Feeling isolated? Wisegate social network connects senior-level security professionals

Linda Musthaler
By | January 12, 2012

Posted in: Network Security Trends

Sara Gates, founder of the social networking service Wisegate, is creating an invitation-only private community of security and IT professionals. Gates believes that senior executives, such as CIOs and CISOs, need other people at their peer level to share war stories and get firsthand feedback on what works and what doesn't work.

Wisegate is a private online community of tech-savvy executives who may be too busy to network in person but who still want to share work-related information with other people who hold similar roles. Gates jokingly calls Wisegate “the anti-social social network.”

“Once people get to a certain level in their careers, they don’t have other people in the same job role within their own company to bounce things off, but they still need a sounding board,” according to Gates. “Wisegate gives them the chance to communicate with others who face the same business and technology issues they do.” Gates says that high-level IT executives typically have a peer network of four to six people. “If a CISO can turn to several dozen other CISOs and ask how they handle a specific issue at their companies, that’s a very valuable experience, and that’s what Wisegate enables.”

Wisegate uses a mix of old and new methods to communicate and collaborate. There’s the online social media side, which includes forums, interactive discussions, member polls and the like. Members also can meet via roundtable conference calls, on private phone calls and in person at forums that are hosted in various cities.

The community is exclusive; you need an invitation to join. “We don’t want to be another Facebook,” says Gates. “We are looking for quality, not quantity, in our membership.” The most desirable applicants are those in high level technology-related positions in their companies —regarding IT and information security executive decision-makers.

The Wisegate network is vendor-free. “We want our members to talk openly and honestly about their experiences with various products and services,” says Gates. “They can’t do that if a vendor joins the discussion.  Rather than having vendors influence our members, we want our members to influence the vendors.” The no vendors rule keeps members from being bombarded by sales pitches.

One aspect of Wisegate that members really like is that they can use “polling questions” to ask what other companies are doing about an issue. For example, one member asked the others about their policies on encrypted USB  drives. The frank information she got in the responses helped her formulate the policies and processes she eventually implemented at her own firm. In another instance, members helped each other devise correlation rules for their SIEM products.

If you meet the membership profile and want to apply, go to Wisegate to submit your request to join the Wisegate community.


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