CompTIA President and CEO Todd Thibodeaux is scheduled to attend Autotask Community Live (May 22-24, Miami). Among the items on his agenda: Discussing the new MSP Partners Trustmark. I wouldn't call the trustmark a certification or accreditation. Rather, I think it seeks to be like a Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval for the managed services industry.

First, a little background:
  • Accreditations are designed for companies.
  • Certifications are designed for individuals.
  • CompTIA's MSP Partners Trustmark is positioned more as a "business credential" -- not quite a certification and certainly not an accreditation (contrary to some early chatter).
According to a prepared statement from CompTIA:
"IT service providers have to fill out an online application to receive the CompTIA MSP Partners Trustmark that requires detailed human resources, financial, risk, and business management practices. Applicants also have to disclose their technology tools, standard operation procedures, and IT services activities. Once these IT services providers receive the CompTIA MSP Partners Trustmark, they must abide by" a code of conduct.
Some familiar names are involved in the MSP Partners Trustmark, including VP of Member Relations Jim Hamilton -- who led MSP Partners until it was acquired by CompTIA in 2009. I've been traveling this week and haven't had a chance to catch up with Hamilton yet regarding the MSP Partners Trustmark.

Who's In the Market?

No doubt, there are alternative designations in the managed services market. The MSPAlliance recently introduced its Unified Certification Standard to cover managed services and cloud expertise. And the MSPAlliance also offers a managed services certification to individuals.

Meanwhile, I think company accreditation has been a tough sell in the managed services market. Two potential reasons why:
  • It's expensive and time consuming for an accrediting body to physically visit and audit an MSP's operations.
  • MSPs, on the other hand, may not have been willing to pay a premium for accreditation since few end-customers understand the value of accredited MSPs.
The CompTIA MSP Partners Trustmark potentially circumvents those two challenges, since it doesn't require on-premise audits but does offer some baseline requirements to help grow the managed services market as a whole. CompTIA also offers a Security Trustmark, by the way.

Additional reporting by Nicholas Mukhar. Sign up for MSPmentorā€™s Weekly Enewsletter, Webcasts and Resource Center. Follow us via RSS, Facebook, Identi.ca and Twitter. Check out more MSP voices at www.MSPtweet.com. Read our editorial disclosure here.