Thursday, 13 July 2017

The need for cyber security role models globally


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By Claire Fulford
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“If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” — Isaac Newton

Earlier this year, members of the Australian Women in Security Network (AWSN) along with industry peers, participated in a Prime Minister and Cabinet (PM&C) event focused on women in cyber.  PM&C invited participants to respond to several questions, to understand and address the causes of low participation by women in cyber security careers. This was a key action outlined in Australia’s Cyber Security Strategy, under the theme of A Cyber Smart Nation.

During the event, questions were discussed in roundtable settings followed by panel discussions to bring key points to the larger group.

The first question asked was ‘What are the barriers to women choosing cyber security careers?  What can be done to address these barriers?’ One of the key outtakes was that “both within the industry and externally, role models and mentors were a significant factor for participants pursuing a career in cyber security. These role models or mentors were not always female, some participants described males who had encouraged and supported them in their endeavours. Importantly, participants noted that role models could be anyone in their lives, from parents, to friends, to management staff, to people they had never met”.

Interestingly, ISACA’s (Information Systems Audit and Control Association) 2017 Global Survey of Women in Tech asked a similar question regarding to barriers for women in technology in general.  Almost half of participants raised a lack of mentors and role models as the top two barriers to entry. 

Finally, the 2017 Global Information Security Workforce Study: Women in Cybersecurity – sponsored by (ISC)2 and Booz Allen Hamilton had 19,641 respondents from 170 countries, likely making it the largest study of its kind ever conducted.   The study indicated that 61% of women surveyed reported job satisfaction and more likelihood to succeed in their careers when mentoring, training, sponsorship and leadership programs were available.

The correlation between how women feel about their role in the industry and the offering of mentorship and support is clear across the globe.

In August, the Australian Women in Security Network will host a panel discussion at the Gartner Security & Risk Summit.  The panel will compromise of male and female AWSN members providing their feedback on their roles as mentors and role models in the industry and the impact of great mentoring relationships. When landing on a panel topic, we saw the PM&C commentary about the need for mentors and role models as a key outcome – and one that should be talked about more broadly.

With many incredible leaders in the industry, and some emerging talent to be harnessed, the AWSN is always encouraging mentoring conversations and highlighting the great work of some of Australia’s cyber security role models.  If you are having trouble finding a mentor, please reach out here, join us at Gartner in Sydney on 22 August or alternatively, let us know how mentors have made an impact in your career?




(c) AWSN 2017

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author/s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any agency, organisation or association.

Saturday, 8 July 2017

ARTICLE SERIES - Highlights of AWSN - interview with Iresha Fernando

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By Amanda-Jane Turner, Chief Editor & National Blog Manager of the official AWSN Blog
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The Australian Women in Security Network (AWSN) was founded only a couple of years ago by Jacqui Loustau and yet is already maturing into a respected association supporting and encouraging diversity in the security industry. It is with great pleasure that the AWSN shares with you the following interview with long-term supporter, social media manager and active member of the AWSN, Iresha Fernando.

It was early 2016, and Iresha was seeking some type of networking group that mentored and encouraged women, when she received an invitation to attend a networking lunch. Seeing it as a good opportunity to build and strengthen her career network she accepted. AWSN was in its infancy and Iresha did not know what to expect or what a networking group would even look like or operate. Iresha was pleasantly surprised that there were others like herself at the networking event looking not only to gain support but also to provide it and share their own experiences. She saw passionate leaders and mentors who willingly shared their time and ideas to help ‘newbies’ like her. Iresha quickly realised that AWSN is the perfect group for her to be a part of to build her professional network and confidence.

A year on from this and Iresha has attended several AWSN facilitated networking events and because of AWSN has met and been inspired by many experienced women in the security industry. She credits the support of AWSN with building her confidence and presentation skills and for the first time in her life had the opportunity to present at a university. AWSN soon had her managing social media for the group which has honed her skills and increased her confidence further. Additionally, this has led to good recognition in the office (balancing work and D&I in the group) which lead her gain a well-deserved promotion at her paid employment. All this within a very short time being with the company. Most importantly Iresha said is that AWSN helped her to find a good mentor who trusts in her.

Iresha emphasised that AWSN ensures that there are people out there to help no matter who you are or what your background is.  Iresha added that she likes and respects the committee/leaders of AWSN group and states that they are a bunch of humble women who are trying to build a better career place for other women.

AWSN highlights for Iresha are the Go Girl For IT participation and when Jacqui won the AISA Diversity award in 2016.

Iresha is proud to be a part of AWSN and happily shares how the network has made her believe in herself and help her achieve things she had not thought possible.



(c) AWSN 2017

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author/s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any agency, organisation or association.

Thursday, 11 May 2017

National Volunteer Week 2017 - thanks from AWSN founder Jacqui Loustau

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By Jacqui Loustau, Founder and one of the Directors of the Australian Women in Security Network
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This week is National Volunteer week. 

It is a week where we recognise volunteers for all their hard work, passion and tireless efforts for causes that they believe in. With this in mind it’s time to acknowledge what goes into making the Australian Women in Security Network what it is today. I feel that it is essential that we say thank you to you all and to recognise what we have achieved together in the AWSN in the last 2 years.
 
The AWSN is now active across Melbourne, Sydney, Canberra, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth and has over 600 members. The 3 chapter leads in each city are volunteering their time because they truly believe in this cause and can see that we are making a difference.

  • It’s the stories of women that we have helped get a job
  • It’s the women who we have helped have a voice and be bold and speak at conferences. 
  • It’s the connections we have helped make within our community or abroad. 
  • It’s the support we have offered those women who are alone in this male dominated field and to encourage them to keep at it. 
  • We have given so many women a voice and chance to showcase their abilities in this field.
  • We have inspired women to give security a go. 
  • We have educated people on challenges we face in this industry and ways in which to avoid unconscious bias. 
  • We’ve nurtured graduates and provide students hope and a pathway to their future dream jobs. 
  • We’ve provided opportunities to those who may not have had the confidence to ask.
  • We have had not-for-profits and students thank us for the help we have provided.
  • We got access to senior managers and industry leaders that we never would have had imagined would open their doors for us.
  • We’ve provided real testimonies of what jobs in security would really entail and how to get in it.
  • We have provided girls with the awareness that jobs in security exists and that they can actually help people.
  • We have provided a platform where people can provide their ideas, thoughts and let their personalities shine through.
  • We’ve collaborated and learnt from other industries, professions and company sizes. It’s organising the local chapter events and getting awesome feedback after such a buzz in the room.
  • We do all this in our spare time. 
Some of you may or may not know what is involved in keeping a group afloat. It’s a lot of late night work, emails on the train, phone calls while walking to and from the office and using all your lunch breaks for meetings. For some of us it's flying across the country for different events on our own money (thank you Chris!) and countries (thank you Michelle). Most of us volunteers have a paid day time job and young families to attend to in the evenings. Many of us have moved into new roles and are trying to keep abreast of that at the same time. When volunteering, you are using your spare time to help someone or a community out. It’s motivating, rewarding but it’s also exhausting…! 

I am not writing this to complain or moan. I am writing this as it’s the truth of what is involved every day for most of the volunteers working for the AWSN in their spare time. Something that I admire about every one of them. Through providing an open diverse network of individuals where no matter what gender, age, skillset, level and industries are welcome to come together to learn about security. This is a group which we should be proud of.

There are so many people I would like to thank. You know who you are. You are the ones who go out of your way to help, you are the ones who ask for no thanks but just do it as you believe in our case. You are the ones that we recognise today. Thank-you.

More support is needed to help drive the initiatives we feel so passionate about. 
So please reach out to your chapter lead today to give a HUGE thanks them and to offer a lending hand. Our volunteers and chapter leads certainly deserve this.
Thank-you.

To see some thoughts on volunteering from our AWSN cohort please have a look at the post: Thoughts on volunteering.


 This post has been created on behalf of AWSN. 

(c) AWSN 2017

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author/s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any agency, organisation or association.