5 PowerShell best practices to boost your MSP operations

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PowerShell is Microsoft's task automation platform that enables users to automate an array of tedious administrative tasks with the help of scripting (cmdlets or command-lets).

As new-age MSPs start to transition from break/fix to "all-you-can-eat" business models, the emphasis on automation is now at an all-time high. Today, MSPs across the world use tools like PowerShell to automate repetitive administrative tasks like software installation, report creation, third-party integrations, etc.

There is an incredible upside to automating your workflows with PowerShell. So, if you're an MSP looking to leverage PowerShell to your advantage, this article is for you.

Manage updates and patches

PowerShell Gallery hosts all of PowerShell's scripts, modules and DSC resources, but perhaps the PSWindowsUpdate module is the most important one yet, especially if your MSP manages networks with thousands of Windows devices. Technicians can use this module as a one-stop-shop to manage and run Windows updates on all end-points. With PowerShell, MSPs can also push security patches (zero-day updates) quickly across clients.

Generate custom reports

MSPs handle a plethora of clients, the size and sector of which vastly differ from one another. So, it is no surprise that requirements vary with each client. However, the RMM tools MSPs use can only offer so much customisation when it comes to generating reports. PowerShell enables MSP admins to create custom reports (HTML) depending on client needs. Not just that, MSPs can also automate report generation and schedule it to be sent out as client emails.

API integration

Ticketing is a crucial functionality that runs MSPs rely on to serve customers. PowerShell Gallery contains various ticketing modules that can help technicians to not just create, but also search tickets. MSPs can also use PowerShell to perform additional queries on ticket data that can be further used to form reports. The ability to integrate PowerShell with your existing applications that handle features like ticketing, billing (Azure Billing) opens up opportunities for further extensive automation, reducing a lot of hassle.

Create insightful dashboards

The universal dashboard module in PowerShell allows technicians to create custom dashboards that are both functional and easy to understand. Using the web framework, MSPs can create websites, REST APIs, and dashboards completely built using PowerShell scripts. The command-lets in the module allow for the creation of elements like charts, tables, grids with ease.

Password encryption

A key challenge with running multiple scripts is to define access for specific users to run particular scripts. With PowerShell, MSPs can encrypt passwords, thereby allowing admins and technicians to create accounts (that work in tandem with the encrypted passwords) that allow the end-users to run scripts as they see fit, in a secure manner.

The multitude of functionalities that come with PowerShell, if put into proper use, is a game-changer for any MSP. It's simply more about figuring out how PowerShell fits in to solve existing business problems than that of actually coding (cmdlets) scripts in the tool.

(If you're looking for more PowerShell tips, no worries! We've got you covered at The Bugle!)

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