Recruitment & Reskilling Strategy , RSA Conference , RSA Conference Videos

Preparing the Cyber Workforce of the Future

American University's Diana Burley on Why Cybersecurity Field Needs Diverse Skills
Diana Burley, vice provost of research and innovation, American University

In the evolving field of cybersecurity, having a diverse workforce is a strategic necessity, said Diana Burley, vice provost of research and innovation at American University. To mirror threat actors coming from different places with different motivations, the cybersecurity workforce should comprise "people from different backgrounds, different areas, from different perspectives all working together," she said.

See Also: SOC: Build vs. Buy - When Is It Right?

Burley advocated for a break from the conventional, where teams were often homogeneously technical. By integrating a mix of technical and nontechnical talents, "people who are musicians, artists, and sociologists," organizations can enhance their problem-solving capabilities and create more resilient systems.

"Technology is critical to understand what tools are there. But when we work with people in our organizations, we are asking them to change their behavior," she said. "We are developing policies and processes, and the way that those get enacted and operationalized requires us to understand how people function, what impacts them, and how they work together. And that is the human element. CISOs and the CIOs need to understand both."

In this video interview with Information Security Media Group at RSA Conference 2024, Burley also discussed:

  • Cybersecurity workforce misconceptions and creating effective escape room teams;
  • The Cyber Unicorn Challenge project and addressing inflated job requirements;
  • How CIOs and CISOs can assist in training their workforce for the evolving automation and cognitive technology landscape.

Burley has nearly 25 years of experience leading cross-sector teams to drive education, research and strategic innovation. At American University, she is responsible for establishing the strategic vision and executing against the research and revenue targets set by the board, while overseeing the universitywide research enterprise.

About the Author

Rahul Neel Mani

Rahul Neel Mani

Founding Director of Grey Head Media and Vice President of Community Engagement and Editorial, ISMG

Neel Mani is responsible for building and nurturing communities in both technology and security domains for various ISMG brands. He has more than 25 years of experience in B2B technology and telecom journalism and has worked in various leadership editorial roles in the past, including incubating and successfully running Grey Head Media for 11 years. Prior to starting Grey Head Media, he worked with 9.9 Media, IDG India and Indian Express.

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