Three women strengthening Nordic cyber security

To enable the digital transformation necessary for Nordic competitiveness, there is a considerable need for expertise in cyber security. Three strong advocates for cyber security, who are working actively to increase expertise in the field, are Anette Roll Richardsen, CEO of Watchcom, Pernilla Rönn, Head of the Cyber Security division of Combitech Sweden, and Lone Flohr, CEO of Combitech Denmark.

Cyber security is one of today’s major challenges in light of the digital transformation our entire society is undergoing. All of the possibilities presented by a digital society must be carefully handled to safeguard the security of involved parties. Trust is the new currency, and strengthening it will require more employees and new types of employees. 

As is the case in other technology and IT-related fields, the cyber security industry is facing a challenge over the next few years to find resources and skills. One of the ways Watcom and our majority owner, Combitech can recruit more employees is by increasing the gender ratio and diversity in the company. 

Another thing the three directors agree on, besides the increased demand for cyber security services, is that digitalisation is in the start-up phase and will affect the need for new knowledge in new areas.

Cyber security extends across organisations and entails a degree of operational evolution equal to that of technology. For this reason, Watchcom and Combitech are seeking many diverse skills and competencies, not only technical engineers but also analysts, lawyers, communications coordinators and HR specialists. 

It allows us to recruit from wider areas of expertise, which in turn has another positive effect – we get a more diversified organisation, says Pernilla Rönn.

The goal is to grow Watchom and Combitech’s cyber security operations. 

– It means we have to be creative, we have to think differently. Something in the US from which we drew inspiration was to use gamification to train new employees in becoming cyber security consultants, says Anette Roll Richardsen.

In Combitech we have different talent programmes, and one of these is, of course, related to cyber security. We have noticed that it attracts both male and female applicants. In this way, I think we are a role model, explains Rönn

I think that having clear female role models in our industry is an important tool for encouraging women to start working in the IT and technology industry. If digital transformation in society is to progress, a larger recruitment base is needed – we have to broaden the scope, says Lone Flohr. 

All three women agree that Watchcom and Combitech can help drive diversity efforts, but that the issue is universal and goes beyond industries. It is also a social issue which demands decision-makers to ensure a plan for the future.

As a modern IT and technology company striving for greater diversity, having three women in leading positions is a strength. I believe that expertise in combination with different individual backgrounds and personalities strengthens us as a company and leads to better decisions,  says Hans Torin, CEO of Combitech.