Emily Mossburg

Principal, Deloitte US

Cyberattacks are the number one business risk in most of the world, according to a 2022 study from the World Economic Forum. Not all cyber threats are alike, and diverse problems require diverse solutions. Yet, the cyber industry is predominantly led by men. How can we solve this significant threat to the business world with only half of the population? Fortunately, the women who make up that percentage are some of the fiercest in the greater technology industry. In this series, The Female Quotient and Deloitte are putting a spotlight on 25 women at the forefront of the cyber revolution, amplifying their career advice and sharing their insights on how the industry will evolve in the future. Their stories are proof that behind every functioning society is a woman in cyber.

What does a typical day of work look like for you?

It’s typically been a lot of Zoom calls with a variety of our clients, our people, and in many cases, the broader ecosystem. We are starting to get back to normal as a team, and I am starting to pick my travel back up. I was recently in Spain and England for work, and soon I’ll be in Italy. I am excited to get back on the road.

What's a common misconception about women in cyber you'd like to debunk?

It’s not necessarily a misconception, but I’d love to debunk what the metrics look like in our industry. Today, somewhere between 20% to 25% of the cyber industry is female. I’d really like us to get closer to parity when we look at those numbers.

What aspects of your career journey have taken you by surprise?

The most surprising aspect of my journey has been learning that it is in fact about the journey, not the destination. Early in my career, I was focused on where I was headed. It was always about the next role, the end game, or where I could end up in my career. While that is one aspect of a career, there’s a bigger picture that’s about the experiences. Throughout my career in cybersecurity, I have learned that the journey is what it’s all about.

What's your superpower as a woman in cyber?

Asking questions. I love to better understand not only the concept, but the perspective of the people providing the overview or context of a situation. In cyber, there is really never one answer. There are a lot of possibilities and options. Asking a lot of questions opens up the aperture around the paths available to solving a cyber problem.

What's the most challenging component of your job today?

The role that I have right now is a global role, which means that I am working with key clients and leaders from various backgrounds, experiences, industries, and cultures. That diversity is one of the most fulfilling things and also one of the most challenging things to navigate. It makes it challenging to get consensus and make sure we are moving in the right direction and giving the right answers to the best path forward.

Tell us about the cyber project you're most proud of working on in your career.

I always think back to a particular client that I served. What started as one small, specific project turned out to be a portfolio of projects, which quickly moved more broadly to the client’s overall cyber strategy, their 3- to 5-year roadmap, and the creation of strategic initiatives on that roadmap. The work went from a couple of months to a couple of years, working with this team who I now consider to be great friends.

What's one must read, watch or listen for women wanting to work in cyber?

How has public perception of cybersecurity changed over the course of your career, and how do you predict in the future?

Public perception has changed dramatically. When I first started in this space, most of the conversations I had with clients were about the return on investment of cybersecurity. A common question was, “Do we need to do this?” Today, cybersecurity is consistently on the business agenda. It’s consistently in the media when there is a breach or an outage, and it’s really become partial to everything we do from a business risk perspective. As we look ahead, it’s clear that the industry is still young. In the future, we will see cyber organizations advancing in quantifying the data and showing due care in adequately measuring cyber risk.

What's one piece of advice you'd give your younger self about getting started in cyber?

Dive in. There are a plethora of opportunities. The roles and skills that we need for those roles are very broad. Cyber is a space where you can take your career in whatever direction you want — whether that’s technical, legal, human resources or talent, or how you imbed security into innovation. Don’t feel like there’s a limit to the number of available paths.

Who are some women working in cyber today that you admire?

Monique Shivanandan — she has a great analytical mind, she knows how to get things done, and she is a staunch advocate of mentorship and providing opportunities for other women.