Do you want to start a cyber security business? If YES, here is a complete guide to starting a cyber security business with NO money and no experience.
Okay, so we have provided you an in-depth sample cyber security business plan template. We also took it further by analyzing and drafting a sample cyber security marketing plan backed up by actionable guerrilla marketing ideas for cyber security businesses. In this article, we will be considering all the requirements for starting a cyber security business. So put on your entrepreneurial hat and let’s proceed.
Table of Content
- 1 Why Start a Cyber Security Company?
- 2 Starting a Cyber Security Company – Market Research and Feasibility Studies
- 3 Starting a Cyber Security Company – Legal Matters
- 4 Is Professional Certification Needed to Run a Cyber Security Company?
- 5 Starting a Cyber Security Company – Technical & Manpower Details
- 6 Starting a Cyber Security Company – The Marketing Plan
Why Start a Cyber Security Company?
It is a known fact that the internet is one innovation that has changed the world; but as helpful as the internet has been, it has also caused a lot of problems as cyber-crimes are now being committed by either individuals or groups of people.
The cyber-crimes being committed by these individuals range from financial, personal, national security issues to attacks on individuals, businesses and even the government, by tapping calls, monitoring emails or hacking websites to extract sensitive information, which is why more efforts are being put in place to secure data from those seeking to use them for purposes that is against what the owner intends.
Starting a cyber-security business is therefore a lucrative business to go into because individuals, businesses and the government need their data protected. However, to start this kind of business, you will need to have technical skills that will be needed to secure data or stop an ongoing attack for your client.
However, due to the technical nature of this business and the need to understand what you will be getting into from the business aspect, it would be wise to consult with a business consultant in the area where you intend starting the business.
This is to enable the consultant go through your business concept and advise you on whether to proceed with the business or not. If your business concept is a great one, the business consultant would offer you tips and suggestions on the way forward that will be helpful to you during the course of running your business.
So, if you have done the required feasibility studies and market research, then you might want to venture into this business.
Starting a Cyber Security Company – A Complete Guide
- Industry Overview
Cyber security companies or IT security consulting firms manage IT security services such as firewalls, intrusion prevention, security threat analysis, proactive security vulnerability and penetration testing and incident preparation and response, which includes IT forensics.
According to a recent research findings published by Ponemon Institute, within the year 2015, the costs associated with cybercrime had risen to 19 percent, higher than it was in 2014. Globally, a hack in 2014 cost companies $7.7 million on the average. This has led to 20 percent of companies globally to create cybercrimes budget between $1 million and $4.9 million depending on the scale of the company and ensure strict implementation.
This has also led to huge investments in cyber security firms, as the first half of 2015 saw investors pumping nearly $1.2 billion into start-ups in this industry. According to forecasts, the investments were likely to reach $77 billion as at the end of 2015. The industry has also been pegged to reach $170 billion by the year 2020.
A research conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) stated that globally, 58 percent of companies have an overall security strategy; 49 percent conduct periodic threat assessments, 48 percent monitor and analyze security intelligence actively. However, according to KPMG, 50 percent of fortunes 500 CEOs globally with more than $500 million in revenue are usually not prepared as they should for a cyber-attack.
However worrisome the threat of an attack externally is, companies now also have to worry about internal attacks from employees. According to a survey by SANS 2015, 74 percent of Chief Information Security Officers, CISOs are more worried about internal than external cyber-attacks. According to a survey conducted by PwC, 34 percent of cyber-attacks in 2015 were from current employees and 28 percent from former employees.
The damage caused by cybercrime is estimated to hit $6 trillion by the year 2021. This has led to a forecast that there will be an estimated increase in spending by companies for cyber security between the periods of 2017 and 2021 to $1 trillion. According to Gartner, as at 2016, more than $80 billion was spent on products and services related to cyber security. This is however expected to exceed $1 trillion globally within a five-year period.
As a matter of fact, the cyber security industry is one that is fast paced as there is zero percent unemployment rates in this industry. The industry in fact has unfilled positions that are expected to reach 1.5 million by the year 2019. This shows that there is severe shortage of talent especially as more cybercrimes are being committed almost every other day.
It has been estimated that by 2020, more than 4 billion people will be susceptible to attacks over the internet. The United States Government between the periods of 2006 and 2016 has spent over $100 billion on cybercrime. It also budgeted a whopping $14 billion in 2016 for cyber security.
A recent report research conducted by Intel shows that the number of devices that will be connected might reach 200 billion in 2020; this is from the 15 billion connected devices in 2015. However, Microsoft and Cisco has countered the report claiming that only 50 billion devices will have been connected by 2020. Regardless of the estimated number, the report points to the same fact that more people will be online and will be vulnerable to cyber-attacks.
Despite the fact that cyber security companies can easily be found in the United States of America and in the cyberspace, does not in any way make the industry to be over saturated. The fact that there are people and organizations out there who would always need the professional services of cyber security companies from time to time to sort out cyber security related issues et al makes the business ever green.
Starting a cyber-security company requires professionalism and a good grasp of the ICT industry. Besides, you would need to get the required certifications and license and also meet the standard for such business before you can be allowed to start a cyber-security company in the United States of America and in any part of the world.
One good thing about the cyber security consulting industry is that there is a readily available market for their services simply because individuals and even organizations naturally would want to improve and effectively manage their cyber security. So, if you are well positioned and you know how to deliver results as a cyber-security consultant, you will always smile to the bank.
Starting a Cyber Security Company – Market Research and Feasibility Studies
- Demographics and Psychographics
The demographic and psychographic composition of those who require the services of cyber security companies cut across individuals, corporate organizations, investors and business owners cum entrepreneurs who own computers and internet devices, work and store information in the cloud and all those who are prone to cyber-attack and hacking and all those who need cyber security advice and guidance in other to maximize their business.
So, if you are looking towards defining the demographics for your cyber security company, then you should make it all encompassing. It should include corporate organizations, business owners, research centers, institutions, banks, military establishment, blue chip companies, businessmen and businesswomen, start – ups, entrepreneurs, aspiring entrepreneurs, and telecommunication companies within and outside the city you are operating in who have the capacity to pay for your services.
List of Niche ideas Within the Cyber Security Industry That You Can Specialize in
Most cyber security companies tend to offer general services that a standard cyber security company is expected to offer. That is why it seem that there are no niche areas in the industry. But on the other hand, some cyber security companies may decide to major in key areas such as;
- Providing security compliance services
- Providing firewall management services
- Providing email and cloud security services
- Providing other IT protection consulting services
- Custom security software development
- Security systems design and integration
- Existing security systems management
The Level of Competition in the Cyber Security Services Industry
No matter the line of business you decide to pitch your tent, you are still going to compete with others who are into same line of business and cyber security services business is not an exemption.
The level of competition in the cyber security services industry depends largely on your area of specialization and how big and organized your cyber security services company is.
The truth is that no matter the level of competition in an industry, if you have done your due diligence and you brand and promote your products or services properly, you will always make headway in the industry. Just ensure you have what it takes to proffer the right solution to people and organizations’ cyber security concerns and you know how to reach out to your target market.
List of Well – Known Brands in the Cyber Security Industry
These are some of the leading IT security consulting services firms or cyber security companies in the United States of America and also in the globe;
- root9B (HUNT & Cyber Operations)
- Herjavec Group (Information Security Services)
- Force point (Cloud, Mobility & IoT Security)
- EY (Cybersecurity Consulting & Advisory)
- Mimecast (Email Security)
- FireEye (Advanced Threat Protection)
- Lockheed Martin (Cybersecurity Solutions & Services)
- Sophos (Anti-Virus & Malware Protection)
- Symantec (Endpoint, Cloud & Mobile Security)
- IBM Security (Enterprise IT Security Solutions)
- Cisco (Threat Protection & Network Security)
- Gigamon (Data Center & Cloud Security)
- BAE Systems (Cybersecurity Risk Management)
- Sera-Brynn (Cyber Risk Management)
- Clearwater Compliance (Risk Management and Compliance)
- Digital Defense (Managed Security Risk Assessment)
- Rapid7 (Security Data & Analytics Solution)
- Thycotic (Privileged Account Management)
- DFLabs (Automated Incident & Breach Response)
- CyberArk (Cyber Threat Protection)
When it comes to starting a business such as cyber security services company, you just have to get your feasibility studies and market research right before venturing into the business.
Starting this kind of business definitely entails that you acquire the required degree and profession certifications and also build good working relationships with stakeholders in the industry. If you are already a major player in the IT security consulting services industry before venturing out to start your own cyber security company, this might not be an issue.
Depending on the scale at which you want to start from, you might require as much as multiple thousands of dollars to strike this off and at the same time you might need far less than that if you choose to start the business on a small scale offering limited services.
You are expected to hire the services of experts that will help you with comprehensive economic and cost analysis and the profitability of the businesses within the location that you intend launching the business. If you get your economic and cost analysis right before launching the business, you may not have to stay the long before you break even.
Starting Your Cyber Security Services Company from Scratch vs Buying a Franchise
When it comes to starting a business of this nature, it will pay you to buy the franchise of a successful IT security consulting firm as against starting from the scratch. Even though it is relatively expensive buying the franchise of an established IT security consulting services firm, but it will definitely pay you in the long run.
But if you truly want to build your own brand, after you must have proved your worth in the IT security consulting services industry, then you might just want to start your own cyber security consulting services company from the scratch.
The truth is that it will pay you in the long run to start your cyber security consulting services company from the scratch. Starting from the scratch will afford you the opportunity to conduct thorough market survey and feasibility studies before choosing a location to launch the business.
Possible Threats and Challenges You Will Face When Starting a Cyber Security Consulting Services Business
If you decide to start your own cyber security consulting services company today, one of the major challenge you are likely going to face is the presence of well – established cyber security consulting services company and also other related IT security consulting based and advisory businesses who are offering same services that you intend offering. The only way to avoid this challenge is to create your own market.
Some other threats that you are likely going to face as a cyber-security consulting services company operating in the United States are unfavorable government policies, the arrival of a competitor within your location of operations and global economic downturn which may affect businesses such as cyber security consulting services company. There is hardly anything you can do as regards these threats other than to be optimistic that things will continue to work for your good.
Starting a Cyber Security Company – Legal Matters
- Best legal entity to use for this type of business
When considering starting a cyber-security consulting services company, the legal entity you choose will go a long way to determine how big the business can grow; some cyber security consulting services design their business and services for regional/community market, some for national market, while others for international market.
Generally, you have the option of either choosing a general partnership, or limited liability Company which is commonly called an LLC for a business such as a cyber-security consulting services company. Ordinarily, general partnership should have been the ideal business structure for a small – scale cyber security consulting services company especially if you are just starting out with a moderate start – up capital. But people prefer limited liability Company for obvious reasons.
As a matter of fact, if your intention is to grow the business and have clients both corporate and individual from all across the United States of America and other countries of the world, then choosing general partnership is not an option for you. Limited Liability Company, LLC will cut it for you.
Setting up an LLC protects you from personal liability. If anything goes wrong in the business, it is only the money that you invested into the limited liability company that will be at risk. It is not so for general partnerships. Limited liability companies are simpler and more flexible to operate and you don’t need a board of directors, shareholder meetings and other managerial formalities.
Catchy Business Name Ideas Suitable for a Cyber Security Consulting Services Company
If you are considering starting your own cyber security consulting services company, here are some catchy names that you can choose from;
- Rowland Pence & Co® Cyber Security Consulting, LLC
- J P Mullen Cyber Security Consulting Services, LLC
- Inflow Cyber Security Consulting Services, Inc.
- Claire Black Cyber Security Services, Inc.
- Kelly Sally Cyber Security Consulting Services Company
- Binary Solution IT Security Consulting, Inc.
- Clear Lead Cyber Security Consulting Services Group
- Arc Ends Cyber Security Consulting Services, LLC
- Pally Drake IT Security Consulting Services Co.
- Sammie Dane Cyber Security Consulting Services, Inc.
- Shannon Pearce IT Security Consulting Services, Inc.
- Keyboard Cyber Security Consulting Services, Inc.
In the United States of America and in most countries of the world, you can’t operate a business without having some of the basic insurance policy covers that are required by the industry you want to operate from. So, it is imperative to create a budget for insurance policy covers and perhaps consult an insurance broker to guide you in choosing the best and most appropriate insurance policies for your cyber security consulting services company.
Here are some of the basic insurance policy covers that you should consider purchasing if you want to start your own cyber security consulting services company in the United States of America;
- General insurance
- Risk Insurance
- Financial reinsurance
- Health insurance
- Liability insurance
- Workers compensation
- Overhead expense disability insurance
- Business owner’s policy group insurance
- Payment protection insurance
Intellectual Property Protection/Trademark
If you are considering starting your own cyber security consulting services company, usually you are required to file for intellectual property protection. This is so because the nature of the business makes it possible for you to challenge organizations and individuals in court for illegally making use of your company’s intellectual properties.
So also, if you want to protect your company’s logo and other documents or software that are unique to you or even jingles and media production concepts, then you can go ahead to file for intellectual property protection. If you want to register your trademark, you are expected to begin the process by filing an application with the USPTO.
Is Professional Certification Needed to Run a Cyber Security Company?
Aside from the results you produce as it relates to cyber security services to your clients, professional certification is one of the main reasons why most cyber security consulting services company stand out. If you want to make impact in the financial consulting services industry, you should work towards acquiring all the needed certifications in your area of specialization.
You are strongly encouraged to pursue professional certifications; it will go a long way to show your commitment towards the business. Certification validates your competency and shows that you are highly skilled, committed to your career and up-to-date in this competitive market.
These are some of the certifications you can work towards achieving if you want to run your own cyber security consulting services company;
- CEH: Certified Ethical Hacker
- GSEC: SANS GIAC Security Essentials
- CISSP: Certified Information Systems Security Professional
- CISM: Certified Information Security Manager
- CISA – Certified Information Systems Auditor
- CompTIA Security+
- GIAC Certified Windows Security Administrator
- GIAC Secure Software Programmer – Java
- OSWP Offensive Security Wireless Professional
- SSCP – Systems Security Certified Practitioner
- CRISC – Certified in Risk and Information Systems Control
- ECSA – EC-Council Certified Security Analyst
- GPEN – GIAC Penetration Tester
- Cisco Cybersecurity Specialist Certification
- Degree in ICT Related Courses
List of Legal Documents You Need to Run a Cyber Security Consulting Services Business
The essence of having the necessary documentation in place before launching a business in the United States of America cannot be overemphasized especially a business such as payday loan and check cashing services firm. It is a fact that you cannot successfully run any business in the United States without the proper documentations.
These are some of the basic legal documents that you are expected to have in place if you want to legally run your own cyber security consulting services company in the United States of America;
- Certificate of Incorporation
- Federal Tax Payer’s ID
- State Permit
- Business License and Certification
- Business Plan
- Non – disclosure Agreement
- Employment Agreement (offer letters)
- Operating Agreement for LLCs
- Insurance Policy
- Consulting contract documents
- Apostille (for those who intend operating beyond the United States of America)
- Company Bylaws
- Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)
Financing Your Cyber Security Consulting Services Business
When it comes to financing a business, one of the first things and perhaps the major factor that you should consider is to write a good business plan. If you have a good and workable business plan document in place, you may not have to labor yourself before convincing your bank, investors and your friends to invest in your business or to partner with you.
Here are some of the options you can explore when sourcing for start – up capital for your cyber security consulting services company;
- Raising money from personal savings and sale of personal stocks and properties
- Raising money from investors and business partners
- Sell shares to interested investors
- Applying for loan from your bank / banks
- Pitching your business idea and applying for business grants and seed funding from donor organizations and angel investors
- Source for soft loans from your family members and your friends.
Choosing a Suitable Location for your Cyber Security Company
The fact that you can operate your cyber security consulting services company from any part of the world does not mean that location has little influence on the success of a pay cyber security consulting services company. If you have taken your time to study cyber security consulting services company, you will realize that cyber security consulting services companies and related businesses are willing to pay expensive rents in order to stay in a busy business district; a place where business activities and ICT activities are at its peak.
It cannot be overemphasized that the location you chose to open your cyber security consulting services company is key to the success of the business, hence entrepreneurs are willing to rent or lease a facility in a visible location; a location where the demography consist of people and businesses with the require purchasing power and lifestyle. If you make the mistake of renting or leasing a facility for cyber security consulting services company in a not too visible or hidden location simply because it is cheap, then you must be prepared to spend more in promoting the business and perhaps giving direction to potential clients.
Most importantly, before choosing a location for your cyber security consulting services company, ensure that you first conduct a thorough feasibility studies and market survey. The possibility of you coming across similar business that just closed shop in the location you want to open yours can’t be ruled out, which is why it is very important to gather as much facts and figures before choosing a location to set up your own cyber security consulting services company.
These are some of the key factors that you should consider before choosing a location for your cyber security consulting services company;
- The demography of the location
- The demand for the services of cyber security consulting services companies related businesses in the location
- The purchasing power of the residence and businesses in the location
- Accessibility of the location
- The numbers of cyber security consulting services firms and related services businesses that in the location
- The local laws and regulations in the community / state
- Traffic, parking and security et al
Starting a Cyber Security Company – Technical & Manpower Details
There are special technology or equipment needed to run this type of business, you will need IT server, customized cyber security software and customized antivirus amongst other unique products developed by you team of Programmers and Software Developers. So also, you will definitely need computers / laptops, internet facility, telephone, fax machine and office furniture (chairs, tables, and shelves).
When it comes to choosing between renting and leasing an office space, the size of the cyber security consulting services company you want to build and your entire budget for the business should influence your choice. If you have enough capital to run a standard cyber security consulting services company then you should consider the option of leasing a facility for your office; when you lease, you will be able to work with long – term planning, structuring and expansion.
As regards the number of employees that you are expected to kick start the business with, you would need to consider your finance before making the decision. Averagely, you would need a Chief Executive Officer /President (you can occupy this role), Cyber Security Risk Analyst, Legal Secretary, Admin and HR Manager, Programmers and Software Developers, Business Developer / Marketing and Sales Executive, Accountant, Customer Service Executive / Front Desk Officer.
Over and above, you would need a minimum of 5 to 10 key staff to effectively run a medium scale but standard cyber security consulting services company. Please note that there will be times when you are expected to go out of your way to hire experts to help you handle some high – profile clients especially from big corporations. If you are just starting out you may not have the financial capacity or required business structure to retain all the professionals that are expected to work with you.
The Service Delivery Process of a Cyber Security Consulting Services Business
On the average, the way cyber security consulting services companies work varies from one agency to another agency, but ideally, a cyber-security consulting services company is expected to first and foremost build a robust company’s profile and develop their own unique cyber security apps before source for clients.
Basically, when clients hire your services or purchase your products, they expect you to proffer solution to their pressing IT and cyber security related challenges and concerns.
Depending on the agreement reached by both parties, you are expected to come up with measurable indices that will show that the services you offered or cyber security products sold is indeed producing results. In some cases, the agreed consulting fee will be paid in part and in some cases, it will be paid in full and upfront.
It is important to state that a cyber-security consulting services company may decide to improvise or adopt any business process and structure that will guarantee them good return on investment (ROI) efficiency and flexibility; the above stated business cum services process is not cast on stone.
Starting a Cyber Security Company – The Marketing Plan
- Marketing ideas and strategies
As a cyber-security consulting services company, you would have to prove your worth over and over again before attracting corporate organizations and individuals to hire your services or purchase your product. So, if you have plans to start your own cyber security consulting services company, it will pay you to build first build a successful career in the cyber security consulting services industry.
People and organizations will only hire your services or purchase your product if they know that they are going to get good returns on their investment or solve their cyber security and IT security related challenges.
So, when you are drafting your marketing plans and strategies for your cyber security consulting services company, make sure that you create a compelling personal and company’s profile. Aside from your qualifications and experience, it is important to clearly state in practical terms what you have been able to achieve in time past as it relates to the cyber security consulting services industry and the organizations you have worked for in time past. This will help boost your chances in the market place when sourcing for clients.
Please note that in most cases, when sourcing for clients from corporate organizations and other institutions, you will be called upon to defend your proposal, and so you must be pretty good with presentations. Here are some of the platforms you can utilize to market your cyber security consulting services company;
- Introduce your business by sending introductory letters alongside your brochure to all the corporate organizations, business owners, research centers, institutions, banks, military establishment, blue chip companies, businessmen and businesswomen, start – ups, entrepreneurs, aspiring entrepreneurs, and telecommunication companies within and outside the city you are operating in who have the capacity to pay for your services.
- Advertise your business in relevant ICT magazines, radio stations and TV stations (make yourself available for cyber security consulting services related talk shows and interactive sessions on TV and Radios)
- List your business on local directories / yellow pages
- Attend international ICT / cyber security expos, seminars, and business fairs et al
- Create different packages for different category of clients in order to work with their budget
- Leverage on the internet to promote your business (when you blog regularly on key issues as it relates to your business, people who consider you an expert in the field)
- Join local chambers of commerce and industries around you with the main aim of networking and marketing your services and products; you are likely going to get referrals from such networks.
- Engage the services of marketing executives and business developers to carry out direct marketing
Strategies to Boost Your Cyber Security Brand Awareness and Create Your Corporate Identity
If your intention of starting a cyber-security consulting Services Company is to grow the business beyond the city where you are going to be operating from to become a national and international brand, then you must be ready to spend money on promotion and advertisement of your brand.
In promoting your brand and corporate identity, you should leverage on both print and electronic media and also social media (the internet). As a matter of fact, it is cost effective to use the internet and social media platforms to promote your brands, besides it is pretty much effective and wide reaching.
Below are the platforms you can leverage on to boost your brand and to promote and advertise your cyber security consulting services firm;
- Place adverts on ICT related magazines and newspapers, radio and TV stations.
- Encourage the use of word of mouth publicity from your loyal customers
- Leverage on the internet and social media platforms like; YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Snapchat, Badoo, Google+ and other platforms to promote your business
- Ensure that we position your banners and billboards in strategic positions all around your city
- Distribute your fliers and handbills in target areas in and around our neighborhood
- Contact corporate organizations, business owners, research centers, institutions, banks, military establishment, blue chip companies, businessmen and businesswomen, start – ups, entrepreneurs, aspiring entrepreneurs, and telecommunication companies within and outside the city you are operating in who have the capacity to pay for your services. by calling them up and informing them of your organization and the services and products you offer
- Advertise your business in your official website and employ strategies that will help you pull traffic to the site
- Brand all your official cars and ensure that all your staff members and management staff wear your branded shirt or cap at regular intervals.