Shira Rubinoff has always had an interest in technology, even from a young age. While her formal education focused on business and psychology, she understood early on that there’s a clear intercept between psychology and technology: the human factor.
That interest led her to explore the then-emerging cybersecurity field. It became clear to her that when securing a digital environment, it’s critical to consider the people around it, the processes in place, and the technology itself. In her recently published book "CyberMinds," she opens up with an introduction on “cyber hygiene,” which takes into account both human factors and technology characteristics.
“Without addressing the human side of cybersecurity, an organization would be open to an untold number of potential penetration points no matter whether they have the latest security installed and or updates regularly run,” Rubinoff says. “Technology and human behavior and psychology go hand-in-hand to create the most optimal cybersecurity posture.”
Today, as co-founder and president of Prime Tech Partners, Rubinoff works with a number of high-profile companies around business development, strategy, and thought leadership in the cybersecurity, AI, and blockchain fields. She’s also focused on advising many later-stage start-ups around strategy, business development, and growth.
Rubinoff says the security industry has been growing rapidly of late, being both proactive and reactive. She says cyberattacks are on the rise and will continue to increase exponentially. They will come in many forms: phishing, leading to ransomware attacks, and AI based cyber-attacks, where hackers can mimic human behavior using AI, among many other forms.
Over the next few years as 5G technology gets deployed and applied across the finance, healthcare, and many other business sectors, Rubinoff says more portals of attack surfaces open to exploitation will emerge through IoT – and organizations are quickly addressing these security concerns.
“We will see a growing rise in cloud adoption for many reasons, such as offering better insights from big data and overall cost effectiveness,” she says. “An organization can eliminate investments in redundant infrastructure, business continuity and disaster recovery. Cloud backups will restore business as usual without any downtime, and business efficiency and collaboration will be available between any individual in any organization in any region, accessed from anywhere.
When asked about the lack of women in cybersecurity, Rubinoff says many organizations have recognized the void and have made big strides to promote women into leadership roles, as well as offer opportunities to help women scale up into management positions.
Rubinoff sits on numerous boards, including the Executive Women’s Forum, which helps highlight and promote women within industry, and she mentors young women who are early in their careers. And it’s not only about women promoting women. She says there are many organizations with men in them that understand the need to recruit women and build a more diverse workplace.
“The security field has broadened in a manner that’s now more welcoming to women, and it’s also making it more comfortable for women as far as work-life balance,” she says.