Promoting Diversity for the Cybersecurity Workforce

On October 17, Tech For Good Institute (TFGI) participated in a panel discussion on promoting diversity in the cybersecurity workforce. This event was organised by the Cyber Security Agency of Singapore.

Left to right: Ms. Ming Tan, Ms. Noora Al Abdullah, Rashmy Chatterjee, Ms. Maartje Peters, Mr. Steven Ng and Ms. Nina Santana Sweeney

The term, “Diversity” can be categorised into inherent diversity (race, gender, age) and acquired diversity (experiences, expertise, network). Both forms of diversity are crucial in building effective teams, particularly in the cybersecurity field, where diverse perspectives are valuable for handling evolving cyber threats and risks. The panel organised by the Cyber Security Agency discussed how acquired diversity, gained through experiences and skills, is as crucial as innate diversity in building an effective cybersecurity workforce. They emphasise the importance of diversity of thought and problem-solving in the field.


Moderator and panelists:

  • Ming Tan, Founding Executive Director, Tech for Good Institute
  • Noora Al Abdullah, Director of Critical Information Infrastructure Protection (CIIP), Cyber Security National Division, Ministry of Transport and Communications, Qatar
  • Maartje Peters, Head of Netherlands Taskforce International Cyber Policy Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Netherlands
  • Rashmy Chatterjee, Chief Executive Officer, ISTARI
  • Steven Ng, Executive Vice President, Chief Information Officer, Ensign
  • Nina Santana Sweeney, Executive Director – Global Transformation Head, Corporate Commercial and Institutional Banking, Standard Chartered Bank

Key Takeaways: 

Diversity and Inclusivity

The panel emphasised the importance of fostering diversity and inclusivity within the cybersecurity workforce. Central to this endeavor is the cultivation of a culture that instills a profound sense of belonging among individuals from diverse backgrounds and with varying abilities. During the discussion, a notable employment program was highlighted, which was developed in collaboration with the Ensign and Autism Resource Center. The program’s primary objective is to offer training and job opportunities to neurodiverse professionals, leveraging their unique cognitive strengths. This initiative encompasses comprehensive training, encompassing both soft skills and job-specific training for roles such as security analysts.

However, the attainment of true diversity and inclusivity in the workforce hinges on significant cultural shifts. These shifts necessitate unwavering support from organisational leaders and a well-structured, deliberate implementation of inclusive practices. The success of building a diverse team ultimately depends on the leadership’s recognition of the exceptional contributions that individuals from diverse backgrounds bring to the table. The collective belief within the team that diversity fosters better decision-making and innovative solutions is paramount.


From Cyber Resilience to Emotional Resilience

As digital solutions continue to proliferate, the escalation of scams, data breaches, and cyberattacks poses a growing threat. These perils not only erode trust in the digital economy but also impede its potential to drive economic growth and societal well-being. Consequently, it becomes imperative for nations to establish a secure and resilient digital environment. One pivotal stride in this direction is to increase awareness and comprehension of the ever-evolving threat landscape.

Within organisations, it is essential to fortify cyber resilience. This encompasses educating employees on how to anticipate cyber threats, understand the risk profile, and adopt a proactive stance on security. In the Tech For Good Institute’s latest cyber resilience research, cyber resilience is defined as the  ability of individuals, communities, and institutions to absorb shocks, recover, adapt, and transform in the face of long-term changes and uncertainty, highlighting the importance of bouncing forward after an attack, not just bouncing back.

Moreover, nurturing emotional resilience is equally vital in the realm of cybersecurity. Cybersecurity professionals frequently encounter high-stress scenarios, grappling with constant threats and the potential for severe consequences. Developing emotional resilience equips them to maintain composure under pressure, adapt swiftly to changing circumstances, and rebound from setbacks. This not only augments their capacity for sound decision-making but also promotes mental well-being, ultimately contributing to a more effective and sustainable cybersecurity strategy.


Collaboration is essential and vital

Forging collaboration in the realm of cybersecurity is paramount in the face of increasingly sophisticated cyber threats. By bringing together diverse expertise and resources from government agencies, private sector organisations, and academia, we can collectively bolster our defenses against cyberattacks. 

Collaboration with universities and academic institutions was stressed as a way to bridge the gap between industry needs and educational programs, ensuring that the next generation of cybersecurity professionals is well-prepared.

Collaboration with various stakeholders, including international partners and other domains, was highlighted as essential for addressing the evolving challenges in cybersecurity. This allows for sharing of threat intelligence, best practices, and research to accelerate our ability to stay one step ahead of cybercriminals. In an interconnected digital world, collaboration is the linchpin to enhancing overall cybersecurity resilience and protecting critical infrastructure and sensitive data.

Catch up on the event below:

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Mouna Aouri

Programme Fellow

Mouna Aouri is an Institute Fellow at the Tech For Good Institute. As a social entrepreneur, impact investor, and engineer, her experience spans over two decades in the MENA region, South East Asia, and Japan. She is founder of Woomentum, a Singapore-based platform dedicated to supporting women entrepreneurs in APAC through skill development and access to growth capital through strategic collaborations with corporate entities, investors and government partners.

Dr Ming Tan

Founding Executive Director

Dr Ming Tan is founding Executive Director for the Tech for Good Institute, a non-profit founded to catalyse research and collaboration on social, economic and policy trends accelerated by the digital economy in Southeast Asia. She is concurrently a Senior Fellow at the Centre for Governance and Sustainability at the National University of Singapore and Advisor to the Founder of the COMO Group, a Singaporean portfolio of lifestyle companies operating in 15 countries worldwide.  Her research interests lie at the intersection of technology, business and society, including sustainability and innovation.


Ming was previously Managing Director of IPOS International, part of the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore, which supports Singapore’s future growth as a global innovation hub for intellectual property creation, commercialisation and management. Prior to joining the public sector, she was Head of Stewardship of the COMO Group and the founding Executive Director of COMO Foundation, a grantmaker focused on gender equity that has served over 47 million women and girls since 2003.


As a company director, she lends brand and strategic guidance to several companies within the COMO Group. Ming also serves as a Council Member of the Council for Board Diversity, on the boards of COMO Foundation and Singapore Network Information Centre (SGNIC), and on the Digital and Technology Advisory Panel for Esplanade–Theatres on the Bay, Singapore’s national performing arts centre.


In the non-profit, educational and government spheres, Ming is a director of COMO Foundation and Singapore Network Information Centre (SGNIC) and chairs the Asia Advisory board for Swiss hospitality business and management school EHL. She also serves on  the Council for Board Diversity and the Digital and Technology Advisory Panel for Esplanade–Theatres on the Bay, Singapore’s national performing arts centre.


Ming was educated in Singapore, the United States, and England. She obtained her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Stanford University and her doctorate from Oxford.