#WomenInScience: Gender Diversity Key to Well-Rounded Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity is an element which is often overlooked in the development of many products and start-ups. In fact, most companies do not consider the resilience of their devices until it is too late. While this is understandable when weighing up the additional costs and likelihood of an attack at the conception stage, this must change. To do so, it is crucial that a diverse range of perspectives are adopted to connect with as many surrounding sectors, demographics and audiences as possible and emphasize the value of cybersecurity in ways that resonate with them.

Women are an integral part of this strategy and are becoming an ever-more prevalent and disruptive force within the tech market – particularly cybersecurity. According to Women Who Tech, 66% of companies in the Fortune 500 with three or more women in leading positions saw an increase in ROI. Having worked in the cybersecurity sector with the Trusted Computing Group (TCG) for almost seven years, the enrichment that the work of women within the organization has brought to the perspective of the industry, and how this has diversified its strategies for a more successful industry position, is clear.

Closer to the Consumer

Women have proven to be some of the strongest leaders in the development of the cybersecurity industry, despite being a minority within the sphere. The industry is so focused on the technology that it is easy to lose sight of who will ultimately benefit from it – the consumer. Women demonstrate refreshing approaches to problem solving and identifying gaps and demands in the market, considering things often overlooked by their male counterparts due to the different ways in which they engage with, utilize and perceive things. For example, women contribute to a huge portion of the end user behavioral demographic which includes purchasing devices, bringing them into the home and engaging with the community. They are therefore, typically, more concerned with how and where their data is stored from technology, such as IoT smart home devices, as they engage with them more personally on a day-to-day basis.

As gender norms merge, this usage behavior is becoming less exclusive to women. Men are now adopting activities which were previously deemed ‘women-centric’, and this is another key reason why women working in cybersecurity is key. It is beneficial to understand consumer behaviors supplementary to and beyond a male-centric space, making gender diversity a key element to improving development, marketing and design strategies, creating well-rounded solutions and exceling in the market.

The Future is Female

By building a team for the future, TCG’s mission is kept alive and the ethos of the organization can evolve with the values of the next generation. As a result, TCG aims to amplify the voices and visibility of its female colleagues, as well as encourage new female engineers who are interested in cybersecurity to join the work it is doing.

Beyond the scope of gender, perspectives from more diverse industries must also be taken into account. This includes collaborating with different entities as the cybersecurity is integrated into a wider range of sectors. Most notably, global government entities, to ensure that their concerns are considered, and their specialist security requirements of consumer confidentiality met; for example, when establishing the GDPR law in Europe or the Californian Privacy law in the USA. Within TCG, direct and regular work with other senior role women, from Work Group Chairs to Editors is important to ensure that work from every division is recognized and promoted in a way which considers a range of markets. Through brainstorming and streamlining a marketing strategy which goes beyond the technical development of the products to present them in a usable, accessible and consumable way, those beyond the cybersecurity sphere can be reached, increasing organizational impact and opportunity.

By neglecting to consider the future, key opportunities to progress and innovate will be missed. Every device security aspect that the consumer becomes aware of should have been considered by a cybersecurity professional five years in advance. By adopting an outlook which places diversity at its core, business success can be ensured, now and into the future.

Cultivating Diversity

As technology advances and changes, so too will the nature of attacks – knowing this, cybersecurity must lead at the forefront of the industry and become readily implemented to alleviate consumer concern. The cultivation of a welcome space for ideas, perspectives, experiences and personalities is incredibly valuable, especially in such a technical field, and offers the opportunity to broaden and enrich the scope of cybersecurity for the benefit of both the industry and the consumer. Such diverse collaboration, especially on the formation of global security standards, can only strengthen the quality of the work carried out, and it is an honor to manage and contribute to this.

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