Sophos Chief Executive Officer Kris Hagerman recently had the privilege of participating in the White House Cyber Workforce and Education Summit. The event brought together government, private and public sector industry, non-profit, and academic leaders to strategize and chart a path toward raising cybersecurity awareness and building the cyber workforce in the U.S..
The labor market has been unable to keep up with skyrocketing demands for cybersecurity skills, resulting in approximately 700,000 open cybersecurity positions across both industry and government.
“Cybercrime and cyberattacks are manageable and even solvable problems so long as we address the cybersecurity skills shortage and expand access to the very best technology,” said Hagerman.
An untapped pool of potential
There is a large and untapped pool of human resources that have not been given the opportunity to exercise their skills and desire—and they could hold the key to the country’s future cybersecurity response.
They are people of diverse backgrounds and experiences, and in varying geographies, and it is incumbent upon all of us to make these opportunities more accessible.
Indeed, a core focus of the July 19 summit was discussing how to create a more diverse and inclusive cybersecurity workforce. The government—and Sophos—understand that a more diverse and inclusive workforce is the best defense against rising cybersecurity threats.
Sophos also believes that it’s important to consider the remote workforce. Remote workers are a game changer for expanding access to cybersecurity skills. Many cybersecurity firms, from niche to global, have chosen to go full-remote or remote-first. And, that means we open up the entire country to finding and building cybersecurity skills regardless of ‘headquarter’ locations.
Sophos’ commitment to diversity
At Sophos, we believe in ensuring that the cybersecurity industry is welcoming of all individuals at every career stage. We fully support President Biden’s Executive Order advancing diversity, inclusion and accessibility in the federal government, and display our commitment to DE&I through several initiatives, including:
- Sophos DE&I groups, which provide safe spaces for people of various backgrounds. We have groups dedicated to Indigenous People, Military Veterans, Professionals of Color, Women in Technology, LGBTQIA+, Multicultural Awareness, and Diverse Abilities
- Continuous evaluation of employees’ compensation to ensure equal pay for equal work across our entire global workforce
- A funded DE&I organization focused on continuously improving the diversity, inclusivity and social impact that Sophos has around the world
- Paid internships that are available to anyone with a desire to start a career in cybersecurity, from recent graduates to military members, and even those making mid-life career changes
- All of Sophos’ employees participate in mandatory employee unconscious bias training. Training sessions are held annually and feature guest speakers and panel discussions on a variety of DE&I topics
We also continuously measure our DE&I demographics, benchmark and track our progress in achieving workplace diversity, and look for areas of improvement. For example, we recently initiated a comprehensive, multi-year assessment to identify and eliminate gender pay gaps and biases. We review these practices annually to ensure an equitable work environment for all genders.
Partners in DE&I
In addition, Sophos actively partners with outside groups to promote and maintain DE&I and help people of all backgrounds get involved in technology. Examples include:
- Sophos sponsored more than 100 women participating in RISE, an upskilling certification program designed to empower mothers and women of color. With RISE, Sophos supports women’s ability to achieve in technology through career advancement and increases in earning potential
- We partner with SEO, a top-rated education non-profit organization, to create internship opportunities for underrepresented and historically excluded communities. We provide young people with access and exposure to careers in technology and hire more than half of our SEO interns
- We work with SkillBridge to help service members gain valuable civilian work experience through internships and transition to careers in technology
“Work to do”
All of these efforts speak to a larger goal: securing the nation.
“I applaud public efforts to accelerate cybersecurity initiatives and ensure our interconnected systems are cyber-ready for the attacks of today and tomorrow. But we have work to do—as a country and as a connected global community,” said Hagerman.
That work involves bringing a lot more people into the cybersecurity fold. It’s already begun, and we’re committed to continuing these efforts to improve security and make career opportunities more accessible.