What the heck is Cybersecurity?


As I prepare for the launch of the Cyber Warrior Princess Program I spend my nights and weekends promoting the idea of Cybersecurity education for women! Everyone I speak with hears the “Cybersecurity” buzz in the news, but most people have NO idea what it even means! Well, let me put into my own words what Cybersecurity means to me and how the CWP will help spread this knowledge to an underrepresented group!

Cyber is the digital world in which we all love. It’s everything that keeps us connected from the social media platforms, to our cars, smart watches to even our toilets now! We live in this connected world that we have created, but can not control. The digital world grew faster than anyone ever imagined, proving the power of the human brain. We use the digital world for everything we do anymore, but as we were rapidly connecting everything together, from end to end, we forgot about protecting this digital world.

Defining security is a little more simple as we are mostly familiar with the physical security we have in our lives. Protecting security within the cyber world is much more complicated though. Placing a police officer or a guard on patrol is very similar to network devices that monitor our organization’s network for malicious traffic. Protecting the cyber world requires a lot of people with a variety of skills. We often times refer to this a Defense in Depth, or Layer Security, meaning there is not one solution that will secure our information. Not only do developers need to write secure code, network administrators need to patch and upgrade devices, security analysts need to monitor firewalls and intrusion detection systems (IDS), we must train all of our users and our leadership must understand the importance of a holistic Cybersecurity program.

There are many, many different career paths within Cybersecurity. Not every career requires programming skills or hacking knowledge! Take me for example, one of my jobs as a Cybersecurity analyst was to review systems before they were allowed to connect to the network to ensure that they were configured in a secure manner. It’s very similar to ensuring all the doors are locked and windows shut before you leave your house. I have also held a position where I pretended to be a bad guy and try to get inside organizations without being discovered. This is called social engineering. An organization wants to test the security of their systems to see what the bad guy could do if they wanted. Everything I do with social engineering requires no programming skills.

Having an understanding of what Cybersecurity really means will hopefully open another world of career options for you!

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