The 5 Most Valuable Certifications Your IT Provider Should Have

JP Lessard April 10, 2015

What important IT certifications should your IT provider possess and how do they help your business?

Regardless of your industry, when you are evaluating companies to do business with in any capacity, a major part of the vetting process is determining their qualifications. Since many companies are good at selling themselves, this process can be challenging. If available, materials like case studies are a great way to evaluate certain qualifications, but one of the best methods is to look at a company’s industry-recognized certifications.

Certifications are a good evaluation tool because they are recognition from a third party that the company itself or one of its employees has demonstrated the requisite skills or knowledge in order to become certified. Anyone can say, “I’m proficient in this,” but possessing a certification from a third party is proof that someone else evaluated this claim and deemed them so as well.

When it comes to information technology, there are a multitude of certifications that employees can obtain to recognize their technical knowledge and expertise. When evaluating IT providers, it is important to understand which ones will bring added value to your business. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some valuable certifications that your IT provider’s employees should possess:

1. Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) and Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP) Certifications

Business networks are typically complex, and it takes a certain level of expertise to maintain and troubleshoot them. Your business is in good hands if you have a group of knowledgeable experts at your side. Cisco offers a variety of networking certifications, and the knowledge and experience necessary to achieve them is a valuable asset to any business’s IT infrastructure.

A strong, fundamental knowledge of networking is essential in diagnosing a multitude of issues in many environments, and the Cisco certifications focus on this. “Cisco certifications are structured in such a way that teaches network fundamentals, not just Cisco specific configuration,” says Matt Haedo, Senior Implementation Specialist at Miles Technologies. “A CCNA level certification demonstrates a strong understanding of networking concepts and indicates the ability of the individual to not only work on Cisco networks, but networks in general.”

2. Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA): Windows Server

Windows Server, the most recent release being Server 2012 R2, is a name for a group of server operating systems from Microsoft. These operating systems are found on many business servers that are a fundamental part of companies’ IT infrastructures. The skills and knowledge necessary to achieve this certification is a vital asset for troubleshooting server issues and keeping business downtime to a minimum. “Anyone working with a Windows domain will be better served with the knowledge those tests require you to have,” says John White, IT Consultant at Miles Technologies.

3. VMware Data Center Virtualization Certifications

Virtualization is becoming more prevalent as companies look for ways to increase efficiency and reduce IT costs. Depending on the size and complexity of your business’s IT infrastructure, virtualization could be a worthwhile investment. If you are considering virtualization options, it is important to have an IT provider with employees who are experienced in this area. This is why the VMware certification is valuable. “ With Virtual machines becoming more of a norm, it is essential to know how to configure virtual environments using one of the world’s most popular tool sets for doing so,” says White.

4. MCSA: Office 365 and Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE): Messaging

Office 365 is Microsoft’s online office suite, offering productivity software and other services like cloud-based email servers. The MSCE: Messaging certification is awarded for expert proficiency in Microsoft Exchange Server 2013, a locally hosted email server. These certifications represent expertise in two of the most prominent business mail servers. Communication is a key component of any business, and whether your infrastructure supports locally hosted email or you currently have or are considering moving to a cloud-based server, your business needs its email and messaging to function seamlessly. Delays in communication mean delays in business, and you want your IT provider to be knowledgeable and skilled enough to set you up for success and troubleshoot any messaging-related issues that may arise.

5. QuickBooks ProAdvisor Certifications

Intuit’s QuickBooks, a preeminent accounting software, is utilized by businesses across a wide range of industries. Having an IT provider with an extensive knowledge of QuickBooks is a valuable asset to your business. “Any downtime with your accounting software can cause major headaches and impact productivity,” says Chris Guido, Senior Marketing Strategist at Miles Technologies. “Working with an IT provider that possesses ProAdvisor certifications not only ensures your provider knows how to address technical problems that may occur with your accounting software, but, as an added bonus, they will also be able to provide guidance and insight on the functional aspects of QuickBooks.”

What other top certifications out there do you think are essential for IT providers to have? What other criteria do you consider when evaluating and vetting IT providers to determine the best fit for your company? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

Have any questions about these IT certifications or want to learn more about how they can provide value to your business’s information technology? Contact us today to speak to an experienced IT advisor.

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