Establishing a professional group focused on cybersecurity wasn't exactly what I had in mind when I moved back to Idaho in 2013. Having just worked in Oklahoma for the previous 5 years performing third party accreditations for federal systems in multiple agencies, I understood the challenges that many professionals had in the field. My mind was blown when I understood that the average system often didn't meet even the basic security requirements established by the National Institute of Standards and Technology. While in some cases this was a matter of resources, in others it was a matter of understanding and know how.
I have often heard that cybersecurity, like medicine, is a practice, not a science. I've heard that its difficult to quantify what is secure and what the risks are. I would have to agree that these can be difficult tasks, and I think there are multiple ways to address those issues. At the end of the conversation, the answer to many of the tough questions in this field is experience. We learn by doing.
I decided to get involved with the (ISC)2 Chapter Program on its second enrollment period for the North America region. I teamed up with Teresa Westfall who also applied to establish a chapter. We consolidated our applications and worked with Corey Schou, a founder of (ISC)2 to try to figure out what a good vision and boundary for the chapter should be. This vision and our approach have evolved since inception, and we have learned a lot about ourselves and the work involved in this type of activity.
The (ISC)2 Idaho Chapters mission promotes the tenets of the (ISC)2 Chapters program throughout Idaho. Those tenets are found in its tagline - connect, educate, inspire, and secure. I see our chapter as a focal point to bring our communities, friends, and families to a better place. I do not see our group as a competitor of other cybersecurity groups like InfraGard, Brew with the Crew, or BSides but rather of champion of those causes. Our members should be able to help with those causes they are passionate about and have support from their colleagues in the field.
My goal with the chapter is to create a community that enriches its membership and the communities it serves with increased knowledge, experience, and understanding. We understand the challenges of learning and tackling the increasingly diverse areas of cybersecurity. We have so many talented, educated, and amazing professionals within our state doing incredible things. We have multiple educational environments looking to provide eager students with opportunities to learn. We all have seen the lack of understanding many others within our communities have to the sad state of privacy and security.
The (ISC)2 Idaho Chapter will promote the safe use of technology. We will work with the schools from Grade School to Colleges to mentor and sponsor those with a desire to learn. As a chapter, we are already joining forces with educators to prepare the next generation of students to understand the challenges we face and help educators understand the needs of employers. We have programs to teach our seniors and our children about the risks of the internet and its implication on our privacy. As a chapter, we are working to develop training for cybersecurity topics, applications, and certification workshops.
I want to inspire our members to continue to learn and grow. It's easy to become comfortable in our day to day routine and lose sight of the changes going on around us. We have the capacity for so much more and I believe that we can make a difference in how we perform our jobs and teach our children to be safe online. We can make Idaho more cyber aware and cyber secure. We can be more innovative, better prepared and less reactive to the ever-increasing threats in cybersecurity.
It may be difficult to quantify risk. It may be difficult to help your kids understand why they can't post some information online that all their friends already do. It is definitely difficult to secure a system that seemingly every malicious party wants into. You have resources that you can tap into. Here is a place of camaraderie; a community that you can share your frustrations and successes.
The thought behind everything the chapter does will be to promote cybersecurity with a focus on Idaho communities. We as a chapter will support cybersecurity conferences, as well as offer education and mentorship opportunities. I want our chapter to be the go-to place for resources in cybersecurity within Idaho. We will help each other as professionals, students, and Idahoans. Our chapter meetings will be opportunities to connect as professionals, students and community members to network and learn new things. We will sponsor events that bring us together and inspire us to new heights.
My vision is that we can find ourselves within a larger community of understanding and awareness. We can be cyber secure.