Women In Cybersecurity Opening Doors

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Women In Cybersecurity Opening Doors

By Shahara Ruth
There is an old saying that when one door closes another one opens. But, sometimes doors are can be so heavy that you may need some help and inspiration to get one opened. In honor of Take Your Daughters and Sons to Work Day, today we want to look at the challenges and opportunities that many of our children, and especially our daughters, may face in order to open and charge through some cybersecurity doors.

A Little History

Take Your Daughters To Work Day originally began in 1993, but was later changed to include sons in 2003. The venture was a collaborative creation of Gloria Steinem and the Ms. Foundation for Women. The idea was to encourage women to take their daughters to the office so they could see first hand what their moms’ work life was like.  Young women could understand and experience what it was like in the working world.


We need to carry on the tradition of Take Your Daughter to Work Day, especially in cybersecurity. A recent survey from ProtectWise asked “technology-savvy millennials and post-millennials,” whether they were interested in pursuing a career in cybersecurity and just 9 percent of respondents answered in the affirmative. We believe that if we could get more mentors, role models, and positive stories about careers in cyber, then the tide could change.
According to a ISACA’s 2017 Women In Technology survey there are glaring challenges to women who choose careers in information technology. They are lacking mentors, need more female role models, and face gender bias in the workplace. But even more importantly, a diversity of perspective is important for the information technology and information security industries.
According to Priscilla Moriuchi, Director of Strategic Threat Development at Recorded Future, “We need people with disparate backgrounds because the people we are pursuing, (threat actors, hackers, ‘bad guys’) also have a wide variety of backgrounds and experiences. The wider variety of people and experiences we have defending our networks, the better our chances of success.”
Let’s look at some examples of bold women as they use their diverse backgrounds and skills to perform significant jobs in development and leadership in cybersecurity.

Cybersecurity Architects


What They Do

A cybersecurity architect plans, builds, and manages complex information security systems within an organization in order to meet its security requirements. A Cybersecurity Architect uses both technical and “soft” skills including teaching, communication, and persuasion.  

Who Are Some of the Cybersecurity Architect Pioneers?

There are many women who helped to pioneer the Cyber Architect profession. Here are two of the greats who each have an impressive background and prominent current role.
Ann Barron-DiCamillo, Vice President Cyber Threat Intelligence and Incident Response at American Express and Member of the Board of Directors of FS-ISACA, worked in cybersecurity in the Department of Homeland Security. Barron-DiCamillo was instrumental in protecting our country’s interest against cybersecurity aggressors in her position as chief of the Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT). She also serves as an adjunct professor at American University in Washington, D.C.. She started out as an application developer.
Amanda Berlin is no stranger to cybersecurity. Amanda is an information security architect with a long track record in the field. This job entails designing, creating and managing a company’s network security system. Her accomplishments range from assisting in the development of HIPAA processes to creating her own blog. She contributes to many blogs, and is an advocate for information security and mental health. Amanda started as a computer support technician.

Ethical Hackers


What They Do

Ethical hackers, also, known as “white hats,” are charged with hacking into a computer network in order to test or evaluate its security. Ethical hackers have strong technical skills, are curious by nature, and can think like the bad guys to find and exploit vulnerabilities.

Who Are Some of the Ethical Hacker Pioneers?

Parisa Tabriz is a white hat hacker for Google. Parisa wears many hats, in addition to her responsibility to test systems to ensure security.  She has been working in employee education, engineering, development, and talent management. Her interest in security started in her early college days when started studying computer science.
Joanna Rutkowska is a Polish security researcher and the founder of Invisible Things Lab. Joanna’s passion is uncovering and stopping hidden threats that often hide in rootkits. This wonder woman used her Blue Pill attack against Microsoft’s Vesta to show its vulnerabilities.  She is respected internationally as a force in cybersecurity.

Chief Information Security Officers


What They Do

A chief information security officer (CISO) is a senior-level executive who is responsible for establishing and maintaining the vision, strategy, and program to ensure information security.

Who are Some of the Top Women CISOs?

Kim Keever is currently the Chief Information Security Officer and Vice President of Security, Analytics and Services for Cox Communications in Atlanta, Georgia. Her responsibilities include data analytics, network oversight, and management of technologies used within the Cox Communications organization. She previously was employed by Coca Cola from 2009-2014 as CISO for the Bottling Investment group.
Marene Allison serves as Vice President and Chief Information Security Officer for Johnson and Johnson. Marene’s duties range from risk mitigation and protection of Johnson and Johnson’s individual company systems to ensure that all of the organization’s shared assets are secure globally as well. This includes patient data, business statistics (future trends and portfolio data), individual product reports, legal documentation and publicly shared information. Previously she worked as Chief Security Officer for Medco, Avaya, and the Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company. Marene has a Bachelor of Science degree from The United States Military Academy at West Point in the first class to include women.

What’s Next?

These are just a handful of the many amazing women who are breaking barriers in information security. You and others who are interested in cyber careers can soar to heights unimaginable with the right guidance and proper training. As we celebrate Take Your Sons and Daughters to Work Day, help yourself and the next generation be as bold as these change-makers! Investigate local clubs, introduce kids to capture the flag events, and be cyber secure at home using complex passwords. Even better, take a class together and earn a certification.