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Starting a Business as a Security Specialist This growing field may be a safe choice to launch a new business--if you've got the experience to back it up.

By Paul and Sarah Edwards

entrepreneur daily

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Even before 9/11, the field of security was growing-now securityis part of every personnel decision, organizational policy and newbuilding design in the United States. If you want to launch abusiness in a growing field, security is certainly one of the mosthappening arenas. And it's not that hard to get into, ifyou're already familiar with the business: You may be able toadapt skills and experience you already have or move into a newniche and learn from the ground up to carve out a thriving businessfor yourself.

Consider some of the current specialties in the securityfield:

Security Consulting
Many people who sell security products call themselves securityconsultants and they are part of the security field, butthere are also security consultants who don't sell products.These individuals are paid on an hourly or project basis to helpclients, usually corporations, protect their personnel andproperty. Property security embraces both real estate and tangibleequipment as well as other assets like client lists and proprietarytechnology. Employee and customer theft as well as piracy arepossible focuses for a security consulting practice. Technicalsecurity consultants are knowledgeable about products, such aselectronic security systems, including their development and how toapply them. The work may involve system design as well as draftingplans and documents.

Computer Security
While virtually all security consultants employ computer technologyin their work, the computer security niche specifically involvesprotecting computer systems and networks themselves againstunauthorized use and abuse. A computer security consultant oftenspecializes in particular operating systems such as UNIX, LINUX orWindows.

Site Consulting
Whether it's new construction or remodeling, virtually everybuilding and office-be it a high-tech industrial complex, retailfranchise, distribution center, self-storage facility, housingdevelopment, hotel, resort, casino, parking lot or law firm-isinterested in some aspect of site security. Security siteconsultants evaluate the physical design of such buildings andspaces, determine what security problems a sites poses andrecommend countermeasures, such as guards, electronic security withcameras and electric lights, or a combination of methods andpolicies.

System Design
Security system designers develop specifications and providearchitectural or engineering support in the design phase of asecurity consulting project. System designers may also develop newelectronic security tools to be used at a particular location.

Forensic Consulting
Forensic security consultants serve as expert witnesses in trialsin which security breaches are at issue, such as with fires,thefts, break-ins, and so on. Forensic consultants may specializein any of the above fields.

As a security practitioners, you can also develop niches foryour work based on the type of clients you work with, such asmuseums or historical sites, shipyards and airports. Unlikeprofessional investigators, security consultants don't have tobe licensed by state agencies. However, there are professionalassociations you can join and certification programs you cancomplete, which may help foster a sense of trust with your clients.One of the larger associations, which provides certification, isASISInternational.

Specializing is key to marketing a security specialty businessbecause it will help you more easily identify and market to clientswho need such services, such as architects and contractors ormembers of a particular industry, such as software developers orlaw firms. You'll be soliciting work and attracting clients bymaking presentations and speeches or networking in organizationswhere you can showcase your expertise. In addition to yourknowledge of security, you must be prepared to develop yourspeaking skills in order to attract new business.

Paul and Sarah Edwards are the authors of 16 books,including Best Home Businesses for the 21st Centuryand the upcoming The Best Home Businesses for People 50+. Youcan contact them at

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