Perspectives

Meet our Women in Cyber

Simi Odusanya, Risk Advisory Consultant

"There have been a lot of efforts put in place to encourage women to join cyber security and women not only can, but should take advantage of them."

Cyber Security has become one of the most popular and fast-developing fields in technology across the globe to date. Women currently make up 20% of the world’s population of Cyber professionals. Globally, Deloitte has been collaborating with clients and member firms to promote gender diversity in the Cyber Security industry and working towards closing the gap. The Cayman Islands firm is a leading example as to how Deloitte is working towards equal opportunity in Cyber roles, with over half of their Women in Cyber team having diverse roles at a leadership level.

Read Simi's profiles below to learn more about the Cayman Islands Women in Cyber, the roles she plays at Deloitte, and how she is making an impact in the Cyber industry right now.

How did you get involved in Cyber Security?

After I finished my Bachelor's degree in Computer Engineering, I worked as a Microsoft SharePoint Administrator for an IT Firm. I knew I wanted to get a Master’s Degree but I wasn't sure what area of specialization. While researching, I found about new trends in technology and Cyber Security was on the list. It looked interesting the more I researched on it. I was particularly fascinated about ethical hacking. I ended up studying Information Security at University College London. I later joined KPMG Nigeria's Technology Advisory team where I was worked on various cyber security projects spanning enterprise security assessments, cyber security maturity assessments, strategy and implementation roadmap development and information systems audits for technology companies.

How long have you been in Cyber? What developments have you seen over that course of time?

I started my cybersecurity career with my Master's Degree in 2013. After which I joined KPMG Nigeria’s Cyber Team in 2015 and then Deloitte's Cyber Team in the Cayman Islands where I focus primarily on Managed Security Services. The digital revolution and cloud introduced a new risk - cyber risk. With the trends in cyber-attack and data breaches, it’s now a matter of "when" and not "if". Consumers are no longer shocked when details of data breaches hit the news. Attacks, threats, vulnerabilities have been more sophisticated. Security tools and solutions have also advanced in response to attacks, vulnerabilities and malicious individuals which is a good thing.

What trends do you expect to see in Cyber over the next 10 years? 

With an emphasis on data privacy, the enforcement of the EU's GDPR in 2018, many other countries such as Canada, Brazil, Cayman Islands have begun rolling out similar data protection regulations to ensure higher data security and giving individuals rights to their personal data. This has also helped with transparency around security incidents and data breaches.

In relation to ransomware attacks, The WannaCry worldwide attack happened in May 2017, over 2 years after there are new variants of ransomware and critical infrastructures/companies are still been hit with ransomware attacks. According to a report by McAfee, Ransomware attacks grew by 118% in the first quarter of 2019. Within the last 3 months, critical infrastructures and hospitals such as South Africa's power company, Texas Local Government, City of Baltimore, DCH Health System in Alabama etc. have all experienced ransomware attacks. I expect there would be more ransomware attacks, considering victims pay the ransoms and attackers are now seeing it as a profitable venture.

What are the most challenging aspects of your role?

In a world where threats and attackers are constantly evolving, keeping up with cybersecurity is hard. One needs to be constantly learning, re-learning, researching building skills and staying up to date on cybersecurity news or risk being left behind. There is also no standard "9 - 5" in a cybersecurity career. The unpredictable nature of cybersecurity means that today everything could be running smoothly and tomorrow you are dealing with a compromise or a malware attack. Clients expect you as the expert to keep them immune from attacks which is almost impossible as the best you can do is minimize risks to the barest minimum.

Why should more women consider a role in Cyber?

I think generally the cyber security industry is now more accommodating to women in cyber considering women make up only 20% of the security workforce according to Cybersecurity Ventures. There have been a lot of efforts put in place to encourage women to join cyber security and women not only can, but should take advantage of them. There are scholarship programs for cyber security related courses in the university, funded tickets for Cyber Security conferences like DEFCON etc. In addition, many organisations have recognized the lack of diversity and are working towards bridging the gender gap.

Finally, according Harvard Business Review - Men apply for a job when they meet only 60% of the qualifications, but women apply only if they meet 100% of them. Women need to stop this. If you think you are even 30% qualified, apply for that role. You never know.

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