Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Channel Certs

Much like this blog, I'm a few weeks behind on this one, but I haven't seen it anywhere else besides Channel Insider, so I'm going to bring it up. I'm glad to see Symantec kill their VAR certification requirements, but disappointed at the same time.

In case you don't know, VAR's and other channel resellers are typically required to have some number of people complete some number of certification exams for their products in order to gain various levels of partner status. What you may also not know - but probably want to know if you are a VAR customer - is that these are not the same exams that you or your employees can train for and take. They're much easier. And they're not proctored - typically delivered via web site, it's easy to cheat or have someone else take the exam for them.

I used to work for a VAR and I acquired an even dozen of these things. Bigger vendors like Microsoft and Cisco make partners get the real sit-down certs because they can, and that's a good thing. Of course, Symantec is a BIG vendor, but outside of Win32 AV, their market share in any single infosec product space is smallish. I understand their decision to pull their channel cert program because they need all of the channel help they can get for their SGS appliances (formerly [C]Raptor) and the like. But I wish they, and other companies that have VAR channels, would hold their partners to stricter standards. It hurts everyone, but mostly VAR customers, when a vendor lauds a VAR as a 'Name Brand integration specialist' and in reality the VAR sends someone out to install your new, brightly-colored 2U appliance who has read the product PDF's and has a direct line to Tier-3 support, but has never actually installed one before.

Some customer must be that engineer's first install. How do you know it's not you?

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