The Federation Against Software Theft is cherry-picking the best VARs in the UK to form part of its new Certified Reseller Group (CRG).
To become members of the CRG, which is being launched today, VARs must pass a selection process before completing a training course and an examination into compliance and legal issues. Resellers must then pass a year-long probation period before official certification is granted.
John Lovelock, manager of federation and legal affairs at The Federation, said the group will consist of between 20 and 30 top UK VARs, which will then be recommended to businesses by The Federation.
"This certification will help VARs understand the pain corporate users go through when trying to be compliant. In turn, it will provide a recognised standard for businesses to ensure they are fully compliant [with software licensing]," he said.
Lovelock added that the certification will be reviewed each year. "Any VAR can apply, but we cannot guarantee they will pass the selection process. We want to create an elite group of VARs that are fully engaged in IT compliance," he said.
Brian Prangle, enterprise software general manager at integrator SCC, a founder member of the CRG, welcomed the accreditation.
"It gives us an independent benchmark against which resellers can be judged. Many of them go through various vendor training to get a tick in the right box, but the fact that we have to trade for a year before gaining official accreditation means [the programme] is serious."
Wayne Carter, regional channel director at security vendor McAfee, a member of The Federation, believes the accreditation will give selected VARs an advantage when it comes to licensing issues.
"We will be promoting this accreditation to our channel partners because it is a way for them to differentiate themselves from the competition," he said.
"These days the standard tiering offered by most vendors isn't enough and often something a bit more niche gives them the edge over their rivals."
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