12 Things You May Have Missed at CCF 2024

CompTIA CCF 2024 was a great opportunity to talk about the latest managed services trends, cybersecurity, AI—and much more. If you couldn’t go, here’s what you missed.

12 Things You May Have Missed at CCF 2024

The CompTIA Communities & Councils Forum (CCF) has long been a great opportunity for the organization’s most engaged members—and the channel’s elite leaders—to come together for learning, collaboration and fun.

This year, CCF 2024 featured cybersecurity workshops, the relaunch of the Advancing Women in Technology interest group and important sessions to develop resources and tools to spur innovation and growth in the MSP space. If you attended—or not—here are 12 things you may have missed.

CompTIA Community Updates

MJ Shoer, CompTIA chief community officer and CEO of CompTIA Spark, welcomed CCF attendees with results of the annual member satisfaction survey (member satisfaction up 2% compared to last year and member net value up 4%).

“We are entirely member led. Our goal is to give you the right things to help your business and your career,” Shoer said. “Even though we’re doing the right things, we’re never satisfied. Grateful, but not satisfied. We want to be laser focused on the things that are important to you and will have value to you. It’s important you talk to us and let us know how we can best help.”

Shoer also noted that the top four CompTIA Community member offerings by value, according to the survey, were: cybersecurity programs including the Cybersecurity Trustmark and Emergency Response Team; industry insights, research and market intelligence; networking and peer-to-peer interactions; and industry education and training.

“Cyber incidents can be mentally taxing, exhausting, demoralizing. It’s so easy to make a mistake in the first hours that you could jeopardize your ability to recover. The Emergency Response Team is volunteer members who wanted to put a structure in place to help any organization that gets hit with a cyberattack to bring best practices and lessons learned to help them contract the right people and do the right things.”

Congratulations North America Spotlight Award Winners

KAP_1005The CompTIA Community’s 2024 North America Spotlight Awards were announced at CCF, recognizing winners that have shown outstanding passion and commitment in advancing and improving the entire technology industry. Winners include:

  • John Harden, director of product, Auvik SaaS Management, at Auvik Networks, received the Future Leader Award for his initiative and innovation to advance the technology industry.
  • Julianne Zuber, vice president of technology ecosystems at Skillstorm, received the Advancing Women in Technology Leadership Award for contributions as an advocate and role model for women in tech.
  • Carrie Green, senior vice president of operations at Alt-Tech Cyber Security & IT Management, received the Community Leadership Award for her outstanding engagement, professionalism and passion to advance the tech industry.
  • Tim Golden, founder and CEO of Compliance Scorecard, received the Cybersecurity Leadership Award for his positive impact on the cybersecurity space as demonstrated by his initiative and innovation in current and past cybersecurity roles.
  • Curtis O’Neal, founder of Cybernetics Global, earned the Industry Advisory Councils Leadership Award for his engagement, outstanding impact, leadership and passion to advance the technology industry.
  • N-able was awarded the Advancing Diversity in Technology Leadership Award for the IT management organization’s impacts and dedication in helping others navigate evolving IT needs with diversity, equity and inclusion.

State of the Channel 2024: Encouraging Signs for Growth, Opportunities

Carolyn April, vice president of industry research, CompTIA, shared highlights from the CompTIA State of the Channel 2024 research report, which explores several challenges and opportunities in play for today’s channel, including the ecosystem’s relevance and composition; challenges and opportunities; business assessments and metrics; vendor relationships and the competitive landscape. Among the findings:

  • 63% of North America channel firms are better shape today than two years ago
  • 47% plan to sell generative AI-based solutions to customers in 2024
  • 49% say competition/pricing pressure are top inhibitors to revenue growth and profitability
  • 40% say they participate in zero to four partner programs today
  • 46% cited training and certifications as the main remedy for improving business skills

Cybersecurity Conversations with Clients

Cybersecurity interest group members continued work on a resource to help MSPs and other tech companies improve their cybersecurity conversations with customers. Breaking into groups, members discussed what information to share with clients, what cyber questions to ask existing clients and prospective clients, and how to manage objections from customers. The goal is to have a resource available before ChannelCon 2024, July 30-Aug. 1 in Atlanta.

““The CompTIA Cybersecurity Trustmark is more than just a certification. It sets a benchmark for MSP service delivery. A standard that potential clients can go to and say 'OK, now I understand,'” said Barb Paluszkiewicz, CEO of CDN Technologies.

Shaping the Future of Women in Tech

Relaunching for 2024, the Advancing Women in Technology (AWIT) interest group made it a point to start the tough conversations. Breaking into groups, members discussed ways to increase engagement via social media, marketing campaigns and how to get more women on event panels. They talked about how women in tech (WIT) and women in the channel (WIC) can help each other get ahead and work to change the current culture that still exists in many organizations. They shared ideas on how we can leverage current leadership for change via alliances and networking opportunities to get women where they want to go.

The AWIT interest group is all about action. Upcoming panels are planned throughout the year on topics like equal pay in the tech sector, women entering STEM through education but not entering the workforce, women of color and their challenges, and how WIC and WIT can support each other.

Managed Services Group Talks AI, M&A

The Managed Services interest group met to discuss strategies to expand and enhance MSP business, including the opportunities for consulting services, the strategic value of AI, mergers and acquisitions and rebranding your MSP. They also highlighted the recently published CompTIA Community MSP Guidebook created by group members.

“Thank you to everyone who helped contribute to that project. It’s amazing just how smoothly [the guidebook] went, and the quality of the content was just amazing,” said Eric Anthony, director of partner engagement at Egnyte, and vice chair of the CompTIA Community Managed Services interest group.        

Cybersecurity Trustmark Workshops

Two workshops focused on the CompTIA Cybersecurity Trustmark drew crowds of both seasoned pros and MSPs ready to step up their cyber game. Focused on risk management and how culture and strategy fit into your cyber approach, the interactive sessions allowed MSPs to ask questions and engage with peers.

In an onsite poll, 73% of attendees said their organizations are fully dedicated to creating a cyber culture. Another 20% are partially dedicated and 7% said they weren’t sure.

The goal of the sessions—and the Cybersecurity Trustmark—is to get MSPs to understand what they need to do and how to do it, said Chris Johnson, senior director of cybersecurity programs at CompTIA.

“Paralysis by analysis is the enemy of success when it comes to cybersecurity culture. You don’t have to be perfect,” Johnson said. “An attempt is better than none. You never get ‘done’ in a cyber framework. The exercise of doing the activity matters.”

CCF 2024 CompTIA Gives Back

CompTIA Gives Back

For the second straight year, CCF attendees participated in a service project designed to help the local community. Members packaged more than 15,000 meals that were donated to the Greater Chicago Food Depository for distribution to people in need.

The event, facilitated by Feed6 in collaboraton with The Outreach Program, provided an opportunity to give back and network with other CompTIA Community members. 

Mentorship Program Graduates First Group, Next Cohort Coming

Are you at the beginning of your career journey seeking guidance? Or perhaps you're an
industry veteran eager to share your wisdom? Participants of the first CompTIA Community Mentorship Program cohort gathered to share their experiences—both from a mentor and mentee experience.

Mentees spoke about having conversations designed to help them meet their goals and forming new friendships and mentors shared how watching others grow and success felt like an achievement of their own. Everybody agreed that the next cohort would benefit from more mentees! Interested in participating? Sign up here.

Improve the DEI Conversation with New Ideas, Initiatives

The Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion interest group held a collaborative brainstorming
session to explore strategies on how to foster a more inclusive tech ecosystem. Members met to discuss DEI initiatives currently working well in their respective organizations, how to create an unbiased hiring process, events and activities to improve an organization’s DEI strategy and how can employee resource groups help.

"The whole premise is to spark conversations. I want to start to the workflow juices going and get creative thinking as to what can we build for your organization and make tomorrow a better place than today,” said Eric Torres, vice president of channel at ScalePad, in a video during the meeting.

New Learning Portal Improves Log-In, Search Capabilities

Member education and training has long been a popular CompTIA Community benefit and it recently it got easier to do. The CompTIA member education team demoed a new learning portal that allows users to search the course catalog and simplifies the log-in experience more easily.

“The feedback has been really positive,” said Stephanie Morgan, senior director of member education. “Some members have mentioned that they were unaware that business education tailored to solution providers, vendors, and distributors was available as a member benefit. Members can log on to their My CompTIA account and then move directly into the new member learning portal.”

Partnering to Empower the Under- and Unemployed in Tech

The CompTIA Student Affairs team discussed how members can leverage CompTIA to motivate individuals with an aptitude for technology and equips them with skills to thrive in the tech industry. Three employer partners and two graduates of the CompTIA A+ Training Program shared their experiences and success stories.

"The A+ Training Program empowered me and became the springboard for my career,” said Gerrod Lemon, an IT support analyst at Wintrust Financial and a program graduate.

Getting involved in the CompTIA A+ Training Program is a chance to make a meaningful impact on the IT community while solving your business challenges, according to Kathy Brennan, senior director of student affairs at CompTIA.

“You can get involved by hiring our CompTIA A+ certified graduates, offering your expertise through volunteering for mock interviews or resume reviews, inspiring students as a guest speaker in our virtual classroom, fostering connections by sponsoring networking events, providing a letter of support to affirm our program's excellence, and promoting CompTIA training classes on social media,” Brennan said. “Your engagement in any of these capacities will not only support our program but also contribute to the success and growth of aspiring IT professionals, shaping the future of the industry.”

2024 State of the Channel Research
Access the report now.

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