NightDragon, a dedicated cybersecurity, safety, security and privacy investment and advisory firm, has partnered with leading diversity and talent development organizations, including the Athena Alliance, Cyber Future Foundation (CFF) and Cybersecurity Gatebreakers Foundation (CGF), to expand talent and improve diversity and inclusion efforts across its portfolio companies and the broader industry.
According to (ISC)2, women account for only 24% of the overall cybersecurity workforce. While this is a significant increase from 11% in 2017, it is a signal that there is still much more work to be done within the industry. Its Global Information Security Workforce Study further found that minorities and people of color represent only 26% of the cybersecurity workforce and tended to be underrepresented in managerial roles. Meanwhile, companies with more diverse executive teams tend to perform 25% better than less-diverse peers, according to McKinsey & Co.
NightDragon will work closely with the Athena Alliance, CFF, CGF and other organizations to increase diversity and inclusion initiatives within its portfolio companies, including talent acquisition, executive education, career training and mentorship. It will also continue its work on industry advocacy in conjunction with these organizations to improve diversity and inclusion efforts more broadly.
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“Improving diversity and inclusion is one of the most critical issues facing our industry today. By working together with organizations like the Athena Alliance, the Cyber Future Foundation and the Cybersecurity Gatebreakers Foundation, we hope to help build more diverse companies, leading to stronger cultures, increased company growth and better technology development to combat today’s biggest threats,” said Dave DeWalt, Founder and Managing Director, NightDragon.
The Athena Alliance is a global digital community of top executive women in business, providing executive coaching, board opportunities, exclusive events, networking opportunities and one-on-one mentorship and sponsorship programs. In addition to a powerful diverse talent pool, it also guides corporations and startups on how to evolve their approach to diversity hiring, senior leadership development and to strengthen their boards. Athena will be NightDragon’s go-to partner for board and C-level recruitment of women candidates, board and governance preparedness, and executive-level education and learning.
“Our industry has made progress around improvement of diversity and inclusion, but there is still much more work to be done. We look forward to working closely with NightDragon and its portfolio companies to further these efforts across the industry, as well as help them tap into the full potential that a diverse and vibrant company culture can provide,” said Coco Brown, CEO and Founder, the Athena Alliance.
NightDragon will also work with CFF on educating a broader, more diverse workforce. CFF accomplishes this through advising employers on a cybersecurity workforce development strategy, working with CIOs, CISOs and hiring managers to improve the overall hiring, talent recruitment and skills development process. CFF also provides cybersecurity-specific assessments to better qualify diverse talent and offers apprenticeship programs for both public and private sectors, as well as extensive industry-relevant training aligned to the career pathway. Through this relationship, NightDragon portfolio companies can gain access to their assessment tool and talent pool of pre-qualified candidates including minorities, women, transitioning military service members and veterans, and those who are switching careers.
“At CFF, we recognize that a global and comprehensive approach is needed to solve the cybersecurity workforce challenges and remove barriers to career entry, while helping leaders find new approaches to staff and up-skill their teams. We are proud to work with venture capital firms like NightDragon, as well as commercial, public and private sector, other nonprofits and academic organizations to build stronger company cultures and businesses with the ultimate goal of reducing cybercrime threats,” said Val Mukherjee, Chairman and Founder of Cyber Future Foundation.
Finally, NightDragon’s partnership with the CGF will help educate hiring managers on how to hire, train and mentor the next generation of cybersecurity professionals. This includes referring individuals from the CGF talent pool to NightDragon companies, as well as identifying new volunteers to further support the 800 training volunteers already in the CGF program.
“Closing the cybersecurity skills gap requires our industry to break down the traditional gates in cybersecurity – the years of experience, the computer science degrees, and the litany of security certifications that we for years have thought necessary to begin a career in cybersecurity. We need to teach people how to discover the untapped talent that is everywhere around us; people just need a chance. The Cybersecurity Gatebreakers Foundation looks forward to working closely with NightDragon and its portfolio companies to close the cybersecurity talent gap while helping CISOs and hiring managers find, train and retain great cybersecurity talent,” said Naomi Buckwalter, Founder and Executive Director of Cybersecurity Gatebreakers Foundation.
These partnerships are the latest additions to ND Talent, a NightDragon Network initiative designed to deliver value and benefits exclusive to portfolio companies and address high priority areas such as talent hiring, diversity and retention. These benefits will be exclusive to portfolio companies and NightDragon plans to add further resources as needs evolve.
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