Inclusive Security Trending Up at RSAC 2022


Posted on by RSAC Editorial Team

Inclusive security is something you may have heard about in a keynote, a breakout session, a panel or even a networking event while at RSA Conference 2022. It shouldn’t come as a surprise, it’s a hot button issue within the cybersecurity industry and beyond. And spoiler alert: it’s not going away anytime soon.

This year, inclusive security at RSA Conference evolved into an entire series of dynamic sessions on Tuesday and also featured a couple of heavy-hitting keynotes that center in and around the topic.

CEO Bryan Palma of Trellix led off his keynote on Soulless to Soulful, Security’s Chance to Save Tech by saying, "social media has become a destructive force in our lives. It's tearing people apart, sewing division between families, friends and associates while fueling a rise in hate speech, disinformation and sparking a surge in online harassment and real-life violence.” He went on to say the most alarming thing was that social media companies were taking little to no action and have become soulless. He points out that 70% of people surveyed find social media does more harm than good according to a study by Quinnipiac University.

Palma moves on to say that cybersecurity has the opportunity to provide a space and a haven for a talented workforce looking to find and carve out a space for themselves based on companies that align with their values. With research that Trellix conducted partnering with a marketing firm, they found that the majority of the cybersecurity industry identified as straight while males. Not a surprise. “Our lack of diversity is holding us back. We are all better when we benefit from the diverse perspective of others.”

Later in the day on the same keynote stage, Vasu Jakkal, the Corporate Vice President of Microsoft Security, Compliance and Identify spoke on Innovation, Ingenuity, and Inclusivity: The Future of Security is Now. Jakkal led off with, “the work we do as defenders is really, really important for the future of humanity.” She included a quote from William Gibson that states, “the future is already here – it’s just not evenly distributed.”

In her keynote address, Jakkal says the future collective approach to security must evolve through
technology innovation, human ingenuity and expertise and inclusivity in our defender community. She goes on to say, “defending at machine speed will require a board variety of great humans. Language, soft skills, data science, behavioral science, political sciences, ethics, traditional security experience. We need all of these diverse skills!”

As a part of becoming more inclusive, Jakkal highlights a few industry areas where the holes are glaring and says the future of cybersecurity will depend on our ability to be more inclusive as 1 in 3 security jobs in the US are currently vacant, only 24% of the global cybersecurity workforce is made up of women and just 20% of the workforce is represented by people of color.

Offering solutions to break the barriers to the defender community, Jakkal mentions eliminating college degree and length of experience requirements for defenders, mobilizing community colleges to help grow and diversify the workforce and changing the language of cyber. She closes by saying, “security is empowerment to create the future we aspire to.”

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