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CompTIA Trustmark aims to vet cloud vendors and distributors

CompTIA has added a new Trustmark+ accreditation for cloud vendors and distributors. The accreditation aims to help channel partners compare the many cloud companies.

CompTIA announced a new Trustmark+ accreditation today called the CompTIA Cloud Trustmark+, which targets cloud vendors and distributors and benefits channel partners. Trustmark-accredited businesses have demonstrated a set of behaviors, policies and repeatable processes, or best business practices.

Up until this newest Trustmark offering, the nonprofit trade association's five Trustmark accreditations have targeted only partner firms. However, members of CompTIA Communities recently turned to CompTIA for help in comparing the increasing number of cloud vendors vying for their business.

"Our communities asked us to help them vet the cloud companies that were sending them emails. They had no way of knowing if one cloud vendor was better than another," said Miles Jobgen, director of the Trustmark program for CompTIA.

So the nonprofit devised a new Trustmark accreditation for cloud vendors and distributors.

The Cloud Trustmark+ for cloud vendors and distributors is designed to demonstrate that recipients are well positioned to offer the right policies, tools and security, as well as have a program for partners and a process to onboard them and provide training, according to Jobgen.

CompTIA's Trustmark+ is a high-level credential that includes an audit and third-party assessment and review. It requires documentation for corporate and product overview, go-to-market strategy, channel partner strategy, security and infrastructure, and internal operations and supports.

The credential doesn't evaluate a vendor's cloud offering per se, but how the vendor runs the organization and gets its offering into the hands of its partners.

CompTIA's two main goals for the CompTIA Cloud Trustmark+ is that it achieves a common standard for partners to compare cloud vendors and that it helps partners identify cloud vendors that offer the level of support that their channel businesses require, according to Jobgen.

The new Cloud Trustmark+ is available now. By the end of April, expect to see a handful of cloud vendors and distributors who participated in a beta of Cloud Trustmark+, such as Intronis Inc., Datto, Ingram Micro and Tech Data, earn their credential.

The cost of the initial Cloud Trustmark+ credential is $1,750 for a CompTIA member and $3,000 for a nonmember. The credential is good for 12 months, after which time the cloud vendor must go through a renewal process to prove ongoing adherence to the credential requirements. Renewal costs are $250 for CompTIA members and $500 for nonmembers.

Once a vendor has its business processes and papers in order, attaining the Cloud Trustmark+ takes about two to three weeks.

The potential number of cloud company candidates for the Cloud Trustmark+ credential is in the thousands, according to Jobgen. "As we launch the program we hope to have about 15 to 20 cloud companies by summer and build momentum from there," he said.

By offering a Trustmark to vendors, CompTIA is signaling a strategic shift in its membership focus has until now targeted channel partners only. "This is a way to get the attention of vendors, have them come and talk to us, and hopefully attract new members," said Jobgen.

CompTIA offers three Trustmark+ credentials: Security Trustmark+, Accredit UK Trustmark+ and the new Cloud Trustmark+. The organization also offers three Trustmark credentials: IT Business Trustmark, Managed Print Trustmark and Managed Services Trustmark. The Accredit UK Trustmark+ and IT Business Trustmark are only available in the U.K. According to Jobgen, CompTIA is exploring making them available globally.

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Is there a need for certifications like CompTIA Cloud Trustmark+?
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There is definitely need for the CompTIA Cloud trustmark. It allows channel partners to compare the services of the many cloud companies. Over time, the Trustmark-accredited companies possess a given set of behavior and adhere to certain policies that constitute good business practices. From the onset, the accreditation was meant for partner vendors, but later on the CompTIA Communities asked for the Trustmark’s help in comparing the bulging number of cloud vendors and distributors.
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