A new study by (ISC)², conducted in 2020, revealed that the cybersecurity profession experienced substantial growth in its global ranks, increasing to 3.5 million individuals currently working in the field, an addition of 700,000 professionals or 25% more than last year’s workforce estimate. The research also indicates a corresponding decrease in the global workforce shortage, now down to 3.12 million from the 4.07 million shortage reported last year. Data suggests that employment in the field now needs to grow by approximately 41% in the U.S. and 89% worldwide in order to fill the talent gap, which remains a top concern of professionals. Security experts, like Sarah Tatsis, VP of Advanced Technology Development Labs at BlackBerry, believe women can help solve the cybersecurity workforce shortage. Here, we speak to Tatsis about why women are needed and valued in the ongoing fight against cybercriminals.
The twentieth century saw huge progress in gender equality as increasing numbers of women embarked upon professional career paths. Certainly, in some sectors such as education, medicine and law, women are increasingly prominent in the general workforce and leadership roles, but other industries appear to be a long way off from achieving full equity. Unfortunately, cybersecurity is one such industry with much progress to be made in terms of diversity and gender parity. While cybersecurity is one of the most fast-paced, rapidly evolving modern industries, this evolution does not appear to apply to the number of women involved in the field.
Meet Stephanie Benoit-Kurtz, lead of cybersecurity faculty at the University of Phoenix – Las Vegas. She is also director of cybersecurity for Station Casinos in Las Vegas. She has spent three decades in the IT industry, working for a variety of large and small organizations and as a consultant. In the early days of her career, despite being part of the team responsible for implementing decisions at the IT company where she was employed, she “was routinely left out of the decision-making process. Here, we talk to Benoit-Kurtz about how the cybersecurity space has changed over time, and how the industry can embrace more individuals to meet demand and close the cybersecurity gap.
Shannon Polson, author of “The Grit Factor: Courage, Resilience and Leadership in the Most Male Dominated Organization in the World” and the founder of The Grit Institute, gave the final keynote today at ICS West.
Presented by the SIA Women in Security Forum, titled, “Leading From Any Seat: Stories from the Cockpit & Lessons from the Grit Project,” featured Polson discussing courage, resilience and leadership, using examples from her personal life as one of the first women to fly the Apache helicopter in the U.S. Army and ideas outlined in her book.
Do an image search using the terms “security manager,” “security director,” “CSO” or “security professional,” and the results will be fairly predictable. With its roots in law enforcement, the security industry has long been dominated by men, whether in management, sales, or technical positions.