International Women in Cyber Day: Reflections from COO and Principal Consultant Vici Fox

Published on: September 1,2023 Published in: Insights News

Today, as we celebrate International Women in Cyber Day, it’s a fitting time to reflect on the strides we’ve made in the industry and the challenges that lay ahead. The cyber world, like many other fields, has long been a male-dominated domain. Yet, there’s an undeniable shift underway. It’s heartening to see initiatives like Women in Cyber emerging as pillars of support and networking for women in the industry. These platforms are more than just communities representing a collective move towards a more balanced, inclusive, and diverse cyber security domain.

My own journey in the technology space began in 1999, starting as an AS400 operator typing commands on a green screen, I then moved from applications support to IT Manager before moving into cybersecurity.  The digital landscape was a place where I often found myself outnumbered by my male counterparts. It was in 2017 that I transitioned to cybersecurity—a move that presented both new opportunities and challenges.

Having played pivotal roles, such as spearheading ISO 27001 implementations and leading the vulnerability management programme at GE Aviation UK’s security operations centre, I’ve seen the evolution of the sector from close quarters. Today, as the COO of i3Secure and the vCISO for one of the UK’s largest NHS Trusts, my belief stands firm: the cyber security world is in desperate need of diverse voices and approaches.

Over the years, I’ve had the privilege of earning numerous certifications, including CISSP and CISM. But more than earning these certifications, what has been truly fulfilling is witnessing a gradual change in the last decade. While the progress to tip the balance in favour of gender equality is slow, it’s undeniably moving in the right direction.

For all the budding women cyber security enthusiasts and professionals, here’s my advice:

  • Lean into Challenges: Cyber security is a domain rife with challenges, but each one presents a learning opportunity. Embrace them head-on, and remember, every problem has a solution waiting to be discovered
  • Find Your Community: Join women-focused cyber groups like Women in Cyber. They offer a supportive environment to learn, network, and grow
  • Invest in Continuous Learning: The cyber industry is ever-evolving. Regularly updating your skills will not only make you more competent but also more confident in your role
  • Advocate for Yourself: Speak up about your achievements, and don’t be afraid to ask for the opportunities you deserve. Remember, your unique perspective is invaluable in this space
  • Mentor and Be Mentored: Mentorship is a two-way street. As you climb the ladder, lend a hand to those coming up behind you. And never hesitate to seek guidance from those ahead

Looking back at my journey, it’s evident that while we’ve made significant strides in the cyber domain, there is still work to be done. When I think of the next generation, like my daughter, I’m filled with hope and determination. I envision a future where she, and all young girls, can chase any career dream, unburdened by preconceptions or barriers. As we mark this day, let’s celebrate the trailblazing women who have paved the way in the industry. Moving forward, our commitment must be to create an environment where talent, irrespective of gender, ethnicity, background, or orientation can blossom and safeguard the digital realm for those who come after us.

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