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Building cyber-secure and inclusive environments at Vodafone

26 Aug 2021Viewpoint

By Emma Smith, Cyber Security Director Vodafone Group

Recently, I was invited to speak on a podcast with my peer and friend, Bret Arsenault, Chief Information and Security Officer at Microsoft. We discussed the changing role of telcos, remote working and how to lead an inclusive workforce, amongst other topics.

As the Cyber Security Director at Vodafone, I am passionate about protecting our customers, employees, and data from cyber-attacks. Security is an integral part of our strategy at Vodafone. Converting an entire workforce to remote working during the pandemic has accelerated many of our security plans.

Emma Smith

Emma Smith, Cyber Security Director at Vodafone Group

Our role has moved way beyond traditional telco, and technological advancements such as hybrid multi-cloud platforms, mobile edge computing and 5G have changed the way we think about network and connectivity. We have a strong view that we are all part of a technology revolution, and by bringing together the people and skills, we can make a positive impact on the future.

At Vodafone, we believe that technology and innovation can help millions of people and their communities to stay connected. It celebrates what the human spirit can achieve when combined with technology. The pandemic and changing threat landscape have reinforced the need to really focus on strong security foundations, with advanced threat-based security monitoring and newer strategies like zero trust. We see the role of security teams to not only protect our customers, employees, and data from security threats, but to contribute to a secure digital eco-system and society.

When I started in a Head of Security role 13 years ago, I noticed I was one of only a handful of women holding a similar position within cyber and information security. While this trend has improved, there is still a vital need to promote diversity and inclusion in the security space. Inclusion is a topic I am passionate about and I’m a firm believer that it will take the efforts of everyone to help the interests of minority groups and to build inclusive and diverse teams. Security is a profession that needs diverse thinking, backgrounds, approaches and skills – I encourage everyone who has even a small amount of passion for the topic to find out more.

Vodafone colleagues have been working from home during the pandemic.

Vodafone colleagues have been working from home during the pandemic.

At Vodafone, we aim to create a safe and inclusive environment to drive positive impact while connecting people for a better future. We encourage our people to call out micro-aggressions and inappropriate behaviour and be themselves and be respected for who they are at work. We are reaching out to them to share their diversity data anonymously to get a holistic view of the representation in the organisation and understand the needs of our people. This data will help us to enhance our workplace further.

You can listen to the full podcast here, where we discussed in more detail 5G, IoT and networks, as well as the importance of being a purpose-led company.

Listen to the podcast here:

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