What is the Alliance?
The Sky Northern Security Alliance is a loose affiliation of over 250 individuals internationally, combining both solo information security consultants and small boutique IT/Security firms. The Alliance exists to help these individuals grow and serve clients through opportunity referrals, shared tips and best practices, and a participating in a community of like-minded individuals.
What are the benefits of membership?
There are a few primary benefits of membership in the Alliance:
- Maintain your independence - as a loose affiliation, you are able to continue to work as a consultant or run your boutique as you see fit.
- Opportunity referrals - from time to time, opportunities will be referred to Alliance members based on skills and experience, location, and other attributes. These opportunities will be sourced from the Alliance leadership and other Alliance members.
- Expand your services - by leveraging other Alliance members, you can expand the services you offer to your customers, by referral or subcontract. This allows you serve your customers more effectively against the breadth of their needs.
- Interesting projects - by combining with Alliance members on complex projects, you have access to engagements that you might not be able to tackle on your own.
- Geographic arbitrage - the Alliance spans North America and is starting to expand internationally. This reach will provide opportunities outside of your back yard and allow you to serve customers that you might not normally have access to.
How do I join?
Joining the Alliance has four primary steps. More information can be found here:
Step 1. Review and sign the Members Agreement and Charter. Once invited you will receive a HelloSign link with the necessary documentation.
Step 2. Complete the Services Survey - this allows us to refer you opportunities by mapping your capabilities with the needs of clients, partners and other Alliance members.
Step 3. Review the Code of Ethics.
Step 4. Sign up for the Newsletters, join the Slack channel (you will receive an invitation to Slack once you complete Steps 1 & 2).
We encourage you to introduce yourself to other team members on the Slack #whoami channel, and to stay in regular touch with Michael via email and other forms of communication.
At this time we do not charge members any fees for participation in the Alliance. The Alliance activities are funded through referral fees based on closed opportunities, with a portion of referral fees being invested into ongoing Alliance activities like tool development, marketing, etc.
What is the cost of being a member?
How do referrals work?
When an opportunity is identified and qualified, we will map the opportunity to qualified Alliance members based on skill set and other attributes as determined by the skills survey and ongoing conversations with Alliance members. An email will be sent out to those deemed to be the best probable match for the project, to gauge interest. Typically, 2-3 interested parties will be engaged for further discussion with the client, member or partner through which the opportunity originated.
Once the likely primary member is engaged, we will follow up on a regular basis to determine if assistance is required in securing the engagement. Unless you are subcontracting to Sky Northern directly, another member or a partner, you will be responsible for contracting directly with the end client. If subcontracting, you will be engaged for SoW assistance but the contracting party will work directly with the end client to finalize paperwork.
Referral rates range from 10-20% depending on scenario and market requirements.
A portion (5%) of every referral goes towards member services. Another portion (5%) goes to pay the principals (Michael & team) for building and maintaining the Alliance. If there is a referral to another member a portion (10%) will be paid to the individual or boutique who sourced the opportunity. We keep referrals light so that you can pocket more money as a consultant, rather than adding overhead like a big consultancy.
How does that 10-20% get split up?
Once the contracting member has been paid by the client, they become responsible for paying any referral fees to the Alliance. The final amount will be determined and the Alliance will issue an invoice for referral services, which should be paid within 30 days. If a member has earned a referral by identifying an opportunity which they are not billing for, it will be paid to that member once the Alliance has received their referral payment. Where possible, all payments will be handled by electronic payment/funds transfer.
Nobody should ever be out of pocket for a referral.
How do payments work?
Via email, phone and slack channel. Referral opportunities will almost always be sent primarily by email unless it is being targeted to just a single member for reasons of fit or match.
How do you communicate with members?
No problem, just let us know! If you’re likely to be too busy for a while, that’s okay as well, let us know so we don’t spam you with opportunities.
What if I am too busy for a gig?
What if I get a job?
Although the Alliance is focused on project work for consultants and boutiques, many of our members are also contract employees or rotate in and out of full time work. That is ok, and membership has benefits in terms of access to other members for shared best practices, etc. Please let us know of your change in employment so we can consider it as it relates to opportunities and project work. If you’re continuing to moonlight, a small percentage of opportunities may be a fit for that as well.
Go right ahead. We believe in karma - bringing good people together will create opportunities for everyone. There are no fees involved, but keep us in mind for how we can assist.
What if I want to hire a member of the Alliance for my boutique?
Lots of ways. Like any endeavour, the Alliance benefits from the efforts of its members to help each other out. Here are some ways you can contribute:
- Introduce other potential members - colleagues you’ve worked with in the past.
- Find and share opportunities for members to do work. Maybe a client you’re working with has needs outside your skill set. Maybe a friend has a firm and needs some security expertise. Maybe you’re too busy to take on a new project, but want to help someone find a talented resource.
- Tell people you’re part of the Alliance. Word of mouth helps bring us business.
- Write a blog article or post we can share to our mailing list and post to our website. Sharing your expertise is a fantastic way of spreading the word, and we’ll give you preferential opportunity to anything that comes as a result of your article.
- Share a resource that other Alliance members might benefit from. Maybe you’ve got a questionnaire you use with clients, or a template. Maybe a good online training resource you found useful. Let us know on the Slack channel.
- Make a suggestion. If you’ve got other ideas on how we can improve, tell us!