Consider the year 1969. The Beatles played their last concert. The Godfather was a best-seller. Astronaut Neil Armstrong became the first human to set foot on the moon. The microprocessor was invented – although it would be another two years before the Intel 4004 processor helped launch the personal computer revolution.
While technology had come a long way by 1969, “state of the art” was primitive by today’s standards. In the mid-1960s, punch cards, batch systems and 7.5-megabyte removable disks were still used to operate mainframe systems. Given the vast benefits of computerization, however, businesses and governments were wholeheartedly investing in technology. The number of computers installed in US-based companies increased fourfold between 1962 and 1967.
Enter ISACA, although under a different name. In Los Angeles, California, the EDP Auditors Association was incorporated in 1969 by seven people who audited controls in the computer systems that had become increasingly essential to enterprise operations. The founders worked to provide professional information and guidance to their colleagues, much as ISACA does today. However, early EDPAA members lived and worked solely in Southern California. They were employed by accounting firms or enterprises, mostly in internal auditing or data processing departments. EDPAA meetings were irregular and partly social. Professional development conferences, publications, research, other chapters and an international presence were yet to come.
ISACA’s 50th anniversary next year presents a wonderful opportunity to look back at how our association and industry have changed over the decades – and think about how we will shape change in the next 50 years. Our theme: Honor Our Past. Innovate Our Future. Our anniversary microsite, www.ISACA50.org, allows us to share the history of EDPAA and ISACA, while envisioning and embracing the possibilities created by global digital disruption over the next 50 years.
If you haven’t visited the microsite recently, make a point to take a look now. Every week, we’ll add new content focused on either the past (check out the computer we installed in 1982) or the future. The focus of EDPAA’s first conference in 1973 on security and risk management issues drives home the point that the more things change, the more they stay the same. (Although I am deeply grateful that my job does not involve the mountain of IBM documentation that an auditor might have been required to navigate in 1986!)
I encourage you to engage with the anniversary celebration on social media using the hashtag #ISACA50. In addition, you can use the “get involved” webform to share your story of what ISACA has meant to you and your career – photos and videos are also welcome – as well as your views on how your job and profession will change in the future. Or, for that matter, how you would like it to change – just as Neil Armstrong opined on the future of space exploration in 2011. Your views of the future can help shape how ISACA lives its Purpose and Promise over the next half-century.