Written by: Yosra Barbier, Director, Information Security, Duck Creek Technologies; Monica Frazier, Sr. Associate Security Operations Engineer and Michaela James, Information Security Risk & Compliance Analyst, Duck Creek Technologies
In a world where companies rely heavily on digitization and customers expect a seamless user experience, cyber security must be prioritized to ensure that sensitive information is protected and that people across the value chain are equipped to handle it with the utmost integrity. Customers instill trust in insurers and producers to safeguard their most personal financial and health information, which is collected and stored as part of the underwriting and claims processes. As stringent cyber security programs become more and more critical, the demand for diverse experts, especially skilled females, increases. Historically, there has been a shortage of females in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics), who make up nearly half of the US workforce but only 27% of the STEM field.
Although the field may be mostly made up of men, there is immense value for women to embark on a career in cyber security and create a seat at the table. While one must be technical and have excellent communication and analytical skills, one can be something other than an engineer to excel in cyber security and there are flexible routes through which skill sets might be acquired. Confidence is a significant attribute that helps women accelerate their careers and having a professional mentor can facilitate that confidence. Mentorship can be sourced one-on-one or in public forums and virtual groups where like-minded individuals bounce ideas off and support one another.
“Some of my favorite professional organizations are Black Girls Hack, Women in Tech and Black Girls In Cyber. These communities create the perfect opportunity for females to network with peers and establish their identities in cyber security. Having the right people and support system to share your ideas and career aspirations with is key.” – Michaela James, Information Security Risk & Compliance Analyst, Duck Creek Technologies.
The financial services industry, which includes insurance, is heavily targeted by cybercriminals. Therefore, insurers must constantly seek new means and talent to help protect themselves and their customers from the rising number of cyberattacks and data breaches. As companies seek ways to diversify, it is crucial to bring in more talent with different perspectives and life experiences, including women. Cybersecurity is based on helping and protecting all individuals and businesses regardless of background, yet it is particularly challenging for females to break into this male-dominated field.
“In addition to focusing on cyber theft or monitoring the activities on a network within an organization, a cyber security career also includes educating employees on best practices for acceptable uses and providing awareness on identifying and reporting suspicions. Helping my colleagues is one of the most rewarding aspects of my job.” – Monica Frazier, Sr. Associate Security Operations Engineer, Duck Creek Technologies.
Companies will find that they need dynamic individuals who focus solely on cybersecurity as the digital landscape evolves. There is a demand for women’s flexible thinking and diverse approaches to handling complex topics in this fast-growing field. These high-paying jobs are numerous and stable, and a cyber security career allows women to be a recognizable face within their organizations.
“It is encouraging to see more companies hiring and developing women from this tight-knit industry. It is important for professionals in cyber security to strike a balance between their technical and strategic skills. Staying abreast of new trends and partaking in innovative cybersecurity strategies is critical. When an organization welcomes women’s talents and practical skills, they can disrupt myths and outdated practices and truly transform the industry.” – Yosra Barbier, Director, Information Security, Duck Creek Technologies.