When my dad fell ill last year, I was confronted with a bewildering set of new challenges for which I wasn’t prepared. What therapies were available? What kind of support would he need? How could I balance caring for him with my other responsibilities?
I found answers to these questions and many other others in online communities. There I met people confronting similar challenges who were more than willing to share their experiences and offer advice and support. They did this not for personal gain, but for the satisfaction of knowing they’d helped someone in need.
The success of a community is a function of the commitment of its members. When people share common jobs, interests, challenges and motivations, the community becomes more than just a troubleshooting resource. It changes people’s lives.
Let’s Get Together
IBM’s community approach will be an extension of our security strategy. Cybersecurity is a universal challenge and we want to bring our global ecosystem of clients and partners together to help build out our community.
We have over 200 IBM Security partners that are integrated into our portfolio to make our immune system approach open and relevant to customers. For example, QRadar includes more than 500 out-of-the-box connectors to integrate with other tools. Our partner knowledge, coupled with our client expertise, is a winning combination that we want to share with our users.
There has never been a greater need for community in the security field than there is right now. Security is a team sport, and we are hoping to bring our clients and partners together to tackle the greatest challenges the industry faces today.
These are among the reasons why IBM today is launching the IBM Security Community. We know the bad guys are getting better at collaborating, and we are making it easier for the good guys to do the same.
Why a security community, and why now? Aren’t there already plenty of forums, LinkedIn groups and meetups for security professionals?
When we polled our clients and partners during our user group meetings, they cited the ability to network with peers as the number one benefit of the event. Our new platform will help them learn about local user group meetings while staying connected to the broader, global community. Over time, we hope that our clients and ecosystem of partners will help drive the tone and agenda for the community and engage with us in a two-way conversation. This is their opportunity to share with us what they need to help them fight the cybersecurity challenges they face on a daily basis.
Clients can also start their own local user groups while benefiting from forum discussions that tap into the vast knowledge of our security experts, customers and partners. Ultimately, we hope this community becomes a hive of users looking not only to improve our products and services, but also to learn from and help one another. Our greatest assets lie in the expertise our clients and partners can share. Of course, we are in the early stages, so we are excited to hear your feedback on how we can help our community thrive.
Addressing Common Challenges Through Peer-to-Peer Communication
Security is now infused into everything IBM sells. It’s part of our cloud offerings, mobile management solutions, big data and collaboration tools, as well as our systems. As the security landscape shifts, the skills required to stay ahead of threats are becoming more diverse. We aim to help clients address the IT skills gap by connecting them with other users, partners and security experts who are facing the same challenges. If you need help configuring QRadar or troubleshooting an endpoint device with MaaS360, for example, we think our community will be a great resource because our members live with those products every day.
The community will be run by its members, but IBM subject matter experts will have a constant presence to make sure no questions are left unaddressed. We aim to bring our clients and experts together to share concerns through peer-to-peer communication and, ultimately, help each other meet the business challenges that many of us face.
While help and advice will be at the core, we also intend to provide tips and tricks, downloads, online events, and a place for members to organize their own real-world meetups. Members will drive the agenda, and we’ll listen and adapt as much as possible. The culmination of these relationships between customers and vendors happens at the community level and within our local user group meetings, which is why we are so excited to take this journey with you as we get our community off the ground.
More Than Just Answers
IBM knows a thing or two about communities. Our customers formed the first computer user group in 1955 with SHARE. Today, IBM supports or participates in communities around nearly every one of our major product lines, and we host numerous communities of our own. With the IBM Security App Exchange and IBM X-Force Exchange, we opened up our enormous threat intelligence database and encouraged others in the industry to do the same. There are now thousands of enterprises sharing this information for the benefit of others. We also created a valuable resource in SecurityIntelligence for users, partners and prospects to hear from security luminaries and experts about strategic topics that impact businesses every day.
Our new community will be focused on listening, engaging and participating with customers and partners across disciplines and products. We’ll provide strategic security insights, access to subject matter experts within IBM and the unique opportunity to connect with peers on both a local and global level. Joining the IBM Security Community will help you to arm yourself with new ideas, connect with peers and solve some of the most pressing business challenges we collectively face.
I think a member of our Guardium User Group, who is a senior information security analyst, summed up the value best: “When I need help with a technical problem, I don’t have time to take my chances searching the web. I need to connect with people who have expertise working in the field with IBM products, and I need to connect with them now.”
That’s our mandate.
As a former community manager for another technology company, I have a special affinity for communities. They’re the oldest form of social media and, in many ways, the most useful. When curated with care, they flourish for many years.
Join the IBM Security Community Today
If you are an IBM Security client, we invite you to join the conversation today. To get started with your IBM Security Community experience, you can:
- Share your expertise by posting a question in a forum.
- Become a user group leader.
- Share this blog through your social channels.
As you pay it forward with your involvement, people will get to know you and reach out. The more you give, the more you get. That’s how great communities work.
So join today! I think you’ll find that there are lots of people out there just like you who can’t wait to connect.