Stop Losing Managed Services Deals Over Lack of Certification
It is common for us to hear MSPs say that they have lost a managed services contract because of a lack of certification or audit. I would like to address why this is happening and what MSPs need to do.
Compliance & Certification Requests
Requests for compliance and "assurance" are increasing and will not end. As long as MSPs do not have official licensure, 3rd party certification and audit reports are the best and most efficient method of demonstrating trust and adherence to best practices.
For some clients and markets, certification and audit reports are now a requirement and must be obtained for all MSPs servicing that client.
Different Certifications for Different Jobs
The world is a large place. There are many different standards and certifications available to MSPs but you need to pick the right one (or ones) for the job. More specifically, check with your clients and ask them what they need. In many cases, clients are looking for documentation in order to satisfy their compliance and assurance related requests. Make sure you are responsive and knowledgeable of your client base.
Even if you do not practice in regulated markets, the global markets are rapidly shifting towards "general compliance" or "general assurance" models. These general compliance and assurance requirements are largely brought about by regulations, not targeting a specific industry, but focused on general data protection and privacy.
Laws such as GDPR and data breach notification laws within the United States are examples of general data privacy regulations which have a significant impact on MSPs and their clients.
If you are a practicing MSP and do not have any documentation, certification, or audit reports available to hand clients, you are at a significant disadvantage. As we approach 2019, the divide between certified and non-certified MSPs will mean a lot to clients evaluating outsourced IT providers.
In the coming years, clients will be faced with two general choices of MSPs: those who have certification and audit reports, and those who do not. This will become the great differentiator and marker of success amongst professional MSPs.
Depending on where you are in the world, there are several options for certification and standards which may be acceptable to your clients. The following are more commonly accepted certifications:
- MSP/Cloud Verify
- SOC 1
- SOC 2