Talking 2012 Security, Women in Security, and Convergence with Jane Wainwright

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At the women of Bletchley Park event earlier this month, I met with Jane Wainwright, senior manager of cybersecurity at PwC and co-founder of the Women’s Security Society (co-organizer of the Bletchley Park event). Wainwright’s impressive CV includes the role of head of corporate security at London 2012 Olympic Games. But her past tenures aren’t the only impressive thing about Ms Wainwright…

The Women’s Security Society “specifically covers all aspects of security”, Wainwright told me. “We had a director from each discipline – physical and information – and hovered up women to create a forum.” At the end of the day, she told me, “Everyone in security is protecting stuff. So there was a huge appetite for this society.”

The Society is modeled on convergence, which was integral to the success of London 2012 success, Wainwright told me. “In corporations, information and physical security still exists in silos. But the future is the role of the CSO – overseeing both disciplines”, she said.

“Organizations with an immature security posture are in the perfect position to grow that way [convergence] naturally”, Wainwright argued. “For 2012, we had a blank slate so adopted a convergence model. We wrote a business case for having it all under one roof and it worked.”

When I congratulated Wainwright on a successful Games from a security point of view, she lights up. “It’s owed to the culture of the organizing committee and their commitment to a successful, safe Olympics. Everyone had the same objective and the same passion to protect.”

At the end of the Games, which Wainwright described as being like leaving the Big Brother house – an emotional experience – she took a position at NBC Universal, but soon felt fidgety. “I’d been exposed to such high threats during the Olympics and missed that complexity of challenge. The stakes had changed.”

So Wainwright left for a position in the PwC cyber practice, where she has been for the past six months as senior manager of cyber security. She focusses on threat and vulnerability management, FTSE, and risk assessment.

When I asked about the skills gap in the industry, she says that she hasn’t struggled to recruit. “We’re lucky because PwC is attractive to graduates and takes cybersecurity very seriously – in the next year, our cybersecurity practice will double in size.”

Wainwright did say that whilst there is no lack of applicants, there are very few women. “PwC do champion women though”, she said., “Female soft skills are perceived as an advantage. That’s generalising, but the ability to understand should not be under-rated.”  

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