International Women’s Day 2024

International Women’s Day 2024

For International Women’s Day 2024, we focus on Jane Chappell, co-founder of Arcanum Cyber Security. Since 2008, Jane has jointly led the company, working to protect people, businesses and information. Jane was the first woman to command a cyber unit in the British Army and her expertise in the sector has since helped the MOD, NATO and the European Commission. She is also recognised as a Chartered Cyber Security Professional by the UK Cyber Security Council.

Jane reflects on her journey to become one of the UK’s cyber experts: “since moving into the cyber security profession over 20 years ago, as a career changer, I have found that attitudes have been open and accepting toward me and other women.”

Jane adds: “Discrimination (in cyber) wasn’t an issue and I never encountered any bias. Perhaps this was because so few people understood ‘cyber’ which was then referred to as IT Security, so were interested in the knowledge that the few of us who were in the profession had. The profession needs people with passion, different abilities and a willingness to learn and the potential develop their knowledge and experience.”

A 2023 cybersecurity workforce study by ISC2 reports that the percentage of women in cybersecurity has now increased to 25% where skills-based hiring is implemented. At Arcanum, we are proud that 30% of our workforce are female, but crucially we ensure that we employ the right people with the right skillset for the job. Arcanum aims to be a company where all feel welcome, and all are encouraged to reach their full potential.

Jane makes the most of opportunities to inspire a new generation to enter the cyber security industry. She says: “Whenever I have the opportunity to do so, I chat with young women about their career aspirations and about the breadth of opportunities and different cyber disciplines that are open and available to them. I explain how I made the career change as a mature woman and how widely interesting it is as well as the roles I have filled and the cyber security business I co-founded.”

When asked if there was any advice she could offer to those interested in cyber, Jane said: “Cyber security has many disciplines, so do your research and ask questions. If you can, talk to others who are already embarking on or working in cyber. Find out what appeals and interests you, whether it be security architecture, penetration testing, cyber compliance/auditing or one of the many other areas. Ask yourself whether you wish to work with other cyber professionals where you may share knowledge and obtain mentoring, or to be the only cyber professional in an organisation.”

Jane insists that anyone from any background can find a place in cyber if they want to, explaining that “not every role in cyber security is deeply technical and I have met many with varied interests and career backgrounds who have studied or trained to make the transition to cyber security. If you are willing to learn, study or retrain and set your sights on what you wish to achieve, there’s no reason why someone shouldn’t succeed. It’s a hugely rewarding career for anyone, regardless of gender.”