Women of Cybersecurity [#InternationalWomensDay]
Women’s representation in Cybersecurity is often a topic of discussion. As we speak, RSA Conference is being criticized for its lack of female keynote speakers with hundreds of Tech firms backing a rival event which promises to feature more women.
As a marketer (and a woman) coming into the sector 3 years ago, the lack of female representation at events and conferences was alarming and I questioned if it was realistic for this to change any time soon. Despite this ongoing discussion, the amount of initiatives in place (such as Girls Go CyberStart, BrainBabe and Girls Who Code) to encourage more girls into Cybersecurity and the wider tech community constantly surprises and delights me.
In recognition of Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day, I’ve asked some of our awesome women to give their experiences in working within the Cybersecurity field…
Senior Security Consultant
"It’s Monday morning and I put on my cyber warrior cape and costume and stride out into the field. Every day is a different battle, never time to get bored. The threat is constant and the landscape evolves each minute. Helping companies understand the risk and how to manage it leaves me with satisfaction. Meeting and helping clients who have experienced a breach and educating them to prevent a further attack can be thrilling. After twenty years in the industry it never gets old. This is my day job and I love it.
Having cyber skills opens the door to a plethora of industries. As there is a cyber skill shortage in the UK it feels good to know that I am wanted, and that is evident in the job offers I receive every day. Each year I update my skill set and undertake new courses. This not only helps feed my thirst for knowledge but also aids in keeping abreast of the latest theory, technology or lingo.
I have worked for Foregenix for nearly three and a half years and it has been a blast. I have had an opportunity to work alongside the best in the industry. I have made many new friendships and we all help each other along the way. As it is impossible to know everything, we have a strong support network internally whose sum is greater than the total of its parts. Not only do I get to travel all over the world, I get to meet new clients from different countries, who are always happy to show me around. As an employee at Foregenix I feel like a family member and it is great to be a part of that and watching the family grow."
Information Security Consultant
"In my opinion Cybersecurity is a misunderstood field. People often confuse professionals in this domain with hackers - the very first comment we usually get is “oh so you can hack into my accounts?”. Some Cybersecurity professionals can get into your accounts through simply deceiving or knowing your personnel habits (through Social Engineering) and not hacking (which is basically what most of the “hackers” do!), however - we don’t hack!
Indeed, we do the complete opposite - preventing cyber-criminals from getting into your data, protecting its privacy, integrity and maintaining its availability. This field is also misjudged by females a lot - it is often viewed as a very drastic and demanding domain. Let’s be honest, what job is not drastic or demanding? As a female in the industry, I always try to understand why is it male prevalent but never was able to find a good reason. I have been working in the Information and Cyber Security field for few years now and I can genuinely say, I have always had equal opportunities and especially lately working with Foregenix.
As a booming and fast growing organisation, Foregenix makes sure females play an equal role in the organisation and are provided with similar opportunities in learning, development and occupation. Working with Foregenix has been so far the most interesting experience, where communication is important and the employees development is always on the top of the list."
Incident Response Support Analyst
"Everyday I learn something new from this challenging and evolving industry, there are so many elements to cybersecurity and I’m really enjoying learning the threat intelligence part of it.
I’ve been lucky to have been met with such support and encouragement from Foregenix to learn and grow, my team have been amazing at guiding me through from the start. My short experience so far of the industry has been a welcoming one, they really want and need more females in cybersecurity who have the passion and drive to learn, don’t be intimated by the fact it’s majority male!"
"Being a woman in a predominately male industry I feel empowered and confident to face any challenges that are presented to me. Having an ethnic background, I am proud of what I have achieved thus far and I hope to inspire the next generation of women within the Cyber Security Industry.
I continue to strive to educate myself on the most current trends within Cyber Security, and I am fortunate that Foregenix provided me the opportunity to capitalise on my education in Digital Forensics."
Being fairly new to the cybersecurity industry the shortage of women in the industry has become obvious, but it has also made me realise the huge opportunities that exist in this space for women. There is no reason for it to be male-dominated, but I think unfortunately we're living in a time of 'legacy job roles' - where men were suited for 'this' industry and women for 'that' industry.
That line is now finally starting to blur and I think it's the responsibility of each and every women (either in the industry or looking to get into the industry) to carry on scrubbing the line out and help to grow the number of women in cybersecurity. This is not to take anything away from the men - they too have a role to play. They need to provide guidance and mentor the women who are showing promise and who are putting up their hands to become a part of this ever expanding industry.
The one thing (among many others) that I respect and enjoy about being a part of the Foregenix team is the encouragement to learn - there are really fantastic open lines of communication between all the employees at Foregenix, irrespective of their job title, and leaning on one another to gather knowledge is certainly emphasised. From where I sit, the number of opportunities for myself and my other female colleagues are limitless - but the responsibility lies with us to use these opportunities and to use them to help in changing the cybersecurity landscape.
Personally, I’ve learnt that a Cybersecurity career offers a job you can be passionate about, challenges you and helps you grow. It’s not dull, it makes a difference to society and enables you to earn a good salary. If you have a thirst for learning – this field is definitely for you!
It’s clear after speaking to the women of Foregenix that once they’re in a male-dominated industry, women are making the most of it, creating successful careers and not letting the gender gap hold them back. We all face different challenges - whether it's childcare, confidence etc - and each woman is willing to jump hurdles to make a successful Cybersecurity career. It’s now time to ensure that each hurdle, each barrier and each roadblock is cleared for our next generation.
I will continue to encourage the perception of Cybersecurity being a great career path for women – after all, there are tremendous opportunities with literally millions of jobs waiting for you!