We recently partnered with Network World to conduct a survey on IT certifications and I must say that the results surprised me, even though I was already a fan of IT certifications.

You can click here to see the full results, but to summarize:

  • 60% of the respondents said that having an IT certification helped them land a new job
  • 50% said that they earn more money thanks to their certifications
  • 30% said that their certifications helped them get a promotion

Wow! If there's ever been a time to think about getting a certification, especially with the economies and job markets being what they are, it seems to me that the time is now. The results of this survey also inspired me to write an article for Computer World highlighting how to decide which certifications to pursue and when. You can find that article here.

In the spirit of helping folks get certified, SolarWinds is offering 50% off of the certification exam for the SolarWinds Certified Professional (SCP) certification. Just use "SOLAR50" as the discount code when you register. You can also find all of the materials that you need to study for the exam for free on SolarWinds.com. I'm seeing more and more jobs out there requesting SolarWinds experience and/or certification and if you're a user of the software the certification is a great way to validate your knowledge.

Which certifications do you have? Any interesting experiences that you'd like to share?

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Last week we hosted a webcast entitled "Achieving and Maintaining Federal Compliance". For those of you that are new to this subject, compliance management or policy management is the process of ensuring that your IT department is complying to the rules and standards that have either been mandated to them by a governing authority or by the management team within your own organization. It can be as simple as verifying that all of your outside interfaces have specific access control lists (ACLs) applied to them or that all of your users' passwords are of a certain strength. However, it can also be quite complex and involve a mixture of technical details like these and procedural details around how you document and mitigate identified security incidents and ensure effective log management.

The focus of this webcast was to educate people on best practices for managing compliance requirements within US federal government organizations. While the focus of the event was centered around federal government requirements like FISMA, NIST, DISA Stigs, and HIPAA many of these same practices can be applied to HIPAA within non-federal organizations and toward complying with non-federal government issues like SOX and PCI.

You can watch the recorded version here or download the slides here.

What I liked about this webcast is that we were able to show that "compliance" is no longer one of those dirty, four letter words to be avoided by all costs by geeks like me. Sure, in the old days compliance usually meant days of manual effort to product reports for people that wouldn't really understand them. Those reports would be out of date the minute that they were produced and the data provided by the reviewers never seemed to actually provide any value. Nowadays though, things are different. Most tools today - like our Network Configuration Manager (NCM) and SIEM tool Log and Event Manager make managing compliance requirements and policy management easy and pain free. Additionally, these applications allow you to do compliance management on the fly, in real-time which dramatically improves the effectiveness of the process as a whole.

Do you have to manage compliance requirements in your organization? If so, we'd love to hear from you. Post a comment and tell us some of the issues that you face and how you're currently dealing with them.

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