Historically, women in cloud security professions have experienced many challenges. In 2017, the Women in Cybersecurity Report noted that only 11% of cybersecurity jobs were held by women. This is a result of numerous trends generating a negative impact on the progression of women in the cybersecurity workforce. Of the women that were surveyed, 50% noted gender discrimination as a culprit while 28% stated that they didn’t feel valued at work. The survey also revealed that the overall compensation for females is less than males and men are nine times more likely to be hired for management roles and four times more likely to hold executive level positions.

We foresee that increasing the number of female cybersecurity professionals will help the IT security Job shortage. According to Cybersecurity Ventures, there will be 3.5 million unfilled cybersecurity positions by 2021, up from one million in 2016. Given that nearly half of the working age population is women, even a slight increase in training and hiring of female cybersecurity professionals will have a significant impact on narrowing the cybersecurity skills gap.

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At the same time, the continued shift to cloud and mobile requires organizations to approach cybersecurity with more data science, machine learning, identity and data centric security, and risk-based security controls. Below are some amazing women who have pushed through the challenges while leading the way for cybersecurity professionals of tomorrow. Hear what they have to say in this short panel from RSA 2018.

Yabing Wang

Chief Security Architect and Vice President of Global Security, Alight Solutions

Yabing is responsible for establishing new practices that focus on security strategy and roadmaps, as well as security architectures and governance. Her team works with other security professionals, builds trust partnership with teams across the enterprise to securely deliver services to clients and customers. She leads her team with a goal of making security a true enabler, not inhibitor, for the business.

Prior to Alight, Yabing was with Allstate Insurance for 15 years where she headed the security architecture team as the Chief Security Architect. Her accomplishments varied from building the company’s security framework, strategies, and architectures, to establishing most of Allstate’s security capabilities and services. For her accomplishments, Yabing received the Chairman’s award in 2012, Allstate’s highest award for her significant contribution to the company. Before Allstate, she worked at Netscape Communications for 5 years.

Yabing obtained her master’s degree in Computer Science from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Yabing has been an advocate for women in technology and women in cybersecurity. She has been playing an active role in Alight and Allstate as well as in the security industry to encourage women to join and grow in technology and cybersecurity.

Kathleen Jungck

Manager of Cybersecurity Engineering, Premera Blue Cross

Kathleen is currently a Cybersecurity Engineering Manager researching and implementing security solutions for Premera Blue Cross, a major healthcare insurer. Prior to Premera, Kathleen worked as a security consultant for several organization, including Microsoft where she supported code signing and PKI projects, and for AT&T in Identity & Access Management.

In addition, Kathleen has worked at Boeing Interiors as an IT manager, and was an adjunct professor in computer science and information assurance at the University of Washington. She is also on the Board of Directors for the Seattle chapter of Cloud Security Alliance and volunteers as a speaker and mentor for the UW Cybersecurity program, UW iSchool, and Western Washington University.

Stephanie Tidwell

Sr. IT Security Analyst, Overstock.com

Stefanie Tidwell is a Senior IT Security Analyst at Overstock.com. She is responsible for architecting, administering, and maintaining network, web, and cloud security solutions as well as defining and carrying out threat hunting, forensics, and incident response processes and procedures. She serves a leadership role on her team and provides training and mentorship to junior analysts. Stefanie has been with Overstock.com for 4 years. She has a Master’s degree in Information Assurance from the University of Maryland University College and is currently pursuing a Master’s Certificate in Incident Response from SANS Technology Institute.