Emily Biggs Crowned Security Champion of the Year at Women in IT Awards

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On January 31, Emily Biggs, VP Product at Digital Shadows was crowned winner of the Security Champion of the Year category at the Women in IT awards in London.

Held at Grosvenor House, 1200 people attended the celebration, hosted by Maggie Philbin OBE, CEO of TeenTech and keynoted by Baroness Martha Lane-Fox.

Ten women were shortlisted in the Security Champion of the Year category, of which Emily Biggs was victorious. Other contenders were:

  • Rebecca Angwin, IBM
  • Kiran Bhagotra, ProtectBox
  • Naina Bhattacharya, Deloitte
  • Emily Biggs, Digital Shadows
  • Helena Fearon, Auto Trader
  • Jane Frankland, Cyber Security Capital
  • Emma Leith, BP
  • Lesley Marjoribanks, RBS
  • Zuzana Skrinarova, Yoox Net-a-Porter Group
  • Elisabetta Zaccaria, Secure Chorus

Over the next couple of weeks, Infosecurity will be running a mini interview series, featuring each of the security champion shortlisted contestants.  

Today, we feature Emily Biggs, winner of the Women in IT Awards security champion category.

Infosecurity Magazine: How did it feel to win the security category at the Women in IT awards?

Emily Biggs: Surprised more than anything. Although we are in a minority, there are a huge number of fantastic women working in this space and it really is a privilege to be recognized amongst them.

IM: What do you think gave you advantage over the others shortlisted?

EB: My role is to shape the Digital Shadows SearchLight product, so I would think that its success was a big part of the decision.

IM: What was your route into cybersecurity?

EB: I studied computer science at university and started my career as a developer and architect. I had the fantastic opportunity to join Digital Shadows just as it was starting out.

IM: If you weren’t an infosec professional, what would be your dream job?

EB:I always wanted to be a marine biologist when I was younger, but I get terrible sea sickness!

IM: What’s the best thing about your job?

EB: Working at a small company where what I do every day makes a real difference to our customers and the success of our business.

IM: If you could give your 21-year-old self just one piece of career advice, what would it be?

EB: Don’t think twice about joining a start-up – succeed or otherwise you will learn more than you can imagine.

IM: What’s your biggest professional regret?

EB: No longer coding every day. I love my role and I wouldn’t change my decisions to get to this point, but there is something extremely rewarding about developing algorithms and physically writing software.

IM: Who do you really admire in the industry?

EB: Baroness Martha Lane Fox gave a really inspiring key note speech at the awards ceremony and her contribution to gender equality within technology has been immense.

IM: If you could change one thing about the information security sector, what would it be?

EB: Although cheesy, given the context of these awards, I do think equality and diversity really needs to change within our sector. The fact that our sector is so homogeneous actually stops us being as effective as we could be in achieving our goals.

IM: What’s your guilty pleasure?

EB: Tequila! Although I'm 7months pregnant so that is off the table for a while.

IM: What’s your take on the women in information security conversation…Are you fed up of talking about it? Or do we need to talk about it more?

EB: I have always thought of myself simply as a person in technology doing the best I can at whatever opportunity is in front of me but unfortunately the stats on gender equality within our sector are hard to argue with. For that reason alone, I do think equality and diversity still needs to be part of the conversation for our industry to be as successful as it can be. In my mind, the defining attributes of anyone within the workplace should be their effectiveness in their role not their gender, race, disability or sexual orientation. Hopefully one day that is the only conversation that needs to be had.

Bio: Emily joined Digital Shadows at its inception 6 years ago and developed its core product, SearchLight, growing the company’s development team. She now oversees all product strategy for the company. Emily specializes in architecting enterprise-level critical systems, particularly in the big data risk intelligence domain. She previously worked at BAE Systems Detica as lead developer, technical project manager, and technical architect. She holds a degree in computer science from Oxford University.

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