There is a global skills shortage in cybersecurity and one of the major factors is the lack of women in the industry, according to Myla Pilao, director technology market research, Trend Micro. 

During the Women in Tech panel at Trend Micro’s CloudSec event in Melbourne recently, Pilao said there is a gender problem in the global cybersecurity business. However, there are also people in the industry who are making sure that changes. 

She called out three movements that are championing women in cybersecurity. Firstly, an organisation’s structure, Pilao used Trend Micro as an example.

“The biggest evidence of that diversity for gender is obviously our CEO is a woman whose been driving our business for over two decades now. And let’s not look so far, the head of marketing here and an entire team of marketing like Emily Chen, Pat Mayteedol and Stani Papallo are all women.”

Pilao said there is a systemic structure that involves women to aspire to grow, and to be in the position that they will be best at. She said having the right culture in a workplace is very important. 

The second movement is through the infrastructure companies, which can be an example to the wider industry. Pilao mentioned the partnership between Trend Micro and AWS called Close The Gap, a global education program designed to help women get training and find jobs in cybersecurity. 

Myla Pilao, director technology market research, Trend Micro

It has been recently launched in Asia Pacific with programs already in North America and the Middle East. 

She said these programs revolve around networking and something as simple as having a conversation. 

The last movement is education, Pilao said they have a great belief that we need to harvest and to do that we have to plant the seeds first.

“One of the things that we have been doing is really elevating the kind of cybersecurity education that is not just in the professional way, but also into academia,” she said. 

She said the company has been investing in various activities where women participate in hackathons that emulate real-world scenarios. Pilao said this helps them redevelop and learn new skills. 

Trend Micro also trains women who are already working in cybersecurity between six to eight months and immerses them in real world threats. 

Pilao said at the end of the day, their employability is so high, that only 30 per cent of those about 600 women are actually in Trend Micro. The rest of 70 per cent go to other companies. 

“It’s all about raising the level of education, but also using our modest wisdom and intelligence on threat and bring it as a way to upscale their skill set.”

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