Women in Security, recently launched by (ISC)2's London chapter, is actively encouraging women to join the profession and take on those roles for which they are often overlooked.

Information security is a male-dominated profession, but more women are joining. However, to make a real difference, women need more than just presence – they must have the power to influence the profession's evolution. To this end, (ISC)2's London chapter has set up a Women in Security (WiS) group.

“Women may have different priorities from their male colleagues as they balance work and family life, but they are unfairly typecast and often employed in roles related to governance, risk management and software development, rather than technical ones,” says Soraya Viloria Montes de Oca, WiS volunteer and IT and information security manager at Metropolitan Housing Partnership. “This is a shame as we also bring a different set of strengths, skills and approaches that can greatly contribute. Women must not shy away from positions of authority, nor should their abilities be disregarded by organisations.”

Emili Evripidou, WiS volunteer and information security consultant at Ernst & Young, adds: “We want to promote women in the workplace and are doing so by encouraging participation, facilitating networking and promoting education.”

WiS, which has a profile on LinkedIn and Twitter (@WomeninSecurity), aims to host at least one networking event a month (for more information, see isc2chapter-london.co.uk/women-in-security). The WiS Event of the Year will take place on 13 March to coincide with International Women's Day.

Over the coming months, the group is also looking to set up a mechanism for mentoring and supporting members across all levels of experience.

Furthermore, the group is establishing links with academia in an effort to increase awareness of the information security profession among female students as a way of encouraging new joiners to the industry.

“Mentoring and support is valuable,” explains Evripidou. “From my own experience, when I completed my Masters in security, I was unsure of information security as a career choice. But I had a good mentor, and it is only when I started working in the field that I truly appreciated its potential.” 

Montes de Oca concludes: “We are trying to initiate a change in mindset, hence the need to harness the collective strength of women across the business community. However, we also believe that positive discrimination is not the only way – we are also encouraging our male counterparts to become supportive members of the group. In fact, some of the (ISC)2 London chapter have already joined us to help further our cause for a level playing field.”

Dates for the diary

The (ISC)2 Security Leadership Seminar Series this year includes:

•  SecureLondon Workshop (12 March)
Title: London in 2012: Security Lessons & Future Threats – Debriefing Workshop  
A full-day workshop conducted by Dr Sally Leivesley, a specialist in catastrophic and extreme risk. Members gain four CPEs by answering three Pre-Workshop Skills Development questions.

•  SecureWarwick Conference (30 July)
Title: Revolutionary Trends in Technology: Impact on Security
Speakers will talk about emerging vulnerabilities, explore innovations and outline the management imperatives for securing the modern business. 

•  SecureLondon Conference (10 December)
Title: Security in the 21st Century: Threats & Trends
Designed to arm delegates with an understanding of how to anticipate attack, assess the adequacy of defences and clarify the requirements for the analysis of risk. (ISC)2 members gain eight CPEs for attending.

These events are open for registration. Further details can be found at https://www.isc2.org/events.