So why a Cannabis ISAO?
I’m excited about cannabis legalization and the developing cannabis industry for a lot of reasons. Among them, it is not often an entirely new sector of industry develops and that on its own – and the jobs and economic growth that leads to – is very exciting. Personally, I believe in the medicinal value of cannabis, especially for those with chronic pain. As a Veteran, I greatly appreciate the additional treatment option it has given so many within my community who are suffering from mental and physical health challenges. I look forward to the industry growing and to seeing the stigmas and limitations that have plagued the cannabis industry for too long go away. But while this nascent industry creates a great personal and business opportunity for many people, it is also setting the stage for disruption by eager criminals that see a lucrative target in a developing community.
I’ve been fortunate to work in national and homeland security all my adult life, and in the information sharing and analysis community both from the side of government and on behalf of industry for nearly fifteen years. I believe in both security and the vital role Information Sharing and Analysis Centers (ISACs) and Information Sharing and Analysis Organizations (ISAOs) play in our homeland security ecosystem. To paraphrase the National Council of ISACs, ISACs and ISAOS help owners and operators protect their facilities, personnel and customers from cyber and physical security threats and other hazards. They collect, analyze, and disseminate actionable threat information to their members and provide members with tools to mitigate risks and enhance resiliency and they reach deep into their sectors, communicating critical information far and wide and maintaining sector-wide situational awareness.
Those capabilities are important in critical infrastructure and other communities as well. For the cannabis industry, it is important to establish best practices, collaboration, information sharing, and security across the all-hazards threat environment as soon as possible, because those that seek to do harm already have those capabilities in place and will use their maturity to harm the industry – its people and places, and its data and dollars. One of the best ways to frustrate criminal efforts is for owners, operators, and other stakeholders to follow the best practices that have helped secure critical infrastructure since 1998 and to band together and with other communities via an industry specific security entity. I want to see Cannabis ISAO serve as that trusted entity. It is exciting that the cannabis industry is being given increasing freedom to develop. I’m a big fan of freedom and I believe that the more individual freedom we have, the more individual responsibility we have. As an industry, I want to help cannabis owners and operators mature in a way to effectively protect their businesses, their personnel, their customers, their supply chains and the sensitive information – from payments to health information and much more – they will be responsible for securing. We established Cannabis ISAO as a non-profit, member-driven organization to help facilitate an understanding of the all-hazards threats, risks, and mitigation actions the industry can take to provide a safe and secure environment for all involved parties. We want to offer cannabis industry stakeholders a trusted community and forum for coordinating, collaborating, and sharing actionable and relevant physical and cyber threat intelligence with each other, and to help develop best practices, standards, and relationships that can bolster both individual members and the community as a whole. This is an exciting time! And we’re excited to be a part of it.
Andy Jabbour- Founder & President of the Board