Women in Cybersecurity



Helen Hopper

Associate Copywriting Manager – C8 Consulting – the disruptive tech PR agency

How long have you worked there?
Six years

What aspects of your job bring you the most satisfaction?
I love learning about the latest developments in cybersecurity, and the latest TTPs among threat actors. It’s a serious business, but it’s also exciting being on the sidelines of the perennial game of cat and mouse between defenders and adversaries. I also get a lot of satisfaction from getting under the skin of what’s happening among cybersecurity customers through research. Uncovering customer challenges and how clients’ solutions are evolving to address them, then translating this into stories that drive the conversation is truly exhilarating.

What do you enjoy most about the company?
C8 Consulting is full of like-minded people who work hard and collaboratively. We all have our specialisms, and everyone appreciates the unique skills the others bring to the table. It’s an incredibly positive environment with a can-do attitude where everyone goes the extra mile to support our clients.

How did you get into cybersecurity?
I started out in a London-based technology marketing agency in 1999, before moving to an agency in Reading, then in-house with Japanese tech company Kyocera. But despite the technology focus, security wasn’t such a core issue in those days. Then I spent six years working for a leading Independent Girls’ School, where I learned a huge amount about supporting future women leaders. When I emerged back into technology in 2017, cybersecurity was centre stage. The opportunity came up to work with C8 with clients that are pushing the envelope of cybersecurity and the rest is history!

What do you like most about cybersecurity?
I love how central it is to our day-to-day lives. We rely on technology for almost everything, and to be safe in a digital society, cybersecurity is paramount. It has ramifications for countries, companies, and individuals and we all have a duty, however small, to do our bit to stay secure. Part of being a responsible citizen in today’s world is making sure we keep up to date on cyber security risks and employ good cyber hygiene. If what I do can contribute in a small way to raising awareness, then I’m delighted.

This year’s International Women’s Day theme is #InspireInclusion. What does that mean to you?
It means being mindful of how we personally approach living in the world and examining whether we are building bridges or putting up barriers. There should be opportunities for all to pursue the paths they want to in life without fear of prejudice or exclusion, but it needs people in positions of power (whether that’s at a high level or simply someone who is hiring a new employee, for example) to model inclusive behaviour. In terms of women in cybersecurity, it means reaching out and reaching through to as many women and girls as possible to break down stereotypes about what “cyber” means – its not all about anonymous hands on keyboards! You don’t need a mathematics degree or a computer science masters to enjoy a compelling career in cybersecurity. If you can communicate an idea, or explain a benefit, or work well with people, there are a wealth of fascinating roles you can pursue.

When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to run a hairdressing salon with my best friend.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
My granddad often quoted me the proverb: Procrastination is a thief of time, never put off ‘til tomorrow what you can do today.

What is your favorite quote and why?
It varies, but right now I think this sums up the state of the world: “Real stupidity beats artificial intelligence every time.” ― Terry Pratchett, Hogfather

Who is your hero?
Professor Sarah Gilbert, lead scientist in the development of the AstraZeneca COVID vaccine. I heard an interview where she described creating the first vaccine “over a weekend” to the astonishment of the interviewer, but this belied the incredible work by Sarah and others over the course of their careers to put the UK (and the world) in a position that this was possible. She’s one example of a huge number of women in science who work tirelessly to advance our understanding of the world.

X: @helenhopper47

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/helenhopper/ 


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