The case for NAISG

Last night I attended a particularly inspiring meeting of the Boston chapter for NAISG, the National Information Security Group. I walked away feeling I had to make the case for this organization.

First, some full disclosure: I sit on the board of directors for NAISG and have since 2006. In that role, I help recruit speakers for the monthly meetings and sometimes I give a talk or two myself.

Some raw facts about the organization, lifted right from the website:

The National Information Security Group (NAISG) was founded in August, 2002 as the New England Information Security User Group. In 2004, the group incorporated as a 501c(6) in the commonwealth of Massachusetts and changed its name to the New England Information Security Group. In 2007 it changed its name to the National Information Security Group to better reflect its membership and its goals. A board of directors provides guidance to the organization.

It's a non-profit organization that promotes awareness and education of information security through the support of local and regional chapters. Members include IT administrators, managers, law enforcement personnel, the media, educators and students and anyone else interested in getting or staying on the cutting edge of information security.

Key Points

Promotes awareness and education of all facets of information security through the support of local and regional chapters.

Holds monthly meetings that include presentations and discussions, a Q&A session, job announcements,

demonstrations and/or hands-on workshops.

Is always free to the general public.

Is not biased toward any single vendor or technology.

Includes as members: IT administrators, managers, law enforcement personnel, students,

educators and anyone else interested in getting or staying on the cutting edge of information security.

Provides a venue for organizations to distribute information and educate the general membership

on security products, techniques and/or other issues related to security.

Maintains an online TechTips forum, through which subscribers can post or respond to security- and IT-related questions.

TechTips maintains an international subscription base.

No formal security experience is required. Come to learn, share tips and tricks and network with other professionals!

As a security journalist, I've forged a lot of important relationships with the likes of NAISG president Brad Dinerman and fellow board members Jack Daniel and Paul Bowen.

Each month, we have one or more speakers presenting on a wide range of topics, from vulnerability management, ID and access management and DLP to FBI investigation tactics and even lock-picking.

Last night my old friend Rob Westervelt, news director at SearchSecurity.com, moderated a panel discussion that covered everything from the WikiLeaks drama to the pros and cons of government regulation. The panelists were Akamai CSO Andy Ellis, IT security practitioner Ed Ziots, Threatpost Editor Dennis Fisher and Ken Smith, a local security consultant and architect who has helped me on more than one article.

Since going national, NAISG chapters have popped up across the country, including Atlanta, Dallas, Houston, Orlando, Washington DC and Seattle. If you're studying to earn a CISSP certification or you're trying to maintain the cert, attending these meetings meets the requirement.

As a journalist, I've gotten a ton of value from NAISG. It was an honor when Brad asked me to come onto the board.

I've tried to shy away from writing about it in news articles because I didn't want to create the appearance of a conflict of interest.

But in the format of a column and with the full disclosure out of the way, I have no reservations about saying something in this blog.

And so I have.

--Bill Brenner

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