The Growing Minority: Women in IT & Cyberspace (Part II) (2014) - Lockheed Martin
Monday, December 15, 2014
Posted by: Mari Galloway
The Growing Minority: Women in IT & Cyberspace (Part II)
By Chandra McMahon
Last week, we took a look at the current landscape of minorities in cybersecurity and IT with a particular emphasis on women in those fields. Both personally and professionally, I feel that diversity is an important aspect of an effective cybersecurity approach, and can help fill the gap managers have to meet the demands for more talented cyber-professionals in today’s IT environment.
A couple of years ago, Frost and Sullivan released a study that shows that information security discipline is not evolving fast enough:
“…women represent just 11% of this profession [IT Security]. Placed in the context of women in the general workforce and women in professional and managerial roles—where women are at near parity with men in both of these measurements in developed countries—this 11% is alarming.
Furthermore, this low percent of women in the information security profession has been stagnant despite double-digit annual increases in this profession. In 2012 alone, the global information security workforce grew by 306,000 and is on pace to increase by another 332,000 in 2013.”
The first step in meeting this challenge is providing awareness of this issue by exploring organizations and resources aimed at increasing these opportunities to women and minorities within cybersecurity, as well as examining different ways your company or organization can get involved and make a difference.
Shaping the Future State
We are starting to take great strides in incorporating women and monitories in IT and cybersecurity.
On the employment front, firms like Alta Associates, a boutique executive search firm specializing in Information Security, IT Risk Management, GRC and Privacy, are pioneering the integration of women within cybersecurity roles. A woman-owned and operated firm focused on being highly ethical and service oriented, Alta’s CEO Joyce Brocaglia, has been named, “one of the 25 most influential women in information security” by Information Security Magazine.
Under Joyce’s leadership, Alta organizes annual conferences called The Executive Women's Forum (EWF). EWF describes this annual conference as the “largest member organization serving emerging leaders as well as the most prominent and influential female executives in the Information Security, Risk Management and Privacy industries.”
EWF works to connect women in cybersecurity via annual conference, mentoring programs and various networking programs.
On the education front, universities like NYU Poly have recently launched summer programs centered on introducing high school girls to cybersecurity and potential careers in cybersecurity.
Another exciting move toward increasing the numbers of women in my profession is the establishment of organizations like Women in Cybersecurity (WiCyS). WiCyS raises awareness about the importance and nature of cybersecurity career. Their hope is to generate interest among students to consider cybersecurity as a viable and promising career option. I am proud that Lockheed Martin is a platinum sponsor of this organization.
Non-for-Profits like The Women’s Society of Cyberjutsu (WSC) are sharing their passion for empowering women to succeed in the Cybersecurity field by bringing together information security professionals, IT professionals, programmers, and computer scientists/engineers, as well as women wanting to explore and join the field.
How to Get Involved
If this topic resonates with you the same way it does with me, there are three things you or your organization can do to get involved. There are several organizations that host events and workshops throughout the year that would like your participation and thoughts on the matter. Once you find an organization that you like or an event that resonates with you, specifically, get involved. Mentor those interested in the field, talk at events about the subject and share your knowledge with others attending those events. Finally, share what you have learned, ideas and experiences with your friends and peers. Let them know that this is an important topic, explain why it's important and what can be done to learn more.
Other resources include: