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(London, UK – 22 April, 2003) In recognition of the increasing importance and continued growth of the UK information security profession, an UK chapter of the Information Systems Security Association (ISSA) has been formed. The association is a not-for-profit international organisation of information security professionals and practitioners. The primary goal of the ISSA is to promote practices that will ensure the confidentiality, integrity and availability of information resources.

Information security is a relatively young discipline (in IT terms) in the UK, with the first dedicated security teams having been formed around 10 years ago. Many small/medium UK companies still do not have a dedicated information security function. In recent years however, an increasing numbers of companies have begun to hire security staff and invest in information security. This has resulted in an increased market for security products, advice and solutions, as witnessed by the maturity of early ‘adopters/vendors’ and the number of new companies entering the security market.

It is currently difficult to exactly quantify the size of the UK information security industry, but the limited data available points to an explosion of interest in recent years. InfoSec 2003 expects to see 9000 security ‘minded’ folk through the door this year. Also, the number of UK professionals holding the “CISSP” designation (Certified Information Systems Security Professional) – an internationally recognised security qualification from (ISC)2 – has more than doubled in the past 24 months and now stands at 400+. There has been a similar increase in the demand for training and education in this area, as demonstrated by the expanding number of security training courses now available in the UK.

Information security, or the perceived lack of information security, has been identified by numerous studies as one of the key factors holding back growth of the Internet. In particular the UK government believes that fears of system insecurity are currently inhibiting the development of the information society in the UK, particularly in the areas of e-commerce and e-government. Recent research suggests that UK companies suffer at least as many electronic attacks as those abroad, but our level of detection of such attacks is extremely low. A recent report from the Information Society Commission highlighted the fact that the UK, along with its European counterparts needs to invest more in information security – both products and people. The UK chapter of the Information Systems Security Association intends to work closely with government bodies and any other like-minded information security organisations, as ISSA International has historically done worldwide.

Although the Information Systems Security Association is new to the UK, it is a well-established and globally recognised organisation. The ISSA was founded in 1982, at a time when the United States was introducing a large volume of legislation relating to information security. The association set out to represent the views of professionals working in information security, and to assist government in understanding the complex issues related to the area. The ISSA has grown rapidly over the past two decades, and now has over 10,000 members worldwide. There are now 61 chapters (with a further 78 ‘in development’) in 10 countries: the United States, Canada, Australia, India, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Switzerland, Ireland and, most recently, the UK. The organisation has developed a strong global reputation as “the global voice of the information security profession” and is regularly consulted by government and industry.

“Although our profession has expanded rapidly in recent years, this growth has not been without problems. The community of security professionals is currently disjointed and fragmented. Other regions with this problem have found that the ISSA is an excellent forum for bringing together security professionals from different backgrounds and industries”, said Louis Gamon, ISSA Regional Director – Europe/Africa. “Although the ISSA is new to the UK, many organisations with UK operations have contributed to the association elsewhere. Other ISSA chapters have been supported by staff from companies such as Intel, Compaq/HP, Dell, KPMG, Ernst & Young, Baltimore Technologies, PricewaterhouseCoopers and many others.”

The inaugural public meeting of the UK ISSA chapter will be held during InfoSec 2003 (London/Olympia) in April. The first formal UK Chapter meeting will follow in May, in the London area.

Further details on the UK chapter can be found on our website at WWW.ISSA-UK.ORG.

About the Information Systems Security Association
With active participation from individuals and chapters all over the world, the Information Systems Security Association (ISSA)® is the largest international, not-for-profit association for security professionals. It provides educational forums, publications and peer interaction opportunities that enhance knowledge, skill and professional growth. Members include practitioners at all levels of the security field in a broad range of industries, such as communications, education, healthcare, manufacturing, finance and government.

The ISSA international board consists of some of the most influential people in the security industry, with representatives from Dell Computers, Symantec, Washington Mutual, Giga Information Group and EDS. With an international communications network developed throughout the industry, the ISSA is focused on maintaining its position as “The Global Voice of Information Security”.


About the UK Chapter of the ISSA
The UK ISSA chapter was recently founded by Louis Gamon. The chapter has just been officially recognised and endorsed by the ISSA International organisation, is sponsored by (ISC)2 and has begun recruiting new members (a 30% increase in the past few months). The board has been selected based on experience and leadership in the field of information security, and represents 40 years of security experience.

It is expected that the membership will quickly expand to include all UK professionals with responsibility for information security. Membership is currently around 100 and projected to reach 200-250 by end of 2004. Chapter members will have the opportunity to meet with fellow security professionals to share their experiences and leverage the experiences of others. Interest in the organisation has been extremely high, partly due to recent cuts in corporate budgets, which are requiring organisations to build on the experiences of others rather than relying on external consultancy and training.

Contacts:

Louis Gamon
ISSA Regional Director – Europe/Africa
0118 960 3263

Richard Starnes
V.P – UK Chapter
0208-955-0874

Brodeur Worldwide
Henny Valder/Ghezala Beg
0207 298 7075/7063
Email: hvalder@uk.brodeur.com / gbeg@uk.brodeur.com


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