With remote work now a staple for small businesses and large enterprises alike, time spent online has exploded. For most, this has translated to increased output among workers. From a Flexjobs report, among performance-based remote work statistics, 85 percent of businesses confirm that productivity has increased in their company because of greater flexibility.
With greater flexibility, there’s also risk involved in this transition. In addition, to the shift to working from home, there has been a steady increase in the need for cybersecurity professionals. According to the Federal Trade Commission, by early November, 2020 there had been more nearly 250,000 consumer fraud reports related to pandemic terms (N95, Covid, etc.), causing an average loss of $730 each.
The growing threat definitely requires a growing cybersecurity workforce striving to make cyberspace more secure. But growing the number of cybersecurity professionals requires a greater focus on cyber education and more opportunities for underrepresented communities. In the US alone there are at least a half a million cybersecurity jobs needing talent.
A more diverse cybersecurity defender pool would help alleviate this shortage. However, it’s clear that more work needs to be done inside the cybersecurity community to mentor aspiring youth with an interest in security, while providing more opportunities. In our recently released Cybersecurity Diversity and Inclusion Report, Synack found that 71 percent of minority women still feel like there’s a “glass ceiling” limiting their progress. Additionally, in an Infosec Institute article discussing a study entitled “Tech Leavers” by the Kapor Center for Social Impact, finds that almost 25 percent of under-represented minorities and women of color experienced stereotyping. Synack recognizes the challenges in filling these talent gaps with qualified candidates and it starts with opportunity and awareness..
Despite the challenges, the industry has made promising efforts to address this issue. One of them is The CyberTalent Immersion Academies, a set of immersive training programs that are producing high-quality cybersecurity professionals ready to enter information security roles immediately upon graduation. The Academies target groups such as women, minorities, and veterans to provide advanced technical training, industry-recognized certifications, and connections to jobs in cybersecurity. The Academies are 100 percent scholarship-based for qualified participants.
Synack is announcing a partnership with the SANS Institute to assist in placing future cyber professionals into roles in the field. First, Synack is supporting the VetSuccess Academy which is launching their next class on November 11, 2020 – on Veterans Day. Also, Synack is excited to support SANS’ upcoming Women’s Academy and Cyber Diversity Academy to further promote a more inclusive and diverse workforce.
The Black Lives Matter movement, racial injustice, and an unequal representation in tech workspaces, have shown us that it is the responsibility of industry leaders to hear the call and lift up disenfranchised groups. Synack is one company that has heard the call — from the creation of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion initiatives, to partnering with black-owned nonprofits, with increased focus on investing in diversity-enhancing cybersecurity training.
The future of cybersecurity is in good hands when the collective industry representation believes in a security conscious world that also reinforces values of equity and fair treatment of all. Both Synack and the SANS Institute have big plans on the horizon to assist cybersecurity professionals by creating opportunity to underrepresented groups regardless of race, gender, sex, age or social class.