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Improving and Adapting Cybersecurity – A [email protected] Conversation with Harry Wingo

At Tenable, we like to say, “What we do matters.” This commitment doesn’t only apply to our cybersecurity solutions, but also our culture. We care about what we do, each other and the communities we serve.

Last year, I cofounded Tenable’s first-ever Diversity and Inclusion Council, which brings together company leaders who believe in creating an environment that:

  • Helps all employees feel welcome and empowered
  • Improves the work we do
  • Ensures we have a strong talent pool to close the cyber exposure gap across the world

Senior leadership at Tenable has long understood the value of diversity and inclusion as a key step in pipelining the future cyber workforce at our company – and throughout the industry. Their support of these goals has made the Tenable Diversity and Inclusion Council not only possible, but extremely rewarding. 

Insights from Professor Harry Wingo

In celebration of Black History Month, I had the pleasure of hosting a fireside chat with Professor Harry Wingo. Harry is a full-time faculty member at the National Defense University's College of Information and Cyberspace and a champion of diversity throughout the industry. His insights and views gave our team important new perspectives. As we’re well aware, the cybersecurity industry faces a severe talent shortage – and the issue is only getting worse. As recent global and national events have shown, we need smart, talented cybersecurity experts from different backgrounds to effectively tackle these challenges.

Expanding STEM initiatives for the future cybersecurity workforce

Harry shares my excitement for growing cybersecurity diversity and inclusion. However, we need a strong workforce to support the jobs created here in Maryland and across the globe. That’s why much of our discussion focused on the importance of diversity and inclusion for the future workforce, but also the opportunities to expand to STEM initiatives. These types of initiatives will be key going forward – we must limit the obstacles that future generations face.

Being present for the next generation

To grow that diverse talent pool, we need to foster relationships and show the next generation of the cyber workforce there are people like them in the industry and we’re here to build them up and bring them along. Like Harry said during our discussion, we must be a man or woman for others. We must be mentors and willing to show others that being black – or any other minority – in the cybersecurity field is a possible and prosperous career choice, and there are others like them who are successful.

Flexing defenses in an ever-changing environment

One of the questions the Tenable team asks any new customer is, “How secure is your organization?” Tenable solutions look for vulnerabilities the customer might have missed and translate cyber risk into actionable business decisions. With Harry’s experience as a Navy SEAL, however, he saw the question differently. Harry often found that risk is on a continuum – and you’re never completely secure. You can mitigate your risk, but you can never eliminate it. Harry likened this to a wrestling match – you’re always “on” and working to prepare for your opponent’s next move. And he’s right – the reality is threat landscapes are always changing, and our defenses must be equally strong but elastic.

Keeping the conversation going

The cybersecurity industry is in desperate need of diversity, and we have a long way to go. But, having a candid conversation about the challenges the industry faces, the adversity minorities have faced and how we can do better was a great way to spend a morning during Black History Month, and the Tenable team is better for it. There is much to do, but we’re making important progress, and we hope to host similar discussions in the future.

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