DO YOU NEED another professional organization sending emails and calling meetings you don't have time to attend? No, but if you care about the future of IT state regulations, check out the National Society of IT Service Providers (NSITSP).
When Louisiana enacted the first law requiring MSPs and MSSPs who do business with “public bodies” to register with the state—fallout from a ransomware attack that impacted cities and agencies across the state—it was a shot across the bow, says Amy Babinchak, NSITSP president and owner of Harbor Computer Services, an MSP in Royal Oak, Mich. "When the state of Louisiana suffered a ransomware attack, the Secretary of State searched for our national organization but couldn't find one," she says. Ransomware has become such a big topic that Babinchak anticipates MSPs “will eventually be licensed."
As states follow Louisiana's lead and draft legislation affecting IT service firms, now is "a perfect time to get involved and make sure we have a seat at the table," according to NSITSP founder and former MSP Karl Palachuk. No IT association currently lobbies politicians, he notes.
NSITSP’s first move is to drive legislation that state governments can use as a starting point for laws that increase compliance with high security standards and limit the liability of IT service providers when clients who ignore their advice get breached. "Many people have the client sign a waiver, but without a law that allows you to be relieved of liability, that paper is worthless," Palachuk says.
The society’s second mission is to foster professionalism in the SMB IT community by promoting codes of conduct like those followed by lawyers and CPA firms. The overarching goal, Palachuk notes, "is to publicly state that we hold ourselves and each other in higher standards." Everyone knows of IT companies that cut corners and act unprofessionally. "If those scoundrels feel unwelcome in the industry, that's OK," he adds.
Babinchak says the group gathered 58 volunteers "right off the bat," to get the ball rolling. She encourages people to go to the NSITSP website and read what the group is all about. "The more numbers, the more seriously the legislative bodies will take us."