4 or 5 years ago a friend of mine approached me with the idea of going into the penetration testing business: "Let's go into the penetration testing business", he said, and we did some market research. We could buy the required tools, a server, a shed, and a reasonably large internet connection, install a free copy of Nessus and be up and running by the end of the week.
Of course we looked a little further than that, and realised that everyone and his dog was already doing it, and like every other business, it was just a case of whoever was shouting the loudest would make the biggest bucks. Steve and I were total techheads and neither particularly interested in making noise at the time, so we went back to the day jobs...
A couple of years later, a new friend at a new company asked me about my background. We got around to talking about my close call with pen testing and he said: "yep, I thought about that for a while, no money in it."
All of us remain firmly under the employ of other entrepreneurs, some large, some small, but none of them us.
Today I saw a quote from a pen testing company, not one for dropping names, let's just say they do secure tests. My jaw dropped when I saw the price for 4 days work. An amazing return for them, but just like Starbucks charge more for a coffee I could make at home because of their ability to make it in bulk and present it better than I can, so they can do a much better job than we can, make a pretty report, tailored to our needs, and there's probably negligible real cost difference to us anyway. Not that we could do our own tests, but it did strike me that the only reason we have to do them anyway is because our security team (now disbanded) had identified the need in the first place...
The MD of this testing company often writes for a magazine that I have written for in the past. He shouts louder than I do, and makes his presence known. He's also very good, knows the market and knows what makes a good product. I'm not sure I could have built a business out of it in such a cutthroat market.
Still, it would have been nice, wouldn't it?