InfraGard: A Must-Join Organization for Security Pros and Civilians Alike

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As a security professional, I need to share information with peers in order to work effectively. I also like to be able to share information about tools that help me do this -- with both peers and non-security professionals. One of the best tools I've found, InfraGard, is an FBI information-sharing and analysis effort that started in an FBI field office in 1996. Since that time, the organization has grown to include a chapter in every state. Today, there are over 31,000 members.


There are two primary things I like about the organization: First, law enforcement, public and private organizations and academics come together to discuss security issues. As an example, in my chapter later this month, the topic of discussion will be how governments and businesses are preparing for H1N1 and who should prepare for bio-terrorism. At past gatherings, experts have given PowerPoint presentations, and members post questions to the Infragard site.


In addition, InfraGard organizes training. There is a fee for some training; other training is free. After you join the organization, you can also join Special Interest Groups (SIGs). There is a SIG for every interest: Agriculture, Chemical, Banking and Finance, Public Health, Transportation, Water and Energy, to name a few.


The second thing I like is that they post intelligence documents on their Web site for members, and then send e-mail alerts that new documents have been posted.


I can't say enough good things about InfraGard. The people are some of the best I have ever met and there is definitely value in being kept informed about security events that may affect all of us. Anyone can join. You fill out a short application. InfraGard does a background check and notifies you in a few weeks. Did I mention it's free?