Consulting 101 – Setting the Ground Rules With the Client

Having been a consultant for a number of years, I have always made it a policy to set some ground rules with the client before starting an assignment. I have found this to be an invaluable step to getting the job that I was hired to do completed on time and to the satisfaction of the client.

Firstly, I make it very clear what the expected deliverables are at the first meeting with the client that hired me. I also ensure that the client is the final arbiter for all conflicts that I may uncover. Also we set a time frame in which we all agree that all conflicts will be resolved. This shortens lengthy arguments between parties who believe they have a vested interest in the final deliverable. Finally, a process to escalate slow decision making is mapped out and agreed to by the client. This is another important method to speed up the process.

If the client cannot agree to these initial ground rules, then it may even be time to cut your losses and find another client. These ground rules establish whether the client is really serious about having you around and serious about making the changes that you may suggest.

This may sound strange. Why would they call you in if they have no intention about making any change at all? Sometimes clients call consultants in to give a show of openness to shareholders or other parties. The various reports and deliverables are then neatly shelved away once you have departed. The entire exercise to call you in was merely window dressing! The client never had any intention of implementing any of the changes that you suggested! This is more common than one might think.

Set up these ground rules and you will be able to get on with your job as a consultant. If you don’t, then you run the risk of being dragged down into the day to day quagmire that is part of every business. Your job is to assess the situation and advise the client and not become another cog in the business machine.

The Dangers of Consulting False Prophets

If you are one of those going from one prophet to the other, I have news for you. There is nothing technically wrong with going to the prophets to find out how your future or life’s journey will be. By the time you begin to go from one prophet to the other, then the real problem will start. The problem is multi-faced, number one, there are so many false prophets today, and in fact seventy five percent of today’s prophets are false. Number two, many prophets are speaking with a lying spirit from the LORD as the case revealed by Micaiah, the prophet to Ahab and Jehoshaphat. Number three, we are no longer in the era of prophets, read Hebrews 1: 1,2

GOD, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the PROPHETS, hath in these last days spoken unto us by HIS SON, whom He hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also He made the worlds.

The emphasis has shifted from consulting prophets to consulting the SON OF GOD, JESUS CHRIST. Jesus Christ is the word of God. See this in John 1: 1-5,14. Instead of going from one prophet to another consult the word of God, the Bible, for this is the revelation of Jesus Christ. If you are not true to the Word of God; if you do not live in accordance with the precept of the word of God; even though you consult a prophet, you have done wickedly against the covenant, and God will corrupt you with flattery through that prophet you are seeking, see Daniel 11:32.

Please understand me, there are New Testament prophets, called and ordained of the Lord Himself, they have a ministry to you and me: but our primary focus in the New Testament is on JESUS and not on prophets. See Hebrews 12: 2. The prophets are to confirm what the Lord has said to you. If a prophet comes to give you a new direction, it must go hand in glove with the word; your own spirit will bear witness and there will be peace in your mind. In the New Testament, we are not slaves of God; we are His children. We are no longer gentiles; we are His sons. I cannot imagine myself contacting you a prophet, to help me get some information from my dad. Since God is my Dad as well as yours, I can as well go straight to the throne of grace to obtain mercy and find grace to help in times of need. If you do wickedly against the covenant, not even the prophet can help you, but if you know your God you will be strong and do exploits. Today, many are not doing exploit but are being exploited because they do not know their God through His word.

We are all encouraged in the Bible to “come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest”, this was from the mouth of the LORD of lords and KING of kings in Matthew 11: 28. In another place He said, “come let us reasons together” (see Isaiah 1: 18). The door of heaven is always opened for all who cares to respond to this call. There is always the call to come as it is also written in the book of revelation 22: 17. “And the spirit and the bride say ‘come’. And let him that heareth say, ‘come’. And whosoever will, let him take of the water of life freely”.

The Lord loves you and wants you to have a really deep personal relationship with Him. He wants you; He longs for you: will you from today respond to this love?

Before concluding this article or write-up, let me remind you of a real life story about a young prophet in 1Kings 13: 1-32, please read it before you continue.

There was a powerful man of God whose name the Bible never mentioned. He came with the Word of God from Judah to Bethel; while King Jeroboam was burning incense upon the alter, the young prophet came and prophesied against the alter, “that a child named Josiah shall be born, this man, Josiah shall offer the priest of the high places that born incense upon that alter, and he shall burn their bones upon that very alter” He gave a sign that, that alter shall be rent, and the ashes that are upon it shall be poured out; and it happened immediately. On seeing this King Jeroboam stretch forth his hand to strike this prophet, but his hand dried up so that he could no longer withdraw it again. The king had to beg the prophet so that God would have mercy on him and restores his hand. The prophet forgave the king, prayed for him and his hand was restored.

The Lord had warned this young man of God that he should not eat food or drink water or even go back towards the way he came, in fact he was instructed to return back to Judah from Bethel through another way. So the king spoke to him to come and eat food and drink water, he refused and set out to go back through another way. Tragedy struck when an old prophet heard about the wonders and miracles performed by this young prophet as he went to persuade the young man to turn back, eat food and drink water in his house. Although the young prophet explained that the Lord had warned him never to turn back, eat food or drink water; yet the old prophet was able to persuade him by telling him that an Angel of the Lord had told him to bring the young prophet back to eat and to drink, which was a lie. Think about it who is greater, God or an angel? God told him through His Word never to turn back, eat or drink, but the angel told another prophet that he should turn back, eat and drink. Unfortunately, this young prophet decided to believe man and an angel more than the Word of God to his own disadvantage. The result was that he died a shameful and untimely death.

Who is bringing a word to you from the Lord? Check it! Is it in accordance with the written word? If not, throw it away quickly – don’t ever forget this. I have heard of millionaires who became paupers as a result of following prophets who brought the so-called word from the Lord to them. Many have died, some have lost valuable properties, and some have also lost their loved ones as a result of believing and following some of these fake prophets. BEWARE! Dear reader, be careful!! Looking for money? It is a good aspiration, but you must do it God’s way.

I remember the story of a woman who went to a prophet, and was told all that she ever did in life even before she complained or said anything to the prophet. She wondered how a man could tell her all she ever went through in life even though they’ve never met, she began to idolize this man and respected him as God. She gave him all he ever asked her and more; one day the man of God told her that the only way she can have breakthrough was for him to sleep with her. She agreed without question; this was the beginning of greater problems in her life, the secret was let out when the woman was on her deathbed. The prayers of true men of God delivered her.

We are in the last days, God has given us the solution to every problem that may ever plague any man on earth, and that solution is in the Bible. So dear reader, look unto JESUS and to Him alone; not to any other man, no matter how powerful such man may look or seem.

When Security is Mantra Then the Security Consulting is Tantra

“300 Lithuanian sites hacked by Russian hackers”

“In September, Google mail accounts of key government officials were tampered with and earlier, passwords and login names of the National Defence Academy and key Indian embassies were splashed by a hacker on this website”

“India’s External Affairs Servers Hacked By China”

How often we get to hear such news….



many times… huh!!! Despite many such incidents that take place, only few see the lime light. Reason being most of the companies don’t prefer to reveal them, fearing there is chance of losing customer’s faith. Incidents as these happen quite often and we react only when such incidents takes place. Most of the times we are reactive than being proactive! All such incidents raise a concern on how security is compromised and there is a great concern to curb such activities. The importance of information security and growing market for security consulting in India is driving me to write this article.

Don’t care for security – This is what we normally hear from most of the start ups of India and few Small and Medium Businesses (SMBs). Reason could be that they don’t have enough time for security, since they are busy getting their product out. But fact is, start up companies should take utmost care in protecting their intellectual property lest they might loose their competitive advantage.

Security is the way to go!!! Security is not a product, which you can just install and keep yourself safe. Security is not just a technology alone, it includes process and people who should follow the process with out fail. Most SMBs do not have dedicated security teams due to the smaller size of their operation, contrary to this few companies have dedicated security teams, but they lack certified security professionals. It is estimated that in India less than 2,500 professionals have specific Information Security skills, which represents only 0.5% of the IT workforce. Almost 50% (12 out of 25) of the companies do not employ certified professionals to manage their security. But reality is that for security implementation you need experienced certified people who are specialized and trained in core areas of security domain. Now how can you get such people? In India there are quite a few security consulting firms who can provide experienced certified external security consultants for hire.

As per the “The Forrester Wave”:Security Consulting, Q3 2007″ Over the past two years, some security service providers have registered growth rates in excess of 40%. The major driving factors for the security consulting market in India to grow are high rise in the complexity of IT implementations, Rise in the usage of on-line trading and on-line transactions, rise in the requirements of banking and financial services, BPO etc.

Consulting is projected to grow till $1.1 billion by 2012 in Asia pacific. Information security and services companies in India are now moving up the value chain to focus on information security consultancy, managed services, training and patch management. The information security (IS) market in India is growing at a rate of 50 per cent exceeding that of the software industry and presents a huge untapped opportunity to software companies. There are already quite a few good players like Deloitte, Wipro, Accenture, Ernst&Young who proved their mark with their consulting services in the area of information security, but there is a growing need and vacuum available for other companies to pitch into this market.

conclusion:

  1. Gone are those days when security was thought of as setting up IT infrastructure alone, it is now more than that, it has expanded to information storage, distribution, application level security, perimeter security and defining policy procedures for different kinds of information. Today’s security consulting firms have trained people with specialized skill sets on standards like BS-7799, ITSM (IT Service Management), COBIT (Control Objectives for Information and Related Technology) and the ISO-17799, ISO 27001. Companies who are working in an off shore model may take services from security consulting firms to keep themselves compliant to regulations that are followed by their foreign counterparts.
  2. Companies working in an offshore model can get an added advantage in hiring external consultants. These consultants look at organization’s security set up from outsider’s perspective and are in a better position in identifying the loop-holes.
  3. Companies should enhance their security perception by involving the top management in drafting and reviewing security policies and creating a provision for security in their budgets.

Its quite evident that security consulting in India is going at a rapid pace. India has a right blend of technology and skills to provide top notch services and grow as a top class security consulting service provider.

Finally, as the meaning of Tantra goes – any service that is concerned with ritual acts of body, mind and speech is called as Tantra. That’s why I say, When Security is Mantra then the Security consulting is Tantra!!!