Women in InfoSecurity and the codebreakers at Bletchley Park

70 years ago spread through a series of huts in Milton Keynes were women, tasked with the mission to break coded messages from the Germans, Italians and the Japanese.

And they did.

Dubbed as ‘the codebreakers’ these women played a key role in the Allies success of WWII. They were heroes but unfortunately, they didn’t gain recognition for their heroics until 30 years after the war, leaving many questions unanswered about what went on at Bletchley Park in WWII.

The codebreakers still play an important role to this date. They serve as an example as to what great things women can achieve in technology focussed roles.

The jump between codebreaking and information security isn’t as big as you may believe; they both share a specific skillset.  So why do women only make up 11% of the information security profession?

Glamour vs Satisfaction

One theory (mine) is that women generally consider information security as an unattractive career choice; there’s no glamour to it. Former CISO at Symantec, Patricia Titus said “We have to deal with some of the scum of cyber space, so you have to have a strong stomach and a lot of intestinal fortitude.”

Whilst the work may not be glamorous, it’s certainly rewarding. The codebreakers continued to live their lives knowing that their work was vital to saving millions of lives. Now whilst it’s very unlikely that anyone working in the information security sector will earn that accolade, they could very well be responsible for saving an organisation from cyber attacks.

Women in InfoSecurity

A great example of a female in InfoSecurity, who’s fighting cyber crime, is ex Barclay’s Head of Payment Security, Neira Jones. Recently, Neira was at Bletchley Park, home of the codebreakers, for a short interview with cyber security enthusiast, Michael Shuff. Listen to what Neira has to say about cyber crime and how to tackle it.

Another example would be Bridget Kenyon who is Head of Information Security at the University College London. Bridget is also the editor of ISO/IEC 27013:2012 which provides guidance on integrated implementation of ISO/IEC 27001, the internationally recognised information security standard.

See them in action

Both Bridget and Neira will be keynote speakers at IT Governance’s upcoming event, ISO 27001:2013 and PCI DSS V3: New Standards in the Global Cyber War. Attendees will have the opportunity to speak to Bridget and Neira as well as sit down with an IT Governance consultant to discuss their project.