Women of influence in UK cyber security 2017: 20 women to watch
Women of influence in UK cyber security 2017: 20 women to watch

In an opinion article in SC Media UK today Naina Bhattacharya at Deloitte cyber risk services UK considers why only 11 percent of the cyber-security industry today comprises women?  And a key factor is the way the industry is presented, with war and gaming jargon to the fore, making it appear a male domain. The resulting lack of women exacerbates the problem, reinforcing perceptions as a lack of role models could deter new entrants, but there are highly successful women in the sector who have come from being the only woman in the room to being the senior person in the room. 

Apologies in advance to the many women who have been omitted this time despite doing fantastic work in the sector, but when SC Media UK came up with our list of 20 women of influence in cyber-security in the UK, as part of our efforts to promote female cyber-security role models, we found we had an abundance of talent to choose from.  There are indeed many old friends of SC among the selection and others we would like to have included, but each of those included in our final shortlist deserves their place to be honoured for their achievements.   This isn't an award, there is no prize, just – we hope – a bit of kudus for having their success recognised and applauded by the industry. 

So, a big shout out for the SC Women of Influence in UK Cyber-Security 2017, who are, in no particular order:

 

Caroline Rivett - KPMG global cyber-security lead for life sciences

With over two decades of experience in the security sector, Rivett now specialises in privacy and the security of personal medical information at the consultancy firm. She is also involved in the company's efforts to encourage women into the sector through the KPMG programme ‘IT's her Future'.

Jane Frankland - CISO advisor, speaker, author


A highly successful entrepreneur, Frankland built and sold her own penetration testing consultancy. Now a business consultant and speaker, she is a champion for women in cyber security and has written a book on the subject. Frankland, who has two decades' worth of experience in cyber-security, owns two businesses: KnewStart and Cyber Security Capital.

Nicola Whiting - chief operating officer at Titania

In her role as chief operating officer at UK-based cyber-security company Titania, Whiting is a champion of inclusive workplaces. As part of this she has launched a drive to encourage those with autism into the security sector by, for example, rewording job advertisements.

Angela Sasse - head of information security research at University College London (UCL) and director of the GCHQ/EPSRC-funded national research institute for the Science of Cyber Security.


Professor Sasse has been a prominent figure in the security community for nearly three decades. Among her achievements, she set up the the Human-Centred Systems Group, an inter-disciplinary research unit at UCL that has a special emphasis on security. Her research includes multiple studies on authentication mechanisms such as passwords and biometrics.

Jennifer Arcuri - ethical hacker and Hacker House founder

In addition to founding her company Hacker House in 2016, certified ethical hacker Arcuri heads up the PinkSheet Database, for professional women who consider themselves an expert in their chosen field. She advises hackers and founders in Silicon Valley, and launched the Cyber Security group, Cyber TLA, as part of Tech London Advocates Group.

Elizabeth Denham – UK information commissioner


Denham has only served in her role as UK Information Commissioner for a year. But with the update for general data protection regulation (GDPR) due to come into place in 2018, she has quickly become a prominent voice across the industry. Denham wants to ensure companies are transparent about how personal information is used and has overseen the issuing of the ICO's largest fine – a £400,000 penalty to TalkTalk.

Kirsty Phillips - executive search consultant at Hawker Chase and creator of WinC

Phillips is the founder of the Women in Cyber (WinC) platform, through which she has quickly become well-known and respected. WinC, which includes event updates, forums and funding and training opportunities, promotes the idea that changes need to be made to how cyber is packaged and marketed to young people.  

Carmina Lees - vice president, security, UK and Ireland at IBM


Working in cyber-security for one of the biggest technology companies in the world, Lees is a prominent voice on the speaking circuit.  In her role heading up the UK and Ireland security strategy, Lees wants to position IBM as the market leader in the provision of end-to-end security solutions and consulting services.

Ruth Davis- head of cyber security strategy, BT Security

Leading cyber-security strategy for one of the biggest UK telecoms firms makes Davis hugely influential across the industry. Her work involves identifying what customers will want from their security solutions, as well as engaging with politicians and officials on UK cyber-security policy.

Dr Jessica Barker - Redacted Firm and cyber.uk


Jessica Barker: photo courtesy 'Steelcon 2015'

A key figure on the conference circuit, Dr Barker is passionate about encouraging young women to become more engaged with cyber-security. With a sociology background and specialising in the ‘human' side of cyber-security, Dr Barker works with businesses, government and SMEs to advise how they can keep their information secure.

Rashmi Knowles - CTO for EMEA at RSA.

Knowles has been at RSA for more than 10 years, after holding roles at Ericsson and Apple. Among her credentials, she is becoming a renowned industry expert on the upcoming EU general data protection regulation due to come into place next year.

She also runs the company's cyber club in London; a monthly event which brings together organisations to discuss and encourage collaboration.

Amanda Finch - general manager at the Institute of Information Security Professionals (IISP)


In addition to her role as general manager of the IISP, Finch works with the Information Security Forum (ISF) and the British Computer Society (BCS) to gain recognition for the discipline as a recognised profession. She has played a key role in the development and delivery of the Certified Professional Scheme, part of the NCSC certification initiative. 

Emma Smith - group technology security director Vodafone Group

As group technology security director at Vodafone, Smith is responsible for information and cyber-security globally at the telecoms operator. Her team sets policy and delivers security solutions as well as operating a global cyber defence centre.

Rowena Fell - security director at EY and WSS board member


With over 20 years of direct security risk management experience across the military, corporates and consultancies, Fell is a well-respected industry thought leader.  As well as being a board member of the Women's Security Society (WSS), she is also a fellow of the Security Institute and a freeman of the Worshipful Company of Security Professionals.  

Sadie Creese - director of the Global Cyber Security Capacity Centre at the Oxford Martin School

As well as her work at Oxford, Creese has served as a member of the Royal Society's cyber-security project steering committee, and the Cyber Crime Reduction Partnership (UK body, Home Office secretariat).  Recently, she was a member of the panel commissioned by the government's chief scientific advisor to review the threats posed by the internet of things.

Cath Goulding - head of information security, Nominet and WSS board


With more than 20 years' cyber-security experience under her belt, Goulding is now responsible for maintaining bulletproof security practices at one of the internet's most important domain registries Nominet UK. Prior to joining Nominet, she worked at GCHQ holding a variety of cyber-security posts.

Neira Jones – consultant and speaker

A highly influential figure in the cyber-security industry, Jones is also a partner at the Global Cyber Alliance (GCA) – the international, cross-sector effort dedicated to confronting cyber-risk. Jones has spent over 20 years in financial services and advises organisations on risk and cyber-crime awareness.

Jane Wainwright -  director at PwC's cyber security & data privacy team


Having kicked off her career in the military, Wainwright joined the PwC cyber security team in 2013 and has since helped build the firm's proposition around privacy and data protection. An advocate of encouraging women into cyber security and founding member of the WSS, Wainwright was also the head of corporate security for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Sharon Barber director of IT cyber security and risk at Lloyds Banking Group

Financial firms face multiple security threats; something that Barber takes in her stride. A technical expert with a systems programmer background, Barber runs all the security networks at Lloyds and is involved in information sharing initiatives across the industry.

Mivy James - head of consulting, national security and technical consultant at BAE Systems Applied Intelligence

James' high profile career has already seen her founding a gender balance network at the firm, which has grown to around 150 members globally. James is also a talented coder: When she was nine, she wrote a programme to do her maths homework by copying code from a computer game magazine.

If you disagree with our selection, or if you would simply like to suggest someone for consideration in 2018, just send an email to tony.morbin@haymarket.com marked: Women of influence, with the name, title and organisation of the person you would like to nominate, and include why.  We are also currently considering widening the scope to the rest of Europe and again would welcome nominations, saying who you would include and why.