As (ISC)² prepares to lift a moratorium on establishing new chapters, CEO David Shearer discusses the impact of the program around the world and new developments for the future.
What are (ISC)² chapters and what is their impact?
(ISC)² chapters are local groups of interested cybersecurity professionals working to support professional development and enhance information and cybersecurity practices. Their work can and often does include serving as a resource to national or local communities with activities that range from advising national incident response centers (CERTs), to volunteers visiting local schools with our Safe and Secure Online program.
Chapters are independently run by (ISC)² certified professionals that meet regularly to network, host education sessions on current industry topics, and share experiences around day-to-day challenges. They are open to anyone interested in the subject matter and are evolving as forums that reach across industries and expose many to the opportunities of our profession.
Why did (ISC)² stop accepting applications for new chapters?
Last year, (ISC)² made the difficult decision to place a moratorium on the approval of new chapter applications. The (ISC)² chapter program had grown tremendously since it was launched in September 2011, growing to 155 official chapters in over 52 countries around the world. In a few short years, the interest from members had grown far beyond anything we had anticipated at the outset. We were amazed by the creativity that many of our chapters were demonstrating in their efforts to organize and become a resource to their profession and local communities. We were also learning about the challenges many were facing to gain or keep momentum with their efforts. Our chapter support teams were overwhelmed by the interest coming in for new chapters, while also struggling to respond to requests from the existing network of chapters. It was an important juncture to review the experience we had and see how the program might mature.
What are the next steps and how have you determined them?
We have taken a little over a year to review the trends emerging from chapter reports, and speak to many of our chapter leaders, both those that were doing really well and those that told us they were experiencing challenges. We also worked with our Regional Advisory Councils, some of whom have set up workgroups to support chapters, and put those with challenges in touch with experienced leaders who have faced similar issues. This effort has influenced our next stages of development in three areas: The skillset for successful chapter leadership; business planning and mission development; and the ability to pool resources. We will be moving to a system that ensures new chapters consider their opportunities, competences and objectives before they become registered; and where they are welcomed and supported by regional governance committees that includes experienced chapter leaders and Advisory Council members. We are preparing to help chapters share the best of their experience, with tools and templates for their meetings and events, and guidance around succession planning, volunteerism, developing purpose, and more. We are also planning an annual schedule to ensure a predictable, robust induction process for new chapters, and time in the calendar to respond to requests from existing chapters.
Why is this important?
Our members are our greatest asset and chapters are one of the strongest resources we have to support our development as a professional community. We currently have a thriving chapter network, with 135 chapters active around the world. They have taught us a lot about our membership’s experience on a local level. We have, for example, evolved to understand the differences in demand for local talent, the impact of regulations, different approaches to current issues such as data sovereignty, market forces, and so on. Chapters allow us to both support our membership on a local level, and pull topical experience from different parts of the world to gain a view on how these issues are affecting our members. The program informs how we move forward as a profession.
When will (ISC)² be creating new Chapters?
We are very much looking forward to welcoming new chapters early in 2017. We have taken the time to understand what is required to motivate success, and are putting the finishing touches on solid foundations for the future. Please watch for more detail in the coming weeks, and don’t forget that we already have many active chapters. I encourage anyone interested to seek out and find their nearest chapter, visit if they can and use this as first step to determining how they might get involved in the program.