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A SPIE STORY The History of the Calgary Security Professionals Information Exchange

SPIE History

A SPIE STORY The History of the Calgary Security Professionals Information Exchange

SPIE's humble beginnings date back to 1988 when a small group of information security professionals thought it would be useful both individually and collectively to meet to discuss their security issues. They obtained start up information from a few existing international security organizations. The group met every second month and openly shared their security problems and solutions. They often used security videos or newspaper articles to kick-start their discussions.
By 1993, SPIE had 14 members with average meeting attendance of 7-10 people with most members coming from the oil & gas industry.

In the early to mid 90s, concurrent with the proliferation of home computers and the exponential growth of the Internet, security issues became more than just a corporate problem. More people could relate their home security issues to the issues their companies were grappling with. This helped spur the growth of SPIE to 51 members in 1997. Just one year later, in 1998, SPIE membership had grown to 74 and instead of informal bi-monthly meetings, monthly meetings with formal presentations had become the norm.

By 2000, SPIE counted 150 members with average meeting attendance reaching 50. Membership had also diversified; while many members still came from the oil and gas industry, SPIE now had members from governments, police, education, health care, security vendors and consultants. The topics also branched out to new areas and began to include the emerging area of information privacy. By 2001, SPIE had grown to 170 members and average meeting attendance exceeding 70. This growth continued throughout 2002 and 2003.

Because of the rapid growth in membership and topics, several SPIE members met to discuss the future of the group. They conducted a survey to determine the goals of the membership in the fall of 2000. In 2001, they analyzed the survey feedback and, based on the results, made recommendations to the general membership. It was agreed to establish SPIE as a non-affiliated independent not-for-profit society. An interim board was formed and over the next two years, many people worked long hours to draft by-laws and operating procedures. This hard work culminated on Oct 14, 2003 with the registration of SPIE as a not-for-profit society in the province of Alberta and in the first formal board elections which were held in June 2004.

SPIE has also increased its influence in Calgary through involvement with outside educational seminars, working with the University of Calgary to ensure appropriate controls for its malware course, Stakeholder Panel membership at ISPIA (the University of Calgary's Institute for Security, Privacy and Information Assurance) and through liaisons with other educational institutions and organizations.