This also means there is a huge opportunity for women in this field. Women hold a quarter of all computing jobs in the U.S. and just 11 percent of cyber security jobs, says the Women’s Society of Cyberjutsu (WSC) — a non-profit organization that encourages and supports women in finding cyber security careers.
However, despite the lack of women in cyber security, there are a few females who have not only embraced the industry but are actively working to further its advancement.
The 5 Leading Women in Cyber Security Industry
1. Deidre Diamond
Deidre Diamond is the founder and CEO of the national cyber security staffing company Cyber Security Network (CyberSN) and founder of the not-for-profit thought-leadership platform #brainbabe. She got her start in cybersecurity at Rapid7 when it was a startup. She recognizes and promotes the opportunity for non-technical people to contribute to cyber security firms.
“Cyber security is harder than anyone imagined, and that has created so much opportunity,” she says. Many of the opportunities are not entirely technical, she explains. “I’ve never regretted not being technical. People are also needed in analytics, project management, risk, compliance, sales, and marketing.”
Deidre has built successful company cultures and provides training in soft skills in the cyber security community. Her #brainbabe nonprofit organization brings awareness to the opportunity for women in cyber security careers and encourages changes in cyber security culture to retain, attract and utilize women.
“Cyber is a really sophisticated business, and women love to be challenged,” she adds. “Cyber careers are the cutting edge. On top of that, these are really high-paying jobs.”
Read the full interview here: Transforming the Cyber Security Industry with Deidre Diamond.
2. Alissa Johnson
Alissa Johnson is the Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) of Xerox, recently joining the company in October 2016. Alissa was also the first-ever CISO of Stryker and the former Deputy Chief Information Officer for the White House.
As CISO at Stryker, one of the world’s leading medical technology companies, Alissa worked with businesses, agencies and political communities to help make good decisions for cyber security and information technology policy and strategy.
“I was the first CISO because they had a hunger for information security and thought it was the right time to bring in a CISO. It was a new role for the company, which gives me a green field,” says Alissa. This aligns with a rise in the CISO position across the cyber security sector.
For the White House, Dr. Johnson oversaw the information technology infrastructure and budget across many locations. She made the IT infrastructure more modern, stable and durable by moving much of it to the cloud. At the same time, she reduced its cyber security attack surface, making it safer from cyber attack.
3. Joyce Brocaglia
Joyce Brocaglia is President and CEO of Alta Associates, a prominent executive search firm specializing in information security. Alta has filled many high-profile CISO roles.
She is also the founder of the Executive Women’s Forum (EWF) on Information Security, Risk Management and Privacy. The EWF serves the most prominent and influential female executives in the field.
Joyce has earned many awards, including the prestigious 2015 CSO Compass Award for her work in security and risk management leadership. She is a frequent speaker at industry events and is often quoted in the media.
At the 2016 Infosecurity Magazine Virtual Conference Joyce stated that women in cyber security are facing an uphill battle: “Women that are in cyber security are opting out of the industry because of a lack of mentorship and sponsorship. Cyber security has complex problems, and we need a diverse workforce to solve those problems.”
4. Bhavani Thuraisingham
Bhavani Thuraisingham was co-chair of the 2016 Women in Cyber Security, which brings together cybersecurity students and female professionals in cybersecurity to share knowledge and experience and for networking and mentoring.
Bhavani said after the event that: “Women in Cyber Security was a huge success with over 800 people attending and over 700 women. It was very encouraging and motivating.”
Bhavani also serves as Executive Director of the Cybersecurity Research and Education Institute in Dallas. She has won many industry awards, including the 2013 IBM Faculty Award in Cybersecurity, and the 2014 SIRI Research Leadership Award for Secure Information Integration.
5. Lisa Jiggetts
Lisa Jiggets is founder, President and CEO of the Women’s Society of Cyberjutsu (WSC). Lisa, who is a service-disabled veteran with almost two decades of experience in cybersecurity, began her cyber career in the military as an IT security specialist.
She now runs WSC and provides opportunities for women to network, learn, mentor and share resources. She encourages and helps women to enter and advance in the cyber security sector.
WSC also develops programs that train women in both hard technical skills and soft skills, so they are empowered to succeed. Lisa told Fortune that these women-only classes are vital: “I found that women want to be technical. They want to play with these tools, but they’re not given a chance or don’t know where to start… I’ve seen this myself, being the only woman in a technical class. You’re talked down to. So one of our main things is to have a comfortable, empowering learning environment.”
Each of these women is doing her part to encourage and support women in cyber security. What will your part be? And how can you invest in your own education?
To discover how you can join these respected ranks and forge your own cybersecurity career, explore our cyber security degrees.