March 8th was International Women’s Day, and to celebrate, we’ve been doing interviews at LogRhythm about what it’s like to be a woman in security and advice our employees would share with others looking to enter the field.
Last week we published part 1 of the Q&A, and today, we’re back with part 2. Our participants this round are:
- Joanne Wong, VP of Marketing (JW)
- Luciana Farnham, Director, Partner Strategy (LF)
- Sallie Gamboa, Manager, Training and Enablement (SG)
- Sally Vincent, Threat Research Engineer (SV)
Let’s get to the Q&A!
Questions and Answers
TD: How did you begin your career in cybersecurity?
- JW: It was serendipity really. I was in the IT industry for a while, having worked for two of the largest global software companies in a variety of roles when cybersecurity was just taking off in APAC. As with many U.S.-based tech firms setting up operations in APAC, LogRhythm opened their APAC headquarters in Singapore and was looking for a head of marketing and public relations. LogRhythm’s unique company culture and the opportunity to build a team of cybersecurity marketers very much appealed to me.
- LF: I grew up in Brazil. Brazilian cybercrime has always been an advanced adversary of banking organizations and our local media covered it extensively in my youth. I was also very blessed to have mentors — male and female — that guided me, nurtured my passion for cybersecurity, and provided me with the room to grow into my expanded roles.
- SG: I began my career in cybersecurity when I started with LogRhythm in October 2017 as a Partner Enablement Program Manager, supporting our partners to develop their services surrounding the LogRhythm product.
- SV: I started out as a general IT administrator. I took every opportunity I could to learn about and work on security products.
TD: What initially piqued your interest about the cybersecurity space?
- JW: When I first worked in IT, security was viewed by many as just another technology stack. However, we started to see cyberattacks occurring more frequently, at unprecedented scales and with greater sophistication in the millennium. That’s when I found myself developing an interest in this space.
- SG: When I worked in operations for a streaming service, we faced cyberthreats frequently and the impact to daily business was immense. When you do business at a large scale, even small threats have a huge impact. Recognizing the size of the problem inspired me to be a part of the solution.
- SV: I got really interested in firewall and web filter rules when I was an IT admin. How to determine what is malicious versus what is normal is an interesting problem to solve.
TD: What keeps you interested in cybersecurity?
- JW: With cyberattacks occurring every 39 seconds1 on average on the web, hackers stealing 75 records every second2, and cybersecurity professionals attempting to keep pace with their adversaries, I’m drawn to be part of LogRhythm — which is still very committed to creating software that protect the world from damaging cyberthreats. As a professional marketer and cybersecurity advocate, the pace at which the cyber landscape evolves makes it a challenging yet exciting space to be in.
- LF: We live in a society that is highly dependent on technology. We shop online, pay bills, transfer money, communicate — not to mention the hospitals that keep people alive, planes we fly, the banks that hold our money, and the very infrastructure of modern society. Cybersecurity is no longer optional. It’s vital for our way of life. Given today’s evolving threat landscape, every organization — from big enterprises to family-owned businesses — will need to adapt. Cybersecurity will need to be part of the design of every service, product, database, and electronic communication. Through education, awareness, and proactive change, we can all play a part in securing our future.
- SG: The ever-changing threat landscape and therefore the constantly evolving products. It’s an exciting industry with so much growth potential.
- SV: It combines multiple things I like (e.g., scripting, research, math, logic, etc.) so my job is varied and never dull.
TD: What advice would you give to other women looking to begin a career in cybersecurity?
- JW: Cybersecurity is an amazing industry to build your career on. Do not be intimidated by the gender gap. Go ahead and break down the stereotypical views of cybersecurity. Take advantage of all the resources available and have the mindset of lifelong learning.
- LF: If that’s what you aspire for, definitely go for it and be confident in your abilities. Don’t be intimidated that it’s currently a male-dominated industry. “You can’t be what you can’t see” is a quote that’s stuck with me — as more women like you pursue your interests in the field, you can inspire others to do the same. If you’re interested in cybersecurity but don’t know exactly what you want to do, there’s such a breadth of roles to explore that you’re sure to find one that fits your strengths.
- SG: Sometimes the qualities that make you different are also the qualities that can help you excel.
- SV: Do it! Speak up, ask questions, and get involved whenever you can — even if you are nervous.
TD: Do you think being a woman in cybersecurity has changed over the last 10 years? If yes, how so?
- JW: For one, there weren’t so many cybersecurity roles 10 years ago. As organizations proactively inject diversity into their recruitment philosophy, we have seen the number of women in cybersecurity steadily rise in the last 10 years.
- SG: I think like all industries, its male-dominated days are numbered.
- SV: The industry has grown so much lately. There are more opportunities for everyone to get involved. If there is a problem in the workplace, it is more acceptable to speak up than it was in the past.
TD: In what ways do you believe teams can benefit by having diversity, specifically in terms of gender?
- JW: Women bring a wealth of diverse talents to the table. Being able to harness that “women’s intuition” by giving a different perspective based on their life experiences and wisdom will add immense value to the team.
- SG: Diverse opinions and backgrounds allow teams to see risks and opportunities they would otherwise miss.
- SV: It’s a healthier environment for any team to have varying viewpoints and backgrounds represented. It opens the door for new ideas and helps keep teams from getting into a rut.
TD: What’s been a highlight/some of the highlights of your career so far?
- JW: One of the highlights of my career was being interviewed live on the topic of Singapore’s new data security measures. While I was knowledgeable in the subject matter, I definitely learned how to keep my wits about me on live radio while trying to explain the 23 new security measures!
- LF: Over the course of 10 years, I have architected, engaged, collaborated, and executed against cross-channel business plans to enable cybersecurity partners to be self-sufficient, delivering exceptional service to our customers. While I always strive to exceed my goals, one of my proudest moments was to see a troubled customer that we helped introduced to one of my largest partners and assist their business tremendously. Watching and hearing their testimony was priceless.
- SV: Winning SANS NetWars! Catching active threats is always thrilling and much appreciated.
TD: What’s missing to drive other women from getting involved in cybersecurity?
- JW: While we see women joining cybersecurity mid-career, building a pool of young talented women in cybersecurity starts at an early age. We need to find ways to introduce to young girls and establish their interest in STEM, to get them excited about having a future career in this area. We could start by removing the misconception that STEM or cybersecurity is only limited to boys or that it only involves laboratories or research.
- SG: Whenever women are breaking into a field there is always a lack of visible female role models to indicate to young women that they too can succeed in this career. It’s critical for women in cybersecurity to go above and beyond to be a visible mentor to other women and young girls.
- SV: The idea that STEM careers are men’s domain refuses to die. There is still not enough media representation of women in STEM careers.
TD: What do you think the future looks like for women in cybersecurity?
- JW: The future will see further advancements in the digital economy, where having more women talent in cybersecurity will not only be a differentiator but a business enabler for organizations. Women bring to the table different perspectives from valuable experience and intuition that cannot be replaced even by artificial intelligence. In fact, “women’s intuition” will do well to supplement the insights we gather from data.
- SV: Bright!
Thank you, Joanne, Luciana, Sallie, and Sally for sharing your experiences and advice! And to continue participating in this, please register for our upcoming webinar, “Women in Cybersecurity: A SANS Survey.” The webinar will reveal why opportunities for women in security have never been better, including survey data points such as:
- More than 70% of respondents feel respected by their teammates
- 64% report that they are sought out for their opinions on cybersecurity issues
- 37% are advancing rapidly, moving into a senior position within one to four years
The conversation will also dive into gender bias, the effects of mentorship, and practical advice on how to get ahead.
Until then, if you have experiences or advice you’d like to share with other women in cybersecurity, please let us know in the comments section!
1Security Magazine 2Breach Level Index