AWS Partner Network (APN) Blog

Announcing Our Inaugural AWS Managed Service Provider Program Partners

At re:Invent 2014, we announced the launch of our formal AWS Managed Service Partner Program. Our goal in creating the program was to establish a common customer experience when engaging AWS Managed Service Partners. In doing this, we hope to help customers easily identify APN Partners who meet our high bar, and who possess deep AWS knowledge in conjunction with the right IT Service Management capabilities to deliver cloud managed services.  Additionally, we strive to provide APN Partners with the guidance they need to develop a successful and comprehensive cloud managed service practice.  For APN Partners to become approved members of the AWS Managed Service Program, they must pass an independent third-party audit of their AWS Managed Service capabilities.

Today, we’re thrilled to announce that six of our APN Consulting Partners were approved into our AWS MSP Program: 2nd Watch, Datapipe, Smartronix, Cascadeo, Day1 Solutions, and RightBrain Networks. Through the rigorous audit process, these APN Partners have been validated in their ability to help customers migrate their workloads to AWS and operate those workloads efficiently by following AWS operational and security best practices, while looking for ways to continuously optimize and save their customers money.

Setting the Bar for AWS Managed Services

The bar for AWS Managed Service Providers in our Program is high. “It is clear through the rigorous nature of the managed service certification process that AWS is focused on creating a highly qualified network of MSP Partners in order to establish a new level of service for AWS Customers,” said Chris Reimer, Principal at Cascadeo. We want our customers to have a great experience when engaging AWS Managed Service Partners, and to realize all of the benefits and efficiencies that the AWS platform offers.

Additionally, we strive to provide guidance to our APN Partners on the standards we expect from Managed Service Providers on AWS through the audit process we’ve established.  “The MSP audit process is very thorough and the bar for passing it is high,” said Mike Bradicich, Vice President of Cloud Managed Solutions at Day1 Solutions. Bradicich continued, “We wouldn’t want it any other way and believe enterprise customers will share this view.  Excellence in service delivery should always be the standard.  We appreciate that AWS is leading the way and has created a program that enables APN Partners like Day1 Solutions to differentiate the value we bring to our customers as they move more and more of their IT operations to the cloud.”

At the beginning of the MSP audit process, APN Partners can utilize the MSP Validation Checklist to prepare for the third-party audit and gain knowledge on the criteria we’ve set. The checklist is meant to help APN Partners prepare for the upcoming audit, and provide insight into our areas of focus. “Smartronix has undergone several intense security and process audits including FedRAMP, FISMA, and ISO 20000. There was real value in the AWS-specific nature of the processes, policies, governance, and implementation best practices outlined in the AWS MSP Audit,” said Robert Groat, Executive Vice President – Technology and Strategy at Smartronix. Groat continued, “While working through the validation process, we actually made policy enhancements to provide greater clarity to some of our processes.”

Following review of the MSP Validation Checklist, we enlist independent third-party auditors who then do a thorough review of the APN Partner’s MSP practice and capabilities. “We found the AWS MSP audit to be extremely valuable and we would compare it to similar highly secure and prescriptive audits, with the exception that it requires a deep expertise of all AWS Products and Services. We liked that it was administered by an independent third-party managed service auditor and that it required us to highlight our AWS expertise,” said Jeff Aden, EVP of Strategic Business Development & Co-Founder at 2nd Watch.

Helping AWS Customers Identify APN MSP Partners

The MSP Program is built on a deep sense of customer obsession, and through the rigorous standards established in our audit process, customers are able to identify APN Partners, both big and small, who have met our bar for cloud managed services. “Being an official MSP Partner levels the playing field for smaller APN Partners like us. This helps us increase our visibility both inside of AWS, and in the market at large. There’s also real business value with customers when you can distinguish yourself based on a highly specialized competency,” said Jamie Begin, CEO at RightBrain Networks.

After an APN Partner has officially passed the audit process, customers are encouraged to consider how they may be able to utilize the APN Partner’s expertise in the cloud managed services space. Dan Newton, COO at Datapipe explained, “We feel our existing and future customers will have a greater level of confidence knowing that Datapipe has successfully completed the validation process, and is recognized as an official AWS MSP Partner.”

We’re excited to continue working with APN Partners throughout the validation process, and expanding our MSP Partner ecosystem worldwide. To learn more about the AWS MSP Program, click here. To download the MSP Validation Checklist, log in to the APN Portal and click here.