In honor of International Women’s Day (actually yesterday), Solutions Review takes a look at women in cybersecurity in 2020.
Unfortunately, gender continues to create a barrier for cybersecurity professionals to find jobs or receive promotions. In fact, the SANS Institute released the first-ever Women in Cybersecurity Survey conducted ahead of International Women’s Day which proves the assertion. Of the 488 interviews conducted, 35 percent said their gender represented the number one challenge to their careers. 25 percent said they never received any sort of career mentorship. Further, only 7 percent said they received mentorship from another woman.
In the SANS study, female cybersecurity professionals cited experience as the primary factor in their promotion. Meanwhile, 34 percent cited pursuing certifications.
In a completely separate study by the (ISC)2 in 2017, it found that only 11 percent of the cybersecurity workforce were women. In 2018, it reported that the number jumped to 24 percent. However, this rise did not represent improved hiring practices. Instead, the (ISC)2 changed the parameters of its survey and expanded its reach.
There are both practical and moral implications when discussing the worrying gap in the representation of women in cybersecurity in 2020. On the practical front, the cybersecurity skills gap looks to hit 3.5 million by 2021, according to Cybersecurity Ventures. Those unfilled jobs represent significant security vulnerability gaps; it means fewer eyes for threat hunting and fewer hands for incident response. Also, it creates a challenge for maintaining the vital cybersecurity solutions on which businesses depend.
Morally, this kind of gender discrimination shouldn’t persist and shouldn’t go unchallenged in 2020. Your enterprise can take steps to hire more female cybersecurity professionals First, you can and should offer equitable compensation for professionals of all genders. Additionally, your search for new talent should use inclusive language that doesn’t deter professionals of different genders from applying.
In honor of International Women’s Day, let’s change the cybersecurity culture for the better.
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