The Computing Technology Industry Association (Comptia), a global IT trade association based in Oakbrook Terrace, Ill., with offices in Toronto, will introduce Security Trustmark, a business-level accreditation sometime during this year’s fourth quarter as a way to promote best practices and baseline standards for solution providers working in the security realm.
Bob Biddle, vice-president of e-business and software solutions at Comptia, said for many of the association’s members who work in the managed services space, there was a growing need for channel partners to have a business-level accreditation in the security space.
“Solution providers need to show they’re conducting best practices in the security arena,” Biddle said. “The reason for this is because partners can’t do a deep dive into managed services without having a good security plan and knowledge in place.”
After recognizing this need, the board decided to develop the Security Trustmark initiative, a vendor-neutral business accreditation, which Biddle said will be formally announced during its Comptia show to take place in Orlando next month. Biddle said Comptia is working with vendors such as Kaseya, McAfee, Microsoft, N-able Technologies, Secure My Company and Symantec to help put together the accreditation, which is made up of 12 key areas including file backup, password policies, firewall, data management, risk assessment and so on.
“Key vendors have given us expertise and support to help put together the program,” Biddle said. “Security Trustmark is a business-level accreditation where the business owner or one of the principal consultants of the business will go through this process to show us what they’re doing in the security space with their organizations.”
By attaining Comptia’s Security Trustmark accreditation, solution providers will be able to better differentiate themselves from others who are also in this space, Biddle said. It will then become easy for partners to recommend the right security solutions to end-users since they will already have foundational security practices and baseline security standards in place, he adds.
Biddle estimates that the application process for Security Trustmark should take no longer than 30 days. The process includes a Web-based pre-application, an analysis of the pre-application, a formal Security Trustmark application and application review. Security Trustmark for Comptia members will cost $1,695 for the first year and $1,995 for non-members. Renewal costs for the Security Trustmark accreditation have not yet been set, but Biddle says it will probably be half of the original fee.
Comptia is currently working with Interwork Technologies Inc. to carry out a beta round of Security Trustmark with select resellers this month. Interwork is a value-added distributor of VoIP and security products based in Ottawa that serves over 4,000 security resellers in North America. Ken Lewis, vice-president of sales and marketing at Interwork, said the distributor is reaching out to approximately 20 of its top resellers to introduce them to the Security Trustmark accreditation. Of the 20, Lewis says he plans on signing on about 10 of them to the Comptia program by the end of this month.
“I believe the solution provider that has the Security Trustmark certification will win more opportunities,” Lewis said. “It’s not based on price anymore because end-users are required by law to be compliant, especially in the U.S., and they want a true security reseller to help them. Security Trustmark is really an in-depth program and it will set a high standard for security resellers.”
Once beta testing is complete, Security Trustmark is expected to be widely available to security solution providers sometime this fourth quarter between October 1 to December 31. By early next year, Biddle said he anticipates a rapid expansion and adoption of the program.
“We want to embrace the companies that are supporting this initiative and their partner community and maybe somehow incorporate it into their reseller programs,” Biddle said.
Established in 1982 under the name, Association of Better Computer Dealers, Inc., the association later re-named itself to what is today known as Comptia. The association currently serves over 20,000 individuals in the IT channel in over 100 countries. Steven Ostrowski, spokesperson at Comptia, said the association’s members includes distributors, VARs, solution providers, individual IT professionals, as well as organizations that rely on technology for business in sectors such as financial services, education, manufacturing, retail, and more.
“Our mission is to serve the success of the IT industry,” Ostrowski said. “Offering professional certifications for IT workers is what we’re best known for. A lot of what we do to serve the industry isn’t intended for members only. We also have offerings that are free of charge, but if you’re a member, of course you have access to more.”