How to Choose Help for Implementing AWS Managed Services Partner Checklist

AWS MSP designation commands a high reputation in the cloud industry. It comes packaged with many perks from AWS, such as early access, seminars, boot camps, discounts, and promotional offers. Certified MSPs get more visibility and traffic from customers who need help developing or managing their cloud solutions. 

Naturally, the competition for MSP certification is fierce, with the bar set high by AWS. Aspiring MSPs must comply with a comprehensive list of requirements mentioned in the validation checklist, which gets updated twice yearly. In addition, MSPs must regularly upgrade and renovate their practice to pass the annual MSP performance-based renewal evaluation. 

The 2-day MSP audit is famed to be strict and unforgiving, testing your MSP capabilities across myriad minute parameters with proper evidence and documentation. The road to MSP certification is long, uphill, and arduous, but the payoff in the end graciously makes up for it. Contracting a dedicated MSP advisor during this journey can greatly ease and accelerate the whole process. 

MSP advisors have both experience and expertise in helping companies attain MSP designation, from dispensing the best advice on MSP’s existing practice and finessing MSPs service offering to provide all-around coaching and support. The specific leverage that an MSP advisor adds might just be the differentiating factor between you and the next MSP. 

Let’s understand these factors in detail.

How can MSP Advisors help in Championing the MSP Certification Journey?

Perform Requirement Gap Analysis 

MSP advisors perform a gap analysis of the client’s AWS practice against the recommended and mandatory controls in the AWS requirement checklist. This analysis involves comparing the MSPs’ service offerings with AWSs’vision for next-generation MSPs and checking compliance with international and industry best practices. 

Requirement Gap Assessment helps identify crucial shortcomings in MSPs’ practice and assists in broadening MSPs’ service capabilities through deep-dive sessions, training, and coaching. This creates the opportunity to isolate weaknesses and strengthen the MSPs’ cloud offering into being more holistic. 

Expert Guidance on Adopting Best Practices

Aspiring MSP partners should exhibit compliance with AWS cloud best practices to strengthen their MSP pitch during the audit. MSP consultants like CUSP Services help MSPs realize these best practices in their Managed Service offering. CUSP also prepares and positions you as an AWS evangelist that promotes and educates customers on AWS services with innovative solutions. 

Advocating the benefits of AWS, building a cloud center of excellence, and developing a collaborative approach to solutions are common best practices that to-be MSPs must follow. The team of experts at CUSP Services can help you show compliance with the validation checklist and adopt cloud best practices like sustainability, innovation, plan, and design; build and migration; running and operating, and optimizing.

Helps Understand the Requirement Validation Checklist 

For the new and uninitiated MSPs, the validation checklist is likely to appear as short, vague, and hard to decipher. CUSP Services helps you understand every point and provides you with the toolkit to successfully tackle these requirements. And since the checklist is constantly getting updated with new revisions, it helps to have a third-party stakeholder that can supervise and navigate through the changes for you. 

This can save you significant time and decision-making bandwidth, that would otherwise be spent on deciphering the requirement checklist and staying on top of the bi-yearly revisions. This way if there are existing practices that don’t align with the validation checklist, you will have adequate time to course-correct them before the final audit; as compliance is non-negotiable. 

Help with Audit Preparation and Rehearsal

It is difficult to get a correct assessment of one’s MSP capabilities with only self-assessment tests, administered by an in-house team. The mettle of your MSP pitch is really scrutinized in scenarios that mimic the audit day and the incumbent stress. CUSP is proficient in developing mock audits that evaluate you over each requirement in the checklist. These mock assessments are extensive and engineered to be as extreme/grilling as the real audit. 

CUSP also helps you break down the audit into multiple phases to easily isolate your limitations. Separate dry runs are conducted to strengthen these parts and tighten the presentation. CUSP’s coaching further familiarises your team with audit etiquette and norms on how to raise concerns and dispense clarifications lucidly and convincingly.. 

You get access to first-hand expert recommendations and comments about your MSP sales pitch from the CUSP team. This helps in refining the MSP pitch to correspond with MSP’s niche and service offerings. 

Evidence Curation and Document Collection  

The audit involves exhibiting extensive documentation through sampling, checking, cross-checking, testing, and validation process. After a point, document collection can become chaotic and cumbersome. In addition, aspiring MSPs are supposed to showcase case studies and evidential records to support their AWS practice. 

MSP consultants help create and organize a shared repository containing all required documents, screenshots, reports, and historical customer information. These documents are tagged with control numbers for quick access on the day of the audit. MSP advisors also assist in establishing an audit trail to track the history of document versions on the spot. This reduces mismanagement and the chance of losing records on the final audit day. 

Dedicated Training for Client Team 

Selecting the right stakeholders to form the MSP team is instrumental in acing the final audit assessment. And it is equally crucial to train these individuals for the audit examination and rigorous cross-questioning.  

CUSP helps you recognize experienced points of contact and coaches them to become subject matter experts in separate areas of your MSP practice. The team also undergoes training on AWS Managed Services used by the MSP to support their MSP pitch. CUSP’s coaching prepares the team for all kinds of probing during the audit. Frequent internal reviews are held to evaluate the team’s performance and offer extra assistance whenever required. 

Helps with Planning and Organizing 

With historical experience and domain expertise under our belt, CUSP can guide you in creating timelines and roadmaps for the audit, right from day one to the final audit day, and even after that, into the post-audit debriefing. These plans will take into account the time required to build practices that will bridge the shortcomings found in the Requirement Gap Analysis. 

CUSP also helps you organize and manage the complete program by setting up a project management routine/system/scenario that involves identifying independent tasks for each team member and appointing a project manager from amongst them. This reduces the clash of intent and fosters more accountability in the team.

Post Audit Debriefing Assistance

After the audit, the auditor usually has corrective recommendations and insights on how the MSP can improve its practice, provided in a special document called the ‘Opportunities for Improvement’ (OFI). OFI contains the list of best practices and potential issues that appeared during the audit. MSP advisor can help you analyze this document and frame appropriate responses.

MSP consultants help you identify follow-up actions and deliver the corrective measures recommended by the auditors in the OFI. They can help set up procedures for annual MSP renewals and form guidelines that new team members can utilize for subsequent recertifications. 

CUSP Offers Strategic Advice on MSP’s offerings 

CUSP helps create a well-rounded and holistic view of clients’ MSP practice by offering strategic advice and end-to-end consultation for the entirety of the MSP journey. It provides a tested and trusted roadmap that accelerates your pace and offers support at every step to ace the MSP certification.   

Reach out to Rajeev Karkhanis at to schedule a meeting.

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