The value of third-party accreditation

| By:
Jay Ryerse

Are you confident in your security portfolio? You know that you need to develop a cybersecurity program to keep yourself and your clients protected, but do you know exactly what is essential to include in this program?

IT service providers have delivered security products for years, but typically, these haven’t involved a security program that covers the essential elements necessary for full protection. As service providers mature in their offerings, they want to be certain they are making the right decisions when it comes to their portfolio—as do their clients. Third-party party accreditation is a way to build full confidence in your security partnerships and verify trust.

Third-party accreditation

Third-party accreditation is essentially an independent verification by an already trusted party that a product or company complies with specific standards of performance.

Third-party accreditation is vital when it comes to cybersecurity governance. Security accreditation shows your clients that your MSP meets a higher standard than most. You’ll find that having this third-party accreditation in regard to cybersecurity programs and cybersecurity training:

  • Drives better conversations focused on risk and business impact vs products
  • Provides standardization of service delivery
  • Improves margins via standardization
  • Creates trust for the end client

So, you may be wondering what is “essential” to developing a cybersecurity program capable of receiving security accreditation. Here’s a baseline for what MSPs should be offering—a security program that covers governance, risk, and compliance.

Governance, risk, and compliance (GRC)


Governance is the responsibility of data owners (Board, president, CFO, CIO, etc.) of an organization and is designed to protect the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of the organization and the organization’s data. A cybersecurity governance program has several goals:

  • Provide strategic direction aligned with company objectives
  • Ensure that objectives are achieved
  • Ascertain whether risk is being managed appropriately
  • Verify that the organization’s resources are being used responsibly

Examples of cybersecurity governance include a Business Continuity Plan (BCP) and a Disaster Recovery Plan (DRP). The purpose of business continuity planning and disaster recovery planning is to enable a business to continue offering critical services in the event of a disruption and to survive a disastrous interruption to activities.

A BCP is a type of plan used by a business to respond to a disruption of critical business processes. A BCP depends on the contingency plan for restoration of critical systems, and takes into account the following:

  • Critical operations necessary for the survival of the organization
  • The resources supporting these operations
  • Evacuation procedures
  • Clear identification of the responsibilities in the plan
  • Step-by-step explanation of the recovery process

A DRP is a set of human, physical, technical, and procedural resources with the intent to recover, within a defined time and cost, an activity interrupted by an emergency or disaster. “Disaster recovery” often refers to major natural disruption such as a flooded building, fire, or earthquake disrupting an entire installation, and takes into account the following:

  • Providing for the safety and well-being of people on the premises at the time of a disaster
  • Continuing critical business operations
  • Minimizing the duration of a serious disruption to operations and resources (both information processing and other resources)


A risk framework encompasses business best practices, standards, and recommendations that can help an organization improve their cybersecurity measures to attempt to mitigate cyberattacks. Having a risk framework immediately shows that your business has not only thought about what to do in the event of a cybersecurity threat, but instills trust that you have developed a plan for effective mitigation and recovery.


Cybersecurity compliance is the act of adhering to—and the ability to demonstrate adherence to—mandated requirements defined by law, regulation, or industry. This may also include requirements resulting from contractual obligations and internal organization policies. This is essential to third-party accreditation and overall client confidence. If you cannot show that your business has taken precautions in accordance with mandated requirements, they are not going to have trust that you will handle their business and data at the industry standard.

Now that you have a better picture of what is essential to your security portfolio, consider furthering your knowledge with in-depth cybersecurity training. By establishing third-party accreditation, you’re proving that your MSP is up to the top industry standard and encompasses the most essential facets of security needed to keep you and your client protected.