CyberFirst, the initiative designed to encourage a diverse range of young people into a career in cyber security, has announced a new partner.
Proofpoint, a cybersecurity and compliance company, will be offering both summer and year-long industry undergraduate placements for UK students in its Reading and Belfast offices, as well as exploring various other initiatives offered through the programme, such as supporting the annual CyberFirst Girls Competition and CyberFirst Schools.
“We are delighted to partner with CyberFirst to help develop the next generation of cyber security experts,” said Peter Carthew, director, public sector, EMEA at Proofpoint. “We very much look forward to engaging with CyberFirst’s talented students to give them an opportunity to experience work on the cyber frontline for the first time and hopefully encourage them to garner a future career in the industry.”
CyberFirst was launched in 2016 by the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), part of GCHQ. Its activities are intended to find the next generation of cyber security of talent, whatever their background, and offer them the means to succeed, such as a bursary scheme to financially support undergraduates through university and a degree apprenticeship scheme.
“It has been repeatedly proven that companies with high levels of ethnic and cultural diversity are more likely to outperform their competitors,” said Adenike Cosgrove, cybersecurity strategist at Proofpoint
“Despite this, just five per cent of leadership positions in the UK technology sector are women and only four per cent of the UK tech workforce is black, Asian or minority ethnic. A lack of diversity can result in processes and decision-making being hampered by homogenous teams, leading to a narrow-minded approach to threat detection, causing dangerous assumptions in end-user knowledge and facilitate poor decision making.
“If we continue looking in the same place for cybersecurity professionals, we will continue finding the same types of people, from the same backgrounds, with the same skillset and same perspectives. While cybersecurity teams stay the same, we can be sure that the threats we face do not. In other words, by following this traditional approach, we will continue to put the same set of eyes on a rapidly evolving set of problems.
“Diversity brings a fresh perspective to old problems and new challenges. The more we include new and varied viewpoints, evolved from different life experiences and backgrounds, the better-informed our industry becomes, and the more equipped we are to respond to an increasingly diverse threat landscape.”