As SC Media celebrates its 30th anniversary, we asked industry standout Becky Pinkard, vice president of Intelligence and IT at Digital Shadow to look back on her 30-plus years in the industry.

Becky Pinkard

How long have you been in security? 

Since 1996

How has your discipline changed over the years? 

It’s become visible and more open – what started as a very niche part of IT has grown up into it’s own space (thankfully!).

How has the industry changed for women over the years? More or less opportunity? 

I think the opportunity has always been there – I think it’s the social mores of the communities and regions women are growing up with that are changing and that is helping more girls and women know about and feel more welcome in the cyber security industry. Having said that and while women are gaining ground, there is still a long way to go in our industry.

What has been your biggest surprise during your cybersecurity career? 

Feels like I should at some attack or another, but without a doubt, it was the massive raise my boss at PepsiCo gave me when I was hired there as a Senior Security Architect! She told me I was extremely underpaid and that I was worth double what I had been on. It was an eye-opening experience and I’ve always been grateful to her for that.

Did you ever foresee that it would be the daily news maker that it has become?

 I’ve told my teams and audiences (pretty much anyone who will listen to me blab on about security!) that those of us in this industry have “job security”. Cyber security is here to stay for the foreseeable future and I see the upward trend of awareness continuing to grow for many more years to come.

What has been the biggest threat you have faced or simply seen develop during your tenure in the industry? 

Again feels like I should say something along the lines of “eternalblue”, “ILOVEYOU” or “ransomware”, but really it boils down to ignorance and apathy. I think because security (and technology in general) can be complex and at times, really difficult to explain in straight-forward terms, the business people who need to be most informed can tune-out due to frustration and fear of their inability to understand the issues.