A study recently published by technology research firm Gartner shows that spending on IT security has increased 7.9 percent so far in 2014, to $71.1 billion. Based on trends, the firm predicts that increases will continue, with 8.2 percent growth in 2015, which would make IT security a $76.9 billion industry.
Perhaps most interesting for small IT businesses, however, is that much of the growth mentioned in the Gartner report came from businesses hiring outside contractors to help manage their data security risks. Specifically, the study predicts that half of businesses will be hiring IT security contractors by 2018.
Translation: database administrators (DBAs) and network / security consultants can expect tremendous growth opportunities in the next few years.
Here are some tips on how to take advantage of this rising demand to increase your business revenue:
- Understand your market. While larger corporations can provide big paydays for IT contractors, most of them have in-house IT teams and are already proactively managing their data security risks. The growth predicted in the Gartner study will come largely from smaller companies that have been slower to get the message about data security. These companies may not have the funds (or the will from leadership) to hire full-time IT team members, which means they’re ideal candidates to work with smaller IT security businesses and independent contractors.
- Know what people are looking for. According to Gartner, “managed security services” are a hot commodity these days. The phrase refers to data security provided by an outside contractor, as described above. When updating your website and marketing materials to attract your growing potential client base, be sure to use this and other keywords so you’ll show up when these potential clients search for you online.
- Prepare for the shift toward incident response and recovery. Gartner’s findings show that more businesses are now looking for data breach response and recovery services (rather than solely data breach prevention). This is a positive change because it suggests an increased understanding of the universality of data breaches. But it means that, in order to be able to provide these services, you have to be familiar with how to secure networks after breaches and how to comply with state laws and HIPAA / HITECH regulations that govern data beach responses.
- Hone your mobile and cloud security skills. Another area of growing demand, according to the study, is security for mobile devices and cloud services. This makes sense, as more and more businesses allow employees to perform work duties remotely and seek the convenience of cloud-based solutions. If you don’t yet offer consulting services for cloud or mobile, consider familiarizing yourself with these areas to expand your potential customer base.
Maintaining Your Security as You Grow
Of course, any time your business expands its services, you should check in with your insurance agent to see whether your contractor insurance policies are adequate to handle the changes. Professional Liability policies should be updated any time you start offering new services, and limits on other policies may need to be adjusted if your revenue increases significantly.