This week, Cybera celebrated an impressive milestone: surpassing our 100th member. This may not seem remarkable to others, but considering we began in 1994 with just two members, and a decade ago were hovering around 20 members, our exponential growth feels pretty remarkable to us.
One reason for the major influx of members over the last 10 years could be the expanded list of services we now offer to a variety of sectors. These services include the Internet Buying Group, Virtual Firewall, and the ShareIT procurement program. Cybera went from simply being a Research and Education (R&E) network operator — serving Alberta’s post-secondary institutions — to an expert digital technology infrastructure agency.
Today, our staff are working on data science, cloud computing, cybersecurity, digital literacy, internet policy and advocacy, and virtualized networking initiatives. All this while we continue to operate Alberta’s R&E network, a vital infrastructure that connects our members to hundreds of research and education institutions around the world.
We do a lot. In fact, it’s possible that we may run more projects and services than any other R&E network in the world!
The reason we do all that we do is because of our collaborative community.
Over the last decade, Cybera has brought together technology leaders from across Alberta’s public sector (including K-12 and post-secondary education, municipalities, libraries, research organizations, business incubators, and provincial agencies) to share the challenges they are facing.
These challenges include: How can we offer our staff and students faster, better internet without raising our costs? How can we keep their data safe? Where can we find cloud resources for researchers and classrooms? How can we work together in Alberta to increase purchasing efficiencies in the public sector?
Cybera’s services were often developed as a direct response to questions like these. Our ever increasing (and internationally recognized) scope of operations is a testament to the engaged and supportive public sector community in Alberta.
I think a major reason why so many institutions are joining us today is that they want to be a part of this community. We engage, listen and respond. And, time after time, we are proving the adage: people are stronger when they work together.
So, where does Cybera go from here? We’re not setting ambitious targets to go after more members (this isn’t a numbers’ game for us). Instead, we’re shifting our goals to create meaningful value and benefit. In the coming years, we hope to increase collaborations and discussions with all our members, and continue to adapt our services to their changing needs.
In a time when disruption seems to be the only constant, the importance of being a part of a supportive community becomes that much more clear. As the saying goes: A rising tide lifts all boats. By helping all Albertans to meet the digital challenges of the 21st century, Cybera and our member community are ensuring their own well-being.
We look forward to continuing to grow and learn with everyone as we take on the next 25 years of digital challenges!