You might be surprised to learn that cybercrime is the most successful activity on the planet, with more than 6 trillion in damages caused by the profitability of this illegal business in 2021 alone. That number is expected to reach more than $10 trillion dollars by the year 2025. It’s safe to say that cybercrime has reached every corner of every industry, from big businesses to small ones, from those just celebrating a grand opening to long-established companies. This is happening all over the globe, but more specifically among Black businesses which are severely under-represented in the technology industry – by more than 50% according to a Brookings Institute report, “Digitalization and the American Workforce.”
Meanwhile, it was reported that, in 2019, Black security analysts represented only an astonishing 3% and women only 20% of the entire cybersecurity space. The upside is that these inequalities in representation are being brought to the forefront, with many organizations making a conscious effort to eliminate the gaps. We here at Black and In Business/Urban Business Institute encourage more Black professionals to take their seat at the cybersecurity table. In this article, we highlight four of the top cybersecurity programs that support Black professionals entering and excelling in the industry.
Empow(H)er Cybersecurity is the brainchild of Tina Hopkins and focuses on the advancement of Black women in the Cybersecurity space, through community events, mentoring opportunities, and offering Black women a safe space to network, be creative and learn. This includes E(H)C Institute, which offers different educational tracks. Find more information on how to sign up and become a member on their website.
- For those wanting Professional Development, E(H)C Institute offers a four- month program, broken up into two-week segments each, for a total of eight sessions.
- For those wanting a bit more hands-on Professional Development, they can take a six-week course that also includes one-on-one feedback and instructions from the world’s leading experts in the field.
- Technical Development is offered to those who need one-on-one mentoring.
Blacks in Cybersecurity, founded by Michaela Barnett, is a tightknit community of individuals in the industry. Their intention is to spearhead the way to solving the disparity between the Black community and Cybersecurity knowledge and resources. This is done through workshops, conferences, community spaces, formal training, and career resources – including job placement. BIC chooses to structure itself more as a networking safe space, rather than just a training and events coordinator. Visit their website to learn more about connecting with other individuals in the industry.
BlackGirlsHack was founded by Tennisha Martin with the sole purpose of creating a knowledge hub for Black women/girls to break industry barriers in the Cybersecurity, STEM and Information Security professions. To create and foster a professional collaboration of learning and sharing, spaces that BlackGirlsHack creates are inclusive of all gender, religions, races, orientations and creeds. To learn more about this initiative and how to become a member, visit their website.
Black Cybersecurity Association, also referred to as BCA, this non-profit organization, inclusive of all individuals, stresses the part of their mission that focuses on building a strong community, mentoring opportunities, and job resources for those who are under-represented in the Cybersecurity space. BAC even offers children’s workshops that teach coding through virtual classrooms, provide study groups around super security, certification assistance, and bootcamps on how to hack ethically, with an emphasis on Professional Development in all programs. To learn more about some of the strategic networking opportunities they have, visit their website and sign up the kiddos!
At the end of the day, while overall organizational acknowledgement of the disparities is a step in the right direction, ultimately, it is up to each individual business to take the necessary steps to ensure that people from all walks of life are represented, accepted, and hired for Cybersecurity roles. The case can be made in some instances, that those who are under-represented should be given hiring preference. This ensures that there’s a workforce that is representative of the country we live in.
If you would like to find more Cybersecurity programs that support Black businesses and professionals, please check out CSO Online.