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By Bruce Sussman
Thu | Sep 9, 2021 | 2:21 PM PDT

Perhaps you've seen that bumper sticker that says "wag more, bark less."

In other words: less talk, more action.

And when it comes to bringing a higher number of diverse professionals into the cybersecurity field, there's definitely been a lot of talk.

But what about the tail wagging—about finally turning talk into action?

A new report from the Aspen Institute may have uncovered a key reason why progress has been slow:

"One key gap in the ecosystem was that no organization had convened an inter-generational and cross-disciplinary group of cybersecurity professionals to develop a concrete, impact-oriented set of commitments focused on improving DEI in cybersecurity."

So the Aspen Institute convened a series of focus groups to bridge this gap and come up with concrete actions that may help the industry make progress.

8 action items that could advance diversity in cybersecurity

Specifically, the Institute released a new report that includes eight actions our industry can take to build a more diverse cybersecurity workforce:

  1. Organize a coalition to assess the value of certifications in developing
    quality candidates for cybersecurity jobs;
  2.  Survey participants in cybersecurity apprenticeship programs to better support diverse candidates;
  3. Collect and share anonymous data about characteristics that prove useful for successful hiring for cybersecurity jobs;
  4. Establish a group of pro bono experts to help cybersecurity employers rewrite their job descriptions without jargon and focus on the skills required;
  5. Reconsider whether the current criminal background check process is appropriate, fair, and equitable;
  6. Establish a task force to track C-suite executives' commitments to DEI [Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion] initiatives related to cybersecurity professionals within their companies;
  7. Develop a coalition to identify best practices for mentoring diverse
    cybersecurity practitioners and create shared resources;
  8. Cultivate brand, advertiser, and media influencer partnerships and develop a campaign to reshape narratives around cybersecurity professionals.

Could TikTok stars and YouTubers soon be talking about a career in cybersecurity? 

What do any of these things look like in practice?

The report goes into greater detail on all of these items, and we're sure we'll be hearing more about it at a future SecureWorld cybersecurity conference.

You can read the 16-page report here for yourself.

Perhaps this effort will finally help cybersecurity leaders wag more and bark less when it comes to building diverse teams.