It is possible for small (and large) businesses to start operating in the security industry with fewer barriers to entry, given the significant demand for security solutions in response to a high crime rate in South Africa. Yet not all resellers are equal, and end-user companies (and even consumers) can be adversely affected by a recommendation or specification, installation, support and maintenance that is incorrect.
This makes it essential for resellers to undergo training and obtain certification from vendors, in order to ensure that a security solution or product is correctly specified, efficiently installed, maintained and operated.
Scale influences complexity
Setting up security solutions is not that difficult. As long as the security professional has a clear understanding of what that business needs, and what can be supplied to meet those needs. It’s a simple matter of setting up a camera layout detailing the position of the client’s cameras, and giving the client access to that surveillance system.
Problems arise when complex sites need to be addressed, as these are larger, more complex solutions, with possibly thousands of cameras. This requires the security professional to have an understanding of how to build major networks, and major applications that interact with each other without clashing.
It’s clear that the biggest factor determining how easy a solution is to set up is related to scale, as well as the client’s requirements on that solution. While it might be complex to set up surveillance for an airport, it could be just as complicated to do so in the case of a diamond dealer that needs to be able to count tiny stones on a desk using a surveillance solution.
To certify or not to certify?
Resellers might choose not to invest in vendor or product certification due to financial implications. It costs money to attend training and obtain certification. In addition, it requires an investment in time. Smaller businesses often prefer to spend this time generating sales and securing business, while larger companies don’t want to spend the time required to motivate and chase approvals for training budgets.
On the other hand, there are also those companies that believe that they’re capable of offering and implementing solutions without specific vendor-training. However, what we have discovered is that those companies that attend the vendor training and certification courses have learned things that they would not have learned on their own. With training, security reseller professionals are able to operate the products in a manner that is more efficient for what is required, making the systems integrator more efficient at what they are offering customers.
Avoid certification at your own peril
If a reseller does not obtain vendor or product certification, there are certain products that they will not be authorised to sell. This means that business effectively precludes itself from certain markets, purely because of the lack of training and certification. There’s also the potential that, by not understanding the product correctly, the security professional could bring down an entire site by making an error in configuration.
Going back to the example of the airport, this is a site where the CCTV system is integrated with access control, which might be integrated with the fire system and if the individual makes a mistake they’re bringing down multiple systems, not just the CCTV.
If a security professional has proper training and certification, the end user benefits greatly. The professional knows what he is doing and it’s likely that the implemented solution will be utilised to its best capabilities, using the current technologies available.
Training provided by vendors can change the way a system operates, effectively giving the end-user the full benefit of the product and allowing the business to leverage their investment fully. Undergoing vendor training and certification also impacts the resellers’ reputation and ability to secure repeat business, purely because the reseller is able to give the customer what they need, ensuring return business. Without certification and training, there’s the risk that a security business could develop a reputation as a ‘fly-by-nighter’.
The benefits of certification for the reseller
With proper certification, the reseller is more familiar with the system they are selling. This means they are fully equipped to utilise it to its full capacity, because they keep up with the current technology changes. When planning, configuring and setting up systems, they have tools at their disposal which would have been taught on the course, giving resellers product knowledge and making it easier to sell appropriate solutions on to their customers.
In short, security resellers need to stop looking at vendor certification as an expense, and consider it an investment in skills which will open doors to new markets and new customers.
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