Becoming a Security Consultant

Author: 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, 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) : PRO Members only. Login. or Join.

Most Recent Industry Reports

July 2018 IP Networking Course on Jun 16, 2018
The last chance to save $50 on registration is this Thursday, June 21st. Register now and save. This is the only networking course designed...
The Dumb Ones: PSA's Bozeman On Cybersecurity on Jun 15, 2018
The smart ones are the hundred people who flew to Denver and spent $500+ on a 1.5-day conference featuring Dahua as a 'cyber responsible partner',...
Amazon Ring Launches $10 Monthly Professional Alarm Monitoring on Jun 15, 2018
Amazon's Ring has announced an alarm system with 24/7 professional alarm monitoring for $10 per month, a fraction of the $30+ per month traditional...
Axis Releases First New Access Controller In 5 Years (A1601) on Jun 15, 2018
It has been 5 years since Axis 2013 entry in the physical access control market, with the A1001 (IPVM test). Now, Axis has released its second...
Hikvision 12MP Fisheye Camera Tested (DS-2CD63C2F-IV) on Jun 14, 2018
Hikvision's DS-2CD63C2F-IV is their flagship panoramic camera, with a 12MP imager, 15m integrated IR, smart codec, and more. We tested the 63C2 in...
Four Major Outdoor Camera Install Problems on Jun 14, 2018
Over 140 integrators told us the top four camera installation mistakes that lead to unexpected problems and failures. Their comments often...
Security Sales Course Summer 2018 on Jun 14, 2018
Based on member's interest, IPVM is offering a security sales course this summer. Register Now - IPVM Security Sales Course Summer...
China Public Video Surveillance Guide: From Skynet to Sharp Eyes on Jun 14, 2018
China is expanding its video surveillance network to achieve “100%” nationwide coverage by 2020, including facial recognition capabilities and a...
IPVM For PR / Marketing People on Jun 13, 2018
This post helps PR and Marketing people understand and productively work with IPVM (as much as possible given our independent, often critical,...
Avigilon H4 Multi-Sensor Adds 32MP, H.265, Analytics on Jun 13, 2018
Avigilon has announced the H4 Multisensor, the successor to their repositionable multi imager line, adding features like H.265, integrated IR,...

The world's leading video surveillance information source, IPVM provides the best reporting, testing and training for 10,000+ members globally. Dedicated to independent and objective information, we uniquely refuse any and all advertisements, sponsorship and consulting from manufacturers.

About | FAQ | Contact