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Starting Your Own Cyber Security Business

In the United States, the entire cyber security workforce as of July 2020 consisted of 715,000 professionals, with 314,000 unfilled positions, according to Cyber Seek. The CNBC Tech Council counts the number of cyber security job openings between 700,000 and 1 million over the past 12 to 24 months. Those figures represent 32 to 45% of all U.S. technology job openings. Of the candidates applying for available positions, fewer than 25% are qualified, according to the MIT Technology Review.

Many organizations are currently unable to staff their cyber security positions adequately, and with a bleak forecast for talent availability, they will have no choice but to outsource this business-critical function. The industry’s talent scarcity creates ideal conditions for those with an entrepreneurial spirit who would like to acquire enough expertise in the field to and later build a startup.

“The cyber security market is thriving,” according to Ulistic, “and by 2022, it’s expected to grow to $224.48 billion in revenue.” According to PayScale, a cyber security consultant could make $150 per hour or more to help defend systems and networks from cybercrime.

A Master of Business Administration with a Concentration in Cyber Security online from the University of Texas at Tyler could be your key to realizing this tremendous opportunity.

The program is developed for professionals who want to serve as facilitators between management and IT/cyber security teams and individuals who have the foundational business knowledge as well as the technical expertise that a cyber security founder needs. The curriculum provides graduates with a thorough understanding of the concepts and strategies needed to translate complex technical language, evaluate strategic approaches and set policies to ensure companies are protected.

The National Security Agency’s ISAM methodology helps students analyze vulnerabilities and develop responses to minimize security risks. They study techniques used to protect and manage networks, including security policies; master cryptography and network protocols; learn how to assess risk; and make recommendations to reduce enterprise vulnerability.

Your First Step Toward Founding a Startup: a Business Plan and Target Market

With the market opportunity as large as it is, and heavy demand in the public and private sector, the first step in founding a startup is to develop a business plan that explains how you plan to specialize. Determine which industry your business will serve (demand is particularly strong in government, healthcare and finance, as a few examples).

Determine what services you can provide. Will you focus on prevention, detection or response? Services include completely taking over an organization’s IT security function or offering specific services like dark-web scanning, monitoring log management and developing firewalls or customer data security.

The more expertise you and your team have in these specific functions, and the more you invest in the tools and technologies to help your clients achieve specific objectives, the more effective you will be at preventing a security breach. Just as in any industry, being a jack-of-all-trades costs you the opportunity to excel in any particular one – but that cost is too high to pay in an industry in which a mistake can cost your business its reputation.

Your business plan should include a SWOT analysis, market analysis and competitive analysis. The SWOT analysis identifies your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. The market analysis should identify the specific areas of need for services within a sector, an industry segment or a geographic region. The competitive analysis should provide insights into your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses and what you can do to take away market share.

Hire Talent or Develop Your Own, and Earn These Certifications

For each of the different service niches you may consider, there are applicable designations and certifications you can achieve in order to bolster your firm’s credentials. These include:

  • GIAC Security Essentials Certification (GSEC) to validate the information security expertise of IT professionals.
  • Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), which demonstrates your ability to design and implement a cyber security program.
  • Certified Ethical Hacker Certification for professionals who test networks and look for and fix security weaknesses to safeguard against criminal activity.
  • Certified Cloud Security Professional (CCSP), which demonstrates your ability to maintain and secure operations in the cloud.

Determine Your Company’s Legal Structure

Your legal structure impacts many facets of your business from daily operations to payroll to taxes. Consulting a CPA is especially important in this industry because of the high potential for legal liability in the event of a client cyber attack or security breach. The Small Business Association lists five common company structures:

  • Sole proprietorship, for one person who reports company profits and losses on an individual tax return
  • Partnership for two or more people who report on their individual tax returns
  • Limited liability company (LLC), which limits owners’ liability and separates personal and business assets
  • S corporation, which offers a lower tax rate on distributions of profits
  • C corporation, which creates a separate legal entity, and can have shareholders with limited liability

As a student, you’ll find plenty of opportunities to further consider your entrepreneurial goals as you work through the University of Texas at Tyler MBA with a Concentration in Cyber Security online program. Some graduates pursue this option right away, and others choose it after further developing their professional network, expertise and experience in a particular cyber security niche. When you have the training organizations demand, the choice is yours.

Learn more about the University of Texas at Tyler Master of Business Administration with a Concentration in Cyber Security online program.


Cybercrime Magazine: Cybersecurity Talent Crunch to Create 3.5 Million Unfilled Jobs Globally by 2021

Insureon: How to Start a Cybersecurity Company

MIT Technology Review: A Cyber-Skills Shortage Means Students Are Being Recruited to Fight Off Hackers

Ulistic: How Do I Start a Cybersecurity Business?

US Cybersecurity Magazine: So You Want to Run a Cybersecurity Startup

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