Industry Trends

Addressing the Cybersecurity Skills Gap by Diversifying the Cybersecurity Workforce

By Fortinet | April 26, 2021

FortinetLife Perspectives

Bridging the Cybersecurity Skills Gap

As the world moves towards the normalcy of remote and hybrid work models, security infrastructures continue to be increasingly distributed. The need for IT professionals with critical security skills and knowledge grows alongside these expanding networks. Now more than ever, organizations need to formulate new ways of addressing the cyber skills gap and fixing the issues the cybersecurity skills gap creates.  

One of these methods is growing the talent pools that are searched when hiring IT professionals. According to (ISC)2’s Women in Cybersecurity report, there are very few women in cybersecurity and men outnumber women in the field three to one. These two problems can be addressed in tandem. The skill shortage can be partially addressed by getting more women into the field. Fortinet is committed to promoting gender diversity and helping engage more women in the cybersecurity sector. Today we chat with Sayan Mercan Dursun, IT Compliance Analyst at Fortinet to discuss the many opportunities that exist in the cybersecurity field and the journey to those roles for women. 

How did you become interested in the cybersecurity field?

During my time as an IT auditor, I became familiar with other related areas in the industry. The most fascinating areas for me were cybersecurity, risk, and compliance. I was drawn to these fields as I was able to utilize my IT audit experience to design custom solutions to comply with related regulations and standards.

What led you to your current role? 

I started my career as an IT Auditor with one of the big four accounting firms and realized that implementation was more interesting and enjoyable to me than auditing. I wanted to be on the other side of the table so I decided to change my career path. Since then, I have worked in various positions in cybersecurity, risk, and compliance. These areas are very interrelated and I am leveraging these different experiences to assist me in my current role. It is important to maintain a trusted relationship with different groups within the organization in order to ensure productivity in our work, and provide different perspectives. We can all learn from each other. 

What qualities would help someone excel in cybersecurity compliance?

A willingness and thirst for continuous learning, teamwork, analytical thinking and communication skills are very crucial for this field.

What advice do you have for someone starting out in this field?

Anyone interested in the cybersecurity field should read security standards, frameworks and best practices to build a foundation on cybersecurity management and risk. They should join professional associations like the Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA), the International Information System Security Certification Consortium (ISC)². I would also recommend obtaining relevant certifications, like Fortinet’s Network Security Expert (NSE) free certification program, to validate their network security skills and jumpstart their careers in cybersecurity. There are many subfields under cybersecurity, and it would be better for them to select one and specialize in the field of their interest.

Bringing More Women into Cyber to Close the Cybersecurity Skills Gap

There are many opportunities in cybersecurity for women, where they can excel and bring both hard and soft skills in terms of leadership, analytical aptitude, and interpersonal communications. Improving team diversity offers new perspectives, better performance and problem solving to organizations. Through the NSE Training Institute and its Corporate Social Responsibility efforts, Fortinet is working to create environments where women can grow their skills and thrive in their careers. 

Find out more about Fortinet’s NSE Training Institute programs, including the Certification ProgramSecurity Academy Program and Veterans Program, which provide critical cybersecurity training and education to help solve the cyber skills gap and prepare the cybersecurity workforce of tomorrow.

Read more about  Fortinet’s Corporate Foundation and  Corporate Social Responsibility  initiatives. 

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