Welcome to 2019! The 2018 calendar year was an excellent year of internal growth and operational improvement for our chapter. Under Colleen Murphy’s leadership, our chapter experienced an incredible transformation which will prepare us for a strong future. In 2018, our chapter instituted new and better-defined Sponsorship Programs for companies, organizations, and individuals wishing to invest in the future of our chapter. These sponsorships dollars will translate into improved events, higher caliber guest speakers, and an expansion of services.
Last year, Colleen oversaw the development and institution of well-defined position descriptions for all board members and the establishment of charters for all our existing committees. Colleen also implemented deputy board member positions to maintain depth and continuity of operations and she instituted our organization’s first commercially resourced IT services contract to facilitate our operational business activities. All this was accomplished while remaining within our existing operational budget and WITHOUT increasing chapter dues or implementing individual event fees for members. Wow! Just, WOW! Thank you, Colleen, for your tireless service to our organization and for all you did to prepare us for the next level of our chapter’s growth. Folks, please raise a glass, issue a toast, and offer her a hand shake; Ms. Murphy did a lot for our chapter and we will reap the benefits for years to come.
Now, let’s look at our future…
Forecasts indicate an 80% spike for Cybersecurity professionals entering our industry within the next 3-5 years. Impressive? Yes but, not really. In 2018, analysts calculated a 200,000+ deficit for qualified Cybersecurity professionals in the United States alone; 2,000,000+ globally. Leading the way are positions associated with the Federal Government and Department of Defense; for most, a trusted source of employment and revenue opportunities. However, and with equal importance, are the non-Government related industries which are screaming for help, guidance, and support regarding the best methods to implement cost effective Cybersecurity rigor into their own respective industries. This need is prevalent among large businesses and “big-box” stores but, also among small and medium sized businesses. In 2018, I was invited to participate as a panel member for a local Colorado Springs Chamber and Economic Development Council’s small business discussion on Cybersecurity. I was impressed by the folks representing small/medium sized businesses who **paid** to attend this event. Medical practices, marketing agencies, food service businesses (catering, bar, and restaurant), retail stores, and financial institutions were all in attendance seeking advice on how to implement low-cost Cybersecurity solutions, disciplines, and technologies that are both cost and results effective.
Additionally, at the 2018 Small Business Development Council’s (SBDC) “Cover Your Assets” (CYA) forum, the Honorable John Suthers, Mayor of Colorado Springs, stated while comparing the current deficit regarding the regional emphasis on Cybersecurity employment and support for small/medium sized businesses (as compared to Government opportunities), that “Colorado Springs needs Cybersecurity for ALL industries.” This was an emphasis, plea, and/or challenge for those who can help to help. After attending this event, I realized ISSA-COS is best positioned to answer this challenge. Thus, as the new President, I am instituting an expansion to our Special Interest Groups (SIGs) based off our highly successful Women in Security (WIS) quarterly meeting (props to June Shores for leading this group!). The expansion will include a focus on both Affinity (Women, Mentoring, Young Professionals, and Executives) and Industry (Healthcare, Retail, Finance, and DoD) groups. In so doing, it is my aspiration to expand our mostly DoD focus into all industries within COS. But why you might ask? Think for a moment how many of us…
… utilize Healthcare services in COS (primary care, specialty care, and prescriptions)?
… frequent Retail services in COS (clothing, home improvement, and groceries)?
… rely on Financial institutions in COS (mortgage, auto loans, and personal loans)?
… depend upon trusted Legal counsel to operate our business operations (statutory, regulatory, and compliance)?
… utilize COS City utility services (gas, water, waste, and electric)?
All too often we rely upon the institutions that make us money and not enough on the institutions that we spend money on.
In 2019, ISSA-COS will work to preserve our commitments with our established partners while establishing new relationships with new industries. Our goal is to expand our presence, increase our impact, and elevate our influence on the COS region. In so doing, we will answer the Mayor’s call and institute a focus on Cybersecurity for all industries. Please join us as we aim to achieve our goal in 2019.
To accomplish these goals, ISSA-COS will institute several new programs designed to increase our reach across the region, diversify our membership across industries, and establish our organization as a cornerstone for knowledge and insight within our community.
In 2019, we can look forward to the institution of recognition programs designed to acknowledge new members and celebrate the professional achievements of existing members. In conjunction with our expansion of SIGs, we will also launch a membership drive to help capture members from new industries. This drive will seek to recognize those who bring in the most new members each quarter and throughout the year. Do you know someone who should be a member but isn’t? Now is the time to have them join! In the year to come, you can look forward to the addition of quarterly events and an increased emphasis on our monthly Mini-seminars.
Last of all, behind the scenes our board members and key personnel will continue to integrate refined operating procedures designed to streamline the way we run the chapter. We are excited for what the future holds. Please consider contributing as a volunteer when called upon and you too can help own a portion of our success!
Thank you for your support!