MSPAlliance: Extending MSP Certification to Cloud Computing

Matthew Weinberger

March 25, 2011

2 Min Read
MSPAlliance: Extending MSP Certification to Cloud Computing

About a week or so ago, TalkinCloud openly wondered if associations would start to launch cloud certifications and accreditations. We got our answer yesterday when the MSPAlliance, an international association of managed service providers, launched the Unified Certification Standard for Cloud and Managed Service Providers.

According to MSPAlliance President Charles Weaver’s blog entry, the new Unified Certification Standard (UCS) is designed to hold both MSPs and cloud service providers to the same standards, without the inflexibility of a strict definition of “managed services.” That’s especially important because, as Weaver says, the service provider landscape is still shifting.

As per that same blog entry, here are the five points that the UCS for Cloud and Managed Service Providers will address:

  1. The new standard is designed to reflect the close relationship between the cloud and managed services without cutting either any slack.

  2. Part of getting accredited will involve generating a public-facing report on the security, capabilities, and integrity of a cloud offering or company that’s a lot friendlier to the customer and end-user than existing standards like SAS 70.

  3. Certifications will have two levels – the first, certifying the company in question as of a certain date, and the second, certifying them on an ongoing basis. In other words, the UCS will help ensure that the cloud provider meets SLAs and security needs after the auditor leaves the first time.

  4. All audits and reports will be performed by a certified public accountant. That means both providers and customers can be sure that their auditor is trustworthy and accountable.

  5. In recognition of the international growth of the cloud and managed services alike, they’re making sure that any IT pro or potential customer anywhere on the planet can understand and make use of the auditor’s reports.

It’s good to see associations assisting MSPs and VARs with the cloud movement. But the world is also filled with fast-emerging cloud certifications and communities from a range of vendors and associations:

We’ll be watching to see how MSPAlliance differentiates its UCS initiative from the efforts listed above.

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