Selecting an IT Managed Service Provider?
Here’s why IT certifications matter
When you’re selecting an IT Managed Service Provider (MSP), it’s essential to have confidence that the one you select is qualified, will keep your business and customer information secure, and will provide exemplary service when you need them. Your MSP will be one of your most, if not your most, critical vendors because they will take the responsibility of managing your IT, including your IT security and your uptime. The process you take selecting an MSP should reflect how serious and critical of a decision this will be for your business.
Have confidence in your MSP: here’s why IT certifications matter
So how can you feel confident the MSP you are choosing is credible, will do what they say they will do, and has your best interests at the core of what they do? Service Level Agreements (SLAs) and testimonials from existing clients are valuable. But one of the best ways to review a prospective MSP is to review their organization-level certifications as these offer a valuable snapshot into the quality of service and level of expertise you can expect from them.
Types of certifications available to MSPs
There are many different certifications that are available to MSPs, but one important difference is whether they are audit-based or attestation-based. Audit-based certifications are ones that require an independent audit firm to verify, typically through an onsite audit. Attestation-based certifications are one that are entirely based on the representations from the MSP through an application process. Put another way, in an attestation-based certification you are taking the MSP’s word for it, in an audit-based certification, you are taking the auditor’s word for it. As you might imagine, attestation-based certifications are much lower cost to achieve and are less reliable than audit-based.
A comprehensive audit-based certification, such as the UCS/SOC 2 Type II through MSPAlliance (an audit standard specific to the MSP industry) that Locknet – An EO Johnson Company annually completes audits multiple parts of the MSP. These include verification of business practices, such as ticketing and invoicing, hiring practices, financial health, data and physical security practices, and much more. These findings are then issued in an audit report that the MSP should provide to any prospective client who is considering doing business with the MSP prior to their purchasing decision.
In addition, specific review for security practices can also be available for MSPs through security certifications, a critical quality indicator for businesses who are considering an MSP. Because an MSP has access to all client data due to the work most MSPs do on servers and workstations, IT security that the MSP has in place should be taken very seriously by prospective clients. When you’re looking for a partner who can help prevent crippling data breaches and costly hacks, you want the best. When you are trusting an MSP with your IT infrastructure, it’s essential to trust that they have the expertise and processes in place that will protect your data and systems.
In addition to the outside-party certifications, vendors also issue certifications related to technology are also available to MSPs. These typically indicate that a level of trust has been established between the vendor and MSP and the MSP has achieved a notable level of proficiency through employee training programs and testing completed. These are particularly important for businesses who embrace these same vendors and want an MSP with in-depth knowledge and competence related to a particular technology.
Certifications: a sign of competency, standards and quality service
High-quality, audit-based certifications represent a substantial commitment in terms of both employee time and money for an MSP to complete. Yet, reputable IT managed service providers know that independent confirmation of their competency, standards and best practices is crucial. And they know that the training, process improvement and expertise that goes into earning a certification is fundamental ensuring they have best-practices in place throughout their organization so that they can deliver excellence to their clients.
Partnering with a certified MSP protects your business
No business, no matter how big or small, can afford to partner with an IT managed service provider who doesn’t have appropriate and updated certifications in place to show them. These days, there is far too much at stake and the cost of a data breach and the fallout afterward is substantial enough to impact an organization permanently. So when selecting an IT MSP, do your due diligence and ask the prospective MSP to provide you with their audit reports for you to review. If they don’t have them available, that should cause you to pause and potentially consider other providers.
As you can see, there are many reasons why IT certifications matter. Partnering with a managed service provider with third-party audited certifications as well as high-level vendor certifications, is an essential step toward securing your businesses critical IT infrastructure and your company and client data.
Locknet - EO Johnson Company is UCS/SOC2 Type II certified and FFIEC examined. In addition, Locknet and EO Johnson Business Technologies have earned several third-party and vendor certifications, including by not limited to Microsoft, Fortinet, Dell, Cisco, HP/Nimble, Veeam, CompTIA and ITIL. Locknet is ranked as one of the top Managed Service Providers by the Channel Futures MSP 501 as well as CRN (MSP 500, Tech Elite 250 and Solution Provider 500).
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