What should a User Group be? A New Information Security User Group is taking form

Many people at InfoSec expressed great interest in joining a new User Group that's focused 100% on Microsoft Information Security - it's being run by MVPs (Most Valuable Professionals).

We discussed the essence of the various different successful User Groups including the following:

and more formal Special Interest Groups (SIGs) including those of the following organisations: 

  • BCS (The British Computer Society)
  • ISASA (Information Systems Audit and Control Association - focused on corporate governance)
  • IEE (The Institution of Electrical Engineers)

and the newly formed IISP (Institute of Information Security Professionals).

In my experience pure community user groups (i.e. those that don't require academic qualifications or significant membership fees) are highly effective. The discussion @ InfoSec reached a consensus that many people would like to join a new User Group (to compliment and ideally engage with those listed above) that's purely peer oriented - in other words it's run by the community for the community. The resulting User Group will be initially led by it's founders though they will simply be the first members and therefore won't be any more powerful/senior/responsible than any other member.

Please hit the comment button and share your opinion as it's important that User Groups (be they formal, academic oriented or peer) compliment one another and serve the needs of their members.


Comments (7)

  1. peewitsol says:

    Hallelujah, this is what’s needed and a long time overdue in my opinion.  A community run User Group as you say Steve, is much more effective in the long run than "specialised" forums.  

    I have been posting to a General forum that has within it a section headed "Internet Security" for the last 3 years.  During that time help & feedback on security issues has been given and received, to and from, a whole host of people from every age group and both technical & non-technical  issues have been dealt with in plain english as much as possible.  Over this time "the forum" itself has grown in it’s knowledge on security matters and those that were in the forum, that were non too tech savvy, have grown in confidence in there own abilities and are now advising on security matters on other forums etc.

  2. susan says:

    I didn’t quite gather the name of the new user group?  And is it local or International?

  3. Steve Lamb says:

    Hi Susan> The website and name will be announced in a couple of days – I’ll post about it very soon.

  4. Panos Ladas says:

    Great new, looking forward to join this group! I believe that this group can be very helpful and interesting.

  5. Mark says:

    This is a great idea!
    Personally, I’d like to see it cover Microsoft products PLUS how those products integrate or co-exist with the rest of our network infratstructure in particular Linux/Unix/Cisco.

  6. John A Thomson says:


    Your out of touch my friend. The IEE as an institution is no more! Welcome the IET (Institute of Engineering and Technology).

    Have a look at my blog posting on the formation of this new institution:


    New user group sounds interesting.



  7. Steve Lamb says:

    John> I’ve just tried to leave a comment on your blog but received a message suggesting that I’m a ROBOT! I carefully entered the security code though it didn’t want to play ;-(

    Thank you for correcting up re. the IET – your post is very interesting. Nice to see the joint working between the IET & BCS.

    I’m speaking @ an IET conference in June and I’m sure will find out much more then.

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