For Cybersecurity Awareness Month The Plug identified over 20 cybersecurity companies that are Black founded that serve businesses, the general public and government agencies.
Under the cyber umbrella, there is a diverse range of products offered. Companies like Cyberthentic provide businesses with protection against fake emails, while companies like Patientory are changing access to healthcare information.
About 13.6 percent of the companies included in our report are Black women-led. Overall, women represent three percent of CEOs of venture-backed cybersecurity startups according to a Nopsec report analyzing 654 startups. Outside of leadership, the gender diversity gap is not as wide — 24 percent of the entire cybersecurity workforce is made up of women.
While there are expected to be 3.5 million job openings in cybersecurity by 2025, experts fear the pipeline to fulfill those roles will lag. Corporations, governments and nonprofit groups are attempting to address the crisis.
In the last year, HBCUs have been a source for laying the groundwork for the cybersecurity talent pipeline. About nine percent of companies in The Plug’s database are founded by HBCU graduates. IBM recently reached its goal to launch 20 Cybersecurity Leadership Centers at HBCUs.
“Collaborations between academia and the private sector can help students prepare for success. That’s especially true for HBCUs because their mission is so vital,” Justina Nixon-Saintil, Vice President of Corporate Social Responsibility and ESG at IBM, said in a statement.
In July, Advancing Minorities’ Interest in Engineering (AMIE), a nonprofit coalition of corporations, government agencies and HBCUs, launched an initiative at four HBCUs to prepare a diverse pipeline of students for cybersecurity careers. The program is in collaboration with Microsoft, Abbott and Raytheon Technologies.
“You don’t want to have a homogeneous group trying to come up with the solution,” Veronica L. Nelson, AMIE’s executive director, told The Plug. “It’s critical to have diverse backgrounds and diverse experiences and diverse thoughts.”