AustCyber CEO Michelle Price discusses women in technology as well as the web-security company Kasada’s ‘Bot’s Down Under Report’ findings.
What influenced your decision to begin a career in technology?
Like many women in cyber security, I fell into my career in technology. While it wasn’t necessarily a conscious decision, being in the cyber domain draws together all my previous work experiences and vocational passions – economics, organisational growth, science and innovation, risk, strategy… and human interaction with technology
What advice would you give to encourage women to become more involved and across technology and the tech industry?
Jump in – all jobs and careers are fuelled by technology now in any case, so understanding the what, how and why will only further propel you forward and enable you to have lasting impact in your endeavours. Technology focused roles are multi-dimensional and ever evolving, so they really are what you make of them. But most importantly, technology roles are only as technical as the environment they operate in – not every role in technology fields are technical and not every technical role is only focused on technology.
What has been the most surprising aspect being involved in the tech industry that most people wouldn’t know?
That in Australia, the average age of a tech founder is someone in their late 30s – not the undergrad kid in their parents’ garage. As much as that still happens!
Within Kasada’s Bot’s Down Under Report, it is outlined that 90% of Australia’s top 250 websites cannot differentiate between a customer and a bot, why do you think that is and what danger does this create for Australian business owners?
It’s in part because many organisations are not investing enough in their digital infrastructure to have the required level of sophistication to be able make the differentiation – and keep up with the ways and speed at which bot mutate. It’s also in part because many people, not just Australians, underestimate the volume of malicious activity being prosecuted through websites. The danger this causes is significant – an easy, cheap and repeatable win for criminals and an erosion of trust of customers and suppliers in the affected organisations.
Building on this, what is a bot?
A bot is a simplified term used to describe software that repeats (automates) tasks at a speed humans can’t do. Bots can be used for good – like those on service provider websites that can respond to customer enquiries – but also for bad. Malicious bots are those used to cause all sorts of harm for all sorts of reasons.
What advice would you give business owners to manage and stay on top of their technology safety?
First and foremost, care. Technology and its use is a foundational factor in today’s business success – so just like we have to care about the different facets of the humans we employ in our businesses (and get appropriately penalised if we don’t), we also now have to care about the different facets of the tech we employ. This includes safety and security, which in doing so, is an investment in the future growth opportunities of you organisations and the humans within it, around it and beyond it.