By Andy Reedy, Principal Partner Solutions Architect at AWS
We are pleased to share the latest updates to our AWS Managed Services Provider (MSP) Partner Program in version 4.2 of the Validation Checklist.
This version reflects our most recent program criteria and requirements, with improvements focused on raising the bar for both MSP Partners and Amazon Web Services (AWS) customers.
By maintaining a high bar in this program, MSP Partners will realize more valuable recognition for their distinguished capabilities, and AWS customers will have increased confidence in teaming up with AWS MSP Partners.
What is the AWS MSP Partner Program?
The AWS MSP Partner Program recognizes leading AWS Consulting Partners that are highly skilled at providing full lifecycle solutions to customers. Next-generation AWS MSPs can help enterprises invent tomorrow, solve business problems, and support initiatives by driving key outcomes.
AWS MSPs provide the expertise, guidance, and services to help you through each stage the Cloud Adoption Journey: Plan & Design > Build & Migrate > Run & Operate > Optimize.
The AWS MSP Partner Program also incorporates the use of a third-party validation audit that brings value to participating AWS Partners and to AWS customers, who can confidently identify qualified AWS MSP Partners.
What’s New or Different in Version 4.2?
The changes in version 4.2 primarily focus on clarifying requirements and removing ambiguity based on feedback and questions we’ve received from our MSP Partner community.
AWS Partners seeking the MSP Program designation for the first time will conduct a Pre-Assessment of where they stand against the requirements prior to a Full Audit. We recommend AWS Partners already in the MSP Program also perform Pre-Assessments prior to a Full Audit, but this is not required.
Version 4.2 also includes new security controls which include important topics such as managing multiple AWS customer accounts, connecting partner shared service accounts, customer offboarding, and more. We highly encourage our AWS MSP Partners to download and review the new version for full details.
AWS Partners can also read our whitepaper on Putting the Customer First: Building a Next-Gen MSP Practice.
Annual Performance-Based Renewal
The AWS MSP Program will still perform an annual Performance-Based Renewal process in the interim years of a Full Audit. MSP Partners are expected to drive innovation and excellent customer experience, as well as grow and develop their practices.
The renewal process includes:
- Publicly promote your AWS MSP Practice to customers.
- Five (5) launched opportunities in the APN Customer Engagements (ACE) platform that include managed services in the 12 months immediately prior to the annual renewal.
- One (1) public reference that includes AWS MSP services, published in the 12 months immediately prior to the annual renewal.
- MSP Partner remains in good standing at the Advanced or Premier tier, including the requirement to attain customer satisfaction (CSAT) responses.
- MSP Partner complies with the AWS Partner Network (APN) Terms and Conditions.
To maintain a high quality and consistent customer experience, the AWS MSP Partner Program still requires a Full Audit of all MSP Partners every 36 months, based on the MSP Partner’s original (or most recent) Full Audit date.
Full List of Changes in Version 4.2
The following changes resulted in the version changes from 4.1 to 4.2. The following controls were added:
The following controls were updated with changes to the evaluation criteria or scoring:
- 3.5 – Scoped support plan requirements to only production accounts.
- 6.2 – Renamed to “Infrastructure as Code” and defined requirements for how the AWS Partner manages environment updates.
- 8.1.12 – Removed blanket requirement for encryption at rest and instead require a data classification and data handling standard.
- 8.3 – This control is now required.
The following controls were updated to improve the clarity of their definition:
- 1.2 – Clarified types of acceptable thought leadership.
- 2.2 & 2.3 – Removed the requirement to have documented processes.
- 2.4 – Clarified the minimum required scope of a succession plan.
- 2.6 – Clarified the validity period of customer references and emphasized that references should demonstrate growth of the AWS Partner’s business.
- 3.1 – Removed reference to infrastructure capacity planning. This control is only scoped to personnel capacity.
- 3.2.1 – Removed requirement for documenting-specific percentage of time spent on AWS for each role.
- 3.2.2 – Clarified how this control relates to 3.2.1.
- 3.2.3 – Clarified this control is focused on information security.
- 3.2.4 – Specified version of ITIL certification required.
- 5.1.3 – Clarified specific details that must be included in the design document.
- 5.1.6 – Split requirements for documented policy into separate control (5.2)
- 6.1 – Clarified the minimum bar and specified this control relates specifically to supporting customer automated deployments.
- 8.1.11 – Clarified expectations of which communication channels are covered by secret shopper testing and defined expectations for cases where secret testing is prohibited by law.
- 9.3.5 – Clarified requirements for ticketing system integration with AWS Support.
- 9.5 – Clarified the scope of this control is for the default monitoring configuration on all customer accounts.
- 9.6.1 – Provided specific examples of the types of metrics expected.
- 9.6.2 – Emphasized the purposed of using anomaly detection and that it must be applied across multiple metrics and layers.
- 9.6.3 – Clarified the meaning of predictive models.
- 9.13.3 – Provided explicit requirements that can be met by a traditional CMDB or other system.
- 10.2 – Provided examples of SLAs.
- 11.2 – Combined with 11.1
- 12.1 – Allow for other AWS Partner tools for cost management.
- 13.1 – Clarified that all services must be demonstrated with real production deployments.
When Do These Changes Take Effect?
AWS Partners entering the program, or AWS MSP Partners renewing their program status, will be required to meet version 4.2 requirements for all audits and renewals as of June 1, 2021.
For more info, please contact your Partner Development Rep (PDR), Partner Development Manager (PDM), or Partner Solutions Architect (PSA). You can also find information here:
- AWS MSP Program Resources folder in APN Partner Central
- AWS MSP Partner Program website
- List of AWS MSP Partners
- AWS MSP Partner and customer spotlights
- AWS MSP stories on the APN Blog