The AWS MSP designation is a badge that validates trust and expertise for cloud customers. Only select organizations that are successful in demonstrating comprehensive AWS knowledge across cloud design, development, deployment, and management are awarded the MSP title. The numerous benefits of the MSP tag make the designation highly sought after and competitive in the market.
MSP Partners are the critical link between AWS and the client’s business goals, facilitating services like cloud migration, automation, and management for the customers. They help businesses leverage the complete power of cloud architecture while minimizing costs. Aspiring MSPs must pass an extensive 2-day audit that tests their compliance against many mandatory and recommended requirements in the MSP validation checklist.
Demonstrating MSP expertise requires diligent preparation and diversification of the partner’s offerings to include different tenets of a successful MSP practice. Let’s look at some recommendations from the MSP Validation Checklist to understand what makes a successful MSP partner.
How to Build and Demonstrate a Successful MSP Practice
Reporting and Dashboards
Monitoring and reporting provide the intelligence to optimize the infrastructure and fine-tune service parameters for optimal cloud experience. These collected insights can shine a light on gaps in implementation and business goals, which help in course correction.
AWS advises MSP partners to provide customers with dashboards and reporting capabilities with appropriate filters. These interfaces should simplify trend analysis using historical data while also being easily navigable. Customization and flexibility are key in building robust monitoring systems, that are capable of a wide surveillance range, from tracking one specific parameter to interpreting multiple metrics simultaneously.
Methods like Online analytical processing can be leveraged to generate comprehensive reports.
Optimization with Monitoring and Forecasting
Partners are recommended to periodically assess customer usage metrics and resource utilization in order to suggest improvements and optimizations. These retrofits can directly affect parameters like request time and throughput, leading to an increase in the customer’s bottom line.
A report summarizing prospective savings with services optimization should be presented to the customer to easily understand the monetary implications of rightsizing resources and preemptively terminating unnecessary services. MSPs can also offer their expert recommendations for each entry in this report.
Identity and Access Management
Partners are recommended to implement Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA), and encryption on all customer accounts as part of the security management protocol. Regular tests should be run that check access for each account and produce the list of defaulters not complying with MFA. Customers should receive notification of all root accounts that don’t adhere to MFA enabled and a suitable course of action for each unauthorized access.
Authorization forms another crucial pillar of IAM, which controls access levels according to login role and status. MSP Partners should build a system that regulates customer privilege and access to sensitive data through customizable security policies. The use of root account credentials to administrate AWS accounts is a big security risk and must be checked.
Event logging and Retention
Event logging helps analyze the order of events that can lead to a data breach or network failure. Partners should log security events for regulatory and analysis purposes using CloudTrail across all managed services. A dashboard to catalog accounts lacking CloudTrail logging encryption is recommended that displays a risk exposure summary for each security violation along with recommended action.
Additionally, customers should be able to contractually set the duration of log retention, and partners should evidence it by producing the event log. Historical logging prepares the customer to recognize and respond to the next threat by studying past trends.
All-round Continous Compliance Policy
Continuous compliance means maintaining 360-degree compliance across new policies, audit requirements, sustainable and environmental factors, and industry or business-specific compliance. MSP partners are recommended to ensure compliance with resource-level controls. CloudTrail and AWS config are often deployed to detect changes in network configuration and potential compliance adversity.
Partners should construct policies that monitor device compliance and ensure CIS best practices with automated reminders if a service falls out of compliance. The compliance dashboard is advised to list different uncompliant instances with severity levels and policy names. These compliances should be demonstrated through case studies evidencing a reduction in audit time and cost, shortened remediation time, and adherence to compliance tools.
Building Cloud Center of Excellence
Aspiring MSPs are advised to build a cloud center of excellence that can help drive cloud acceptance in customers and across the market in general. MSPs should curate a team of experts with deep experience in AWS services who can guide customers on the entire lifecycle from design and development to deployment.
Application and Infrastructure Migration
MSP Partners must follow AWS best practices while helping customers migrate from on-premise to on-cloud infrastructure. They should demonstrate these capabilities with case studies of past migration projects. Organizations that already hold competency as Migration Consulting Partners or Migration Delivery Partners will be awarded full points implicitly.
MSP checklist advises Infrastructure as code for automating provisioning, deployment and managing duties to streamline resource maintenance.
MSPs should help customers with cost optimization and bill management by providing an easily navigable billing interface. They should also help customers make sense of various AWS bills and SLAs. This increases visibility and helps optimize the governance of the cloud environment. Additionally, MSPs should build a dedicated system with the customers that save redundant costs and improve cloud performance with actionable recommendations.
Eye for Customer Business Needs
MSPs should expand their offering beyond their traditional role to end-to-end customer consultation that allows them to build customer-specific solutions. Popular examples are resource prediction and recommendation using machine learning or big data analytics using AWS Managed Services. This way, MSPs can move to a broader advisor role from a niche tech-specific offering.
Partners should strategize and brainstorm with the clients to innovate solutions at the intersection of MSP’s expertise and the client’s business goal. This will allows MSPs to position themselves as an exhaustive cloud solution provider, with practice ranging from complete cloud management to solution-led offering.
CUSP Services help you build a successful MSP practice and offer end-to-end consultation for aspiring MSPs in their certification journey. With a team of AWS experts, CUSP Services assist you in a step-by-step process right from collecting evidence and case studies to preparing for questioning through mock audits.
Our services are tailored to client’s needs and can help you significantly speed up your MSP certification journey. Reach out to Rajeev Karkhanis at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a meeting.