The Importance of Women in Cybersecurity for Innovation, Investment and Enrichment

The following article was written by Stephanie Schultz, VTM Account Manager and Trusted Computing Group Executive Director and has been republished from WeAreTechWomen.

According to Small Business Trends, 2018 saw 20 percent of all jobs in technology held by women

Of those companies in the Fortune 500 with three or more women in leading positions 66 percent saw an increase in ROI, found Women Who Tech. Since then, as we fly through 2020 into the new decade, women are becoming an ever-more prevalent and disruptive force within the tech market – particularly cybersecurity. In almost seven years I have worked in the cybersecurity sector with Trusted Computing Group (TCG), I have witnessed first-hand the enrichment their work has brought to the perspective of the industry, and how this has diversified its strategies for a more successful industry position.

Inclusion Sparks Insight

In my experience, women – though a minority in the technology sphere – have been leaders in the development of the industry. This success in leadership positions stems from the unique and refreshing perspectives brought by women to problem solving and identifying gaps in the market and demand within the industry. Being so deep in the technology we work on, it is easy to lose sight of who will ultimately benefit from it; the consumer. End users are the ones shopping, buying our devices and engaging in the community and a huge portion of this behavioral demographic are women.

Similarly, women engage with things differently in the ways they utilize and perceive things, such as IoT home devices where data is stored. As gender norms merge and more men adopt activities which used to be women-centric, understanding and implementing these perceptions is becoming more valuable. It is beneficial to understand consumer behaviors complimentary to and beyond a male-centric space, making gender diversity a key element to improving development, marketing and design strategies, creating well-rounded solutions and exceling in the market.

Within TCG, our male colleagues have nothing but the utmost respect for the women in the organization because it is recognized that they are good at what they do. Even among lively debates between parties in the conference room, I have never seen anyone brush off or dismiss or demean anything the female leaders have to say – it is always very mutually respectful, and we have an appreciation for one another. Being a member organization, I believe, allows for more diversity, welcoming a broad range of professionals from their member companies. This level of diverse collaboration, especially on the formation of global security standards, can only strengthen the quality of the work we do, and I am proud to manage and contribute to this.

Securing the Future

My role in TCG is largely engaging with the Board’s strategic direction. Beyond daily billing and legal admin, it is important to keep track of current technology trends and how they are progressing. Without considering the future of the industry and only focusing on the present, emerging opportunities will be missed – every device security aspect the consumer becomes aware of should have been considered by cybersecurity professionals five years in advance. In that respect, I facilitate the board to think about the direction of the organization for the future, collaborating with global government entities to ensure their perspective is also considered and their specialist security requirements of confidentiality are met. From the viewpoint of a woman in the organization, I work directly and regularly with other senior role women, from Work Group chairs to editors, to ensure that work from every division is promoted and driven towards a marketing angle. In doing so, my goal is to encourage everyone to follow through with their work beyond the technical development stage to present it in a usable and consumable way, reaching those beyond the cybersecurity sphere to increase TCG’s impact, reach and opportunities.

Despite my experience in my field, I am still committed to educating myself further so that I can offer my best to my organization. I am currently studying for my Master’s in Business Administration, with a focus on globalization, leadership and management. These are topics that will never sunset and are valuable to ensuring that security is prioritized and acknowledged by the rest of the technology industry. There are a lot of product developments and start-ups where security is, understandably, not a key concern due to the extra costs and likelihood of attack. Most companies don’t consider the resilience of their device security until it’s too late, but I want to change this. In progressing my professional development through the means of education, I want to drive cybersecurity to become a constant, standard practice in company product development from my position with TCG. As technology advances and ever changes, so will attacks – I want to see cybersecurity at the forefront of the industry, readily implemented to alleviate consumer concern.

To achieve this, it is crucial that we adopt as diverse a range of perspectives and ways of thinking as possible, to connect with as many surrounding sectors as we can and emphasize our value in ways that resonate with them. Women are an integral part of this strategy and must be seen as such in the path to encouraging this growth. As more female voices are highlighted in TCG and its member companies, making women more visible and the growth made evident internally, we hope to encourage female engineers who are interested in cybersecurity to join the work we are doing. TCG has been around for 20 years, and during this we have learned that building a force of diverse, new and younger talent in this way is key to keeping the mission alive and ensuring the success of businesses now and into the future.

About the Author

Stephanie Schultz started her career industry association consulting and management working with homecare and hospice providers at the state and federal level to influence and advise policy makers on regulations and procedures to expand access to care. Her experience in advocating for and managing industry groups made moving into the world of cybersecurity standards a good fit. Stephanie joined TCG to provide administrative and specification development support and started representing TCG in the marketing efforts. Stephanie joined the Board of Directors assisting with the development and implementation of strategic efforts, relationship building and team management. She is currently an MBA student at the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign.

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