Women in Cyber Security – The Book

As many of you know I’m writing the book about women in cyber security. My mission is to showcase the cyber security industry and to help you attract and retain a more gender diverse cyber security workforce, so we make the cyber security industry better and  stronger.

Images by #WOCinTech/#WOCinTechChat

How the book came about

It all began with a blog and one that I was shocked into writing. Let me explain.

Having read (ISC)² report, entitled Women in Security: Wisely Positioned for the Future of InfoSec that surveyed nearly 14,000 professionals worldwide, I discovered only 10% are female. To make matters worse, the figure was the same as the year before, and had reduced from the year before that, despite the growing demand for more cyber security professionals.

Prior to reading it I thought that women were just keeping a low profile and not being visible online. As a woman who’s built a successful career in cyber security that’s spanned two decades, and has a strong personal brand online, I thought I’d provide my view on what I’d seen and propose pragmatic solutions. I had no agenda, other than to be a voice. So, one weekend in November 2015 I began writing. As soon as I pressed, “publish” on LinkedIn, the blog – The Future of Women in Cyber Security: How do we Increase the Numbers – went viral.

Many had a lot to say and the comments and private messages were insightful. I then set about researching more and over the Christmas period I ended up writing a 15,000 word report! However, rather than publish the report, I decided to add more value by including case studies and to turn it into a book.

Can you tell me more about the problem you’re writing about?

Cyber security is an amazing industry. It’s so much to offer, is well paid, future-proofed and it needs to thrive. This book is being written because it will help to solve 3 challenges that the cyber security industry is struggling to overcome right now:

1. Skills Shortage: Within the cyber security industry there’s historically been a skills shortage that continues to worsen, and a lack of qualified security professionals is seriously holding back the industry. As women make up roughly half of the workforce it would make sense to harness this untapped pool of talent.

2. Rising Cybercrime: Women are vital assets to any ecosystem but particularly to cyber security. Countless studies have shown that women and men gauge risk differently. Having a wide range of perspectives and thought leadership throughout the whole industry, results in improved protection for businesses, individuals and countries.

3. Costs and Budgets: When we close the gender gap there are huge implications for our global economy. Studies show that gender-diverse teams are more productive, innovative and able to stay on schedule and within budget, compared to homogeneous teams. Furthermore, when women are at the helm of business, in leadership roles, not only does GDP improve but also there’s more diversity in the workforce, contributions to charities and support of local businesses.

What’s the objective of the book?

The objective is to achieve a gender diverse workforce within cyber security. I want this book to positively affect change – to reverse the skills shortage and increase numbers of women in cyber security.

Everyone in cyber security wants to see more women in the industry and for it to benefit from having a more gender diverse workforce. I believe the industry needs help as it matures. From my knowledge of the industry and the research that I’ve done I believe there are 5 challenges to overcome if we’re to get more women into cyber security roles and achieve a gender diverse workforce.

Whilst the aim of the book is to showcase the variety of roles within the cyber security industry so we can attract, develop and retain more women, the book should not be seen as exclusive to women-only. The book wholeheartedly welcomes men and they’ll gain much from reading it. Men are a vital component and their support is key to reversing the gender diversity gap in cyber security. Men want to be part of the conversation, take an active role in bringing more women into the industry, and women want men to do this too.

For the first time ever, technologists, entrepreneurs, academia and government will be brought together in this book. Through stories and case studies everyone will have the opportunity to benefit from the diversity of knowledge, perspective and experience detailed. The book will offer insight and document practical methods that can be used to navigate a career in cyber security. It will be an uplifting read and you’ll hear how others have overcome obstacles that have stood in their way and what they love about the industry.

How is this book being achieved?

I’ll author the book. Interviews will be performed with a variety of professionals from within the industry, ranging from juniors to seniors and from industry, academia, government, start-ups, vendor technology companies and consultancies. Whenever possible these will be video recorded so the content can be further re-purposed. The book will be edited and published by Rethink Press.

Rethink Press is an independent hybrid publisher, working mainly with entrepreneurs, business owners, coaches and consultants to get their business or self-help book written and published to the highest standard. Lucy McCarraher is Managing Editor of Rethink Press and Publish Mentor to Key Person of Influence UK and Singapore; Joe Gregory the Managing Publisher of Rethink Press. The company is based in Norfolk, UK, though the team is nationally and internationally based. Rethink Press publishes all titles to Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.com, other Amazon territories where appropriate, and Amazon Kindle. For print books, Rethink Press distributes through the following wholesalers: Nielsen BookData, Bowker, BDS, Gardners, Ingram Books, The Book Depository.

The book will receive marketing and promotion as part of the publishing package. I’ve an extensive network of over 15,000 people across all the social media platforms (LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Slideshare, Instagram, Pinterest and Google+). I’ve contacts all over the world too, who are keen to help publicize and endorse this project. Furthermore, I’ll be publicising the book on both of my websites and when I speak at events all over the world.

How far along are you with the book?

The first draft of the book has been completed, and 75,039 words have been written. I’ve spent a lot of time doing further research and interviews. Right now I’m using my evenings, weekends and days during my week to write – every spare hour!

The book has taken longer to write than I expected. The reasons why boil down to the fact that it’s twice the size I originally intended it to be, and some interviews have taken longer to perform.

What is the time-line and schedule?

  • May 2016 to end of January 2017– interviewing and write up
  • February –reviews from beta readers and editing; and book cover designing
  • March – editing with the publisher, and final changes
  • March 8 – webinar with major announcement
  • April to May – uploading to Amazon etc and marketing
  • June – book launch

Who’s helping?

The book was successfully funded on Kickstarter in April with 95 backers and I’m appreciative of everyone who pledged. Other people and organisations have backed since then, outside of the Kickstarter project and I’m still open to further funding.

I’d like to publicly thank Morgan Kay Phelps, Jonas Conlon and Bunmi Ogun who backed this on Kickstarter and I’d like to let you know who the official sponsors are:

How can you help?

This is a massively important project that can have a HUGE impact. It’s not just about writing a book that’s on trend and headlining. This book has the power to affect change and make a real difference to the cyber security industry.

In order to achieve this objective, I not only need to write a quality book, but I need to publicize what’s being done. And, in order to do this I need your support.

My ask is that you help me do this. You can still sign up for the book, or keep abreast of what’s going on or even (if you’re a company) sponsor it.

What’s in it for you?

Aside from the rewards, the book will attract some of the most influential players in the cyber security industry and is set to gain media attention globally. As someone who’s involved, you’ll be able to leverage off this, align yourself to a worthy cause and affect positive change for cyber security worldwide.

When you engage as an organisation/ sponsor, you display a desire to make a positive contribution to the gender diversity issue. You send a very clear message to your organisation and can have a powerful effect on internal culture. This can boost employee engagement, morale and raise awareness amongst the sponsor’s employees. Furthermore, you can give a sense of purpose, involvement and corporate pride amongst employees at being associated with something that makes a positive difference in their world.

Aligning with a worthy cause evokes a more caring image with all of the associated stakeholders, be they clients, new recruits, partners or investors. It communicates something beyond price, product or service and gives them a reason for picking your organisation over other competitors in the market.

What to do next

  • Help me spread the word about this by tweeting and sharing news about what I’m doing.
  • Register your interest in my book by going here.
  • If you know a journalist or anyone who’s in the media, who may be interested in covering this story, please let them know about me.
  • If you’re a journalist, please write about what I’m doing. It makes for an interesting story.
  • If you’d like to become a sponsor, you can still do so. Please just get in contact with me.