Dan Truax General Manager, Global Partner Solutions

Differentiating your organization with an advanced specialization in threat protection

Cybersecurity signs

Update February 25, 2021: Information on the new Information Protection and Governance advanced specialization added below.

Update November 18, 2020: Information on the new Microsoft Identity and Access Management advanced specialization added below.

Digital transformation has evolved many businesses into tech companies, and as a result cybersecurity has continued to gain prominence—not only among IT professionals but across all departments. High-profile incidents over the past several years have driven home the importance of security for business leaders, and the accelerated adoption of remote work this year has further elevated the importance of guarding the data your organization depends on to operate.

October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month (NCSAM), an annual moment that helps all of us to focus on evangelizing the importance of cybersecurity to ensure everyone has the resources they need to be safe online. Throughout the month, I encourage you to accept Tracey Pretorius’s challenge from her recent blog post, where she encouraged all of us to “reflect on your own organization’s security journey and to consider what else you can do to keep the people and information that your company depends on safe.”

Microsoft is committed to ensuring you have the resources and guidance you need to help your organization—and ultimately your customers—secure your data. With this in mind, I’m thrilled to announce new advanced specializations for Microsoft Threat Protection, Microsoft Identity and Access Management, and Microsoft Information Protection and Governance that partners with an active Gold Security competency can now achieve.

Advanced specialization—Microsoft Threat Protection  

The Threat Protection advanced specialization validates your technical capabilities in partnering with customers to deploy Microsoft 365 or Azure Defender, Microsoft Cloud App Security, or Azure Sentinel workloads. To earn an advanced specialization in this area, partners with an active gold Security competency must meet a stringent set of requirements including performance criteria, passing exams and certifications, and providing validated customer references.

Advanced Specialization—Microsoft Identity and Access Management   

The Identity and Access Management advanced specialization validates your technical capabilities in partnering with customers to evaluate and deliver Microsoft Identity workloads with Azure Active Directory. To earn an advanced specialization in this area, partners with an active gold Cloud Platform competency must meet a stringent set of requirements including performance criteria, passing exams and certifications, and obtaining validated customer references. 

Identity and access management is a critical component of both the Zero Trust framework and your customer’s security strategy. Customers need secure and unified access management that protects their employees, partners, and customers while ensuring every access request is fully authenticated, authorized, and encrypted before granting access. This can be particularly challenging for customers who do are still building the technical sophistication to effectively implement a unified access management solution for internal and external users.  

Azure Active Directory offers a single solution that can help your customers overcome these challenges. It also supports single sign-on and multifactor authentication across a variety of applications to help your customers defend themselves from 99.9% of cybersecurity attacks.

Advanced specialization—Information Protection and Governance

The Information Protection and Governance advanced specialization validates your organization’s capabilities to successfully deploy Microsoft Information Protection workloads and provide proactive information protection strategies. It can help you differentiate your capabilities and showcase your organization’s proven skills and experience meeting customers’ security and compliance needs.

Customers are turning to Microsoft partners for support with implementing information protection solutions and to access deep knowledge and experience around managing and mitigating risks associated with their unstructured data. There is also growing demand for assistance to ensure compliance with data and privacy regulations across different regions, including the European Union’s GDPR and California’s CPRA.

While achieving an advanced specialization requires an investment of time and resources, doing so is an effective way to showcase your technical capabilities and expertise, which helps to differentiate your organization in the marketplace. Advanced specializations help customers to easily identify the companies that are best positioned to meet their needs, and they open up greater visibility for your organization in customer searches and the Microsoft partner directory.

As the rapid pace of digital transformation continues to reshape the digital landscape, cybersecurity will only increase in relevance for individuals, organizations, governments and communities across the globe. I encourage all of our partners to work towards achieving an advanced specialization in Threat Protection, Identity and Access Management, and Information Protection and Governance so you’re better positioned to meet the evolving cybersecurity needs of your customers. You can review a list of all advanced specializations currently offered for the Microsoft Partner Network here.