Making the Most of Security Certifications

Consider what security certifications say about your business, and make sure you're leveraging the full value of these certifications.

3 Min Read
Close up of woman signing certificate

Certifications have been de rigueur in IT for decades, with both general and specialized ones for all manner of systems administration. Rare is the technology pro who doesn’t hold some combination of industry- and vendor-driven certifications in disciplines such as networking and systems architecture.

By comparison, the growing list of specialty security certifications is fairly young. With the exception of the 25-year-old Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) certification, most of the popular security-specific certs today are less than a decade old.

In enterprise environments, debate rages over the true value of certifications such as CompTIA’s Security+, SANS’ Global Information Assurance Certification Security Essentials (GSEC) or EC-Council’s Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH). Some organizations view them as vital for security team members, while others dismiss them as an academic expression of skills that demand practical experience and capability.

In the channel, however, the question is less about how certifications are viewed by others in the security industry and more about how they reflect a partner’s trustworthiness, capabilities, and commitment to an audience of non-technical clients and prospects. In this regard, certifications have tremendous value to security practitioners looking to rise above the pack in a popular technology services space crowded with competitors of wildly varying skill levels.

When going to market, hard-earned security certifications in hand, consider what these certs say about your business and can do for your sales.

Certifications foster the trust factor.
The relationship with a security services provider is, first and foremost, a matter of trust. A client or prospect needs to have complete faith that the partner is willing and capable of protecting the assets they hold most dear. A security certification is like a lighted placard that declares, “Security is our mission.” It’s a valuable tool to help set your practice apart from the legion of generalists dabbling in infosec.

Certifications demonstrate your commitment.
Certifications aren’t easy to acquire or maintain. Partners that invest the time, effort and money in earning one of the top security certifications demonstrate to clients that they care about staying abreast of ever-shifting infosec technologies and methods. It’s a quality that makes a partner’s security services offerings more desirable than those of noncertified competitors.

Certifications show technical acumen.
Part of the high bar that certifications set is based on the level of technical acumen that respected certs demand. The most popular certifications require both functional knowledge and the hands-on application of skills. Test environments include realistic exercises involving the configuration of systems and controls that prove to clients you can accomplish what you claim. This serves to set your business apart from those moonlighting in security.

Certifications help you recruit and keep top talent.
Among the biggest challenges channel security practitioners face today are the recruiting and retention of skilled infosec staffers. Just as it’s important to establish your security bona fides with clients, you need to demonstrate to prospective employees that your organization is committed to security and that it values ongoing professional improvement. Both are key considerations for security staffers evaluating employment opportunities in what is decidedly a seller’s market.

Winning new business in information security takes both technical acumen and trust. Customers need to feel confident that a security services provider has the skills and experience necessary to safeguard their critical digital assets. When it comes to establishing credibility, vendor-agnostic certifications from reputable industry training and standards organizations tell the customer that partners can be trusted to employ best practices and ethical standards and are committed to advancing their security knowledge.

Need help identifying the certifications that are right for your security business? Ingram Micro can help. To find out how, or to learn about our resources and support for growing a security practice, contact us at [email protected]

This guest blog is part of a Channel Futures sponsorship.

Free Newsletters for the Channel
Register for Your Free Newsletter Now

You May Also Like