UK Blames Russia’s Star Blizzard for Years of ‘Sustained’ Cyber Attacks
Cybersecurity is fast becoming one of the most important areas in the technology sector. In 2022, the global security market was valued at $155.83 billion and it’s expected to grow to $376.32 billion by 2029, at a CAGR of 13.4 per cent during the forecast period. While being one of the most cutting-edge, innovative industries in tech, cybersecurity still suffers from a gender-diversity problem that has clouded the industry for decades.
And it’s not just an image problem. As the International Consortium of Cybersecurity Professionals notes, women make up a mere 24 per cent of IT security professionals in the US despite representing 51 per cent of the population. Within the C-Suite, the problem is only intensified. EM360-partnered analyst Richard Steinnon recently revealed that women make up a mere 2.1 per cent of CEOs in a database of 3,309 of the top cybersecurity companies. That’s just 72 companies from Richard’s entire database.
While men still outnumber women in cybersecurity companies three to one, more and more women are joining the industry – and they are gunning for leadership positions. Bolstered by higher levels of education and more certifications than their male counterparts, 7 per cent of women (compared to 2 per cent of men), are reaching these high-level positions such as Chief Technology Officer, Vice-president of IT and IT Security Manager.
At the forefront of this shift are cybersecurity’s leading women whose success stories are paving the way for a new generation of female cybersecurity professionals and leaders.
In this list, we’re placing the spotlight on ten of these security superwomen.
Stina Ehrensvärd – CEO of Yubico
Stina Ehrensvärd is the CEO and co-founder of Yubico She has over 20 years of experience in the cybersecurity industry and is a recognized expert in the field of authentication and encryption. Prior to founding Yubico in 2007, Ehrensvärd worked at several leading technology companies, including SanDisk and RSA Security, where she gained valuable experience in developing and bringing innovative security solutions to the market. Her passion for online security and commitment to providing user-friendly, secure authentication solutions led her to co-found Yubico with her husband, Jakob.
Under Ehrensvärd's leadership, Yubico has grown into a globally recognized brand, trusted by millions of users and organizations worldwide. The company's security keys have become an industry standard for secure, easy-to-use authentication, and have been adopted by companies such as Google, Microsoft, and Salesforce. Ehrensvärd has been recognised for her leadership and contributions to the cybersecurity industry, including being named one of the Most Influential Women in Business by the San Francisco Business Times in 2021. She is committed to continuing to drive innovation in the authentication space and to making online security more accessible and user-friendly for all.
Sam King – CEO of Veracode
Sam King is the Chief Executive Officer of the Massachusetts-based security firm Veracode. One of the firm’s original founders, Sam has played a critical role in the firm’s growth trajectory since its inception 16 years ago, helping to mature it from a small startup to a company with a $2.5 billion-plus valuation. Under her leadership, Veracode has been awarded a multitude of industry distinctions, including the nine-time leader in the Gartner Magic Quadrant, Leader in the Forrester SAST Wave, and a Gartner Peer Insights Customer Choice for Application Security.
King is recognised for her phenomenal leadership style. In 2021, she was named an EY Entrepreneur of the Year for New England and was cited as one of the Boston Globe’s best female leaders among all software companies. She has been a keynote speaker at events such as Gartner Security Summit, RSA, Aspen Cyber Summit and Executive Women’s Forum, empowering women to create diverse and resilient corporate cultures.
Tammie Tham – Ensign
Next up we have Tammie Tham, Chief Executive Officer at Ensign. Tammie was a founding member of Ensign at its inception in 2017 and worked for years of the firm’s head of the enterprise portfolio management department quickly climbing the ranks to CEO. Headquartered in Singapore, Ensign is the largest pure-play cyber security service provider in the Asia Pacific. Before Ensign, Tammie founded Accel Technologies, a company that specialised in integrating cyber security systems. In 2017, Accel was acquired by StarHub Ltd and it was later folded into Ensign.
As a cybersecurity veteran with over 20 years of experience in the field, Tammie has played a key role in several security success stories. Before joining Ensign, she was IBM’s Security Practice Leader for the ASEAN region, later serving as Vice President of BT Frontline. Tammie is serving on the Board of the Singapore Institute of Technology, MediaCorp and iFAST. She is also a member of the Personal Data Protection Advisory Committee and the Charity Council. Tammie is also the co-chair of the AiSP Advisory Council.
Christy Wyatt – CEO of Absolute
Christy Wyatt is the president and CEO of Absolute, the only provider of self-healing, intelligent security solutions and the only endpoint provider embedded in over 600 million devices globally. A Silicon Valley veteran, Christy has vast experience spanning cybersecurity, enterprise mobility, embedded platforms, IoT, enterprise software, and data science. Before taking the reins at Absolute, she served as the CEO of Dtex Systems and Chairman, President, and CEO of Good Technology (acquired by Blackberry). She has also held a variety of technology leadership roles at Citigroup, Motorola, Apple, Palm, and Sun Microsystems.
Christy currently serves on the board of directors of LM Ericsson and Silicon Labs and has previously served on the boards of Quotient Technologies, Good Technology, Dtex, Centrify, and the Linux Foundation. Christy was recently recognized as CEO of the Year by Globe and Mail. She has also been awarded one of the Top 50 Women Leaders in SaaS in 2019 and has been named one of Inc. Magazine’s Top 50 Women Entrepreneurs of America, Information Security’s CEO of the Year, and a Fierce Wireless “Most Influential Women in Wireless."
Ning Wang – CEO at Offensive Security (OffSec)
When Ning Wang joined OffSec in 2019, she did so with over 20 years of experience after having held COO/CFO/CTO roles at multiple fast-growing security companies including HackerOne and Lynda.com. Born in China and educated at the University of California, Berkeley, Wang worked in six startups reporting to CEOs after leaving McKinsey & Company, including finance and operations chief of Lynda.com, which was acquired by LinkedIn in 2015 and known as Microsoft’s LinkedIn Learning.
Her appointment as CEO at OffSec changed the face of the company entirely, overhauling its business model into the subscription-based learning platform it is today. She has turned her attention to expanding on training offerings available to aspiring cybersecurity professionals to better meet the demand of the wider business community and close the ever-widening cyber talent shortage. As well as being the innovative and transformative CEO of OffSec, Ms Wang is also using her profile to help make cybersecurity a more diverse industry by providing inspiration and advice to help other women reach leadership roles within the cybersecurity space.
Poppy Gustafsson – CEO of Darktrace
At the helm of Darktrace is CEO Poppy Gustafsson, a security pioneer and leader accredited with growing and developing the cutting-edge and gender-diversity cybersecurity firm on the brink of a $5 billion valuation. Gustafsson joined Darktrace in 2014 as the company’s Chief Business Officer and was appointed CEO in 2018. Under her leadership, Darktrace has experienced rapid and unprecedented growth, now boasting over 6,800 customers and 2,000 employees worldwide. Gustafsson has been instrumental in expanding the company’s reach across the globe, with Darktrace now having a presence in over 40 countries.
Prior to joining Darktrace, Gustafsson held various leadership positions in technology companies such as Autonomy and HP, where she gained extensive experience in enterprise software sales and business development. She was named Vodafone’s Woman of the Year for Technology and Innovation in 2020, Tech Businesswoman of the Year at the UK Tech Awards 2019 and won the Veuve Clicquot Business Woman Awards 2019. She is also an advocate for gender diversity in the tech industry, actively promoting and supporting initiatives that encourage more women to pursue careers in technology.
Pam Murphey – CEO of Imperva
CEO of Imperva, Pam Murphy has over 30 years of experience in the technology industry and has held several executive leadership positions in companies such as Infor and Oracle. Murphy joined Imperva in 2020 as the company's CEO and has been responsible for leading the company's strategic direction and growth over the past 3 years. Under Murphy's leadership, Imperva has continued to grow and innovate, with the company recently acquiring jSonar, a data management platform, to enhance its cloud security capabilities. Murphy has also been focused on increasing diversity and inclusion within the company, launching several initiatives to support and promote women and underrepresented groups in the technology industry.
Prior to joining Imperva, Murphy was the COO of Infor, where she led the company's cloud transformation and growth strategy. She also spent 18 years at Oracle, where she held various leadership roles, including SVP of operations for the company's cloud business. Murphy's leadership and extensive experience in the technology industry have earned her numerous accolades, including being named one of the Top 50 Most Powerful Women in Technology by the National Diversity Council in 2020. As CEO of Imperva, Murphy is committed to driving innovation and providing best-in-class cybersecurity solutions to protect businesses and their data.
Wendy Thomas – CEO of SecureWorks
Wendy Thomas is an experienced executive and the current CEO of SecureWorks. Thomas has an extensive background in the technology sector, having held top leadership positions in various companies across the enterprise landscape. Thomas initially joined Secureworks in 2019 as its COO and later assumed the CEO position in 2020. Since then, she has played a pivotal role in steering the company's growth and innovation. As Secureworks' CEO, she is steadfast in her commitment to helping businesses safeguard their digital assets against cyber threats by offering cutting-edge security solutions and services. Additionally, she strives to drive innovation and expand the company's capabilities to meet the evolving needs of its clients.
Before joining Secureworks, Thomas served as the President of Akamai Technologies' Global Customer Solutions division, where she led the company's services organization, supervising the delivery of cloud services to clients worldwide. Thomas is internationally recognised and respected as a beacon of success within the tech industry, earning the distinction of being one of the Most Powerful Women in Technology by the National Diversity Council in 2020. She has championed gender inclusivity throughout her career and has become the biggest female voice within the tech industry today.
Eva Chen – CEO of Trend Micro
Eva Chen has been instrumental in shaping Trend Micro into one of the world's most innovative Internet content security firms since its inception in 1988. Chen's journey with the cybersecurity leader began as Executive Vice President in 1988, followed by serving as CTO from 1996-2004 and then taking on the mantle of CEO in late 2004. She is known for steering Trend Micro's unique product development and security management approaches into a new era, allowing it to modernise and keep up with the trends and challenges defining the cybersecurity industry.
Chen has received numerous accolades and awards in recognition of her achievements. Some of the most notable of these include being named one of the Top 10 High-flying Women in Technology by V3 Magazine in 2012 and one of Forbes Asia's 50 Power Businesswomen in the same year. She also received the Cloud Security Alliance Industry Leadership Award in 2012, was named one of the top 100 most influential executives in the industry by CRN in 2009, and was named one of the 50 most powerful people in networking by Network World in 2004. Additionally, she received the Lifetime Achievement Award from Secure Computing in 2001 and was named one of the top five "Women of Vision" by Information Security in 2003.
Julie Sweet – CEO of Accenture
At the top of our list, we have Julie Sweet, CEO of Accenture. Sweet became CEO in September 2019, succeeding David Rowland, and has been at the forefront of leading the company's strategic transformation to adapt to the evolving digital landscape. Prior to becoming CEO, Sweet served as Accenture's General Counsel, Chief Compliance Officer, and Corporate Secretary. She was instrumental in driving the company's legal and compliance strategies, including the development and implementation of Accenture's global code of business ethics and the expansion of the company's legal and compliance operations in growth markets.
Sweet has received numerous accolades and awards in recognition of her leadership and achievements. In 2020, she was named to Fortune's list of Most Powerful Women and Forbes' list of America's Top 50 Women in Tech. She was also named one of the World's 100 Most Powerful Women by Forbes in 2019. She is committed to fostering a diverse and inclusive work culture and has launched several initiatives to support the professional development and advancement of women and underrepresented groups in the workforce. One such initiative is to accomplish what most other executives at major companies have not: making sure men and women are represented equally in the company’s ranks by achieving a complete 50/50 workforce by 2025.
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