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Leadership Roles of Women in Cybersecurity

Women control their own leadership destiny; Mentorship counts

  • Bethesda, MD
  • March 2, 2020

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, US companies will add 546,200 new jobs in computer and information technology between 2018 and 2028, a rate higher than the average for all occupations. Of those jobs, the bureau predicts a 32% growth rate for information security analysts. Currently, women are emerging as cybersecurity experts, with a much larger influx of women entering the field expected. And, women are ascending into senior or leadership positions within their companies, often through different pathways, according to results of the Women in Cybersecurity Survey to be presented by SANS Institute in two webcasts on March 17 and
March 24.

“Women can have a tremendous amount of impact in their organizations regardless of their title,” says SANS analyst and survey author Heather Mahalik. “Your title and time in the field do not define what you know and the impact you can provide to this community. They do not define your impact or even narrow in on your capabilities—your actions do!

In fact, 41% of respondents credited being in the right place at the right time for their rise into senior or leadership positions. That means they had to make themselves visible to decision makers. Others credited having varied experiences (38%) or pursuing certifications (34%) with their rise into a senior or leadership positions, both of which are within the control of the individual.

Mentorships are often part of the process of growing into leadership positions and continuing to grow once taking on such a role. However, only 7% of women in cybersecurity have been mentored by another woman, with 37% mentored by both men and women and 31% by men alone, which leaves 25% who have never benefited from being mentored!

“The future of cybersecurity is the responsibility of everyone,” continues Mahalik. “We need to reach out and become a mentor.”

Most survey respondents have done just that, with just 26% not participating in a mentorship relationship. Interestingly, the vast majority (57%) report mentoring both men and women, a positive sign for growing the leadership role of women in cybersecurity.

Full results will be shared during a Tuesday, March 17 webcast at 1 PM Eastern time, sponsored by LogRhythm, ThreatConnect, and Threat Quotient, and hosted by SANS. Register to attend the webcast at https://www.sans.org/webcasts/112295

Then, representatives from ThreatConnect will join a panel discussion with survey author Heather Mahalik to explore what the results mean to women in cybersecurity on Tuesday, March 24 at 1 PM Eastern time. Register to attend that webcast at https://www.sans.org/webcasts/112300

Those who register for either webcast will also receive access to the published results paper developed by SANS analyst, forensics expert and successful woman in cybersecurity Heather Mahalik.

Tweet This:

Women in Cybersecurity Survey Results Webcast | 3/17 @ 1 PM ET | Register: https://www.sans.org/webcasts/112295

Women in Cybersecurity Panel Discussion | 3/24 @ 1 PM ET | Register: https://www.sans.org/webcasts/112300

Explore leadership experiences of women in cybersecurity | Webcasts @ 1 PM ET on 3/17 and 3/24 | Register: https://www.sans.org/webcasts/112295 and https://www.sans.org/webcasts/112300

About SANS Institute

The SANS Institute was established in 1989 as a cooperative research and education organization. Today, SANS is the most trusted and, by far, the largest provider of cyber security training and certification to professionals in government and commercial institutions world-wide. Renowned SANS instructors teach more than 60 courses at in-person and virtual cyber security training events and on demand. GIAC, an affiliate of the SANS Institute, validates practitioner skills through more than 35 hands-on, technical certifications in cyber security. The SANS Technology Institute, a regionally accredited independent subsidiary, offers a master’s degree, graduate certificates, and an undergraduate certificate in cyber security. SANS Security Awareness, a division of SANS, provides organizations with a complete and comprehensive security awareness solution, enabling them to easily and effectively manage their ‘human’ cybersecurity risk. SANS also delivers a wide variety of free resources to the InfoSec community including consensus projects, research reports, webcasts, podcasts, and newsletters; it also operates the Internet's early warning system--the Internet Storm Center. At the heart of SANS are the many security practitioners, representing varied global organizations from corporations to universities, working together to support and educate the global information security community. (https://www.sans.org)