Why Security Needs More Diversity

Ralph DeFrangesco

I found a very interesting article in Network World recently, "Why high tech needs women executives." The article did a good job of discussing how companies are starting to realize the advantages in gender diversity. I agree, but I don't think the article goes far enough. It's not gender diversity that we need, it is more diversity in general that we need. IT Business Edge's Susan Hall cited a study conducted in June that highlights the lack of diversity in technology. Let's start with a definition. Diversity can be defined as "acknowledging, understanding, accepting, valuing, and celebrating differences among people with respect to age, class, ethnicity, gender, physical and mental ability, race, sexual orientation, spiritual practice and public assistance status." Now, you may ask, why be so diverse? And that would be a fair question. Let's put this in both business and technology terms:


  1. Diverse companies are more likely to get international contracts.
  2. A diverse company is more likely to understand the culture of the country that is hacking it. In other words, if you are being hacked by an individual or company from a foreign company and you have an employee from that country, they might be able to give you some insight about the hacker. The CIA, FBI, NSA, etc. do this all the time.
  3. With diversity comes creativity.
  4. Diversity increases the recruitment pool.
  5. Diversity reduces lawsuits.
  6. Diversity increases marketing opportunities.


I think we can safely make a general statement that diversity increases our overall ability to compete in the market place. I feel that, of all the jobs in information technology, security needs to be the most diverse, though I may be biased on that. From a security perspective, our systems can be hacked by anyone: Russian, Chinese, Latvian, black, white, female and male. Now, we certainly know statistically that certain countries are more inclined to hack than others and more men hack than women. I am not suggesting that we adjust our workforce to statistically match who might pose a threat to us. If we did that, our workforce would constantly change. I am merely suggesting that by having a diverse workforce, we are more able to understand the world around us.


What do you think? Is your company's workforce diverse and is your company a better company because of it?

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