Ever since Microsoft launched the Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) program, distributors have had more opportunities to push Office 365, Azure and CRM Online. The program is flexible enough to fit the channel and recurrent revenue models, so resellers can benefit from better margins. MSPs joining the CSP program through an Indirect CSP partner can now provide a wider range of services to their customers, such as data migration, 24/7 technical support and centralized customer management tools.
Because customer data is at the core of the CSP program, it’s important that we clarify a few things about privacy and security.
Microsoft APIs Backing CSP
MSPs have had a tough time with Microsoft’s reseller programs. To begin with, Microsoft didn’t give its partners much control over their customer relationships. They couldn’t bill their customers directly, they couldn’t follow up their deals to gauge customer satisfaction and they had no opportunity to merge Office 365 plans into bundles to showcase their own products. And they had to struggle with the Office 365 Admin Portal to manage each of their client’s tenant separately, an exercise that lasted several years before Microsoft thought about providing consolidated access for partners.
As part of the CSP program, Microsoft has opened access to Office 365 customer management options through APIs. This has allowed distributors to integrate them into their own portals. MSPs now have direct access to plans, pricing, data location, customer subscriptions, billing and payment details. Through their distributor’s portal, the reseller can provision Office 365 licenses, bundle them with their services and bill them accordingly. On the technical side, as explained in Microsoft’s CSP FAQ, partners “have the same access to customer data as the customer’s own IT administrator.”
Through its APIs, Microsoft actually delegates access to customer tenants with Global Admin rights, which is the highest set of permissions for Office 365 administration. This delegation raises concerns about data privacy. As expected, security and privacy are in the Top 10 list of frequently asked questions about Office 365 and customers purchasing their services through CSP resellers want to make sure their data remains protected.
Sherweb and Data Privacy
Microsoft guarantees data security and privacy and complies with standards like ISO 27001, ISO 27018, FISMA, HIPAA and FedRAMP. However, distributors have responsibilities for the Office 365 data they manipulate in their portals. MSPs willing to resell Office 365 have to make sure their CSP distributor complies with the highest standards in the industry. Sherweb has been active in the cloud for 18 years, and we’ve been successfully audited for security throughout. Our SOC 2 Type II (former SSAE 16) certification has been regularly renewed. This proves we are committed to providing our clients and partners with cloud services that respect customer data security and privacy. SOC 2 Type II is the Holy Grail no serious cloud service provider can go without. Our portal meets the certification requirements.
Sherweb’s commitment to security covers our complete range of services, including migration and technical support. Privacy is highly regarded in our Customer Service department. This is certainly one of the reasons our support continues to rank high in the industry.
Partners can trust our portal to resell Office 365 products. We’ve built extra features you won’t find from our competitors, such as the option to open a service request or the Import Tool which automatically transfers data and subscriptions from customers you signed through Microsoft’s Open or Online Services Advisor programs. With Sherweb, it takes only 10 minutes to start reselling, and licence provisioning is completed in a snap. No human interaction is required. We offer the best margins in the industry with a complete set of cloud services, so you can rely on us as your one-stop shop provider.