Now, if only your spouse came certified

So when I drive down to my local Best Buy to pick up advertised gadgetry and marriage-saving appliances--like a dishwasher--I’d like to think that what the manufacturer says about their wares has more credibility than an online dating site power-user. But at some point, we’ve all taken that trip to the land of suck. You buy it, take it home, and before you know it, features quietly underwhelm or don’t work, or it simply breaks too soon, leaving you digging up the warranty card.

Promises. We all make them, break them, and sometimes actually keep them. Except me. I never promise. Just deliver. Coz I am the DOC.

So when I drive down to my local Best Buy to pick up advertised gadgetry and marriage-saving appliances--like a dishwasher--I’d like to think that what the manufacturer says about their wares has more credibility than an online dating site power-user. But at some point, we’ve all taken that trip to the land of suck. You buy it, take it home, and before you know it, features quietly underwhelm or don’t work, or it simply breaks too soon, leaving you digging up the warranty card.

Savvy shopaholics avoid this scenario in a variety of ways, but in particular, look to third-party certifications such as Energy Star or endorsements, like CNET’s Editors' Choice award. Such things could potentially derail a trip to post-purchase un-euphoria.

And for IT pros like you, such certifications for gear to equip your office can help you sleep better at night knowing that someone other than you also thinks where best to spend your company’s money.

There are many types of product certifications used in the IT industry; some are major institutions covering a lot of ground (ISO) and others more specific, like WHQL for Windows.

One that you should be familiar with is the Common Criteria certification; not to be confused with Creative Commons, which is completely unrelated, but maybe more common.

Common Criteria a key security standard that applies to products in all sorts of tech categories. Now for the good part, so bear with me. The role of Common Criteria is to, “provide assurance that the process of specification, implementation and evaluation of a computer security product has been conducted in a rigorous and standard manner.” It resolves the conceptual and technical differences between the standards from the European, US and Canadian criteria (ITSEC, TCSEC and CTCPEC respectively). Did you commit that quote to memory? Good.

You should know that products with the certification have undergone and passed a rigorous independent third-party testing, giving you assurance that the product meets the requirements for certification, kind of like your buddy giving you the scoop on a potential blind-date.

Note that vendors are quick to make news of any products that gain approval, so it’s a big deal.

So before you go Twitter, check out the Common Criteria portal for info you can use to impress your company’s purchase committee at the next budget meeting.