Published on 02 May 2022, updated on 02 May 2022

Suzan: “We need to spread the word that there are many great benefits for women in cybersecurity”

Suzan joined Orange Cyberdefense five years ago. She is Head of Customer Delivery Teams and Project Management for strategic accounts working at Orange Cyberdefense in Utrecht, Netherlands.

 

Why did you choose the cyber defense sector?

 

Photo de Susan Buss

Suzan Buss,
Manager Customer Delivery & Project Management
Orange Cyberdefense

Suzan Buss: It was by accident! A friend of mine recommended it to me. People say that the IT sector is boring, and I used to think so, but in fact it's really the opposite! I love this sector because it is innovative, never boring. Moreover, in Orange Cyberdefense, I have a lot of flexibility and freedom. I have two young kids and I can organize my schedule the way I want to. Also, I have progressed quickly: I joined Orange Cyberdefense as a Project Manager and was then promoted to Business Delivery Lead. Now I am responsible for several customer-facing teams: our Customer Delivery Teams, dedicated Security Engineers and a team of Project Managers. Our Customer Delivery Teams are formed around two large accounts: the Dutch Police and our largest international airport, Schiphol.

 

How do you help your teams develop their skills?

S.B.: Cybersecurity is a field that evolves constantly so my teams do a lot of training to continually improve their skills and expertise. Every employee creates a training plan that allows them to grow their knowledge and expertise. To do that, I help my teams by organizing monthly webinars and external training but also internal training such as meetings, where they can share ideas and good practices.

 

How would you best promote equality within your field?

S.B.: There is a gender bias that we need to recognize in cybersecurity so we can push for greater equality and more women in higher-level positions. Therefore, we need to change the perception of this sector by spreading the word that there are many great benefits for women: they can develop their skills, progress, and build a career. That’s why internal women’s programs and mentoring are necessary. It’s important to have someone who believes in you inside your company, a sponsor to help you grow within it. This is more important for women than it is for men, because quite often, women are less confident about their impact or performance. For example, they won’t apply for a promotion because they don’t think they are good enough (or think they lack some skills or expertise that are required for the job) … even though they are! It’s a virtuous circle: the more women we recruit into cyberdefense, the more women will apply, and the more women will progress to leadership positions. I definitely believe that equality is a powerful enabler for performance in this sector.