Looking for your next IT partner? But struggling to differentiate between them?
Most IT partners will claim to be the quickest, most secure, and most reliable option. But if they’re all saying the same thing, how do you know who to believe?
Accreditations and certifications are an excellent indicator for the reliability and trustworthiness of your next IT partner, especially as they’re usually verified by an independent third party.
But it’s important to note that not all accreditations hold equal value, and having more accreditations isn’t necessarily better if those accreditations aren’t valuable or well respected. A long list of accreditations is great, but some are much harder to acquire than others, meaning they’re worth a lot more to you as a potential client.
In some instances, the badges you see on an IT provider’s website may simply refer to the brand of products they sell, meaning they’re authorised to sell that product but not that they’ve had any specific training or hold any expertise in that technology.
In other cases, such as with Microsoft accreditations, the company is required to train its engineers to pass specific Microsoft exams (which are no walk in the park). To display these accreditations, the company must also prove that they support a certain number of customers using these solutions.
If you don’t have a technical background, it will be incredibly difficult to determine which accreditations hold the most value. That’s why we’ve put together our top accreditations to look out for when choosing your next IT partner.
The top security certifications to look out for:
If your business suffers a cyber-attack the implications can be severe. You could suffer from:
- Financial loss due to paying ransoms, losing clients, or succumbing to fines from authorities
- Damage to your reputation, meaning you potentially lose clients and struggle to build new client relationships
- Breaching industry and standard compliance regulations
- Disruption to the functionality of your business if IT equipment is compromised, preventing your employees from working effectively
As such, having an IT partner who has invested in protecting their data, as well as your data, is vital. And security accreditations are a great way to identify those IT companies who go the extra mile to secure their business.
The ISO 27001 accreditation is the international standard for information security management. It acknowledges the strict protocols a business has in place to protect their customers’ confidential information.
ISO 27001 certified IT Support companies are independently audited once a year to ensure they have robust systems and processes in place to control access to networks, systems, workstations, servers, and data.
Click here to read about our ISO 27001 certification.
Cyber Essentials is a government backed certification run by the National Cyber Security Centre which ensures its holders can guard against the most common cyber threats.
Organisations are assessed against five basic security controls. The controls explain how to:
- Secure your internet connection
- Secure your devices and software
- Control access to your data and services
- Protect your viruses and other malware
- Keep your devices and software up to date
Organisations can also get Cyber Essentials Plus certified. This means they have fulfilled all the requirements of Cyber Essentials, as well as undergoing a hands-on technical verification.
Click here to read more about our Cyber Essentials Plus certification.
CISSP is an acronym for Certified Information Systems Security Professional. The qualification is issued by global leading cyber security organisation, (ISC)². It’s described by the Cyber Security Trends Spotlight Report 2017 as “the most valued credential among employers” and is often referred to as the gold-standard information security certification.
The CISSP exam assesses knowledge across 8 key security domains:
- Security and risk management
- Asset security
- Security architecture and engineering
- Identity and access management
- Security assessment and testing
- Security operations
- Software development security
To qualify, IT professionals must successfully pass the examination and have at least five cumulative years of relevant working experience within the cyber space.
Click here to learn more about our CISSP certification.
CREST is an international accreditation and certification body that represents and supports the technical information security market. Being a CREST member involves adhering to strict security standards which have been reviewed and endorsed by qualified regulators. The accreditation demonstrates an organisation’s skill and competence in penetration testing and delivering the highest standard of cyber security solutions to their clients.
Click here to learn more about our CREST certification.
Partner certifications are an excellent way of identifying how skilful an IT company is in managing and maintaining certain technologies.
Microsoft Gold Partner
If you use Microsoft systems and applications, make sure your IT support provider is a Microsoft Gold partner. Make sure they are GOLD and not just a Microsoft “certified partner”, “registered partner” or “silver partner”. These accreditations are much easier to obtain and do not require such a high level of expertise or experience with Microsoft systems.
- Gold partners must employ Microsoft Certified Professionals (MCPs)
- Gold partners must attain Microsoft Competencies, for example in “Cloud Productivity”, “Windows and Devices”, “Application Development” and many others
- Obtaining competencies requires staff to study and pass specific exams relating to that competency
- Obtaining competencies also requires the company to provide the relevant solutions to a specified number of customers
- At least two competencies must be obtained in order to be a Gold Partner
Apple Consultants Network
Members of the Apple Consultants Network specialise in providing and supporting Apple solutions. This includes devices such as iPads, iPhones, iMacs, MacBook Pros and MacBook Airs.
Other partnership certifications
IT providers will likely have multiple partnerships with various brands. It’s important to note that unlike Microsoft Gold Partnerships and Apple Consultants Networks, these don’t all require employees to be fully trained in their products, services, and technologies.
Click here to see a full list of our certifications, accreditations, and partnerships, including Microsoft Gold Partnership and Apple Consultants Network.
What if you want to earn your own certifications?
Holding your own certifications can be an effective way of proving to your clients the measures you’re taking to improve their client experience, particularly when it comes to cyber security.
A good IT partner should not only have their own security certifications, they should also have the skills and resources to be able to support you in gaining your own certifications.
Click here to find out how we helped our client gain their Cyber Essentials certification in just three days!
Other ways you can verify the credibility of your next IT partner
Whilst accreditations and certifications are vital in choosing the right IT partner for your business, there are other ways you can verify the credibility of your next IT partner, including:
Successful IT providers will have a catalogue of client feedback to demonstrate that they’re quick, reliable, and willing to go the extra mile. It’s worth looking out for case studies or testimonials that are specific, whether that’s a specific industry, project, or scenario. This will give you a good idea of how your potential next IT provider performs in different situations, and how this could apply to your business.
Google and Trustpilot reviews are also a good indicator of genuine end user experience.
Follow the links below to view some of our client feedback:
Awarding bodies act as another means of verifying the credibility of IT providers. When entering awards, IT companies will be required to provide solid evidence of success, client satisfaction, innovation, and technical excellence. Awards finalists and winners have, therefore, proven their ability as successful IT providers in one or more ways, making them a good option when choosing your next IT partner.
Click here to learn more about our awards.
We hope you’ve found this information helpful and can use it to decide on your next IT partner.
To learn more about how our IT services can help your business succeed, contact us to speak to one of our experts.
Or for more information on how to decide between potential IT partners, download our IT guide and checklist below.
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Ensure you’re asking the right questions to find the right IT partner for your business.
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