Diversity In Cyber Security

Improving the diversity of the cyber security industry by hiring people from different backgrounds will allow information security teams to think and defend against concepts and attack methods they have never thought of before and significantly improve your organisation’s cyber online defenses.

Digital systems are a part of Britain's critical national infrastructure, and keeping them secure and resilient is more vital than ever. The NCSC Report on Decrypting Diversity details how over 85% of professionals working in cyber security are white, compared to under 15% from black, Asian or mixed ethic groups.

The Director of GCHQ Jeremy Fleming, recently told Britain’s largest forum on cyber security, CyberUK 2021, that “the UK will only be able to thrive in the digital era if we are able to draw people from all backgrounds to work together on these problems. Inclusion has become mission critical, not a nice to have... It’s vital to our intelligence and cyber security work. It’s not just the morally right thing to do, it’s smart business.”  

Two-thirds of the industry identifies as male, compared to 31% identifying as female, while over 84% of those surveyed identify as straight, compared with 10% who identified as LGBT. 

The NCSC Report says that, “over 40% of Black cyber security professionals feel they have experienced discrimination over their ethnicity in the past year. There are other, equally shocking, examples. They should be a source of deep shame for all in the industry, the kind of stark accounts which simply cannot be ignored.”  Not only does diversifying the cyber security industry help it better reflect the population, it can bring different ways of thinking and different skills to the table, and it could also help cyber security teams gain a better idea of how the malicious hacking operations they're trying to defend networks again work.

Improving diversity in cyber security teams should, therefore, be a key aim for organisations across the industry, because it can help protect people and businesses from a wider range of cyber threats.

It's also important to recognise that people can take different routes into cyber security, some might get qualifications from university or information security certifications, others might learn skills via online courses, some might even teach themselves entirely.

The Report says, “Gay and lesbian respondents reported feeling discriminated against over their sexual orientation at eight times the level of survey respondents as a whole. Female respondents reported nearly two and half times the level negative incidents as a result of their gender identity than the survey as a whole. “Given these findings, it is worrying to discover that the industry has low levels of incident reporting and resolution.... In the circumstances, it is little surprise that just over 9% of all those surveyed are considering changing employers or leaving the industry entirely.” 

NCSC:          iNews:        ZDNet:     FuentITech:     Digital Guardian:     Image: Unsplash

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