I sure you’ll find it useful and he will inspire you with his ideas to help women succeed in cybersecurity.
Nelly – Alright, so I decided to do this interview because I think what you’re doing is pretty cool. I just wanted to know how did you end up supporting women in cybersecurity… How did that happen?
Nathan – I’ve been working in IT and cybersecurity for more than 20 years, over that time I’ve met many women, I listened to podcasts, read a lot of articles and I’ve seen a lot of the challenges for women today. I became concerned and I made it my goal to help them because in my view women in cybersecurity represent our mothers, daughters, nieces and our friends so in my view we are part of the same community and we should all help each other. I was also inspired by Jane Frankland’s book InSecurity were she talks about all these challenges in great detail and I was very inspired by that.
Nelly – I saw that you are part of WiCyS, can you please tell us more about this initiative?
Nathan – Definitely, WiCyS is short for women in cybersecurity it was founded by Dr. Ambareen Siraj in 2012 through the national science foundation grant at Tennessee Tech University. It is the largest women in cybersecurity non-profit in the US. The goal is for women to have a safe place to network, mentor, and train. I’m very proud that I co-founded the local branch here in Colorado.
Nelly – What kind of mentoring women can have access to?
Nathan – We will have a program where they can match up a mentor with a mentee and provide sponsorship opportunities for them. Ultimately I feel the need to help women to network with all the various IT and cybersecurity organizations in Colorado so we can work all as a community and build a more diverse cybersecurity workforce in Colorado.
Nelly – From your point of view, what are the biggest challenges for women wanting to be part of the cybersecurity sector here in the US?
Nathan – Sure Nelly, first of all, there are high entry barriers for women. For example, if you look at job descriptions, they require many years of experience which a lot of women entering the field may don’t have. Number two, they require a lot of training and technical expertise. Number three, there are very few role models. For example in the US when you think of a hacker, you think as a male in a hoodie, so in the culture in the US, it makes cybersecurity and hacking not part of normal society culture. In addition, there are very few role models, if you watch TV we’re doing better in the US for having more role models in that sense but there’s still a long way to go. Also, corporate culture is still hostile in certain areas. We need to be more diverse and inclusive.
Nelly – Can you please tell us how companies or individuals can support women that are already in the sector?
Nathan – So first of all, I believe corporations need to remove the barriers of entry so women can get to the field. For those who are in the field, they need to have more role models. For example women in CISO or women in management, young women need somebody to look up to and a person to mentor them. Next, for the cultural side, there’s a need for expanded education opportunities so women are aware of IT and cybersecurity careers to be encouraged to enter those fields instead of being discouraged. Most importantly, the next step in Europe is the new initiative called Women4Cyber that was essentially to help all women in cybersecurity in Europe. I do believe this initiative will help more women.
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Nelly Cornejo (2020, January 9). How to be an Ally for Women in Cybersecurity – Interview with Nathan Chung from WiCyS USA. LinkedIn. https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/how-ally-women-cybersecurity-interview-nathan-chung-nelly-moffett/?trackingId=