When it comes to the leading women in cyber security, Deidre Diamond rises to the top. As Founder and CEO of CyberSN and #brainbabe, Deidre Diamond is influencing the culture of cyber security for women and men alike. With more than 20 years of experience in technical staffing and cyber security, she knows how to build strong teams and is passionate about getting more women in cyber security careers.
At CyberSN, she combines 15 years of building technical staffing agencies with her cyber security software sales background to identify and deliver cyber security professionals to employers quickly. With #brainbabe, she is now working to develop more opportunities for hiring and retaining more women in cyber security.
Women in Cyber Security Q & A
Q. How did you get involved in the cyber security industry?
Two serial entrepreneurs taught me technical recruiting and later asked me to go with them to Rapid7, a start-up cyber company that was very successful. I was their first vice president of sales. That was 10 years ago.
Q. What roadblocks have you come up against?
I was unusual in that I didn’t hit any roadblocks because the culture these entrepreneurs fought for was inclusive: 40 percent women, many in leadership, and a belief that we’re smarter working together. This is the culture I am promoting at #brainbabe. Having that kind of culture involves win-win agreements and open communication, where people feel safe in speaking up. That’s not true everywhere, but we can work to change that.
Q. How long have you been in the cyber security industry and what changes have you seen?
When I walked into cyber security in 2007, my company had a vulnerability management product and we had to start by teaching “what is a vulnerability?” People didn’t know. Since then, I’ve seen a heightened understanding of risk and an explosiveness of product. Tiny conferences have become massive conferences – overnight.
Q. What changes or trends do you expect to see in cyber security in the next 10 years?
There will be job titles we don’t even know of yet – around robotics, the Internet of Things (IoT), wireless, and more. We’ll have driverless cars and refrigerators that will order our milk when it feels low. While we don’t know the titles, we know that the future requires product management, user experience skills, soft skills and product design.
Q. How much job demand is there for cyber security professionals? And what factors will shape this demand in coming years?
Cyber security is harder than anyone imagined, and that has created so much opportunity. That’s another reason I’m doing what I am: We’re short a million people, and many of those jobs are not extremely technical. Lots of cyber security jobs don’t require a programming or a network engineering background. People are also needed in analytics, project management, risk, compliance, sales, and marketing.
There are many problems to be solved. We need to secure our perimeter and endpoints. We haven’t figured out how to manage all of our data. There will be product disruption; there has to be because even if we had a million more people in cyber security jobs, we’d still be fighting the war. The adversary only has to be successful once – we have to win every time.
Q. What soft skills do you think are most important for cyber security professionals?
Communication skills and social skills are needed to retain people, and we need leaders. We need people who want to build teams, work in teams, and support teams. I’d love to see more people create a culture where people are laughing and smiling and yet highly productive. We need people who will work to create a positive environment.
Q. Why should more women consider a cyber security career? And what inspired you to establish #brainbabe?
Cyber security is a really sophisticated business, and women love to be challenged. Cyber security careers are the cutting edge. It’s the heart of the economy, of national security, of social behaviors. It’s a brain game. On top of that, these are really high-paying jobs that bring stability. We need more women in cyber security.
Q. How does a person with existing tech experience make the shift to cyber security? What would be your advice to those looking to make the switch?
If someone has technical experience, they have a leg up. If they also have the soft skills, I call that the “top of the mountain” – there’s so many opportunities. But you don’t have to be technical. I’ve never regretted not being technical. There are many roles for non-technical people. Study the available jobs and find out how they spend their days, and think about how you would like to spend your day.
Deidre is one of many women in cyber security who will pave the way for greater gender diversity in the cyber security sector. To discover more about this evolving field and envision your own career journey, explore our cyber security career roadmap.