Jane Frankland, Founder of Cyber Security Capital and the IN Security Movement tells us about her journey into the industry, her top tips for making it in cyber security and her inspiration to women across the world considering this field.
Tell us a bit about your journey into the industry – did you have a previous career? Did you have formal training or education in the field? Any work experiences?
I went straight into cyber security by building my own consultancy. It’s not a normal route but being in my mid-twenties I didn’t see any limitations. Having graduated in art and design, I’d always viewed technology as being exciting, dynamic, fun and creative. I saw it as a tool that could be used much like a paintbrush. As it was constantly changing, just like nature, it attracted me like a moth to the lamp. When I started my consultancy, Corsaire, in 1997, although I could have sold anything tech related, the reason I chose to lead with security was really because of image. I viewed it as being intelligent, fun and glamorous – a bit like James Bond – and it certainly beat selling networking kit or high availability servers. Then, early in 2000, as the field evolved, I instinctively knew we needed to specialise. Recognising a gap in the market, I picked penetration testing. It was relatively new, there were a handful of suppliers offering the solution, and once again it interested me.
What are your top tips for those looking to get into the industry?
Security has an extremely diverse ecosystem and the people within it are good fun, interesting, loyal and extremely diverse. They range from right-brain and left-brain thinkers to techies and business execs. And, the environment is one of constant learning and challenges. To succeed you need a growth mind-set, as nothing stands still. You also need to ensure that you’re open minded, learn from the stance of a beginner, can adapt fast, and are surrounded by people who’ll lift you higher.
When you’re looking to get into cyber security, I recommend building your personal brand and networking profusely. By doing this you’ll increase your chances of finding a mentor and or sponsor. Sponsors are particularly useful as they propel career development, especially when they’re with a person of influence within a company. Unlike a mentor, a sponsor acts as an advocate for a protégé. They use their knowledge, expertise and connections to advance the career of their protégés.
Finally, read my bestselling book, IN Security!
What are three of the top traits you should have to work in cyber security?
Cyber security is inherently interdisciplinary and diverse. It involves knowledge in technology, psychology, finance, business, risk, law and regulation. Whether a person is skilled with people, administration, management, education, or technology is immaterial. As is whether you’re working on the offensive or defensive. What matters most is that you’re driven and passionate about security, risk mitigation, protection and freedom.
My reason for saying this comes from having been in cyber security for over twenty years. During this time, I’ve seen the industry change rapidly. Thanks to technology advancements, I’ve witnessed a more connected world, speed as the new currency of modern business and cyber security practitioners and consultants having an increasingly vital role to play in society. Their job is to secure the world – its future. It means ensuring the confidentiality, integrity and availability of information, so individuals, businesses and countries are protected from cyber criminals, cyber terrorists and cyber warfare.
The second trait that’s imperative is ethics. We must be sure that those who work in cyber security are ethical, honest and full of integrity. They should also share the values of the company they want to work in, as this builds culture. When I’m building teams I look for people who share my values of empowerment, freedom, kindness, solidarity, gratitude and collaboration.
The third trait is all to do with thinking ability. We need people who can think creatively and who’ll approach problem solving with a beginner’s mind. Having this trait enables us to approach new situations inquisitively and without judgement. It facilitates advancement.
Finally, we need people who have stamina, resilience, agility, an ability to synthesise and to communicate. To survive and thrive, practitioners will need to be able to solve tough problems, know how to connect security issues to business priorities, inspire the organisation to get involved, handle sensitive issues with integrity and difficult conversations with grace. They’ll need to acquire good influencing skills, so they can gain support and buy-in from stakeholders within the organisation and change behaviour with employees. And, they’ll need to be able to build solid relationships with vendors, whose products they’ve implemented.
Read more about Jane and her story here.
Read more about Jane’s book, IN Security, here.