Open Systems recently received one of Microsoft’s Advanced Specialization certifications for Threat Protection for demonstrating our deep knowledge, experience and success in deploying Microsoft 365 Defender, Azure Defender, Microsoft Cloud App Security and Azure Sentinel workloads.

This is a significant achievement for us because the Advanced Specialization certifications program is a priority for Microsoft’s channel organization, which is designed to help customers identify the best Microsoft partners to complete their digital transformations. Rodney Clark, Microsoft’s Channel Chief, stated in a recent media interview that “A lot of our customers are now coming to us with a digital path already charted,” Clark said. “And so now, what they’re looking for are solutions that snap into that—as opposed to, before they were looking for a partner organization to provide that digital path. So what that means for our ecosystem is, for them to drive the higher-value services and for them to drive the higher-value workloads—which translates to profitability—they need to focus on advanced specialization.

"What we want is our sellers to recognize who those partners are—because they are going to be deeper in industry, they’re going to be deeper in the specific solution areas,” Clark said. “Those partners who drive those specializations, we’re investing more heavily in go-to-market with them.”

Organizations worldwide are maximizing their Microsoft-based security infrastructures with complementary products and solutions – like our MDR+ service – offered by Microsoft’s thousands of security partners. Finding the right solution amongst so many offerings can be a truly daunting task however, which brings me to the second reason this certification is so important: it works like a spotlight.

So, receiving this Advanced Specialization certification isn’t just good news for us, it’s also good news for all organizations that entrust their cybersecurity to the Microsoft security stack.

Peace of Mind

As my colleague, and Open Systems’ CISO, Ric Longenecker says “Noise in the market makes it difficult for enterprises to make informed vendor selections. Certifications provide enterprises with peace of mind by illustrating that Open Systems’ solutions have been through a rigorous review.”

Before the process even begins partners must first have an active Gold Security competency. After attaining this competency, partners must meet a stringent set of requirements, which include meeting certain performance criteria, achieving a variety of technical certifications and their engineers must pass relevant exams. In addition to all this, the intensive certification process includes lengthy interviews with no less than three joint customers who must all verify that candidates live up to their claims.

A great example of just such a customer is the College of Southern Nevada (CSN). Our joint success with CSN not only demonstrates the effectiveness of our MDR+ service, it’s an example of our growing success with mid-market companies. There are 200,000 mid-market companies in the US alone, with annual revenues ranging from $10 million to $1 billion, and they represent a tremendous opportunity.

Relationship Deepens

This certification is also an example of our deepening relationship with Microsoft. Other notable examples include:

Look for the Advanced Specialization Label

Microsoft should really be applauded for this effort because it’s hard to overstate the value of these Advanced Specialization certifications for all the enterprises out there striving to maximize their Microsoft investments. Forget wasting time evaluating potential vendors; you can now zero-in on qualified vendors with the specific solutions and expertise to complete your company’s digital transformation or bolster its security posture.