#CyberUK: NCSC Says Diversity Will Aid a Safer Britain

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In order for Britain to be safer, cybersecurity needs to be more agile and diverse.

Speaking at the CyberUK conference in Manchester, NCSC director of communications Nicola Hudson said that to build a safer digital Britain, “a cyber industry that is innovative, diverse and agile needs to be built.”

Focusing on the issue of diversity in the industry, Hudson said that people from a range of disciplines and backgrounds should be brought together to work on solving the issue.

“We are delighted to welcome people from all the professions that must come together to deliver effective security, not just those who might directly think of themselves as primarily security people,” she said.

“We also need to bring the widest pool of talent that we possibly can and that means we need a much more diverse workforce. As a public service organization, we need to reflect the population that we’re serving. A more diverse workforce is essential to this. It makes us more effective.”

Acknowledging that there is “no magic switch to improve on the lack of diversity in this sector,” Hudson welcomed steps by the NCSC as an organization which is “determined to look at diversity in its widest sense.” This was not just about the lack of women, but socio-economic factors, regional and cultural differences, disability, BAME and the LBGT community.

Hudson added: “We celebrate the diversity of thinking which has made the NCSC and GCHQ world-leaders. Without true diversity we are in danger of group-think, behavior challenges and quite frankly we will not tap into the skills we need. We are looking at immediate things we can do, medium term plans and generational change. All have their own challenges.”

Plans by the NCSC include looking at recruitment, and retaining the diverse pool of talent it requires. The CyberUK conference also features a “pledge wall” as a commitment by delegates to make an effort to increase the diversity of their workforce.

Speaking to Infosecurity, Hudson said that to be the best at cybersecurity, the most diverse group of people are needed who will approach scenarios differently. “For me, diversity is at the heart of everything we are trying to do,” she said.

“This is not about the right thing to do, survey after survey and business after business prove that having a diverse workforce works. It is not just a ‘nice to have’, it is critical for success. As I said earlier, this is hard and we cannot do it ourselves – this is a community and if we work on it together, we will all benefit.”

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