I don’t have to tell you how fierce the competition is out there. Today, IT solution providers and integrators need every advantage to remain competitive and stand apart. Of course, lowering prices is one way to stand apart and win business, but that’s a long-term recipe for failure. An alternative is to build you or your company up as a thought leader—whether in your industry, region or vertical specialty. Certifications are one great way to do this.
Hopefully, as a security professional, you’re aware of ASIS International. What you might not know is the association has a few board certifications that can really make your company stand out. The Certified Protection Professional (CPP), Professional Certified Investigator (PCI) and Physical Security Professional (PSP) are extremely detailed, focused certifications. Each requires months of study and about a $1,000 investment in course materials and the exam fee. Additionally, once the certifications are earned, continuing yearly education is required. However, earning and maintaining these certifications illustrates a serious commitment to and depth of knowledge about the practice of physical security. These aren’t designations every company can flaunt, so those who have CPPs, PCIs or PSPs on staff rightfully make it a big part of their marketing, and cash in. If you’re looking to stand apart, this is a great way to do it.
Certifications from the vendors (hardware and software) whose products you sell are also important. Earning these certifications is a shorter process than the board certifications mentioned above but still help to illustrate your company’s competency. Costs for certifications among your vendors will vary, as will requirements and the education process itself. Some vendors offer online training, while others have training at their offices or regionally.
Earning these certifications will help you stand apart from competitors who might be selling the same products but haven’t made the effort to get certified. It also shows a level of commitment to your vendor partners that they want to see. Some vendors even offer financial incentives to those partners who earn certifications. There are also benefits to your customers, since you’ll be better equipped to develop solutions that meet their needs and function as intended. In short, there’s little reason not to pursue these certifications.
If you’re looking to really stand apart and get very specialized, you might want to consider advanced degrees. There are a number of different criminal justice-, security- and terrorism-based degrees offered today by colleges and universities. Making the investment in time (years) and tuition to earn these degrees shows the highest level of commitment. Surely, doing so is difficult costly work, but consider the value in approaching customers with such credentials. In fact, those credentials position you as an industry expert, so customers and others should soon be approaching you. With some strategic marketing, you can become a sought-after thought leader in your industry.
Of course, there’s one other great area for training, and that’s through Ingram Micro. Talk to your Ingram Micro rep about ways we can accelerate your learning and boost your security IQ.
In today’s highly competitive landscape, serious security solution providers and integrators are making the above-mentioned education and thought leadership a priority. Having earned any or all of these certifications, you can differentiate and remove yourself from the mass of other security-focused solutions providers and justify the prices you charge.