In the past decades, Cybersecurity was considered a technical domain. There were fewer technological advances than there is today. Hence, the technology solutions were also limited back then. Today, as technology has evolved exponentially, connectivity has also increased and we have access to more data which has led to the inclusion of the human aspect in the technology. Bringing the human aspect in the cybersecurity industry like sociology helps us to study human behavior in this field. This helps you to get a clear understanding of external threats from hackers, spies, and cybercriminals when they are in a process of spying on you before making any malicious activity.
This article explores the role of women in the cybersecurity landscape and the future of this industry. So, let’s get started…
Gender Diversity in Cybersecurity
“When equal opportunities for leadership positions are given to women too, the collective intelligence of teams improves.”
– Jane Frankland, CEO Cyber Security Capital | Founding Member at #Women4Cyber
Undoubtedly, the key to a successful business in any industry is the inclusion of gender diversity. Women getting recognition in companies and especially at leadership positions can help businesses be more productive. Moreover, when companies understand the importance of gender diversity in teams where men and women are equally represented. The collective intelligence of those workgroups increases and they perform far better than teams that are dominated by a single gender.
If you talk about the cybersecurity business it is all about making decisions on how to handle risks better. Based on studies men and women perceive risk differently. Women are considered to be more risk-averse and tend to take action immediately. While men tend to tolerate risk at a high level before taking any action against it. Therefore, it puts men on the higher end of the risk spectrum and women at the lower end which helps companies take a balanced approach while making any risk-mitigating strategies.
Compared to men, women are more embracive of regulations and risk controls, so they do not turn directly to a technology solution to deal with a threat. Moreover, female security leaders are more likely to view the full picture of a threat and try to join the dots before jumping straight to a technical solution.
Also, women tend to possess a greater degree of social and emotional intelligence than men. The combination of social/emotional intelligence with a business crisis, traditionally helps women to respond better. Let’s put it in context, in the cybersecurity business when a data breach happens, women leaders tend to stay calm during the turbulence. Having said that, it doesn’t mean women leaders are better than men leaders in handling any crisis. This perspective highlights how males and females together with their collective leadership abilities can pull a company out of a cyber crisis.
Future Trends in Cybersecurity
Cyber-attacks are only going to grow in the future with the evolution in connectivity, AI/ML, and IoT. However, business leaders are struggling to keep up with these emerging technology trends and identify which technology is relevant and needs to be leveraged for their business. Therefore, a lot of research is ongoing to know what are businesses lacking in terms of skills and talent.
To overcome the skill shortage in the industry you need to get access to accurate data about the number of young female talent in the technology realm worldwide. It’s high time to encourage these young females and invest more in their training and development to help them evolve as cybersecurity professionals. Moreover, to gain diversity in the cybersecurity industry it is essential to make awareness about the potential of this industry to the people.
Therefore, making them understand that this industry is not just about technology. It has more to offer in terms of developing business skills and the human aspect of cybersecurity aka “social engineering”.
This approach can help the cybersecurity services landscape to scale with the ever-growing cyber attacks. By bringing a diverse group of people with the right talent and skills to your company can help you combat the increased risk of malicious cyber attacks better. The collective thinking of a balanced workforce can help you get a two-dimensional view of a threat. When you form a group of people with appropriate skills and education regardless of gender, you better cope with the change and be innovative and advanced with it.
There is a need to make coaching groups in the cybersecurity business. The coaching groups can help cybersecurity professionals to develop risk management skills. The security developers coming into these coaching programs should be stretched to take high-risk challenges to enhance their abilities. These programs can help young talent to develop risk-taking skills where they feel supportive of making mistakes and learning from them.
Moreover, It can help you develop a safe psychological environment for your cybersecurity team where they feel encouraged and recognized for their efforts. Certainly, giving women an environment where they feel safe to learn with innovation, make mistakes, and still be acknowledged can help them grow in this field. Hence, empowering them to cope with either AI-based attacks or a mix of manual and technical driven malicious attacks to scale their capabilities.
The only way the cybersecurity industry can embrace gender diversity is by eliminating the scapegoating and victimizing of any specific gender. Be it male or female! Therefore, you can foster an organizational culture where people are recognized and treated equally based on their capabilities and experience.
Equip C-Suite to Counter Threats
To help c-suite security executives (CIO) and cybersecurity leaders better equip themselves with the threat landscape it is pivotal to get both sides of the story clear. You need to make sure the security requirements of your company are met. Not only that, but you also need to ensure that your company grows with the technology as the cyber threats grow with them. The leadership needs to be supportive of the security department when they make a cybersecurity strategy to mitigate any potential threats. Since the cybersecurity team is constantly tackling growing cyber threats to protect your business from falling into any trap.
- An increased number of women in tech leads to better solutions and innovations across businesses in various industry verticals
- When dealing with cybersecurity breaches, women rank higher on social and emotional intelligence and so are equally capable of resolving cyberattacks
- Increased use of AI/ML, IoT, and connectivity has led to novel cyberattacks and has created confusion among leaders in terms of the best way to combat them
- There is a talent shortage among businesses where the business needs and requirements are not being matched with the right talent pool
- The leadership needs to be supportive of the security department when they make a cybersecurity strategy to mitigate any potential threats.