Syntax Executes Amazon Web Services MSP Audit Flawlessly with Guidance from ISSI
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“Our success with the MSP audit was a testament to the hard work, preparation, and organization of our team, and the assistance we got from ISSI. Their guidance through the entire process helped us successfully complete the audit with no remediation necessary.”
Syntax, a provider of cloud-managed ERP services, has built a strong business foundation providing global customers with Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud services. The Syntax executive team knew that attaining the AWS Managed Services Provider designation would further accelerate new business opportunities. It worked with ISSI in intensive consulting and workshop activities that resulted in Syntax passing the AWS MSP process with no post-audit remediation activities required—and six weeks ahead of schedule.
Pursuing the AWS MSP Designation to Help Customers — and Its Own Growth
Syntax has built a global IT business by delivering a suite of services for organizations running ERP enterprise software. The Montreal-based company implements and manages SAP, Oracle E-Business Suite, and JD Edwards ERP systems in public, private, hybrid, and multi-cloud environments. Its customers are spread across North America, Europe, and China and operate in industries such as manufacturing, distribution, financial services, real estate, and technology.
Syntax has a strong relationship with Amazon Web Services (AWS). It is an established AWS Advanced Consulting Partner and has AWS competencies to serve its customers. However, the Syntax executive team realized another achievement would provide a clear differentiator and accelerate the company’s growth—becoming an AWS Managed Service Provider.
AWS MSP partners help customers solve complex business needs at any stage of their cloud adoption journey by leveraging next-generation business and technical best practices.
“There are fewer than 150 partners globally who are AWS MSPs,” says Marcelo Tamassia, Global Chief Technology Officer for Syntax. “It’s a significant achievement and brings recognition from both customers and the AWS field sales force. Having the AWS MSP designation checks a very important box and opens doors to new business a lot faster.”
Tackling the Challenging AWS MSP Audit with the Help of ISSI
Acquiring the AWS MSP designation is a challenge, with many months of preparation leading up to a rigorous two-day-long audit. The audit examines a partner’s readiness to deliver managed services based on a deep level of technical and business expertise that meets a high bar set by AWS and its customers.
Tamassia says the AWS Partner team encouraged Syntax to work with Information Security Systems (ISSI) to prepare for the audit, including ISSI consulting sessions and a pre-assessment workshop that helps companies identify gaps. “The AWS team felt that we already had the capabilities to pass the MSP audit, but ISSI could help us get hyper-focused on the requirements to achieve the designation,” Tamassia says.
Syntax engaged with ISSI during multiple consulting sessions over a period of several months to assess the company’s current evidence compared to the AWS MSP controls. ISSI met with the Syntax program manager and the core team to review the initiative, timeline, and the expected outcomes and results.
“Working with ISSI, we mapped out the entire initiative based on a schedule that put the audit in mid-November,” says Tim Varma, Global Director of Project Management. Syntax assembled an internal project team of more than 35 people. They included senior executives and stakeholders from finance, human resources, product management, sales, operations, engineering, security, and developer teams, as well as ERP systems subject matter experts (SMEs).
As part of its consulting work, ISSI conducted interviews with the focused SMEs to clarify the need within MSP controls, review the planned evidence, and submit feedback on the evidence. Once the interviews and initial evidence were reviewed, the SMEs adjusted and corrected their evidence to provide the information to meet the AWS MSP certification requirements.
“We went through each of the requirements with our core team, so everyone had a clear understanding of what was needed,” says Varma. “We spent hundreds of hours on preparation.”
ISSI Consulting and pre-assessment accelerates audit preparation
The preparation got Syntax ready not just for the audit, but for the pre-assessment workshop, an intensive two-day event run by ISSI. Varma says the workshop was a critical point along the journey to the audit.
“The pre-assessment workshop was important not just for identifying gaps in our data and understanding, but for providing a valuable rehearsal to ensure that everyone on the team was aligned,” Varma says. “The Covid restrictions prevented us from getting our entire team in the same room, so it was even more important that each team member practiced and was ready when the time for the audit arrived. It was a testament to ISSI and our audit project leader who ran the scheduling that everything went smoothly.”
The AWS MSP audit took two days, ending on a Wednesday in late October. The Syntax team was prepared for remediation efforts that are typically needed when the audit team finds errors or gaps in a partner’s presentation.
However, the Syntax team received word just three days later that it had passed the audit, and that no remediation was required. About two weeks later Syntax was notified that it was officially an AWS Managed Service Provider.
“We achieved the AWS MSP designation six weeks ahead of our target date, and we’re now in a position to leverage new business opportunities because of the MSP badge,” said Tamassia. “Our success with the MSP audit was a testament to the hard work, preparation, and organization of our team, and the assistance we got from ISSI. Their guidance through the entire process helped us successfully complete the audit with no remediation necessary.”
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