Your IT specialist *can* be considered an independent contractor, but you need to have the appropriate agreement in place to establish the contractor relationship.
The reason such an agreement is essential: Once you agree to split profits with the IT specialist, he is presumed, under CA law, to be your partner! You need an independent contractor agreement to overcome this presumption.
This issue is discussed in the post at the link below.
This information does not constitute legal advice and does not establish an attorney-client relationship.
Sure he can. He's not a employee but rather like a commission salesman except that his commission is based on profits, not sales. As to risks, you have all the risks as a sole proprietor. Can't much help or change that unless you change your form of busness.