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What should be considered when building a security practice?

How to Build a Security Practice

With more people turning to the internet for their daily needs, cybercrimes are on the rise. The financial cost of these cybercrimes on businesses is also rising at an alarming rate. Among the many risks that a company faces, a data breach is one of the most costly. According to a 2019 IBM survey, a data breach costs an average of $3.92 million. It's no surprise, then, that cybersecurity is one of the hottest industries in Canada.

The growing use of remote workers necessitates a greater emphasis on cybersecurity due to their increased risk to cyberattacks. This is evident in the finding that 47% of people fall for a phishing scam when working from home. Threat actors have used the COVID-19 pandemic as an opportunity to expand their operations, capitalizing on people's intense interest in coronavirus-related news. The average cost of a data breach connected to remote working is now upwards of $137,000.

The Growing Need for Cybersecurity Firms

With so many organizations looking to protect their sensitive data and systems from intrusion, hackers have become quite innovative in their attempts at breaking into them. As a result, Canadian businesses are turning to experienced cybersecurity firms for help. This high level of financial exposure is propelling significant demand for cybersecurity services.

Large corporations have the financial resources to hire in-house cybersecurity staff. Small and midsized companies, on the other hand, whose technology staff are stretched to capacity at best of times, are generally unable to pay for full-time cybersecurity specialists. This is where reseller partners who are trusted advisors have the opportunity to become a full-service cybersecurity solutions provider to your clients.

Your business will provide customers with cybersecurity expertise on demand, a service that more potential customers are looking for. According to PayScale data, IT consultants with extensive cybersecurity experience charge $150 per hour or more to assist companies in battling cybercrime.

There are different types of cybersecurity firms. The key to success is that you must be able to provide what's needed, be it infrastructure, software or services related to cybersecurity. In short, you’ll need every resource you can get your hands on. Here's how you can lay the groundwork for a successful security practice.

Make a Cybersecurity Business Plan

The first thing to do is to make a plan, trusted resources like your value-added distributor has programs to help you through the process if needed. Take stock of your company’s capabilities – and understand the long-term vision you wish to have within the company. Will you want transform into a cybersecurity reseller company, or would you ultimately want to partner with industry leading providers to provide the services to your customers? The decisions while taking the first few steps can be extremely important, as it will shape the investments, go-to-market, and long-term growth of your business.

Define Your Target Market

As you best understand your clientele and business, take stock of the market that you serve and what the needs and demands are. This will be the ultimate guide on what type of cybersecurity practice you may want to build. You can use this information to define the scope of your cybersecurity business.  Your market will shape your approach and focus, be it in cybersecurity as a whole or in niche solutions like Cloud Security, Security Operations & Managed Response, or Security Consulting & Managed Services, to name a few.

Define Your Start-up Costs

Now, for the F word: FINANCE.  Crunch the numbers to determine your budget and the costs associated with creating the cybersecurity practice for the business. These cost can include: personnel, certifications, equipment, contracting fees, marketing, etc.. Once the cost of business is defined, a very important decision must be made by the company. Will we proceed in this direction, or would we want to seek alternatives? As stated earlier in the article, the costs of building a cybersecurity practice are not small and once commitment down that path if made, some of those costs may not be recoverable if the project is ended pre-maturely. Make sure that everything on your plan is financially feasible with achievable goals and dates so that a well-informed decision can be made at a leadership level to proceed with the plan. These projects require a full-company buy-in, if there is any hesitation, stop and review before proceeding.

Develop Your Go-To-Market

Once your company has agreed to and begun acquiring the resources needed to have a cybersecurity practice, it is time to ensure your market knows about it! Create a sales strategy that integrates with your companies and target clients’ values. What will set you apart from the rest of the market, and how will your team deliver that message to the market as an offering? Start with your existing client base as your target market, this will help your business refine and define how you deliver your message and solutions to your market.

The Nitty Gritty:

Get the Right Professional Certifications

Being certified is the first step towards getting potential clients to trust your cybersecurity practice. The following are some of the most sought-after cybersecurity credentials available:

Carefully Draft Your Contracts

A cybersecurity business should include several different contract templates specific to the type of security services you'll be offering. It is also important to clearly highlight what the scope of work and services around cybersecurity is provided by your team on each project ,as there may be things your business does not cover as a whole or on a specific project. This needs to be clearly defined and reviewed with the customer before engagement starts. (Example: Your team is contracted to monitor logs for malicious activity, but not to respond or remediate any issues after informing a client of the incident. Ensure the client understands that you will only be scoped to identify potential malicious activities and they will be responsible for the actions after the alert.)

What's more, it's essential to have a privacy policy included in every contract which details how the information will be protected. Both parties – you and your client, need to agree to terms and conditions outlined in the Statement of Work (SOW) before the engagement can begin.


Threat actors, hackers, and villains with moustaches in trench coats behind keyboards aren’t diminishing in numbers.  Organizations are struggling to cope with the deluge of threats unleashed on their networks. The time to build a sustainable security practice is now.  A cybersecurity practice has significant benefits, including adding a fresh revenue stream and establishing you as a trusted advisor, their first (and possibly only) call for their cybersecurity needs. To learn more about cybersecurity and the solutions available to you, contact Ingram Micro's Cybersecurity team today. 

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