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Enhancing Cybersecurity with CIS Control 1 - Insights for MSPs

Published: at 10:00 AM

Embracing CIS Control 1: A Guideline for Managed Service Providers

As Managed Service Providers (MSPs), our primary mission is to ensure the security and reliability of our clients’ IT environments. In a landscape that’s constantly under threat from cyber-attacks, it’s imperative that we adhere to robust security frameworks. Among these, the CIS (Center for Internet Security) Controls stand out for their clarity and effectiveness. Today, I’ll share insights into how we, as an MSP, embrace CIS Control 1: Inventory and Control of Hardware Assets.

Understanding CIS Control 1

CIS Control 1 emphasizes the need for organizations to actively manage and inventory all hardware devices connected to their network. The rationale is simple: you can’t protect what you don’t know exists. For MSPs, this means having a comprehensive and up-to-date inventory of all client assets.

Why Is CIS Control 1 Critical for MSPs?

  1. Visibility: In managing diverse client environments, visibility is paramount. We must know each piece of hardware within the network to apply the appropriate security measures.
  2. Security Posture: An accurate inventory helps in identifying unauthorized devices that could pose security risks, thereby strengthening the overall security posture.
  3. Efficiency: Knowing the exact inventory allows for more efficient management of resources, be it for updates, patches, or security policies.

Implementing CIS Control 1: Practical Steps

1. Automated Discovery Tools

We employ automated discovery tools to continuously scan client networks for connected devices. This not only aids in creating a baseline inventory but also in detecting new devices as soon as they connect.

2. Maintaining an Active Inventory

An active inventory goes beyond a static list; it’s dynamic and updates in real-time to reflect the current state of the network. This includes categorizing devices based on their function, owner, and security requirements.

3. Integrating with Configuration Management Databases (CMDBs)

For a holistic view, we integrate our inventory management with CMDBs. This ensures that any changes in the hardware inventory are accurately reflected across all management systems.

4. Regular Audits and Reconciliation

Regular audits ensure that the inventory remains accurate and comprehensive. Reconciliation processes help in identifying discrepancies and taking corrective actions.

Challenges and Solutions

Challenge: The ever-evolving nature of IT environments, with devices being added or removed frequently, poses a significant challenge in maintaining an up-to-date inventory.

Solution: Leveraging cloud-based inventory management solutions that offer scalability and flexibility to adapt to changing environments.


For MSPs, adhering to CIS Control 1 is not just about compliance; it’s about establishing a foundation for robust cybersecurity practices. By ensuring an accurate and comprehensive inventory of hardware assets, we set the stage for implementing further controls effectively. Let’s not forget, in the realm of cybersecurity, visibility is the cornerstone of security.

# Get a list of running services on a Windows machine
Get-Service | Where-Object {$_.Status -eq 'Running'}
# Check the availability of a website
import requests

def check_website(url):
        response = requests.get(url)
        if response.status_code == 200:
            print(f"Website {url} is up and running!")
            print(f"Website {url} returned status code {response.status_code}")
    except requests.ConnectionError:
        print(f"Website {url} could not be reached.")

# Example usage