Giving back: Center for Cyber Safety and Education

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This year is the first time in three years that I have not served on the board of directors of (ISC)2. When my term ended and I decided to step aside and collect myself. It was a worthy endeavour in many ways. But the detractors, such as one glorified tool punk who was convinced that the realm of information security began and ended with his favourite 'click, click, next’ tool, finally wore me down. If you kick a dog enough eventually it won’t bark anymore.

Now, as I reflect on my time with the organization I’m seeing some of the highlights in sharper detail. One of the main highlights of the (ISC)2 organization was the creation of the (ISC)2 Foundation. The Foundation started in 2011 as a non-profit charity through which members and the public at large could contribute to scholarships for folks that want to pursue a career in the security field. Very recently the Foundation was rebranded and relaunched as the Center for Cyber Safety and Education.

From the Center for Cyber Safety and Education:

To empower students, teachers and whole communities to secure their onlife life through cybersecurity education and awareness with the Safe and Secure Online educational program; information security scholarships; and industry and consumer research.

In addition to this, the Center for Cyber Safety and Education created and runs the Safe and Secure Online program. This is a volunteer run program driven by some of the 110,000 (ISC)2 members that teaches kids how to stay safe when they venture out on to the ‘tubes' of the Internet. I’m happy to see that they’re planning to role out an expanded program soon.

I had a chance to speak with the CEO of (ISC)2, David Shearer, and asked him where he sees the organization heading.

One of the things that David shared was that the Center for Cyber Safety an Education had licensed the image of Garfield for the Safe and Secure program. At first I was hesitant as I remember the lasagne eating feline from decades earlier but, then the simple elegance hit me. This was a character that children can identify with and the humour would help to reinforce the educational aspect. Well played. 

Another change that Shearer shared was that in order to volunteer with the Safe and Secure program one would have had to have been a (ISC)2 member historically. Now that part had been opened up to allow for a wider pool of volunteers. A positive move. 

The part of the Foundation, now Center, that really resonated with me was the scholarship program. 

I met a scholarship winner when I was in Los Angeles last year. She was very happy for the opportunity that the Foundation’s philanthropy had provided her in her bid to move forward in her education. This memory came back to me yesterday and it was a pleasant one to revisit. Remembering things like this makes me realize that there is a lot of good being done by the organization that I may have very well lost sight of in the last year.

I asked Shearer where things will move from here for (ISC)2. He said, "We can’t be thought leaders and sit on the sidelines" and that there is a need for greater advocacy. 

Good things are afoot. 

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