ISE® Success Stories

Vickie Miller
ISE® Central People’s Choice Award Winner 2010
ISE® Central Executive Award Winner 2015

I’ve been involved with T.E.N. and the ISE® Programs for many years. My first exposure to the group was through one of their press releases. After seeing that, I looked at some of the success stories they had posted online. I was intrigued because there really isn’t another forum where you can freely share information with your peers. Not just war stories and crisis moments, mind you, but also success stories and moments of triumph. It gives people in the security industry the chance to discuss and share what works. You can rely on each other to get practical advice which can also be a huge help when you need to create strategy for project funding and additional headcount.

I’m not aware of any other award programs that really speaks to and for security professionals. There is value throughout an entire ISE® Program. There are other security conferences that are very large and while there can be a lot of value in those, I find substantial value in what I get at ISE® Programs. The agenda and program format, which takes place in different regions followed by the national event at the end of the year, enables attendees to achieve a level of intimacy that you don’t get from other events. Those who attend are able to share information and learn from one another in ways that you don’t get anywhere else.

The ISE® Programs have truly been a positive experience. The recognition gained from these events is always a boon, as are the networking opportunities and relationships made as a result of being part of the ISE® Awards program. There are multiple opportunities to network with others that go beyond exchanging business cards. These events provide us with the chance to discuss ideas and strategies.

One of the things that I enjoy most are the different project presentations during the Executive Forum. It’s always interesting to see how other security folks are successful, be it in influencing something new in the industry or implementing something we’ve seen before in a new way. It’s an excellent way to see the various successes of others and also to learn from the pitfalls and challenges they’ve encountered. It’s also much more valuable than something like a vendor presentation. You actually learn a lot about how someone navigates through different organizational channels by going to an ISE® Program.

I also love how the ISE® Awards are not a cutthroat competition. Everyone is really pulling and rooting for everyone else. When someone in your peer group succeeds, it really is something to be celebrated. It’s not a case of “one person wins and everyone else loses,” but rather it really is an industry wide feel of “we all get better together” the way that it’s structured. I also think there is a lot of meaning when the work that you do or the information you submit is reviewed by a body of your peers.

The T.E.N. team works hard at making sure that there is that sense of inclusion. They are very accommodating and they do everything they can to help recognize a slew of talented individuals. The security profession is very unique and has its own sets of challenges as well as different sets of expectations and metrics. It’s not just about earning revenue, or creating data centers. We have to address all aspects of the enterprise, including how the business makes its money and how IT professionals are able to be bleeding edge. The holistic nature of security and how you have to cover that is really addressed and acknowledged by the folks at T.E.N.

Winning an award comes with its fair share of benefits as well. There’s the recognition and kudos from peers as well as recognition from higher-ups in the company. It’s knowing that the work that you‘ve done and submitted has been evaluated as worthy of consideration, and perhaps even worthy of an award, from your peers. I think that’s really the big bang that you get out of it.

I’ve recommended the events to my peers and will happily continue to do so. Most people in the security industry work around the clock. While we’ve got our networks in our own communities and in our own fields, having this opportunity to work with a broader set of likeminded professionals is invaluable. Getting the opportunity to see what other security professionals are doing at a different level is a great asset. I get to see these projects, not as a vendor presentation or proof of concept, but as if they’re pulling back the curtain on their programs and saying this is what we did, this is how we were successful and here are some of the pitfalls we encountered along the way. That kind community and frankness is unique to ISE® Programs and I encourage all security professionals to attend so they can benefit from the experience.