Perpetually on the cutting-edge, Difenda is committed to the “road not taken” in a plethora of ways. And for a cybersecurity company in today’s world, that means the promotion of gender diversity in a largely male-dominated culture, especially within the leadership team.
“This is definitely a male dominated field but we are closing the gap. Our competitive advantage is that our different backgrounds offer a unique business strategy. At Difenda we create and promote equal opportunities,” said Gagan Bhathal, a human resources administrator who is an integral part of striking a healthy balance of diversity at the company.
Championing women in this male-dominated sector is a true game changer. Difenda prioritizes women in a trifecta of ways. First, they offer a flexible work policy that champions a healthy work/life balance for all employees, which traditionally benefits women the most because they tend to have so many outside commitments. Secondly, women are looked to in order to fill active leadership roles, and the company is firmly committed to that. Finally, women are actively recruited, especially for operational roles, in order to create a more diverse company.
“When I see somebody who looks like me, I connect with them through our shared experiences,” said Bhathal. Thus, the culture of people who belong to the company is more rich, and the differences they bring to the table make them who they are. This, in turn offers the customers a wider variety of experiences and insights that will ultimately benefit their businesses.
But promoting women inside the cybersecurity company and hiring more women to start with do not just add more depth and richness to the shared experience of colleagues and clients. Women leaders in C-suite and board membership roles create positive organizational outcomes that go far beyond the human interpersonal ramifications. Research shows that hiring women in leadership roles leads to greater profits, more innovation, and increased productivity. Investors are drawn to diverse leadership teams and increasingly prefer companies that feature women in executive leadership and on their boards.
Microsoft understands what customers desire, and Difenda is committed to diversify the industry alongside Microsoft’s ideals. Microsoft’s research reveals that men hold 82.4% of cybersecurity jobs in the US and 80% of those jobs are held by people who are white. But according to data compiled by Microsoft, 57% of community college students in the U.S. are women and 40% of students identify as Black African American, or Hispanic. The disparity is glaring, and both Difenda and Microsoft have pledged to change the game.
Microsoft, for instance, has allocated $20 billion over five years to deliver more advanced security tools and invest $150 million to help government agencies update their security systems and expand training partnerships in cybersecurity. By walking the talk, this ensures that everyone’s voice is heard.
Creating a better gender balance is imperative because females can see things from a different perspective than males, so bringing more women on board means that both sides can be represented. A balance of both genders
Difenda is making these same strides towards diversity by hiring women in cybersecurity. Currently, 75% of our management leadership team is female, 38% of our current leadership team is female, and 64% of our Sales and Marketing team is female. Creating a better gender balance is imperative because females can see things from a different perspective than males, so bringing more women on board means that both sides can be represented. A balance of both genders also makes communication easier with the clients, especially when the employees are acting as the voice of the company.
Beverley Shanahan is a woman who is happy she has jumped into the cybersecurity world. A student of marketing who was interested in the tech space and desired a job that was remote, she is a champion of women in technology. Although she agrees that men are more socialized early on to STEM, she knows that teaching girls coding classes and getting high school girls more interested in STEM is a good ground level place to start .
For Bhathal, it’s all about taking chances and working with a leadership team at Difenda that supports growth. “Age, gender, culture: there is a space for everyone. We want to build a culture that provides incentives that are balanced and give women and men the tools they need to balance family and professional life.”
Difenda is making a commitment to having more women and diversity at the table, and to creating a model for the industry and inspiring women to join the cybersecurity world. This means making sure that young girls are socialized to the IT and STEM spaces from the ground level. And once women are in the cybersecurity world, they need a team of support to get more involved, to attend technology conferences, and to feel like they belong.
From increased revenue to more balanced communication for customers, having more women in the traditionally male-dominated world, especially on the leadership team, is a win-win proposition that is integral to the road ahead for Difenda.
“We want to encourage women to step into the field and take a chance on themselves,” said Shanahan.