On Episode 5 of The Cyber Security Matters Podcast we spoke to Sean Blenkhorn about his experiences in the Cyber Security industry. Sean has worked in cyber for over 20 years, and during that time he has held a variety of strategic leadership roles, from heading pre-sales to taking on Chief Product Officer and Chief Experience Officer positions. Sean is currently Worldwide VP of Sales Engineering for Axonius, where he takes a proactive role in encouraging diversity in the sector, both in the upcoming technologies and in his teams.
Do you see the diversification and expansion of the security market as a trend is set to continue?
The macroeconomic conditions we’re seeing today will have an impact on that, undoubtedly. We’ll continue to see companies tighten their belts and have to make tough decisions from time to time. There may even be tightening around companies that are getting investment from the VC or private equity firms. However, the industry will continue to grow. Even given all of the macro economic conditions, we’re still seeing good growth compared to businesses outside of technology or security. It’s not as fast as what we want to see, but it’s still crazy growth. You have to keep things in perspective. Tech is the future, and people will want to protect that.
There are still so many opportunities and technologies out there to look at and get involved with. Innovation happens in the startup world, which is where you see diversification come in. People from all over are having these ideas and disrupting the market with their new tech. Typically the model is that the smaller companies innovate, then the larger companies acquire that innovation and take it to the broader market, hopefully in a way that doesn’t destroy the innovation. That’s the way the industry evolves.
How can we diversify the people within the cyber security profession?
It’s going to happen by continuing to break down the barriers. Organisations need to put a real effort into creating diversity. It’s people like myself who are in managing roles and leadership roles that need to focus on diversity. You need to look at your team and understand what’s going to be valuable, and having that diversity of opinions, views and experiences is really important. It’s not just limited in terms of women getting into the roles, but also enabling them to climb the ladder within an organisation. Diversity thrives when leadership organisations put commitment into diversity in that way too.
We need to build the future generation and we need to have the teams and resources ready to come up behind us. We’re working with educational institutions and working with our teams to make sure that when we’re working with recruiting firms and internal recruiters that we put real emphasis on looking for diversity in our candidates. It starts from the top down, but there’s also the bottom up route of making sure that we’re supporting the next generation of kids. We need to be showing them what those opportunities are in this industry, and that there’s opportunity for everyone. We have to promote diversity at the grassroots level as well.
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