Overcoming ‘Checkbox Diversity’ Challenges

As originally posted on LinkedIn by Sarah Isaacs

 

I admit it – sometimes I’m guilty of practicing “checkbox diversity.”

ESET Security Researcher, Lysa Myers, so eloquently explains the similar concept of “checkbox security” as the situation when, “blindly following rules and directives without appreciating why they’re important, leads to short-term gains while ultimately dooming your long-term goals.”

As Conventus prepares to kick off this year with a major NorthStar release, we’ve been adding to our team to accommodate the workload. While this presents great opportunity not only for us to bring in new talent, it also gave me the chance to reflect on how I can reinforce the importance of diversity not only in my organization, but in the cybersecurity industry as a whole.

 

According to the 2018 Cybersecurity Workforce Study by (ISC)2, women and minorities only represent 24% and 26% of the cybersecurity workforce, respectively. While some progress has been made, it’s not enough. During the International Consortium of Minority Cybersecurity Professional’s (ICMCP) annual conference in Atlanta this past September, multiple sessions highlighted the different opportunities for individuals and corporations to make a difference in their local communities.  The conference reviewed the challenges, advanced understanding, and established relationships to ultimately strengthen the information security pipeline in order to avoid checkbox diversity. We explored strategies that inspired me, such as:

  • Mentorship
  • Personal and corporate scholarships
  • Active engagement: professional memberships and associations  @ICMCP_ORG or @WiCySorg
  • Presentations and recruitment at local high schools and universities
  • Publishing to share your experiences (both professional and social outlets)

 

While I might not be making an impact in growing and supporting diversity each and every day at the macro level, I ask myself to look at the key milestones in our organization.  How are we making a difference? When hiring. When promoting. When conducting exit interviews.  What can we do better?  Actions speak louder than words.

It’s a new year and we are ready to take action — we’re hiring!   I am actively implementing strategies to increase diversity in our organization. Diversity of thought, race, religion, ethnicity, sex and background. With a commitment to making a difference, I am optimistic!  There is always room for improvement, and I’m making it a priority in 2019 to ensure that professional organizations like @ICMCP_ORG and @WiCySorg know about Conventus and our commitment to diversity. I challenge all of you to do the same.

 

“Each one of us can make a difference. Together we make change.” -Barbara Mikulski

Join our team! Check out our jobs here: //www.conventus.com/careers/