What Today's Women in Tech are Doing for Cybersecurity
Author: Amanda Peterson, Enlightened Digital
Recent research has predicted that women will represent more than 20 percent of the global cybersecurity workforce by the end of this year. While this is certainly an improvement from their representation in 2013 at 11 percent, it’s suffice to say that there’s still a lack of women in the industry.
While there are plenty of articles on the web indicating the gender disparity in cybersecurity, as well as related STEM fields, there’s little available recognising how today’s leading women in cybersecurity are excelling in the industry. Heightened awareness on the topic, led by numerous women in cyber associations and initiatives, has helped move the needle in a positive direction. These women have not only embraced the industry, but are committed to its advancement, especially for women. So, who are these leaders and how are they impacting cybersecurity? Keep reading to learn more about these cybersecurity pioneers.
1. Alissa Abdullah
Dr. Alissa Abdullah is currently the Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) for Xerox, however she was the first-ever CISO Stryker Corporation and the former Deputy Chief Information Officer for the White House. In her experience at the White House, Abdullah helped to modernise the Executive Office of the President’s IT systems, with cloud services and virtualisation. She employed new cybersecurity strategies, and enhanced technology across the office of the President. Currently, she protects Xerox’s valuable information assets, leading the corporate-wide risk management program. Abdullah’s work at Xerox led the company to win two CSO50 awards, for innovative approaches to cybersecurity.
2. Karlie Kloss
While Karlie Kloss, model and entrepreneur, may be a surprising addition to this list, she’s made a significant contribution to STEM. Kloss launched Kode With Klossy in 2015, a program that hosts free, two-week summer coding camps for girls ages 13 to 18 years old. As of last year, Kode With Klossy had launched 50 coding camps in 25 US cities, teaching over 1,000 girls how to code. Students of the Kode With Klossy program have gone on to study computer science at top colleges, pursuing careers in cybersecurity, software engineering or data science. It’s vital that today’s professionals in cybersecurity pave the way for younger generations in the industry. Kloss’s program gives young girls the foundational knowledge to pursue careers in STEM, which will minimise the gender gap in the future.
3. Lisa Jiggetts
Lisa Jiggetts is founder, President and CEO of the Women’s Society of Cyberjutsu (WSC). Jiggetts began her cyber career in the military as an IT security specialist, now having almost two decades of experience in the cybersecurity field. Her expertise lies in risk assessments, penetration testing, vulnerability assessments, and policy development across military, government, and commercial industries. She now runs WSC and provides opportunities for women to network, learn, mentor and share resources, encouraging and helping women to enter and advance within the cybersecurity sector. WSC provides women with cybersecurity workshops, training, networking events, informal mentorship and an online job board. WSC empowers women to succeed in the cybersecurity industry, providing them with all the resources and support they need.
4. Jeanette Manfra
Jeanette Manfra currently serves as the Assistant Director for Cybersecurity for the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA). She leads the organisation’s mission of “protecting and strengthening the nation’s critical infrastructure from cyber threats.” She not only serves as an inspiration for women and girls pursuing futures in cybersecurity, but also those in government roles. She is a known advocate for women in cybersecurity, telling Cyberscoop that, “ it’s good to have diverse voices out there… there are a lot of great [female] voices on the industry side as well that are out there.”
Each of these women are committed to advancing cybersecurity, especially when it comes to opportunities for women. What will your part be?
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