Enhancing cybersecurity with women in the workplace

The cybersecurity workforce suffers from an unfortunate lack of diversity and inclusion of women. Generally, women hold only about 11% of the cybersecurity jobs around the world. Ultimately, more women are needed in the male-dominated field to bring varying perspectives to the table, change the status quo and to allow for new growth and learning opportunities. At ORION, we enable and support Ontario innovators in their efforts to create a better future. A future in which women in cyber experience the same opportunities, support and inclusion.  

Today is “Women in Cyber Day”, a day to recognize and bring awareness to the issues women face in cybersecurity and celebrate the achievements of women within the industry. We’re happy to support and enable our community of innovators and researchers, specifically women in cyber. 

At ORION, we love welcoming Interns to support and mentor young minds from a variety of disciplines to learn from their fresh ideas. In recognition of Women in Cyber Day, we discussed with Maham Bhatti, ORION’s Security Analyst Intern, what the day means to her and how she’s found her way in the male-dominated field. 

What has your experience been like at ORION as a Security Analyst Intern? 

Maham: “I worked as a Security Analyst Intern over the summer. I worked with extremely talented people, gained a lot of experience in the field that I wouldn’t have been able to at a larger company. My time at ORION was very hands-on and this internship gave me real world experience and I was able to learn more about the day-to-day network and security operations. I gained many mentors at ORION.” 

What has your journey been like as a woman in cyber? 

Maham: “There is a gap between my Bachelors of Engineering and my Masters of Engineering. I always knew that I wanted to pursue a career in IT, but I still felt lost. I specifically had an interest in cyber though. So, I reached out to the amazing Pakistani Women in Computing community, and they were an inspiration to me. I found guidance and advice there. Therefore, community is key, and I look forward to providing mentorship in the future to whomever needs it.” 

What does the “Women in Cyber Day” represent/mean to you? 

Maham: “When I heard about Women in Cyber Day, all I could think of was providing leadership, opportunities and recognition. Consciously or not, people tend to hire people that look like them and in a male-dominated field that means women are often left behind. Throughout my career, I’ve noticed that women must push a little harder for opportunities and recognition. It can be isolating sometimes being a woman in tech, and cybersecurity especially. This day is instrumental in providing guidance and propelling women forward, connecting with other women in the field and encouraging to feel knowledgeable and confident in our roles.” 

What has your experience been like as a woman in cyber? 

Maham: “I often experience imposter syndrome. It is very real. But I try not to let it hold me back or deter me. I worked hard to get a seat at the table, so I try to be heard and contribute my knowledge and insight.” 

Do you have any tips for women hoping to pursue a career in cyber? 

Maham: “Don’t feel intimidated, take chances, demand respect in the male-dominated field and don’t be afraid to fight for what you want. Also, finding a mentor is key and can make a world of difference. Reach out to a woman in the industry seeking out mentorship and network with other women in the field to find common ground. I haven’t once come across another woman in the field that isn’t willing to help or offer guidance!”