and passwords that are always active.
In short, your documentation tool is an open surface that malicious actors can target.
Prioritize Ease of Use
While the channel’s most popular documentation tools may offer some password rotation for Active Directory accounts in response to their customers’ feedback and management needs, you could be unwillingly exposing your client to new and existing cybersecurity threats.
MSPs have a large, growing estate of privileged accounts across Entra ID (Microsoft 365/Azure AD), service accounts on servers, and countless local administrators on end user devices. Managing these passwords manually can be time-consuming and frustrating, and workarounds such as reusing passwords can rapidly increase their cyber risk.
That’s why MSPs use Privileged Access Management (PAM) software, purpose-built to offer their teams visibility into the variety of sensitive accounts they encounter in their workflow, and continually refresh credentials as needed.
Complete Privileged Access Management
Another major advantage to working with a dedicated PAM partner is the fact that your MSP can receive continual visibility into your privileged accounts and achieve a greater level of controlthan your documentation tool can provide. Here’s how:
- Your documentation tool does not offer a dynamic view of your privileged accounts. To contrast, a PAM solution can automate the discovery of privileged accounts across your MSP’s security groups and alert your team accordingly – allowing them to confirm if the account needs attention.
- Your documentation tool does not offer you the controls you need to manage these privileged accounts. Instead, a PAM partner gives you a convenient dashboard to enable or disable privileged accounts, or unlock them when a technician needs them for a job.
Take a Security-Focused Approach
Today’s industry-leading documentation tools are ultimately not built with the security of an MSP’s privileged credentials in mind.
While many MSPs use documentation tools to store and manage these credentials today, this goes against security expert guidance to store passwords and documentation separately.
After all, if your IT documentation system is compromised, an attacker will have both the map and keys to your kingdom.
To provide another example, documentation tools do not allow MSPs to follow best practices for cybersecurity and compliance when they require an MSP to use a persistent service account that leverages a static password to communicate with Active Directory. If MSPs want to keep their service account for the integration secure they must manually rotate the service account password which in turn otherwise defeats the purpose of automating the rotation of privileged account passwords by the integration.
While these tools sometimes offer password rotation to reduce this risk, it still forces an MSP to deal with standing privilege for at least one administrator account. Moreover, they also will not offer privileged access management through secure agents or API-based communications.
How CyberQP Can Support and Secure Your MSP’s Workflows
At CyberQP, we offer MSPs the Privileged Access Management and Help Desk Security Automation platform they need to accelerate and secure their workflows. We give you a turnkey cybersecurity partner to help you protect the information and accounts that matter to you.
MSPs like you partner with CyberQP to deploy a complete Privileged Access Management solution as part of your cybersecurity program to discover, monitor, and manage privileged accounts across your client base and security estate, separate their credentials from their documentation tools with a cyber-grade password vault, and align with cyber insurance eligibility requirements or best practices in line with compliance frameworks like NIST and CIS in the process.