Organised by Eskenzi PR in media partnership with the IT Security Guru, the Most Inspiring Women in Cyber Awards aim to shed light on the remarkable women in our industry. The following is a feature on one of 2022’s Top 20 women selected by an esteemed panel of judges. Presented in a Q&A format, the nominee’s answers are written in their own words with minor edits made by the editor for readability and where relevant, supplemented with additional commentary by their nominator.
This year, the awards are sponsored by Beazley, BT, KPMG and KnowBe4.
Dasha Diaz, CEO and Founder, itrainsec
What does your job role entail?
I help businesses to learn and study all aspects of cybersecurity from the best experts and practitioners in the industry. For more than a decade, I’ve been organising world-class IT security events and training for the global cyber security community. My close bonds and powerful network represent a rich portfolio of leading subject matter experts and trainers – itrainsec enables businesses to take advantage of this, and my personal aim is to exceed expectations every time.
How did you get into the cybersecurity industry?
Before founding itrainsec, I spent nearly 12 years at one of the world’s top cybersecurity companies, Kaspersky, where I began my career there as a PR manager, then joined the Global Research and Analysis Team (GReAT) as Senior Research Communications manager. My standing in the industry also led me to be appointed co-director of the Cyber Security Programme at Harbour.Space University in Barcelona, where I’m creating a master’s program to nurture cybersecurity talents.
What is one of the biggest challenges you have faced as a woman in the tech/cyber industry and how did you overcome it?
It was always hard to exceed expectations of the community, but not only that, also my own expectations. With the conference I’ve built with my mates at Kaspersky it was always a challenge to surprise people every year and produce high-quality content year on year.
But every time, when you see everyone excited, happy, thankful, willing to come next time or submit their research for the next edition – I realized I could do more, I can push forward and even higher.
This attitude helped me to build my company, and make it successful.
What are your top three greatest accomplishments you have achieved during your career so far?
- itrainsec – building my own business from scratch.
- #TheSAScon – creating and organizing one of the best cybersecurity conferences for more than 10 years
- Marrying one of the best cybersecurity experts:)
What are you doing to support other women, and/or to increase diversity, in the tech/cyber industry?
A growing number of women in cybersecurity has somehow attracted attention to the importance of building a diverse environment within companies, not only for women but for all backgrounds and ethnicities. It would be right to say that the infosec industry has a high level of complexity and competitiveness. The feminization of cybersecurity has given women of other less demanding specialisations additional motivation to move forward and see no barriers ahead of them. Women bring the importance of education, professional development, best practices exchange and networking to a new level. They initiate community development where rivalry gives way to mutual support.
Together with the itrainsec team, we help to organize different cybersecurity events at different levels. We invite a lot of women and always try to balance the women/men presence on the stage. I always encourage ladies in cyber to participate as much as possible in the conferences and events, and I myself am not an exception – the more visibility we get, the more obvious the change in the industry. Also, itrainsec is now involved in organizing a conference for one of the foundations related to women in cyber.
What is one piece of advice you would give to girls/women looking to enter the cybersecurity industry?
In every fast-growing, innovative industry, you should be ready for constant professional development. But in cybersecurity, this is even more important as the evolution of security risks is the main aim for adversaries. If you think about it, cyber security needs skills beyond the technical. Strategy and insight is important too, and women tend to offer perspectives and opinions that differ from men’s, and that could be crucial in addressing the risks businesses face today.