CompTIA is the non-profit trade association advancing the global interests of information technology (IT) professionals and companies including manufacturers, distributors, resellers, and educational institutions. Since 1982 CompTIA has supported and led the global IT industry through educational programs, market research, networking events, professional certifications, and political advocacy.
Why Your IT Business Needs To Get Involved in Public Policy
Since the IT industry plays such an important role across so many sectors of the U.S. economy, it has direct influence over our nation’s ability to innovate, grow and create sustainable jobs. Not surprisingly, then, federal policy-makers want to know what they can do to help expand our industry. While these efforts are often well-intentioned and sometimes quite helpful, they’re occasionally a bit off-target.
As a consequence, it is crucial that industry provide input and expertise as various policy debates unfold. In Washington, D.C., larger technology companies are already well-represented and being heard on Capitol Hill. While there can be significant consensus throughout the industry on a variety of issues, small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) in IT have slightly different needs and concerns that are not as well-represented. That is where CompTIA has planted its flag – in support of the SMB tech entrepreneur.
A sizeable portion of anticipated workforce growth will come from start-ups and tech SMBs. The SMB sector of the IT industry accounts for about 40 percent of industry jobs, or more than 2 million workers, and 163,000 employer businesses that maintain a payroll. Moreover, there are an estimated 400,000 self-employed IT industry workers that are not classified as business establishments by the U.S. Census Bureau Economic Census but, nonetheless, provide meaningful employment and services throughout the country.
To have a stronger voice for tech SMBs on Capitol Hill and within the executive branch, we formed TechVoice in 2011. It’s a partnership of the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA), the Technology Councils of North America (TECNA), and participating regional technology associations. TechVoice gives eyes, ears...
Get Valuable Channel Education Whenever and Wherever You Need It
The vast majority of entrepreneurs who attempt to make any life- or business-altering changes typically fall back into their usual activities within weeks, if not days. After all, change rarely comes easy and long-established routines are the hardest to break, with most who attempt it defaulting back to a more comfortable practice.
That challenge is just one reason why successful solution providers look to industry associations and trusted partners such as vendors, distributors and consultants to help them break old habits and create new, more productive behaviors. The education and training programs offered by these organizations are typically designed to expand solution providers’ client-oriented skills and abilities, as well as their internal business processes.
Of course, the value of those programs and tools is often dependent on the flexibility they offer to prospective participants, whose busy schedules may not allow them to attend live classes or webinars from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. For solution providers, those time restrictions are often much tighter. Between the rapidly expanding needs of their clients and employees, as well as myriad business-related issues, there’s little time for the training and education needed to grow the business.
Of course, in the IT industry, change is a part of everyday activities. As innovation and customer needs continue to grow at breakneck speed, solution providers have to adapt their business practices just as fast if not faster to stay ahead of their competition. So when they can’t carve out time for a 1:00 p.m. webinar to help them acclimate to those changes or attend a distant conference to gain new skills, they may find themselves behind the eight ball. That is, unless they have access to the new CompTIA Read more.
ChannelTrends: Examining the Impact of IT Industry Business Credentials
People typically buy from those they trust and most industries recognize the companies that do more to earn that type of confidence from their customers. Perhaps that’s why business credentials have become more prominent in the IT community, with solution providers and vendors looking for new ways to validate the processes they put in place to offer top-quality services and products. After all, few accolades speak as loudly to current and prospective customers and other business partners as an endorsement from a well-respected group or industry association.
Of course, that may not be the key ingredient to every organization’s success, but it was central to New Millennium Technology Services president Frank Bravata’s managed services strategy. In his quest to gain prestige for his business and ensure that his team was well versed in and implementing industry best practices, he spent a lot of time reaching his options. His vision was to make this company’s name synonymous with managed services in the Long Island, NY, area; to stand out among a growing list of local and national providers targeting the area. What Bravata discovered was that the options available to B2B computer support organizations were extremely limited, with too narrow a scope to make an impact on his current and prospective customers.
“Without licensing requirements or similarly regulated standards in place for the IT industry, I looked for a highly reputable alternative that could validate our business practices and help boost our company’s presence and marketability,” Bravata said. After receiving information on the then-new CompTIA MSP Partners Trustmark and completing due diligence on the program and the benefits it offered successful applicants, he signed up...
Legislation Seeks to Eliminate the Patchwork of State Data Breach Notification Laws
Congressman J. Randy Forbes (R-VA) has prepared a draft data breach notification bill that serves as the best effort this year to eliminate the patchwork of state data breach notification laws. The bill would require “entities that acquire, maintain, store or utilize personal information” to report a data breach of customer information within 14 days of the breach. An entity that provides customer notice would be considered in compliance with the proposed rule.
The proposed rule also would impose a fine of up to $500,000 for failing to comply with the law. An entity that “intentionally violated” the notice requirements could be fined up to $1 million. Most importantly, the provision prohibits private rights of action, and it preempts all state and local data breach notification requirements.
Forbes will seek to introduce the bill in April for markup. However, this bill has a long way to go before it ever becomes law. We suspect that once this bill generates traction it will generate detractors who would prefer that a national data breach notification law mirror the California state data breach notification rules, which are significantly stricter in terms of how data breach is defined, including the triggers for customer notice and the severity of fines. In the meantime, CompTIA will work with the industry to build support for Forbes’ proposed data breach bill.
CompTIA Participates in House Small Business Committee Hearing on Cyber-Security
Yesterday the House Subcommittee on Health and Technology held a hearing titled “Protecting Small Businesses Against Emerging and Complex Cyber-Attacks.”
CompTIA’s own Dan Shapero, founder of ClikCloud, participated on a panel comprised of the following speakers:
- William H. Weber, senior vice president, general counsel, Cbeyond, Atlanta – testifying on behalf of the COMPTEL.
- Justin Freeman, corporate counsel, Rackspace, San Antonio, TX – testifying on behalf of the Application Developers Alliance.
- Phyllis A Schneck, chief technology officer public sector, McAfee, Inc., Reston, VA
Congressman Chris Collins, chairman of the Health and Technology Subcommittee, under the House Small Business Committee, organized the hearing to get a better grasp on what steps the federal government could take to help small businesses get a better understanding of the threats and opportunities in the cyber-security ecosystem.
Dan Shapero did an excellent job representing the perspective of the CompTIA member community. Since he was only allowed to speak for five minutes, he focused his comments on the need for a national framework on data breach notification and the importance of expanding vendor-neutral notifications to help fill 250,000 open IT jobs. In addition, Dan shared highlights from the Clikcloud blog on steps companies can take to better protect their assets against cyber-threats and attacks.
The other panelists agreed that more could be done to spread information about cyber-security best practices, as well as that small businesses could do more to implement appropriate policies around password protection and encryption. In addition, the panel agreed that cyber-security is an ongoing process and that information sharing was a critical tool for the industry to help combat cyber-attacks and...
ChannelTrends: For Women in IT, Voice Matters
As a father of three, I want my daughters to have the same career and life opportunities as my son will enjoy and vice-versa. Everyone should have a chance to pursue the vocation of their choice based on their aptitude and inclinations; regardless of their skin color, gender or lineage. While they may face a variety of challenges along the way, discrimination is a hurdle no one should encounter in 2013.
Perhaps that’s a reason why during Women’s History Month, so many workplace and IT industry discussions are focused on both the success of and remaining obstacles facing gender diversity. While some of these issues may not pertain exclusively to women, such as Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer’s decision to eliminate telecommuting, many do disproportionately affect them.
Sheryl Sandberg got very vocal about this disparity recently as she took to the airwaves to discuss and promote her book, Lean In. The Facebook COO strongly recommends that women be more assertive in their careers, fighting the stereotypes that cause them to defer leadership to men, set the bar low and resolve themselves to diminished roles in their organizations. Though Sandberg is being criticized for implying that women are responsible for their own career downfalls, her overall message of empowerment should be adopted by everyone.
Sandberg suggests that rather than worrying about knocking down gender walls, women embrace their careers as aggressively as men do while creating equal partnerships with their significant others at home. Even those who don’t agree with those elements of her book should acknowledge the importance of her empowering message to female workers. While...
What’s Missing from Tax Reform Discussions for Small Business
The U.S. House Committee on Ways and Means is continuing its work to develop a consensus on tax reform. Last month, chairman Dave Camp (R-MI) and ranking member Sandy Levin (D-MI) announced that 11 committee working groups would be formed to develop discussion drafts on various aspects of tax reform. Just last week, one of these working groups issued a Discussion Draft on Tax Reform for Small Businesses. While this draft does include a permanent extension of section 179 small business expensing, it limits the deduction to $250,000, as compared to the 2013 limitation of $500,000. We certainly agree that small business expensing should be made a permanent part of the income tax code. However, small businesses should be watchful that tax reform not be used as a means to scale back traditional small business tax benefits.
Besides a few provisions, such as making section 179 permanent, the major aim of the Discussion Draft is to bring consistency to the tax treatment of partnerships and S corporations. Currently, partnership taxation is controlled under Subchapter K of the Internal Revenue Code, while S corporations are guided by Subchapter S of the code. The Discussion Draft would either make some unifying changes to each subchapter or completely replace the existing tax subchapters with a single set of new rules. Unifying the tax treatment of these entities would definitely be helpful to businesses working to determine which tax form to select – partnership or...
All CompTIA Blog Blog Posts