What is Azure Expert MSP?
Microsoft offers the Azure Expert MSP program under its partner network. The company defines Azure Expert MSPs as “highly evolved” managed services partners. The MSPs that already have Gold Cloud Platform competency are eligible to apply for the Expert MSP program. The induction into the program for MSPs is subject to clearing the rigorous Azure Expert MSP Audit conducted by Microsoft via its partner.
Azure Expert MSP Program’s Importance
Microsoft runs the program for ensuring the delivery of quality services to its customers, hence the rigorous audit for qualification. The presence of the Azure Expert MSP badge brings a feather to the hat for MSPs and increases their credibility in prospective customer’s eyes. It also comes with the partners gaining top priority in Microsoft’s referral engine. The program is very exclusive and is considered one of the highest seals that Microsoft provides to its partners.
In fact, only a handful MSPs all over the world are currently a part of the program. In Microsoft’s own words, the partners under the Azure Expert MSP program create “end-user value through business value metrics, SLAs, resiliency, and continual optimization.” The program ensures that MSPs enrolled in it pivot on “business outcomes of their customer’s solutions and applications, and not on workloads or offers.”
Problems Faced by MSPs in Clearing the Audit
As already mentioned, the Azure Expert MSP Audit is one tough nut to crack for MSPs. In fact, the rigorous audit process is so complex and detailed that MSPs often find themselves on the short end of the stick when it comes to fulfilling the requirements stated by Microsoft. The Azure Expert MSP audit is quite tedious, with 66 control points under 6 requirements sections that are divided across 4 categories.
The extensive control points are further divided into sub-sections, and the MSP is audited on all these requirements by a Microsoft-authorized audit team, wherein the Audit lasts for a full 2 days. The entire process is not only extensive and thorough but also requires complete and undivided efforts of resources from all departments at the end of the MSP.
This is where Centilytics comes to the aid of MSPs by offering its expert and proven guidance to guarantee the clearance of Azure Expert MSP Audit. Centilytics’ automated CMP (Cloud Management Platform) ensures that MSPs need not worry about clearing the various control points listed in the Azure Expert MSP checklist.
How Does Centilytics Help?
Perhaps the most troubling and complex control point in the audit checklist for MSPs is 4.19 (Automated Cloud Management Platform (CMP)), which falls under Category 0 of the audit checklist. Other than providing an Automated CMP to the MSPs, Centilytics also ensures that the MSP’s customers too are fully onboard with the CMP.
Moving into details of the 4.19, Centilytics ensures that MSPs fulfill the requirements listed by Microsoft with a minimum of their 25 customers. These requirements are — Service Request Management, Provisioning, Orchestration and Automation, Governance and Policy, Consumption Monitoring and Metering, Resource Utilization Optimization, Access Management, Service-Level Management, and Monitoring.
Service Request Management — Centilytics provides a self-service multi-tenant dashboard for all the MSP’s customers. Centilytics also provides customized integrations as per the specific customer’s needs.
Provisioning, Orchestration, and Automation — Centilytics’ CMP ensures the MSP’s customers can orchestrate basic activities as well as complex workflows and provision/automate everything from self-service requests to sophisticated deployments.
Governance and Policy — Our automated CMP lays down detailed policy enforcement and governance guidelines for MSP’s customers and builds upon the natively present Azure policies that define the ambit of activity for the end customers.
Consumption Monitoring and Metering — Our CMP’s Cloud Visibility solutions provide a self-service dashboard to MSP’s customers for complete visibility into their infrastructure. Further, we also offer Resource Tag filters, Billing Mark-Up, and Reporting for chargeback, charging customers based on MSP pricing, and automated reporting, respectively.
Resource Utilization Optimization — Centilytics’ CMP offers Cost Optimization solutions that provide resource rightsizing recommendations, identify underutilized resources, and provide optimization recommendations to end customers.
Access Management — Centilytics provides access management solutions via Azure interfaces, MSP’s own tooling, or even third-party tools. Centilytics provides SSO integration via SAML that helps MSPs display their access management capabilities in the audit.
Service-Level Management and Monitoring — Centilytics provides integration for natively present or even third-party monitoring tools for thorough monitoring. Our CMP monitors resource health in the MSP’s environment and provides rightsizing recommendations.
Other than the complex and detailed control point 4.19, Centilytics also helps MSPs with the following control points:
2.1 Azure Services
3.5.1 Governance Assessment
3.5.3 Governance Implementation
3.5.6 User Account Provisioning
3.5.10 Geographic Security & Governance Compliance
3.6.2 Enhanced Baseline
4.12 Asset Management
4.16 Security Management Tools
4.19 Automated Cloud Management Platform (CMP)
4.2 Monitoring and Governance at Scale
5.5 Workload Optimization Tools
5.6 Service Level Measurement & Performance
At Centilytics, we are fully committed to guaranteeing that our partners clear the Azure Expert MSP Audit. We offer pre-audit preparations for our partners in order to help them clear the Audit. MSPs can contact Centilytics for the audit clearance expertise at any point in their certification journey, before or even after the pre-audit.
Not just this, Centilytics also conducts rigorous mock audits for our partners to ensure that they are fully prepared to ace the Azure Expert MSP Audit conducted by Microsoft. Even after the clearance, we provide our partners with short-term and long-term support beyond the Audit. Click here to get started on your journey of clearing the Azure Expert MSP Audit.