Why can’t the government dominate in cyber space?

Women of Washington – January 14, 2015

“We’re not going to completely legislate our way to cybersecurity, but legislation is an important tool in our toolbox,” said Jane Holl Lute, CEO of the Center for Internet Security and former deputy secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. “The government is used to being the dominant player in every security space except cyberspace,” she added.

Courtesy of the Council on CyberSecurity

This week on the Women of Washington radio show, Lute talked with hosts Gigi Schumm and Aileen Black about the difficulty of establishing a strong cybersecurity program within the federal government.

“The public sector workforce is an extraordinarily talented group of men and women, but we don’t have enough of them when it comes to cybersecurity, not by a long shot … We need to work on our engagement from the public sector with private sector companies, and we need to be able to surge.”

She also shared advice on how to encourage girls in STEM fields.

“When you have a young girl who feels like she’s good in math, I think there’s no greater gift than to let them know what it feels like to be completely supported when they’re trying it out…Maybe one-by-one, we begin by letting girls know that when they choose non-traditional paths, they can succeed.”

On whether she’d encourage young people today to go into the military, Lute said, “Absolutely. It’s not for everybody, but if you’re a person who likes challenges, likes doing something different, likes connecting to meaning, there are few better ways to do it than to serve in the military for at least some part of your life.”

Lute also reflected on how public life is different for women than men.

“People look at women leaders differently from how they look at male leaders. I think a lot of it has changed from how some of us were treated at various times in our careers … We’re raising a generation of kids now who seem largely indifferent to a person’s gender. They really are focused on ability and I think that’s all to the good.”

In addition, Lute shared challenges we all face with personal cybersecurity, the three pieces of advice she’d give to her earlier self upon graduating from college, and why she feels that Millennials are the greatest generation alive today.

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Women of Washington


Gigi Schumm welcomes Washington's most ambitious and influential female executives to share their secrets to success. Contact Gigi at gigischumm@gmail.com. Subscribe to Women of Washington’s audio interviews on Apple Podcasts or PodcastOne.