I Think Possibly Maybe We’ve Solved Diversity in Cybersecurity

We’re tired of hearing “we’re trying” when it comes to the subject of companies improving their abysmal diversity. How about “We’re doing something and it’s working”?

This episode is hosted by me, David Spark (@dspark), producer of CISO Series and guest co-host Jimmy Sanders (@jfireluv), cybersecurity, Netflix DVD. Our guest this week is Jerich Beason (@blanketSec), svp, CISO, Epiq.

Thanks to this week’s podcast sponsor, Living Security

Traditional approaches to security communication are limited to one-off training sessions that fail to take customers, regulators, and other external stakeholders into account and rarely affect long-term behavioral change. This report lays out a four-step plan that CISOs should follow to manage the human risk. It provides design principles for creating transformational security awareness initiatives which will win the hearts and minds of senior executives, employees, the technology organization, and customers.

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On this week’s episode

How have you actually pulled this off?

As discussed before on this show, being the next CISO at a company that was recently breached can be very lucrative. We’ve had guests that have very successfully negotiated huge salaries as the post-breach CISO. Are CISOs setting themselves up for far too much responsibility to be seen as a the company’s digital savior? What are the responsibilities of a post breach CISO?

Got a better answer than “we’re trying?”

Over the years we have interviewed dozens of business owners, security professionals, and hiring managers about diversity. Almost all their answers fall into the following buckets:

  1. We’re trying but there’s no pipeline.
  2. We’re working with XXX group to improve.
  3. Diversity is needed because diversity of thought it needed to create a more secure organization.

No one will admittedly say they’re against diversity. Yet systemic racism, sexism, or just boys’ clubism in general continues to exist. It appears most of the non-diverse business leaders are being pressured into admitting it’s a problem. So they do it, and we even get token hires, but it all comes off as diversity theater and not the business actually making a shift. What is the story of diversity in cybersecurity many people don’t get and need to actually be doing, not just giving lip service to?

“What’s Worse?!”

Eugene Kogan, CSO at a confidential company sets it up: Who do you want on our side: executives or employees?

And now a listener drops knowledge

“Learn cybersecurity in public,” suggests AJ Yawn of ByteChek who recommends joining a training program and then publishing what you’ve learned on a blog. As AJ explains, “Doing this will help you build relationships & prove to potential employers you’re applying your new knowledge.” He concludes with the advice, “Don’t learn in silence.” The community responded to AJ’s advice. It’s great advice, which everyone agreed to in the comments, but why then do so few people actually do it?

There’s got to be a better way to handle this

Zero trust is not a technology that can be purchases as a solution. It’s an architecture, methodology, and framework that you have to consciously adopt, noted Stephen Lyons of F5 on a post on LinkedIn. Can solutions already in-house be rejiggered to adopt a zero trust methodology? And if so, what changes would need to be made to existing systems to have a more zero trust environment?

David Spark is the founder of CISO Series where he produces and co-hosts many of the shows. Spark is a veteran tech journalist having appeared in dozens of media outlets for almost three decades.