Security consultants identify security threats and then help their clients defend against them in a cost effective manner.

Security consultants identify security threats and then help their clients defend against them in a cost effective manner. Security consultancy services are very much in demand, and as the area becomes ever more complex the market is set to grow in the coming years as companies increasingly realise that they need external help and advice in order to plan and defend strategically against security threats. With low start-up costs this is also a highly attractive business to first-time entrepreneurs and offers great potential to expand and specialise in a particular area.

Why start a security consultancy?

All businesses need to take security seriously – both in the physical and online worlds – and thus there is a strong demand for security consultancy services. Loss of information, data or property can be extremely damaging to a business and most organisations today realise how important it is to defend against security threats in the first place and have in place adequate procedures for dealing with security breaches, should the worst happen. If you have experience in the field, starting a security consultancy provides you with a varied and rewarding opportunity with great profit potential.

What does a security consultant do?

Services offered by a security consultancy may include the following:

  • Assessing and identifying security threats to the clients organisation
  • Advising on the adequacy of existing security procedures, defences and processes – and outlining areas of possible improvement
  • Writing or re-writing security policies and plans etc
  • Strategic security planning
  • Crisis management
  • Security budget management
  • Providing security training to the clients members of staff
  • Pre-employment screening
  • Employee investigation
  • Asset tracking

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What skills will I need?

You will need both theoretical and practical knowledge and experience of security. Your clients will be employing you for your expert knowledge and you will need to be able to advise them strategically and confidently. As a consultant, you must also be a good communicator and have a good attention to detail – being able to spot things others don’t is a key skill in this business. You will need to be extremely aware of things such as new security threats and advancements in security technology – this is an area that is ever changing and it is important to keep your finger on the pulse and be able to give your clients the best possible advice at that point in time. You will also need general business skills, such as the ability to carry out admin and bookkeeping tasks.

Start-up costs

As with any consultancy business, start-up costs are fairly low - which makes it attractive to first-time entrepreneurs. Many people start their consultancy business on their own and base themselves at home, only expanding their business to a commercial space later on as the client base increases. Marketing costs are likely to be fairly moderate – many consultants gain most of their work through networking and word-of-mouth. If you have previously worked within the security industry you will most likely have plenty of contacts and from this you may find your clients.

Insurance and compliance

As a security consultant you will be providing advice to your clients on which they will most likely act, therefore it is very important to protect yourself against problems or damages caused as a result of this. You will need both professional indemnity insurance and public liability insurance and, if you plan to take on staff, employers liability insurance.

Your next steps

Do some market research and then plan where you want to take your services. Look at security consultancies operating in your area and find out what services they offer and the fees they charge. Talk to businesses and find out whether they already use the services of a security consultancy and, if not, whether they would consider doing so. Is there a demand for consulting services in a specific area (for example ‘online security’) that may match your particular area of expertise?