ICMCP & IBM Security Event Examines Lack of Women and Minorities in Cybersecurity

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Industry and academia to discuss solutions to cybersecurity diversity gap and skills shortage

The International Consortium of Minority Cybersecurity Professionals (ICMCP) and IBM Security today announce an upcoming event to address the underrepresentation of women and minorities in cybersecurity. The event will be held October 4th during National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, bringing together thought-leaders from academia and the cybersecurity industry to deliberate on innovative approaches to overcome the diversity gap in cybersecurity.

While cybersecurity has been identified as one of today’s most serious economic and national security challenges, the industry faces a significant shortage of skilled practitioners, expected to reach 1.5 million open and unfilled positions by 2020.+ This growing skills shortage is compounded by a lack of diversity within the cybersecurity workforce, with a significant underrepresentation of women, African Americans, and Hispanics.

“Cyber threats are becoming increasingly prevalent and sophisticated, and the industry is facing a huge deficit in the amount of professionals we need to fight back against these threats,” said Shelley Westman, Vice President, Strategic Initiatives, IBM Security. “Having a diverse workforce is crucial to bringing more talent into the industry, and fostering the innovation we need to change the tide in the fight against cybercrime.”

Women currently represent only 10% of the cybersecurity workforce, despite an overall 48% of workforce representation in the U.S.+ Further, African Americans, Asians and Hispanics represent less than 12% of information security analyst positions in the U.S.+

“Complex security challenges now require teams that include people with diverse cultures, experiences, ideas and approaches that will drive greater creativity, deliberation and insights,” said Juliet Okafor, Chairwoman, Strategic Advisory Board and VP of Global Business Development, Fortress Information Security. “The increasing cybersecurity skills shortage creates a clear mandate and opportunity for forward-thinking business leaders to broaden their traditional avenues for talent and bridge the growing talent and diversity gap in this industry.”

During the half-day IBM-hosted and sponsored New York City event, thought leaders will hold a series of expert panel and audience-driven discussions, and examine ways to further the inclusion of women and underrepresented minorities in cybersecurity.

The New York City Town Hall will be followed by another ICMCP West Coast Town Hall on October 6, which will bring together technology and security leaders in Silicon Valley. Both events build on the successes of the inaugural ICMCP National Conference held in Washington DC in March and the earlier DC Town Hall meeting hosted by Congresswoman Sheila Jackson.

This free event is aimed at Chief Information Security officers, security professionals, and educators, and will be held at IBM’s office at 590 Madison Avenue, New York City, from 12:00 pm – 6:00 pm EST, October 4. For more information and to RSVP, please visit https://icmcp.org/icmcpeast2016.

+ 2015 (ISC) 2 Global Information Security Workforce Study
+ Women in Security: Wisely Positioned for the Future of Infosec, 2015 (ISC)2
+ U.S. Department of Labor, 2015

The International Consortium of Minority Cybersecurity Professionals (ICMCP) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. It began official operations in September 2014 and is organized exclusively for charitable purposes, to provide members with educational/technical scholarships, mentoring opportunities, professional development and networking opportunities. For more information or to become a sponsor, please visit http://www.icmcp.org, follow @ICMCP_ORG on Twitter or visit the ICMCP LinkedIn page.

About IBM Security
IBM Security offers one of the most advanced and integrated portfolios of enterprise security products and services. The portfolio, supported by world-renowned IBM X-Force® research, enables organizations to effectively manage risk and defend against emerging threats. IBM operates one of the world’s broadest security research, development and delivery organizations, monitors 20 billion security events per day in more than 130 countries, and holds more than 3,000 security patents. For more information, please visit http://www.ibm.com/security, follow @IBMSecurity on Twitter or visit the IBM Security Intelligence blog.

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