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:
- VBUG (a development oriented User Group)
- ISAServer.org (as the name suggests it's an ISA Server security oriented User Group)
- UK SQL Server Community
- Sharepoint User Group
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.