The word “diversity” has become a buzzword among technical professionals and has been overused many times with little or no meaning to it. Instead of exploiting the word, brands and companies need to prove it. The reality is that cybersecurity lacks diversity, and this article will help to understand how this issue can be solved.

So, what does “Diversity in Cybersecurity” mean?

Having an effective cybersecurity team is the greatest challenge that all organizations face. The challenges range from protecting crucial data held with a cloud service provider to the entire server from crippling DDoS attacks. The quality, as well as the number of cyberattacks, is overwhelming, causing security teams to struggle. The fact is that the majority of cyber breaches are the result of human error. However, besides cybersecurity awareness training, there is a need for experts who can protect endpoints and detect intrusions. In the absence of them, vicious malware would exist for years without being detected. To improve cybersecurity team performance, the team must be diverse. The diversity may stand in the data that is collected, or the various backgrounds, skills, education, gender, or experience each member brings as part of the team’s contribution.

Resolving the cybersecurity skill-gap

In a study conducted by Tripwire, 96% of the organizations are concerned about the cybersecurity skill gap, whereas 80% of the cybersecurity pros believe that it is challenging to hire skilled security staff who can defend against existing complex cyberattacks.

Tara O’Sullivan, CMO at Skillsoft, said, “Tech and cybersecurity are, on a broad scale, viewed as jobs for men—by women and men, fathers and mothers, CEOs, teachers and so on. We need a significant cultural overhaul. A female having a career in cybersecurity needs to become a social norm, not a rarity. This starts in schools, where we need to encourage girls to have the confidence to do whatever they want, even if traditionally it was seen as ‘boyish’”.

Jake Moore, a cybersecurity expert at ESET UK, says, “Women have been largely underrepresented in a number of industries, including the cyber industry, for many years and this is a fantastic opportunity to buck the trend.”

James Hadley, CEO of the Immersive Labs, said that there are clear benefits of gender diversity in the workplace, perhaps more so in cybersecurity. He believes that the network of methodical understanding of women and the faster approach of men would form strong roots for the next generation of cyber talent.

Diversity in business

Having a diverse workforce in an organization would lead to better business results. According to McKinsey’s research, companies with diverse workforce perform better financially. The two main outcomes from the research on diversity as performed by McKinsey are:

  • Businesses in the top quartile for racial and ethnic diversity are 35% more likely to have financial returns above their respective national industry medians.
  • Businesses in the top quartile for gender diversity are 15% more likely to have financial returns above their respective national industry medians.

In a similar study from Bersin by Deloitte Talent Management Maturity Model, over 3 years period, diverse companies had 2.3 times higher cash flow per employee than non-diverse companies.

These studies conclude that diversity is in the interest of business success. A research was performed in the London School of Economics in the year 2015, where it was observed that organizations with diverse management are more likely to innovate new products.

Diverse skills in cybersecurity

Diversity in any form is of great help to any business. However, the significance of diversity in cybersecurity is not fully apprehended. Homogeneity in cybersecurity is easy to handle, but at some point in time, it may lead to stagnation. The industry is not restricted to a particular skill and works as a sub-industry to every other industry. Therefore, people with diverse backgrounds can serve specialized requirements. Cybersecurity is also not a narrowly defined field that can suffice with one skill. It needs diversity, audits due to the diverse challenges that it faces daily.

Cybersecurity is not just about assessing vulnerabilities; it has diverse tasks, such as meeting compliances, policy framing, incident handling, designing security architecture, security audits, interacting with management and stakeholders, and more. It is entirely reasonable to plan for a diverse staff that will bring various skills to cybersecurity.

Creating a diverse cybersecurity industry

Rising requirement for DevSecOps

Cybersecurity is no longer implemented at the final stages of product development; it is now part of the initial development process. By introducing it during the earlier stages of the application development lifecycle, there is increasing adaptability of DevOps and DevSecOps. On the one hand, the development team will be kept pressurized for product release, and on the other hand, they are required to ensure the security of the product at every stage of the development process. To be able to deliver the product on time with no compromise on security concerns, the development team requires diverse skills. The team shall consist of diverse skills, such as software developers, operations, application security professionals, and more, who should work with continuous collaboration to bridge the gap of DevOps and security.

Significance of diverse security teams

It is never too late to understand the importance of introducing diversity in cybersecurity before an alarm rises for an unsecured world with criminals all over. Cyberattacks are on the rise, and the impact is increasingly devastating. The field needs more creativity with diverse skills that can pull down the expected attacks before they lead to any sort of loss to the organization or nation as a whole. There is no concept of one-size-fits-for-all when it comes to security challenges. A diverse array approach is the only hope for victory.

Addressing the diverse need of skills in cybersecurity through EC-Council

EC-Council is a leading credentialing company in the cybersecurity industry. It is engaged in the deliverance of diverse cybersecurity education from the inception of basic individual security awareness training to one of the highest roles of Chief Information Security Officer. EC-council offers various certifications that have over a while been considered as credentials for the job roles. Certified Ethical Hacker (C|EH)EC-Council Certified Incident Handler (E|CIH), Computer Hacking and Forensic Investigator (C|HFI)EC-Council Certified Security Analyst (ECSA)Certified Threat Intelligence Analyst (C|TIA)Certified Application Security Engineer (C|ASE), and more, are a few of the many recognized certifications that EC-Council provides.

Now is the time for you to consider a certification that matches your background and develop the related skills to be a pro in cybersecurity.

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