ATLANTA, GA (March 28, 2015) — The 2015 annual Women in Cybersecurity conference, organized by Tennessee Technological University and the National Science Foundation, met in Atlanta, Georgia, on March 27 and 28. CyberPoint was proud to be there as a Diamond sponsor. We were particularly impressed by the quality of the undergraduate and graduate students at the conference, whether they spoke, presented posters, or simply attended the sessions.
Among the keynote speakers — industry leaders all — was CyberPoint's Sherri Ramsay, who spoke about the state of the industry and about the role that women can, do, and should play in it. She reflected on the mixed but generally encouraging progress women have made in cybersecurity and allied STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields since her own undergraduate years, and challenged women to increase their participation further.
The Internet, pervasive in our daily lives, powering the global economy, and central to our national security, drives the growth of cybersecurity as a career field. Our intellectual property, she pointed out, is our greatest national asset, and it's easily exposed and stolen. There are now 2.2 billion Internet users, and some 200 thousand new pieces of malware appeared last year. The FBI, Ramsay commented, says it costs companies about $8.9m to remediate an intrusion, and a compromised company needs on average 243 days to clean up its networks. More than 1 billion pages of intellectual property were stolen last year. "So what more important job can there be," she asked students, "than protecting the Internet?" She closed with advice to students and those just beginning their careers: learn every day, have three mentors (and these will change over the course of one's career), "be hard to manage" (that is, challenge and question), and remember, "It's always right to do the right thing."
The other keynotes were equally compelling. Facebook's Director of Security Operations Jenn Lesser Henley shared her personal history to encourage students to expand their notion of who might become a security engineer. Dr. Phyllis Schneck, Deputy Under Secretary for Cybersecurity and Communications for the National Protection and Programs Directorate (NPPD) at the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS), described DHS's vision for infrastructure cyber protection, with particular emphasis on the Department's National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center (NCCIC). Microsoft's Angela McKay delivered the conference's closing keynote. She described her own career and life arc to illustrate the challenges of embracing individuality and adaptability.
Ambareen Siraj, Founder and chair of the Women in Cybersecurity Conference, tells us the call for local hosting of Women in Cybersecurity conference 2016 will be published in May this year and announced in July. If your organization is interested in getting involved with this initiative, please refer to www.csc.tntech.edu/wicys/ or contact Dr. Siraj at asiraj AT tntech DOT edu.
With support from National Science Foundation, Award #1303441 (Capacity Building in Cybersecurity: Broadening Participation of Women In Cybersecurity through the Women in Cybersecurity Conference and Professional Development), WiCyS is an effort to bring together women (students/faculty/researchers/professionals) in cybersecurity from academia, research and industry for sharing of knowledge/experience, networking and mentoring. Any individual or organization interested in supporting recruiting and retention efforts for women in cybersecurity is encouraged to participate.
At CyberPoint, we work to create a future where individuals and organizations from across the globe can operate safely and securely in cyberspace and benefit from the technological innovations that increasingly connect our world. A rapidly growing cybersecurity company, CyberPoint integrates and delivers innovative, leading-edge services, solutions, and products to protect what's invaluable to customers worldwide. We discover the threats and vulnerabilities that expose data, systems, and infrastructure to compromise, we quantify risks, and we design defenses that provide critical protection. Learn more here.