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10 Women Who Are Making A Difference In Cybersecurity

Jay Fitzgerald

Female cybersecurity executives speak to CRN about their own journeys in the field and give kudos to the RSA Conference for selecting so many women to give keynotes and participate in panel discussions.

For Brittany Greenfield, it’s a case of one step forward and a half-step backward in terms of women making career progress in cybersecurity.

“It’s been frustrating,” said Greenfield, founder and CEO of Wabbi, a Boston-based application security orchestration and correlation company. “There’s been progress over the years, yes. But it’s something in which we haven’t seen the needle move much lately.”

Greenfield’s sentiments are echoed by other female cybersecurity leaders who talked to CRN and are attending this week’s RSA Conference in San Francisco.

The general consensus: There have been encouraging signs of women gaining influence, clout and investment funds within cybersecurity, a field that has exploded over the past two years.

Lynn Dohm, executive director of the Women in Cybersecurity organization, said the statistics do show women gradually making workforce gains.

In 2014, only 11 percent of the cybersecurity workforce was made up of women, but that number stands at 20 percent to 24 percent of the workforce today, depending on the survey, Dohm said.

“So there has been some progress, but clearly not enough,” said Dohm, whose organization has about 5,600 members in 70 countries.

She said it’s important to get men involved in recruiting more women into cybersecurity. It’s not just a matter of fairness. It’s also a way to help relieve the acute labor shortage cybersecurity is experiencing, Dohm said.

At the RSA Conference, Dohm will speak at the “Level Up Leadership Traits Through (WiCyS) Mentoring” session Tuesday.

Sharon Goldberg, co-founder and CEO of BastionZero, a Boston-based cybersecurity company, said the general attitude toward women in technology 20 years ago, when she first started her career, was condescending. Men routinely questioned whether women were competent enough to succeed, she said.

A computer-science professor at Boston University and a member of the BU Security Group, Goldberg said she’s treated more seriously these days. But she said that’s largely due to her being a professor and CEO of a company—and that other women are still struggling against bias within the industry.

Women interviewed by CRN praised organizers of the RSA Conference for selecting so many women to give keynote speeches and participate in panel discussions, this year and in years past, saying it inspires younger women in the field.

Following are 10 women who are prominent within cybersecurity and who are participating in various events this week at the RSA Conference.

 
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