NACCSE Women in Cyber Technology Panel 2016


I attend various cyber-security related events throughout the year so I can keep myself updated on the latest in the industry as well as keep up with colleagues and meet new people. The Netherlands American Chamber of Commerce South Eastern Region ( has been organizing a series of panels regarding women in various industries – predominately technology and leading edge. This past panel – their 11th – was on “Women in Cyber Technology” and was held at L’Alliance Française in Atlanta, Georgia in August. The panel was co-hosted by the French American Chamber of Commerce – Atlanta (FACC-Atlanta) British-American Business Council of Georgia, GACC, and Women in Bio Atlanta. Panelists included: Marci McCarthy, CEO of T.E.N; Major Rodriguez Head of the Army Cyber School; Deborah Johns, Technology Recruiter; and the moderator Allison of Turner BCI Global.

The panel discussed issues related to being employed in the sector – what skills and training are required, what can women expect when working in the industry, why is the industry booming, and resources to help women get, maintain, and thrive in this male-dominated industry. Although they wanted to broaden their discussion on cyber technology, it quickly narrowed down to cyber-security, and for obvious reasons considering the recent headlines regarding personal, professional, and national threats due to online attacks.

Below I have listed some quotes and highlights from the panel as well as some of the resources shared by the panelists.

  • “In technology the salary is higher.”
  • “Cyber security is about priorities – you need to understand the risks and re-prioritize continuously.”
  • “What role models did you have while growing up? Did they look like you? Did you see yourself in that role?”
  • “Security clearances are an asset to your marketability – in and outside of the military.”
  • “Top concern on cyber security is the unknown threat because you do not know where it is coming from or sometimes when it has even hit.”
  • “Security professionals are paid to be paranoid.”
  • “To be successful in this field it is good to have a business acumen or business degree background – how is this going to affect my business.”
  • “There is no regular day in cyber security/cyber technology – an attack can happen 24/7.”
  • “You need to be a great communicator and have good relationships throughout the organization.”
  • “Build strong security awareness programs for your organization.”
  • “You need to have great knowledge of the security arena.”
  • “Remind people of cyber hygiene – like don’t click on an attachment or links.”
  • “The first CISO was Steve Katz at CISCO in 1999. We’ve come a long way since then.”
  • “This is a self-selected industry.”
  • “You need logic, to understand how things work.”
  • “Today everything runs off apps – and the more apps the more security issues you have.”
  • “This industry is taxing on your family – you need an understanding spouse.”
  • “There is high burnout – and you need to be comfortable that there may not be life-work balance.”
  • “You need an amazing tem around you.”
  • “The CISO is the James Bond of IT.”
  • “Always have a succession plan in place – a backup – or you will never get a break.”
  • “You need to be dedicated – you WILL work hard.”
  • “You don’t need to for some jobs in the field but it is good to learn to code – Udacity is a good resource. Think of it as learning another language – and knowing another language makes you more valuable.”
  • “You need to know about networking, technical aspects, encryption, governance, risk, and compliance.”


Key Information Security Organizations:




TAG Information Security Society –




Key publications and information sources:

SC Magazine –

Dark Reading –

IT Security Planet –

Search Security by TechTarget –

T.E.N. and ISE Programs Knowledgebase –


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