WiCyS Cybersecurity Conference 2022
The month of March is “Women’s History Month,” so, in continuation of the #WHM spirit, I took the time to reflect on last month’s Women in Cybersecurity (WiCyS) conference. While I was unable to attend in person, I was still able to catch the live event sessions on YouTube, where the high-energy vibe of the cybersecurity sisterhood could still be felt – partially because of the awesome music; partially because of the fully-loaded roster of notable guest speakers. (Some of the featured music included: This Is How We Do it, Who Run the World, Roar, Fighter, King of Anything, Walking on Sunshine and Thunderstruck. Among plenty more!)
Inspiring Women, Motivating Words
Virtual guests and in-person attendees had the pleasure of hearing from some very accomplished women in cyber, such as, Latanya Sweeney (Daniel Paul Professor of the Practice of Government and Technology of Harvard), Jen Easterly (Director of CISA), Allison Miller (CISO and SVP – Optum), Anna Squicciarini (Professor, Pennsylvania State University) and Gili Lev (Cloud Executive Security Advisor at Amazon Web Services) just to name a few. Listening to this group of women stand up in front of a crowd and share their stories was inspiring, motivating and powerful.
#SeeHerAsEqual – 50% Women in Cyber by 2030
While the subject and approach by each speaker differed, an overall message echoed clearly throughout: this industry needs more women. This was emphasized during the talk given by Jen Easterly where she spoke about a particularly ambitious, but not unreachable goal – getting to 50% women in cyber by the year 2030. As it stands currently, women only represent a mere 25% of the workforce, and “a diverse workforce always outperforms a homogenous one,” noted Easterly. (Easterly should know; she’s in charge of the Department of Homeland Security’s Joint Cyber Defense Collaborative, also known as JC/DC.)
Key Takeaways – More Cyber Initiatives & Enabling MFA
As a newcomer to this industry, being exposed to this event was particularly meaningful to me because it provided an opportunity to hear stories about the various journeys, occasional setbacks, and accomplishments of the more experienced women in the cyber industry. My ultimate takeaway from this event was that the cyber industry would benefit from establishing initiatives geared toward getting more women involved in cyber; not for the sake of perceived fairness, but for the sake of added perspective, future success and cooperative collaboration.
Oh, and one last thing – if you’re looking for a way to step up your personal cyber resiliency – something you can do right now, along with checking out this resource, is enable multi-factor authentication across all of your online accounts. It’s one of several practical tips we’re sharing internally to increase our collective cybersecurity hygiene knowledge. No matter your gender, there’s always more to learn when it comes to shoring up your defenses.
"We need more women involved in cyber; not for the sake of perceived fairness, but for the sake of added perspective."