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Making Space for Diversity in Cybersecurity

  • 4 mths ago

As we wrap up Black History Month and head into Women’s History Month, it’s important to highlight the diversity, equity and inclusion challenges still facing the cyber workforce. As our companies, hospitals and schools continue to face the brunt of large-scale ransomware attacks, the United States still does not have the people to defend against these threats. The Making Space Initiative at the R Street Institute aims to expand the cybersecurity field by addressing the diversity problem in the workforce head-on—because for us, diversity is security.

A lack of diversity of people—women, Black cybersecurity professionals, Hispanic professionals and the neurodiverse—makes organizations weaker to vulnerabilities. This is especially dangerous as a homogenous workforce is also more susceptible to groupthink. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) found that this environment doesn’t just increase the likelihood of more mistakes—it also means people are more likely to copy poor decisions within a team. In short, without concrete plans, incentives and programs to change who we hire and how we adapt to problems or find solutions, we are setting ourselves up to fail.

In an effort to combat this problem, we’ve partnered with dozens of organizations and individuals to begin fixing the cybersecurity workforce diversity crisis.

  • First, by raising awareness.
  • Second, by building relationships and bringing a broad range of thinkers and experts into the space, and promoting them and their work.
  • Third, by finding new avenues in public-private partnerships and public policy to create sustainable change.

When It Comes to Workforce Diversity, What Are the Biggest Challenges?

The main challenge to implementing true workforce diversity is that too many people continue to think this isn’t an issue. They are blind to the reality we now face.

As we were reaching out to find partners for the Making Space pledge, as an example, we encountered a number of organizations who swore that they already had diverse and inclusive panels, but signing a pledge to that effect wouldn’t make sense for their organization. We had others say that the fear of one panel for which they couldn’t find a woman or person of color meant they couldn’t pledge to the broader goal. This attitude is the epitome of letting the perfect be the enemy of the good. These organizations, and many others, find themselves unwilling to publicly project values we should strive to achieve.

Continue reading: https://msmagazine.com/2022/02/25/diversity-cybersecurity-black-women/

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