Diversity and the Art of Cybersecurity

Broadcast and recorded live from the NASDAQ Studios in San Francisco
1:00pm - 2:00pm PT on Tuesday, February 14, 2017

 

Moderator: Diana Kelley
Global Executive Security Advisor, IBM

 

Dug Song
CEO
Duo Security

Jennifer Steffens
CEO
IOActive

Ayelet Steinitz
VP
Imperva

Larry Whiteside Jr.
VP, ICMCP


Cybersecurity is an art. It’s a game of virtual hide-and-seek wherein attacker and defender are pitted against each other in an elaborate game of strategy which requires making unexpected connections between things before they happen. The skills needed for this job come from different experiences, perspectives and the ability to put yourself in another person’s shoes, and without a wide range of thinking styles, the solutions that we devise for a security problem are necessarily limited. Cybercriminals don’t think nor play by the rules - so why do we put unnecessary rules on ourselves? In this panel, industry experts and diversity champions discuss why diversity is critical to cybersecurity and explore the concrete steps that the security industry can take to foster diversity today for better solutions.

The audience will learn:

  • What diversity in the workforce really means (hint: it’s more than gender!)
  • The value of diversity (with examples of successful diversity programs in InfoSec)
  • Tips, tricks and best practices to creating and maintaining a successful, working diversity program

HERE ARE SOME ADDITIONAL ANSWERS TO COMMENTS AND QUESTIONS RAISED DURING THE WEBINAR FOR WHICH WE WERE UNABLE TO ADDRESS DURING THE LIVE SESSION

Question: What does it takes for those of us that are diverse and have been in the info sec/cyber sec to grow within an organization and have senior roles? There seems to be no mentoring that can raise one's profile and grow.

Steffens: Having a good mentor is an extremely powerful asset in this or any other profession. Just because an organization doesn’t have a formal mentorship program, don’t let that deter you. People willing and able to be good mentors are out there, but it’s your responsibility to seek them out. They’re not going to come looking for you generally and if you aren’t proactive in researching, seeking out and asking you likely won’t find the right one. Be assertive. I mentor several people and all reached out to me with winning attitudes and perseverance that I could not resist. It helps to show up from that the time will be well spent.

Assertiveness is a great segue to something else we discussed at RSA. Cammie Dunaway, who sits on the board of several companies and was one of the female panelists in our recent Women in Security panel at IOActive IOAsis last week, said it very succinctly when asked a similar question during the panel. She said, “The most important thing you can do is kick ass in your current role.” I love the core message for its simplicity and importance related to the question. If you want to build your profile in an organization and grow, you need to be confident and really make your mark in your current role, whatever that role is. Focus on that first and you will get noticed. That’s not a diversity secret, it applies to everyone. Consistently great work is still simply the best way to get noticed. If you’re phenomenal in your day-to-day, you will elevate your profile and grow. If you don’t, you’ll probably come to surmise you’re not in the right place. But be patient, and vigilant for your opportunities to shine a light on your accomplishments and let people know you’re capable and ready for more. And never fear asking for help!