IT security industry needs more women in the workforce

by CXOtoday News Desk    Nov 05, 2013

women security

While information security is turning out to be the most sought-after topic in recent times and organizations are increasing their IT security workforce, experts observe there is an acute shortage of women workforce in the Infosec industry. A new study by Frost & Sullivan and published by the (ISC)2 security professionals’ association reveals that women represent about 11% of the current IT security workforce.

Michael Suby, author of the report and vice president of research at Frost & Sullivan mentions that the IT security industry requires more women workforce because the nature of work in this sector involves greater aligning their goals with business, improved communication skills and excelling at diverse tasks and these skills and attributes are most common in women professionals. Yet there is a shortage in the supply of women workforce.

IT security has traditionally been dominated by males with skills in computer sciences or those with a strong technology background. But Julie Peeler, director of the (ISC)2 Foundation observes that today IT security is becoming less about technology and more about people and their behavior and protecting users and their activities. There is also an increased focus on communication. Women tend to value these skills even more. Therefore, their viewpoints would be essential to elevate the security industry to the next level.

However, Peeler says getting women into the security profession may not be easy. “The percentage of females in the industry has not changed much in the past several years, and there doesn’t appear to be a great influx on the horizon,” she says.

According to Peeler, education at the preliminary level and in business is essential to make security more attractive to women. “Studies show that many females are bored by the idea of working alone in a room with a machine. But as the industry becomes more about people and less about technology, that could change,” she asserts.

Suby too mentions that combating threats require a community approach to training, and hiring qualified security professionals from a variety of backgrounds. “Women leaders can be the strongest proponents of security and risk management education and training in the industry. This type of mentality is crucial to building standards in the industry,” he sums up.