Women in cyber security seem to be far apart and few in between. A recent 2017 Global Information Security Workforce Study stated that women make up just 11% of the cyber security workforce globally. They also earn less than their male colleagues at every level of the industry.

With more than 209,000 cyber security jobs in the U.S. currently open, it’s time to look to women as the opportunity to fill the gap. With cyber security postings anticipated to grow, the need and the opportunity is most apparent. With a high shortage in talent, many experts support in the option of increasing the number of women in the field.

And the industry already holds women pioneers. In a male-dominated industry, a few women have emerged from the background to become major cyber security advocates, representing a stronger women voice in the industry. These women hold strong leadership roles in government agencies, large corporations and personal enterprises. Hopefully these women will serve as inspiration to encourage more women into the field, thus quickly closing this skills shortage.

ALISSA JOHNSON | T: @dralissajay

Alissa Johnson is Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) of Xerox, and a strong, leading voice in the industry. Johnson’s strong career in information technology has seen top-level positions with organization such as Deputy Chief Information Office at the White House and current position as Chief CISO at Xerox.

Johnson believes in always ‘raising the bar’ when it comes to information security, but to never forget the fundamentals. Johnson states:

“Security is not just the responsibility of the security team, but as we’re learning and realising–especially with all the spear phishing attacks–security is everyone’s responsibility.”

Johnson holds a great interview with Investing News Network that’s worth a read.

JOYCE BROCAGLIA | T: @joyce_brocaglia

Joyce Brocaglia is President & CEO of Alta Associates and Founder of The Executive Women’s Forum. Brocaglia has built the company Alta Associates into a leading boutique executive search firm specializing in Information Security, Cyber security and IT Risk Management. Joyce is a trusted advisor to corporations building cyber security, information security, GRC and privacy teams.

LESLEY CARHART | T: @hacks4pancakes

Lesley Carhart leads the security incident response team at Motorola Solutions and specializes in every type of hacking, digital theft, compromise, misconfiguration, vulnerability, or infection which affects our customers on a given day. Carhart believes heavily in diversifying the security field, and the lasting benefits that come from taking this action. She states:

“The more backgrounds, hobbies, previous careers and methodologies we can bring into our field, the better we will be at responding to complex problems in an innovative way. The homogeneity of our industry, coupled with the absurd stereotype of a hacker in our culture, can only harm us as cybersecurity impacts broader and broader society.”

Carhart holds a great interview with Tripwire that’s worth a read.

JEANETTE HANNA-RUIZ | T: @jhannaruiz

Jeanette Hanna-Ruiz is current deputy chief information officer at Georgetown University, and former chief information security officer at NASA. In 2016, NASA reported almost 1,500 cyber incidents directed at the organization. Hanna-Ruiz’s move to a top position in the agency came just in time. During her position at NASA, it was her job to organize digital defense while the agency worked on the Mars project. The protection of NASA’s valuable data was high on the list, because of it’s potential target by foreign states and industrial espionage. Hanna-Ruiz comments in a recent interview:

“It’s a matter of time before someone hacks into something in space. We see ourselves as a very attractive target.”


Essye Miller is deputy CIO for cyber security as part of the U.S. Department of Defense Agency. She believes heavily in increased awareness of cyber security threats, and enforced discipline of basic security hygiene and network protection. Miller’s views of cyber security policy continue to be:

“…an opportunity” to strengthen the military but also to “enforce discipline, and rigor across the network, and to get back to the basics and the hygiene.”

Women can continue to bring a strong voice to cyber security. All genders, races and ethnicities need to see the strength of a diversified cyber security field. Women can bring new ideas, leadership and strong commitment to a field that growing rapidly.


As demand grows, more and more organizations offer opportunities for women to learn the field of cyber and information security. A leading information security training provider recently announced the opportunity for women to take part in a SANS CyberTalent Immersion Academy for Women to learn the skills needed. Further, the Women’s Society of Cyberjutsu (WSC) is a recognised non-profit organisation passionate about helping and empowering women to succeed in the cyber security field.

As you can see the good work women security professionals are already doing in the field, we’ll leave you with an important quote that many experts share when it comes to encouraging more women into positions in the information and cyber technology fields. Kris Lovejoy, CEO of cybersecurity firm BluVector, says:

“When you mix up gender, culture, orientation, or race, you get different ways to solve problems.”