Recruiting cybersecurity talent internally and providing the necessary training not only saves money, Hogaboom notes, but addresses the overarching hiring challenges all companies are facing. “It’s a lot more cost-effective to train up and to upskill your current employees then to hire new ones, sometimes,” she says. “There may be a good pool of talent sitting there, waiting for the opportunity.”
Promote Mentorship and Inclusion
Another reason women are underrepresented in the cybersecurity industry is that many who enter the field don’t stay, notes Rosso. However, she adds, those women who have access to mentors––even on an informal basis––are more likely to continue growing their cybersecurity careers. “Having somebody that you can share ideas with and ask questions [of] turns out to be very valuable and important in people staying in organizations,” says Rosso.
An inclusive work environment is also key to retaining female cybersecurity professionals, notes Lynn Dohm, executive director of WiCyS. This means that business leaders need to make sure that women are given equal time to share thoughts during meetings; that they enjoy equal opportunities for advancement; and that they receive equal pay for equal work.
“These are all equitable actions that create that space of trust, and then belonging—and diversity stems from that,” Dohm says. “People remain because they feel respected and valued.”
For Dohm, successful cybersecurity teams require a mix of genders, identities, ethnicities, cultures, and lived experiences.
“We need to be able to have that diversity of thought and all hands on deck to solve the challenges as they’re coming in,” she says. As malicious parties continue to grow increasingly sophisticated in their attacks, having access to different viewpoints is crucial. “You need a multidimensional/multiperspective attitude to come up with a solution to remediate and move forward.”
For more resources and content on diversity, equity, and inclusion from ChannelPro and CompTIA, go here.