Hiring a consultant
May 7, 2013
Hiring a consultant
There are many times when you need to hire a consultant. It may be for sales, technical support, computers, even purchasing. But security is one of those things that you never think or talk about until it’s too late. That’s too bad in many instances.
Hiring a security consultant before something happens can save you money in the long run. It may not seem like it up-front but trust me I can name you dozens of companies that regret not hiring a consultant and getting expert advice.
A security consultant is something that all businesses should think about when they are starting up. Whether your business is retail, wholesale, service, or a mobile, you need to think about the security of your business and your employees. So what should you look for in a consultant? Sometimes that is not always an easy question to answer, but here are a few things to consider on that subject.
Whoever you hire, and for whatever job and skill set, the consultant needs to be able to listen to you and consequently break down your problem (s) in a few choice sentences. If they can’t do that then you may not have the right person or company.
While this is related to listening it is a separate component of its own. The consultant needs to be able to communicate with you on both an intelligent level as well as a practical level. If they can’t communicate what they think to you, then they may not be any good.
I’m talking about ideas and feedback. It doesn’t matter if they stutter, lisp, or have another abnormality. If they tell you quickly and efficiently what they are doing and why they’re doing it then that’s what counts.
They must have the expertise to be able to handle your issues, no matter what they are. If they tell you that they can’t do the job because they don’t know how that is the sign of an honest and reliable consultant. If they can hire the right help or point you in the direction to go even better.
Certifications, university degrees, years in the field, and classes/seminars attended/given is no indication that they can work for you well. While all those things are important, it’s just as important to have someone you can work with effectively.
I know several people who have an alphabet soup after their names. Most of them talk so far above your head sometimes they make you feel stupid! I also know others who likewise have that same soup and you would feel comfortable having a beer and bratwurst at the ball game with!
And just because they have 40 years in the field you’re hiring for, doesn’t necessarily mean they can help you either. Some of these people who call themselves consultants are nothing but blow-herds who may or may not be able to solve your problem.
How long are they going to talk to you on the first meeting? This can be an indication of whether you want them or not. If they take up the time of your initial meeting with meaningless minutia, then probably not. Likewise if they start talking about ‘sheep and goats’ (a South African friend does this at the beginning of a meeting), and keeps on then well…
Do they ask pertinent questions? Do they get it? Are they taking notes and thinking of ways to solve the problem or issues while the meeting is going on? Ask yourself these questions when you’re in the first meeting.
It is unfortunate, but many times the size of a consultant’s report is the basis on whether or not they did a good job or not. The size of the report means absolutely nothing, except they spent an inordinate amount of time writing it for one purpose – to pump up your response!
I’ve done surveys for companies and written a report like I write everything I do (except the book). Succinct, concise, & blunt. No verbose or flowery language or security jargon. And if I did use jargon, I defined it in the report. I made the report simple, sweet, and easily understandable to anyone who read it.
Did it offend some people who read such a simplistic report? Yes, but in the end they appreciated how easy it was to read and implement. One client had my report of 10 pages or so. They hired another consultant who wrote the same basic ideas that I did and their report was 90 pages long!
Are they truly independent or are they actually trying to sell you a product that they represent and get a commission on? There are ‘consultants’ out there who will try hard to sell you products of one type or another. An independent consultant will recommend products and services.
In this instance you have to beware of those who try to sell from only one company. They say they are independent consultants, but in reality they are trying to ‘sell’ you on one product or service instead of giving you options. I try to give numerous options to all recommendations I give, and the client can make up their own mind. And yes I do have favorites amongst providers, but I don’t work for them.
This should not be the final consideration factor for hiring a consultant. Most consultants who are truly independent and not ‘national figures ‘will probably be more than happy to work out a payment system for their services. So if their price seems a bit high and you want to hire them ASK!
Sollars Security Shield will always treat you as a client and is totally independent in their recommendations to you. Call them at 480-251-5197 or check out their website at http://www.sollarssecurityshield.com