Cybersecurity Needs Women- October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month, and there’s no better time for women to start gaining and leveraging that awareness. Because of the massive shortage of cybersecurity professionals today, it’s more critical than ever for historically underrepresented demographics to help fill the need.
According to Cybersecurity Ventures, there will be up to 3.5 million job openings by 2021. Meanwhile, women make up only 20% of the cybersecurity workforce. While that’s up from a mere 11% in 2013, there’s still a lot of opportunity to be seized in cybersecurity careers.
Being a trailblazer isn’t without its challenges, but according to the female cybersecurity professionals I speak with below, women are up to the task.
Why Is It Important To Close The Cybersecurity Gender Gap?
First of all, it’s important to have clarity on why this matters, because it’s more complex than hiring more women just to bump up the percentages. “The argument in favor of greater gender equality in cybersecurity is really not one of right vs. wrong or men vs. women,” says Priscilla Moriuchi, Director of Strategic Threat Development at Recorded Future. “Rather, it’s that having more women in the workplace is good for business. Diversity in perspectives, leadership, and experience is good for business.”
While that statement can apply to any role at a company, it is particularly relevant in the cybersecurity space. “We need people with disparate backgrounds because the people we are pursuing, (threat actors, hackers, ‘bad guys’) also have a wide variety of backgrounds and experiences,” Moriuchi explains. “The wider variety of people and experience we have defending our networks, the better our chances of success.”
Plus, as the introduction touched on, cybersecurity has a real numbers problem right now. Because there are so many empty jobs, it’s ultimately detrimental for a factor like gender to narrow the pool of people pursuing the field. “The demand for capable, knowledgeable, hard-working security professionals is so high and the threat to innocent people and critical networks so broad that both women and men can have impactful, rewarding careers in this field,” concludes Moriuchi.