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March 20, 2023


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Inclusion and diversity need to be a priority in cyber security, experts warn

The Council for Registered Ethical Security Testers (CREST) has called for greater equality, inclusion and diversity in cyber security.

The global not-for-profit community of cyber security businesses and professionals working to keep digital information safe has developed new guidelines to solve the talent shortage in the cyber sector with a more diverse workforce.

They believe inclusion and diversity need to be a priority in developing National Cyber Security Strategy (NCSS) – and stakeholders in both government and business should work together more to achieve this.

Nick Benson, CEO of CREST, said: “It is surprising how few NCSS documents mention harnessing the benefits of a more inclusive and diverse cyber security workforce.
“As the gap between supply and demand in the cyber security workforce grows, a clear course of action exists to attract a more diverse talent pool to the sector.

“As an industry, we must encourage more people into the sector who have different backgrounds, influences and experiences.
“A more diverse workforce will deliver myriad benefits, including fresh, creative perspectives – on how we can solve complex security problems.

“But recruiting and retaining more diverse cyber security professionals requires more than policy.
“It needs genuine collaboration with all stakeholders in the cyber security ecosystem. It may also need significant societal or cultural change at a national or workplace level, which takes time, but the rewards will be worth it.”

2.72 million professionals needed 

A NCSS is a framework describing a nation’s strategy to ensure a more resilient, trusted and robust cyberspace.
Part of that is a clear plan to grow and nurture the talent pipeline, ensuring people have the right skills to fight ever-evolving cyber threats to national security.

The 2021 Cyber Security Workforce Study from (ISC)2 suggested the number of additional professionals organisations need to defend their critical assets adequately stands at 2.72 million people.

This latest guide includes up-to-date descriptions of what equity inclusion and diversity mean in the context of the cyber security sector, including age, disability, neurodiversity, gender, sexual orientation, race, religion and socio-economic background.

Allie Andrews, CEO of PRPR and author of the report, said: “Improving equity, inclusion and diversity at a national level is essential for any nation that wants to improve its cyber resilience.
“Tapping into a diverse talent pool is not just key to alleviating the skills shortage and the right thing to do, but it is clear it also improves security teams.
“There are a lot of great initiatives out there, but what is needed is greater guidance in NCSS about what works and what doesn’t.”

The guide provides aims to provide good practices for “establishing equity, inclusion and diversity as part of national cyber security strategy” and practical advice on how to foster greater equity, inclusion and diversity (EID) as part of national cyber security strategy.

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