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  • Writer's picturejmalrakeem

EX-EPIC: No Experience, No Job; No Job, No Experience

Updated: Jun 26, 2022

with Jessica Nemmers, CISO for Elevate 09/15/2020

© Elevate Xchange all rights reserved 09/15/2021

Jessica’s career spans from professional ballerina to CISO serendipitously from her ballet company closing due to lack of funds. She pivoted and reinvented herself having great support from her mentors paving the way. Having worked for Electronic Data Systems (EDS) and Perot Systems she became passionate about cybersecurity early in her career.

“There is a shortage of cybersecurity talent estimated to be a 3.5 million deficit in 2021,” (Gartner reports), stated Jessica. “There were only 20% women with CISSP certifications in 2019 and only 14% women CISOs or CSOs for Fortune 500 companies.”

Jessica’s goal is to be an influencer in bringing more women into the cybersecurity field through addressing possible opportunities when these positions become available and mentoring. With so much need and increased budgets women can find a rewarding career in cybersecurity.

Previously, cybersecurity was viewed as a function of Information Technology (IT) by Key Stakeholders, so budgets were tight and therefore, cybersecurity teams were small. Small teams meant Leadership had to hire the best of the best that could be found leaving little room for training new recruits. “We have doable options to fill the gap,” says Jessica.

That paradigm is beginning to shift with cybersecurity being risk based instead of a function of IT. Defending the company is now viewed as a part of Corporate Governance because a cyberattack can mean the loss of millions of dollars and even possible bankruptcy for a company.

“We need a Farm Team,” says Jessica. One option is to share resources across companies for comprehensive training and to reduce costs. Exploring this and many other options will help fill the cybersecurity talent gap.”

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