Editorial: I Want You Back (Q2 2021 Issue)

Hello, its been a while, hasn’t it? I think the last time I had the privilege of signing my name on the editorial page was in 2018 as I went on maternity leave. Michael was so comfortable in the editor’s chair when I returned that I thought it would be rude to kick him out, and instead took the role of editorial director, overseeing not just the Infosecurity editorial team, but also two other magazine teams. I loved it, getting my teeth into two new industries and juggling more content than ever before, but it was a poorly-kept secret that Infosecurity always had the lion’s share of my focus, and of course, my heart.

When Michael announced he’d be moving onto pastures new, I saw the opportunity and jumped at it. I was keen to reclaim my chair and luckily, the powers that be said yes! So here I am, once again, ready to serve you as your editor. As I’ve said before, our industry is like fashion in that it’s cyclical, and so too are its editors!

Let me tell you, it feels great to be back. Of course, it feels like I’ve never been away, despite the world looking completely and utterly different to how it did last time I was resident on page 7 of our print magazine.

I take my hat off to Michael, who commissioned most of the Q2 issue before he left. Call it premonition, intelligent planning or complete luck, he planned features on topics that during press week become so hot that they’ve made front-page national news and homepages day after day. The week we went to press, a cyber-criminal gang has taken a major US fuel pipeline offline with a ransomware attack. The Q2 issue includes features on both critical national infrastructure (p36) and ransomware (p48).

We also take a look at cyber-resiliency (p44). When we planned this issue we had no idea whether Infosecurity Europe would be given the green light by government to go ahead, but as we’ve ploughed through the production process, the Infosecurity event team have been ferociously and tirelessly planning to (safely) open the doors at Olympia London in two months’ time (you can read all about what to expect in the show preview on page 25). The theme of the conference program? Cyber-resilience. Let’s hope that Michael left his crystal ball in his locker on the way out…

EC-Council alienated and angered not just women in industry, but almost everyone. It was actually quite incredible to watch as my Twitter feed was flooded with people willing to call out the sexism and the completely unacceptable response by the Council

I can’t write this editorial without mentioning the EC-Council gender survey scandal that completely and utterly stunned, shocked and, bizarrely, united our industry in indignation and a sense of togetherness. It’s unlikely that you missed this, but if you don’t know what I’m talking about, you can read, in detail, about this calamity here

By pushing out that survey question with three abhorrently sexist answer options - ironically to promote a women in cybersecurity webinar - the EC-Council alienated and angered not just women in industry, but almost everyone. It was actually quite incredible to watch as my Twitter feed was flooded with people willing to call out the sexism and the completely unacceptable response by the Council (they blocked the women daring to condemn them).

The blunder (to put it mildly) has left Jay Bavisi, the Council’s CEO, with no choice but to examine who they are as an organization and reflect upon and reconsider its culture and commitment to inclusion and diversity. EC-Council is not without past controversies, it’s only pertinent to add, and many have argued that this reevaluation is overdue.

Jay has since committed to further grow diversity in his teams, create educational tools and resources to combat systemic discrimination, and examine and continually audit the council’s programs and services. His promise to do this with transparency and accountability to industry, through publicizing progress reports, is admirable. As someone who has investigated and written about this situation, candidly, and in great-depth, I report these promises with cautious optimism. I always like to look for a silver lining, but, quite frankly, it’s disappointing that it took a disgraceful survey question and consequential industry outcry to drive real change and progress in an association that is, like it or not, a huge player in our industry. The silver lining is there, though, so I’ll try and cloak my opinions in that. 

As I’ve said before, our industry is like fashion in that it’s cyclical, and so too are its editors!

In addition to the thorough written exposé I previously mentioned, I also recorded a special episode of the IntoSecurity podcast (episode 25) with my colleague James on this topic, with interviews from Jay Bavisi himself and the incredible Alyssa Miller, so please do give that a listen.

I know that people have mixed opinions on the return of live events, but for me, Infosecurity Europe can’t come soon enough. I’m a journalist, I get my inspiration from meeting people (and no, not in a “you’re on mute” environment) but in real life, face to face, learning about their challenges, their achievements, their passions. On that note, I hope to see many of you in London Olympia 13 – 15 July. For those overseas or needing a little more time to feel ready, get in touch virtually. Just don’t be on mute.

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