Members asked, CompTIA answered: The association this week unveiled its IT-specific legal services and a group just for millennials.
CompTIA aims to give its IT and telecom members resources that further their business goals. In recent years, MSPs, VARs and agents have been asking the organization to provide affordable legal help as the technology world grows more complex. At the same time, more people in their mid-30s and under have joined the sector and want to work together. As a response to each of these needs, CompTIA has developed the Professional Legal Services Program and the Future Leaders Community.
Smaller channel partners face a difficult situation – how to balance customers’ technology and business needs with their own financial limits. Factors including privacy, security and regulation all are closing in on MSPs, VARs and other partners; these experts must keep up with ever-more-complicated changes and requirements – meeting HIPAA guidelines or filing annual reports on time, as examples.
“They need to know their exposure and risk,” said Dan Liutikas, CompTIA’s chief legal officer and a managing attorney for InfoTech Law Advocates (ITLA).
But that doesn’t mean partners’ pocketbooks can keep up with the demands. So, CompTIA has teamed with ITLA to offer free and fee-based legal services. Both are available only to premier members. The freebie features a risk assessment and then a one-hour consultation with an attorney about the results. The assessment analyzes categories including corporate issues, security, employment and intellectual property.
Services for which members pay include filing a trademark and forming a new entity. Each of those costs $199. Pricing for other deliverables depends on what’s provided and whether it comes as part of a package. The key is transparency.
“Fees will be disclosed in advance of performing the service,” Liutikas said. “We’re hoping for better legal outcomes.”
Next, CompTIA has formalized an initiative it debuted at its annual meeting last summer and turned it into the Future Leaders Community. It’s designed for people in the IT industry ages 35 and under who want to advance their careers, including by working with peers their own age and older.
“They don’t fit the millennial stereotype – they want to learn from each other and other generations,” said Chris Phillips, director of partner communities for CompTIA. “They exemplify something new and exciting that I haven’t seen before. … They are willing to put in the time and effort.”
The group’s official first call took place in December. Now, the 50 or so people involved are forming the executive council and nailing down the to-do list for 2015. Some plans are likely to involve mentorship, best practices for social media and networking, and cross-community collaboration, Phillips said.
“I could see any of those or all of them as bubbling up for what we do for the year,” he added.
Anyone born between 1980 and 2000 who works in the IT channel may join the Future Leaders Community. Participants do not have to be premier members and they also don’t have to just be tech personnel – they may work in roles such as marketing, sales, product development and more.