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Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Cisco Encourages Solution Providers to Specialize in Security

Executives from Cisco state that they’d like to see solution providers start to move into new, more daring areas. Cisco announced it would be encouraging a group of partners and solution providers to change their business to specialize in security in order to address the need for new and sophisticated security solutions. Cisco and Microsoft are also both trying to get security partners to start using network access control solutions run by their technologies.

The new solution providers security program, “Master Security” specialization will be the first in a line of new high level badges for partners and solution providers that want to root themselves in very specialized technology. This new announcement comes on the heels of last week’s announcement of plans to ensure that network access control technologies from Microsoft and Cisco will not work together, presenting increased consulting opportunities for channel partners.

Many solution providers are excited about going after this new Master Security specialization, stating the importance of specialization in the quest to improve their position within the marketplace and fully realize their unique “brand.” The new specialization offered by Cisco will help set partners apart from the rest that have worked hard to get involved in security and encourage new partners to get more involved. Because the process of certification is arduous, not every partner will be able to or want to complete it.

Requirements for the Master Security portion of the new solution providers program will be revealed later today, with the requirements for the enhanced “Master Unified Communications” badge announced within the next 30-45 days. There will also be more badge opportunities coming out that focus in areas including wireless and data center technologies, but they are currently being evaluated.

Qualifying for Master Security requires solution providers to hold Cisco’s Advanced Security badge and a few industry-recognized Cisco and non-Cisco certifications. Partners must also pass an on-site validation of expertise by an impartial auditor and have as many as five reference accounts to prove sophisticated skills. Master-level partners will get discounts on security products similar to those Gold partners get, cash back in Cisco’s Value Incentive Program rebate initiative and a mention on Cisco’s online partner locator tool.

Created By: Computer Consulting Kit