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We are in a world where the need to protect data against cyberattacks is of paramount importance, so why are there so few women in the vital and rapidly evolving industry of cybersecurity?

As damaging cyberattacks, like the recent one on Colonial Pipeline, continue to make headlines and raise awareness around these threats to both businesses and national security, emlyon business school looks to embrace the future by launching its new program, MSc in Cybersecurity & Defense Management, in September of 2021. We sat down with the Program Director, Nicolas Sabben, as well as two successful women in the industry to learn more about why more women need to enter this exploding field.

Women, who represent half of the population, are needed now more than ever to help organizations remain strategic and productive.

Nicolas Sabben

Why does cybersecurity merit a dedicated degree?

“This Master's degree addresses the weaknesses threatening our digital world, where ‘frontiers' are non-existent. The current issues raised by cyber-security and defense are manifold: an out surge of connected objects and data, political, economic and social inequalities, terrorist threats, and an imbalance in world powers. Furthermore, in this male-dominated field, there still exists a huge lack of qualified cyber talents which puts organizations under pressure to secure their infrastructure both physically and virtually. To that end, women, who represent half of the population, are needed now, more than ever, to help organizations remain strategic and productive, especially when their goals are to improve corporate security and enhance their companies' resilience” says Professor Sabben.

Women are missing the opportunity at a fulfilling career in an indispensable industry.

Allison Stanfield and Noemie Weinbaum come from different parts of the world, have different backgrounds, and work in different sectors of cybersecurity, so what unites them? Their passion for what they do and their drive to incentivize more women into this male-dominated industry. Allison is an Australian business owner and legal practitioner, where she runs Lantern Legal, and also serves as the Chief Legal Officer for global electronic disclosure company, EDT. Fueled by her life-long passion for technology, the move to cybersecurity was effortless for her, “As technology evolved and law with it, my advice to clients has shifted to center around cybersecurity and privacy.” Noemie is Belgian, Israeli, and Czech, with over 20 years in successful risk management and currently serving as the Privacy, Information Security and Technology Attorney at McAfee. “I am committed to promoting innovation and successful businesses through fostering a balance in protection of privacy and information security, integrating legal and contractual trust in technology, and in respecting responsible and protected ways of collecting and processing people's data.”

The MSc in Cybersecurity & Defence Management at emlyon was created in close collaboration with experts in the field and leading companies.

How do you feel being a woman in a male-dominated industry?

“I definitely think things are better than they were 30 years ago when I first started out, although there is still a long way to go. Of course, I have experienced sexism, but I have tried to ensure my achievements are recognized because of my abilities, not my gender,” says Allison. “Haha! In my past life, I worked for a major French bank. I remember being the only woman in these meetings, surrounded by 25 or more men. However, I need to highlight that things have evolved a lot, and many women are passionate about privacy and cybersecurity.” Noemie believes.

Allison is an Australian business owner of her legal practice, Lantern Legal, and also serves as the Chief Legal Officer for global electronic disclosure company, EDT.

Allison Stanfield

What advice do you have for women interested in this field, but hesitant to join?

“Unfortunately, there does tend to still be some misogyny, and it is important for men to recognize this and to call it out when they see it. Otherwise, I don't really see that many hurdles – work hard, study hard (learning is a lifelong vocation), be passionate about what you do and put yourself out there for opportunities. Women often feel the need to step back, so make sure you step forward and take those opportunities by the horns!” encourage Alison. “If you're passionate, if you want to excel, your place is here—whatever your gender, nationality or religion, go for it! This is a great career path because I strongly believe that cybersecurity and privacy should be on everyone's minds. Evolution is all for the best, and it's up to us to adapt ourselves to the changing environment” affirms Noemie.

The need for skilled talent, especially in a female workforce, is creating an explosion of jobs and opportunities, that's why emlyon has created this specially-tailored Master's degree. The MSc in Cybersecurity & Defence Management at emlyon business school was created in close collaboration with experts in the field and leading companies, providing its students' the benefits of partnerships with public authorities, defense industrial groups, security companies, digital service companies, and even think tanks to ensure that graduates are fully equipped to implement optimal risk management strategies for both active threats, and to protect against future ones.

Noemie is Belgian, Israeli, and Czech, with over 20 years in successful risk management and currently serving as the Privacy & Corporate Attorney at McAfee.

Noemie Weinbaum McAfee