The International Information System Security Certification Consortium, or (ISC)², is a non-profit organization which specializes in training and certifications for cybersecurity professionals. It has been described as the “world’s largest IT security organization”. The most widely known certification offered by (ISC)² is the Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) certification.
In the mid-1980s a need arose for a standardized and vendor-neutral certification program that provided structure and demonstrated competence in the field of IT security, and several professional societies recognized that certification programs attesting to the qualifications of information security personnel were desperately needed.
In June 1988, a conference was hosted by the National Institutes of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the Federal Information Systems Security Educators Association (FISSEA) at Idaho State University in Pocatello, Idaho to address the need for standardized curriculum for the burgeoning profession. Organizations in attendance included:
• Canadian Information Processing Society (CIPS) • Computer Security Institute (CSI) • Data Processing Management Association Special Interest Group for Certified Professionals (DPMA SIG-CP) • Data Processing Management Association Special Interest Group for Computer Security (DPMA SIG-CS) • Idaho State University (ISU) • Information Systems Security Association (ISSA) • and the International Federation for Information Processing (IFIP)
During the conference, the question was raised why virtually every group represented, save NIST and ISU, was creating a professional certification. The conference participants agreed to form a consortium that would attempt to bring together the competing agendas of the various organizations. In November 1988, the Special Interest Group for Computer Security (SIG-CS), a member of the Data Processing Management Association (DPMA), brought together several organizations interested in this. The (ISC)² was formed in mid-1989 as a non-profit organization with this goal in mind .
By 1990, the first working committee to establish something called the Common Body of Knowledge (CBK) had been formed. The work done by that committee resulted in the first version of CBK being finalized by 1992, with the CISSP credential launched by 1994, followed by the SSCP credential in 2001, the CAP credential in 2005, and the CSSLP credential in 2008, the CCFP and HCISPP in 2013 and the CCSP in 2015.
In 2001, (ISC)² established its Europe, Middle East and Africa regional office in London. In 2002, (ISC)² opened its Asia-Pacific regional office in Hong Kong. In 2015, (ISC)² introduced its North America regional office in Washington, D.C.
Since 2011, (ISC)² organizes the annual (ISC)² Security Congress conference. The 2019 conference will be the first international iteration of the event and will be held in Orlando, Florida.