Becoming a Security Consultant

By IPVM Team, Published on Mar 27, 2014

Want to become a security consultant?

We spoke with the President of the International Association of Professional Security Consultants, Frank Pisciotta [link no longer available], about becoming a security consultant, looking at the importance of niches, how to overcome the challenges of the first year of being a new consultant and competing against product salespeople posing as consultants.

Becoming a Consultant

The first thing a person needs to do when deciding to become a consultant is figure out what kind of consulting they want to do, Pisciotta says. There are generalists who focus more on security management, consultants who testify in court as expert witnesses (forensic consulting) and then technical consultants (access control, perimeter security, surveillance, etc.).

“You have to find your area of expertise,” he said. “Once you figure that out, then you really need to learn the business of consulting. You can be a good pie maker but not know how to run a pie making business.”

Part of the IAPSC’s function is to help train security practitioners in the business side of consulting. It offers training courses at most of the major trade shows that put people in touch with veteran consultants.

Have a Niche

Consultants should not try to be everything to everyone, he says.

“It doesn’t work and you end up being confused on how to market yourself," he said. “Unquestionably, if you can find a niche and have a specialty, that helps. Once you find that niche and speciality, your credibility is enhanced and you can speak intelligently to that perspective.”

Why Most Consultants Fail

The first year as a consultant is a significant challenge, he says. The main reason consultants fail is because they have a hard time finding new clients.

“Finding your first client and getting clients secured is a significant challenge,” he said. “When people are purchasing security consulting, they’re buying on trust and experience. Tactics like line letters and direct mail don’t typically work to well.”

He recommends new consultants try and team up with more experienced consultants on projects to build up a portfolio and to get experience from someone who is already doing it. When a person joins IAPSC, they are assigned a mentor that can help them with that, he said.

He also says consultants should go to where potential clients are going to be. For example, a workplace violence consultant “is going to want to be going places where you find human resources folks,” he said.

Consider Easing into It

Many people will start their consulting businesses while still employed to help them get through that first year.

“It may take a couple years to build a practice so some people do it while they still have a paycheck coming in. They begin to take on a few projects and ease into it over a period of time,” he said. It’s a good strategy for people who don't want to jump in head first, he said.

Real Consultants vs. People Who Consult on Security

People selling products are not consultants, he says.

“Nine times out of 10, somebody has a product attached to what they’re doing. It’s prolific and it’s very difficult for an independent consultant to compete against that,” he says.

For example, guard companies will offer free consulting and site assessment, but in almost all cases they will come to the conclusion that the client needs more guards, he says. He says those free assessments aren’t looking holistically.

He created this chart for a presentation he gives to aspiring consultants on this topic:

“If you’re consulting on cameras and you’re selling cameras, you’re a salesman. IAPSC takes a hard line on independence and ethics. You can’t be pushing things from manufacturers,” he said.

Comments (1) : Members only. Login. or Join.

Related Reports

Consultants and Recruiters Online Show October 2020 - 20+ Presenters on Oct 08, 2020
IPVM's 7th online show will feature 20+ consultants and recruiters presenting...
Security Sales Course January 2020 - Last Chance on Jan 02, 2020
Notice: This is the last chance to register for the course. This sales...
SimpliSafe Business Security Launched Examined on Sep 22, 2020
SimpliSafe has launched "SimpliSafe Business Security" that the company...
Genetec Presents Security Center for Airports on Apr 28, 2020
Genetec presented its Security Center for Airports at the April 2020 IPVM New...
Video Surveillance Business 101 on Mar 30, 2020
This report explains the fundamental elements of the video surveillance...
Startup Digeiz Reidentification Video Analytics Profile on Jul 20, 2020
French Start-Up Digeiz is marketing 'shopping centre analytics' with, most...
US GSA Explains NDAA 889 Part B Blacklisting on Jul 31, 2020
With the 'Blacklist Clause' going into effect August 13 that bans the US...
Gatekeeper Security Company Profile - Detecting Faces Inside Vehicles on Nov 14, 2019
Border security is a common discussion in mainstream US news and politics, as...
Startup Monitoreal Presents Home Object Detection AI on Aug 24, 2020
Monitoreal presented its on-premise only object detection AI at the 2020 IPVM...
PDQ Presents Cloud Mobile Access Smart Locks on May 04, 2020
PDQ presented its mobile, wireless access system 'pdqSmart' at the April 2020...
Wyze Fails To Deliver Own On-Board Analytics, Launches Novel Name Your Own Price Service on Jul 24, 2020
While Wyze failed to deliver their own onboard analytics to replace the...
UN Agency Buys 'Swiss' Fever Cams From Firm That Faked Accreditation, Sales, Marketing on Oct 06, 2020
A Swiss company claims to have "fully designed and manufactured" the world's...
VMS 101 on Mar 03, 2020
This guide teaches the fundamentals about video management...
Digifort Presents VMS 7.3 with AI Analytics on May 07, 2020
Digifort presented its VMS 7.3 with AI analytics at the April 2020 IPVM New...
Installation Course Fall 2020 - Save $50 - Last Chance on Sep 22, 2020
This is a unique installation course in a market where little practical...

Recent Reports

Panasonic Presents i-PRO Cameras and Video Analytics on Oct 19, 2020
Panasonic presented its i-PRO X-Series cameras and AI video analytics at the...
Augmented Reality (AR) Cameras From Hikvision and Dahua Examined on Oct 19, 2020
Hikvision, Dahua, and other China companies are marketing augmented reality...
18 TB Video Surveillance Drives (WD and Seagate) on Oct 19, 2020
Both Seagate and Western Digital recently announced 18TB hard drives...
Watrix Gait Recognition Profile on Oct 16, 2020
Watrix is the world's only gait recognition surveillance provider IPVM has...
Intel Presents Edge-to-Cloud Ecosystem for Video Analytics on Oct 16, 2020
Intel presented its processors and software toolkit for computer vision at...
Best Manufacturer Technical Support 2020 on Oct 16, 2020
5 manufacturers stood out as providing the best technical support to ~200...
Microsoft Azure Presents Live Video Analytics on Oct 15, 2020
Microsoft Azure presented its Live Video Analytics offering at the September...
Worst Manufacturer Technical Support 2020 on Oct 15, 2020
4 manufacturers stood out as providing the worst technical support to ~200...
Clorox Announces, Then Pulls, Fever Camera on Oct 15, 2020
For almost one week, Clorox was marketing fever cameras. The booming...
Faulty Hikvision Fever Cam Setup at Mexico City Basilica and Cathedral on Oct 14, 2020
Donated Hikvision fever cameras (claiming screening of 1,800 people/min. with...
Directory of 209 "Fever" Camera Suppliers on Oct 14, 2020
This directory provides a list of "Fever" scanning thermal camera providers...
Avigilon UMD / UAD Tested on Oct 14, 2020
Avigilon's Unusual Activity Detection and Unusual Motion Detection claim to...
Longse Promoting Hikvision Partner Fullhan Chip Based Cameras on Oct 14, 2020
With Huawei HiSilicon production being shut down at TSMC, camera...
Meridian & Goodview (BEMS Relabeller) Temperature Screening Tested on Oct 13, 2020
A lot of temperature tablets look exactly alike and that is because they use...
Monitoring Alarm Systems From Home - Innovation or Danger? on Oct 13, 2020
Remote monitoring by alarm companies since COVID-19 is bringing cost savings...