As we continue to spend more time online, the threat of cyber security continues to grow. Individuals and businesses alike need to remain vigilant at the potential dangers lurking on the world wine web. 

When a business falls prey to a cyber attack, they can spend days, even weeks or months trying to get everything back on track. Therefore, safeguarding the business from online threats is likely to be a top priority for most organisation.   

However, it’s not always so simple. Navigating the complexities of online security breaches can be pretty complex. As a result of this, many opt to hire consultants to help them create the best security for their organisation. 

So, if you have the knowledge, skills and expertise in cyber security, plus you’ve always wanted to start your own business, then a cyber security consultancy business may be the right path for you. 

Before you start helping others secure their business, it’s important we do the same for you first. 

What Do Cyber Security Consultants Do? 

Generally, organisations are the ones that hire cyber security consultants for their security matters, as opposed to individuals (though this doesn’t mean it can’t happen). So, for the purpose of this article, we’ll refer to your potential future clients as businesses or organisations. 

A cyber security consultant, helps others secure their systems by identifying threats, making assessments then recommending changes and helping implement them. Their aim is to help their clients so they minimise the risk of a cyber security attack as much as possible. 

How To Become A Cyber Security Consultant 

The path to becoming a cyber security consultant requires a lot of education and training. Ultimately, you want to have the right skills and certifications, with the experience to match. So, if you’re not there yet then take your time to properly understand your field before embarking on a business venture. 

As a cyber security consultant, you will also need to learn how to effectively communicate with clients. Remember, your clients aren’t trained in information security, so you will need to convey information to them in a way someone without your knowledge will be able to understand. This is common practice for many professionals- much like how our legal experts effectively communicate with their clients. 

What Services Can You Offer As A Cyber Security Consultant? 

Cyber security consultants offer a number of different services. Remember, cyber security is a really large field, therefore there’s a huge range of services to be covered. A few of these include: 

  • Encryption
  • Program building
  • Threat management
  • Barrier testing
  • Coding
  • Fire walls 
  • System checks 
  • Network infrastructure management
  • Intrusion detection 

As a cyber security expert moving into consulting, you’ll likely need to narrow down what services you’ll be offering and find a niche angle that you can specialise in. The best way to figure out what your cyber consulting business will offer, is to draw up a Business Plan

It doesn’t need to be anything fancy, a business plan is basically a blueprint for your cyber security consulting business that you can always look back on, to help keep things on track. It’s a great way to stay organised and have all your planning in one place, so we always highly recommend creating one. 

Starting A Cyber Security Consultancy Business: A Quick Guide

Now that you have got your qualifications sorted and your plans set to go, it’s time to officially start your cyber security consultancy business. We’ve broken down the legal process of getting your business set up, keep reading to know more. 

Decide On A Legal Structure For You Cyber Security Consulting Business

One of the most important decisions you will make as a business owner is deciding on the legal structure of your business. Your cyber security consulting business’s legal structure will determine a lot of things, like what liabilities and limitations your business will have, as well as any additional management duties you will need to adhere to. 

The most common business structures are: A sole trader, partnership and a company. Let’s take a closer look at each one: 

Sole Trader: 

As the name suggests, a sole trader is the singular owner of the business. If you opt to register your cyber security consultancy business as a sole trader, you alone will be responsible for the entire business. While this may sound great at first, it’s important to remember this also means the liability of the whole business will fall on you personally, as there is no legal separation between you and your business. 

Partnership: 

If you don’t like the idea of walking the business path alone, then starting a partnership might be something you’re thinking of. Partnerships require additional planning, as it’s important for both partners to be on the same page regarding matters like management, profit share, dispute resolution and the process for leaving the partnership. It’s better for both partners and the business to have all this (and more) sorted prior to starting a business together.  

Company: 

A company is considered to be a legal entity on its own. Therefore, the company can own property, earn a profit, accumulate debt and have ongoing court matters. When you decide to operate your cyber security consulting business as a company, then you will be able to limit your personal liability, as the company will be separate from you personally.  

Understanding your options and making an informed decision is important, as this choice will lay the foundations for your business. To learn more about business structures, check out our guide here. Our friendly legal experts are also happy to answer any questions you may have. 

Register Your Cyber Security Consulting Business 

After making the right choice, it will be time to register your business. 

For sole traders, registering your business is relatively simple. All you need to do is get an Australian Business Number (ABN) online and Register A Business Name, if you’re using something other than your personal name to run your cyber security consulting business. Once your ABN application is successful and you receive your unique number, you’ll be all set to start your business operations. 

The process for Registering A Company is a little longer and more complex, which is why it’s best to have the help of a legal professional when you do this. Companies are answerable to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) so their registration process is determined by them, as well as any ongoing obligations. If you’ll be registering your company with a partner, it’s wise to get some legal documents like a Founders Term Sheet and Partnership Agreement taken care of before you officially start business together. 

Once your company is registered, you’ll be able to enjoy the benefits and additional legal protection of having a company. Even though registering a company may seem like a lot at first, a legal expert can help make the process much simpler for you. Moreover, it’s best to have a company structure right from the start rather than deciding to make the switch later on. 

Get The Right Legal Documents For Your Business 

Once your business is registered, you’re legally able to start trading. However, it’s important to make sure your cyber security consulting business takes its first steps into the business world with as much legal protection as possible. 

You can manage the risks that naturally come with running a business with the right legal documents. We’ve listed a few important ones here for you. 

Consultancy Agreement: A consultancy agreement is something your clients will need to sign before you begin business. The agreement sets the tone for your relationship with them, and covers important matters like scope of work, payment, responsibilities and termination. 

Non-Disclosure Agreement: As a business owner, it’s normal (and even encouraged) to keep certain matters private. In order to protect your business’s information, having an NDA ready is important.   

Business Terms and Conditions: When others interact with your business, it’s important to set some ground rules. A terms and conditions essentially does this, while protecting your liabilities and ensuring you have control where necessary. 

Privacy Policy: If you’re going to have a business website, then a privacy policy is necessary. Australian privacy laws require any business that collects personal information from its users (yes, even if it’s just a name and number) to have a privacy policy visible on their website. As this is a legal requirement, it’s best to have the legal experts draft this one up. 

The exact legal documents you need will depend on your cyber consultancy security business. As no two businesses are the same, the above is just a general guideline. To get advice that is specifically catered to you, talk to one of our legal experts today. 

Any Other Legal Considerations For My Cyber Security Consulting Business? 

When you’re running your cyber security consulting business, it’s important to be aware of any additional legal considerations that will impact your business. 

The Australian Consumer Law (ACL) is one of the main regulations you will need to take into account. As a business, it’s important to make sure you’re abiding by the ACL’s standards, which essentially means ensuring your clients are being treated fairly. The ACL also protects small businesses, so understanding your rights under it is just as crucial.

Talking to a Regulatory Compliance Lawyer can help you better understand any other legal obligations that are bound to impact your business. The best way to be legally compliant is to get a good understanding of what other laws may impact your business, then adjust your business practices to be in line with those requirements.   

Next Steps 

Starting a cyber securing consulting business can be a great way to combine your skills and become the owner of your own business. However, it’s important to take care of all the legal considerations, that way your business can get off to a strong start. To summarise what we’ve discussed: 

  • The growing threat of cyber security has led individuals and businesses to prioritise safeguarding against online threats
  • Cyber security consultants help businesses identify threats, assess vulnerabilities, recommend changes and assist in their implementation to minimise cyber security risks
  • To become a cyber security consultant, one needs extensive education, training, skills, certifications and the ability to communicate complex concepts to clients
  • Cyber security consultants offer various services, including encryption, program building, threat management, coding, firewalls, system checks, network infrastructure management, and intrusion detection
  • It’s important to create a business plan to define your services and niche in the field of cyber security consulting
  • Legal considerations are vital for starting a cyber security consulting business
  • Choosing a legal structure for your business (sole trader, partnership, or company) determines your liability and management duties
  • Registering the business, especially for a company, can be complex and requires legal expertise
  • Legal documents like consultancy agreements, non-disclosure agreements, business terms and conditions, and privacy policies are essential for legal protection and client relations
  • Understanding and complying with the Australian Consumer Law (ACL) is crucial for treating clients fairly and protecting small businesses
  • Consult a Regulatory Compliance Lawyer to understand additional legal obligations that may impact your business
  • Ensuring legal compliance and taking care of these legal considerations are essential for a successful start to your cyber security consulting business

If you would like a consultation on starting a cyber security consulting business, you can reach us at 1800 730 617 or team@sprintlaw.com.au for a free, no-obligations chat.

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