Category Archives: IT Workplace

How a nine-year-old’s question sparked a Canadian cybersecurity conference for women

There are many statistics that illustrate the shaky state of careers for women in IT in Canada, especially for those who chose to go into cybersecurity. Quite simply, the profession is overwhelming male.

But arguably the situation can be reduced to a question Mahdi Raza’s nine-year-old daughter asked him last year at a CISO Forum in Niagara Falls when a panel began on women in cybersecurity.

“Why are all the men leaving?” she asked her father, who was a conference organizer.

And that, Raza said, is why his event management and awareness training firm SiberX has organized next month’s Women in Cybersecurity conference in Toronto.

It will be held on March 10th at the Harbour Castle Hilton Hotel. About 100 tickets are still available, although there may be more. Raza said demand has been increasing and the hotel may be able to add more seats.

Early bird registration of $499 is still available.

The agenda includes a session on mentorship and networking as well as panels on 5G, digital identification, and careers in cybersecurity.


The status of women in cybersecurity called ‘sad’

How to get more women into cybersecurity 

Among the conference sponsors are Microsoft, Amazon AWS, PwC, IBM, the SANS Institute, and Trend Micro.

Speakers include Microsoft CTO Diana Kelley, Adriana Gliga-Belavic, a partner and Canadian payments security practice leader at PwC, Ana Andreasian, former director of technology at Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children, Olivera Zatezalo, chief security officer at Huawei Canada, and Sherry Rumbolt, senior information security office at National Defence.

But support from such big organizations doesn’t mean the industry has become less sexist, indicated Raza.

“I have called [potential] sponsors and large organizations and said, ‘Hey, we’re putting on a woman in cybersecurity conference,’ and they said ‘I’m a male, you probably want to speak to a female’. I’ve sent emails to [male] heads of large organizations to be sponsors, and they said, ‘You’ve got the wrong gender’. I’ve spoken to others who said, ‘We’ll sponsor your other events, we just don’t see ROI.'”

These answers made him more determined to put on the conference, not merely for education but also to show the IT industry – and employers in general – there’s money in diversifying the workforce.

This is not a women-only event, Raza said.

“Men need to show up.”

Movement starts to have Canada declare Sept. 1 as International Women in Cyber Day

In a bid to recognize the effort women play in strengthening online security in an overwhelmingly male profession, a group of women is making its second attempt to have Ottawa declare Sept. 1 International Women in Cyber Day, and have it recognized globally.

Lisa Kearney, CEO Women CyberSecurity Society

On Monday Lisa Kearney, CEO of the Vancouver-based Women CyberSecurity Society collected the five supporters needed for presenting an online petition for the declaration to her member of Parliament. That’s the initial step in the parliamentary process for public petitions.

With five supporters the e-petition can be sent to House of Commons’ Clerk of Petitions for certification, after which it can be officially put online for mass support. If it collects at least 500 signatures within 60 days, it can be tabled in the House of Commons for a vote.

That may not be a problem. The first version of the e-petition published last year pulled in 147 signatures before the federal election was called, which meant the process had to start all over again.

(Here’s a link to the international petition. The new Canadian petition for Parliament will have similar wording.)

Ultimately, Kearney said in an interview that supporters want the United Nations to recognize Sept. 1 as International Women In Cyber Day around the world. For that at least one country has to approve it.

Kearney and supporters across the country last year did some early groundwork, getting support from city councils in Vancouver, Ottawa and St. John’s, Nfld,

In addition to recognizing the day, the Canadian e-petition asks the federal government to provide grants and funding to help raise awareness and build solutions to remove barriers of entry to women in cybersecurity as well as increase retention.


How to get more women into cybersecurity


Asked why a day or recognition is essential, Kearney said, “women have a lot of barriers and roadblocks within the industry,” noting that in Canada women make up only 10 per cent of the cybersecurity workforce, and11 per cent globally.

Research has shown there is a 50 per cent drop out rate for women in information technology within the first four years, the petition notes. Studies also show women are paid less than men.

“Women need support; there’s a high drop-out rate, and we really want to bring awareness, so we bring solutions that retain women in this industry,” Kearney said.

“Second, we want to celebrate the achievements of women in the industry, and this has been key.

Doing both will help close the skills, and the gender gap experts say is causing a shortage in demand for cybersecurity workers.”

She added, “diversity increases profits for organizations,” noting how diversity is a business incentive as well.


Hashtag Trending – CRTC hearing; new budget iPhone; new Microsoft Office app

If you care about Canadian mobile pricing at all, then you may want to tune into the CRTC public hearing. Also, mark your calendar for Apple’s budget iPhone launch on March 31st, and keep a lookout for Microsoft’s new Office app for Android. Thank you for tuning into Hashtag Trending, it’s Wednesday, February 19th, and…

Hashtag Trending – Facebook and taxes, Cyborg locusts, where’s the love Snapchat?

Facebook says it’ll pay more taxes in Europe, mechanically enhanced locusts sniff out bombs for the military, and thousands of people are wondering why Team Snapchat left them hanging on Valentine’s Day. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg says “I guess we should pay more taxes” during the Munich Security Conference in Germany. Zuckerberg is throwing his…

Six essentials to power a modern workplace

A recent study of frontline IT leaders found that, despite being aware of the link between powering a modern workplace and business success, most organizations are failing to modernize their work environments. More than three-quarters of business decision makers in Canada recognize that technology devices that make it easier for employees to do their job…

Toronto man’s lawsuit against Apple a reminder that disability discrimination in tech still happens, says employment lawyer

Interacting with customers, fixing their devices and getting a front-row seat to Apple’s latest offerings was a regular occurrence for Robert Shaw who, until last summer, worked for the tech giant since 2011. But now the 33-year-old is suing his former employer for lost wages and damages, alleging that Apple repeatedly refused to work on…

Hashtag Trending – Coronoavirus scares MWC; YouTube revenue detailed; Chrome to curb annoying ads

The coronavirus has scared off two major companies from attending Mobile World Congress, YouTube released its revenue for the first time, and Google to curb annoying video ads. Thank you for tuning into Hashtag Trending, it’s Thursday, February 6th, and I’m your host, Tom Li Trending everywhere, the coronavirus has scared off two major companies…

Jeff Weiner to step down as LinkedIn CEO

In an email to his employees at LinkedIn today, Jeff Weiner wrote that he will be stepping down as the company’s chief executive officer on June 1, 2020 to begin his next role as the company’s executive chairman. Ryan Roslansky, the current global head of product at LinkedIn, will assume the role of the company’s…

Hashtag Trending- Google accidentally mixes Photos storage; deep fake detection tool; fake traffic jam

If you’ve used the Google Takeout service late last year, you may want to check if you’ve downloaded other people’s selfies. Speaking of pictures, a new tool has been created to spot doctored photos. In other news, a performance artist pulled a fast one on Google Maps by creating a fake traffic jam. Thank you…

Hashtag Trending- Stephen King quits Facebook; no more BlackBerry phones; Yahoo time capsule

Welcome to Hashtag Trending. In today’s news, Stephen King has finally had enough of Facebook, TCL to stop making BlackBerry phones, and Yahoo to open its 2006 time capsule. Thank you for tuning in, it’s Tuesday, February 4th, and I’m your host, Tom Li Trending on Reddit, esteemed author Stephen King has announced that he…

Hashtag Trending- U.S. sues scam callers; Microsoft’s $40 million AI health care plan; Google’s new chat client

It’s a good news day in tech today. The U.S. is once again curbing annoying robocalls, Microsoft revealed a new 40 million initiative to improve healthcare in AI, and Google trying to create a beefier chat client for the workspace. Thank you for tuning in to Hashtag Trending, it’s Thursday, January 30th, and I’m your…

Hashtag Trending – Huawei enters U.K. 5G; Shopify’s new office; don’t pay to activate your phone

In an anticipated move, the U.K. has rolled out the red carpet for Huawei and allowed it into its 5G network. Also, if you’re a Shopify employee in Vancouver, you’ll be getting a new office and new coworkers soon. Finally, learn about how to avoid the expensive connection fee when you activate your phone. Thank…

Hashtag Trending – Big brother’s watch in UK; YouTube mods and PTSD; Sidewalk Lab’s smart city delay

Hashtag Today is about big brother watching over UK citizens, YouTube moderators allegedly being forced into acknowledging PTSD as a health hazard, and the delay of Sidewalk Lab’s smart city in Toronto. Thank you for tuning in to Hashtag Trending, it’s Monday, January 27th, and I’m your host, Tom Li. Trending on Google, United Kingdom…

Hashtag Trending – Amazon is most valuable brand ever; tech giants spending heavy on lobbying; Tesla hits milestone

Amazon officially becomes the most valuable brand of all time; tech giants set new record for money spent on lobbying; Tesla hits major milestone When many of us think about Amazon, we likely think of a tech giant that has grown to be the world’s biggest company. But now, it is official that the company…

Hashtag Trending – Jeff Bezos phone hack; Microsoft exposes customer data; New budget iPhone

Today’s top story further proves that data theft can happen to anyone. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos had his data lifted from his phone. Furthermore, Microsoft exposed 250 million customer service records to the internet. But hey, a budget iPhone is coming soon, so that’s nice, right? Thank you for tuning in to Hashtag Trending, it’s…

Hashtag Trending – Huawei CFO hearing; Apple bends to FBI; North shotgunning patents

Today’s top news is that Huawei’s CFO hearing is now officially underway. In other news, North’s new smart-glasses to include some cool new bleeding-edge features, and Apple supposedly abandoned encrypting iCloud backups after FBI intervention. Thank you for tuning in to Hashtag Trending, it’s Wednesday, January 22nd, and I’m your host, Tom Li. Trending everywhere,…

Hashtag Trending – Montreal teen arrested in cryptocurrency scam; EU considering suspending facial recognition; Alphabet passes the trillion-dollar mark.

Welcome listeners, hope you’re all doing well this Monday morning. The top three stories to take in right now include a Montreal teen arrested in cryptocurrency scam bust, the European Union considering banning facial recognition, and Alphabet passing the trillion-dollar mark. Thank you for tuning in to Hashtag Trending, it’s Monday, January 20th, and I’m…

Say hello to Microsoft’s new Chromium-based browser

Microsoft officially launched its new Edge Chromium browser across both Windows and macOS operating systems this week and is available for download now.

One of the biggest issues facing IT professionals is high costs and the complexity in managing enterprise companies that support two or more browsers for maximizing compatibility across legacy and modern websites. Microsoft is hoping to eliminate some of those frustrations by allowing enterprise users to access features like Internet Explorer mode, which lets businesses load legacy IE sites within Edge automatically. 

The new Edge browser also comes with Microsoft’s privacy promise and embraces new features such as tracking prevention in addition to offering three levels of control while employees are browsing. The tracking prevention feature will help businesses know who has access to their data and also give them the control to choose the information they share. Tracking prevention and SmartScreen features of the new Edge browser will also protect businesses from any type of malware, phishing scheme and malicious software. 

A study conducted by Ponemon Institute in 2019 says a data breach costs companies $3.2 million on average.

In addition, new features like Collections will let employees more easily collect and organize web content and research, and export that information into Word or Excel. 

Jimmy Tom, research director at Info-Tech, noted in a recent presentation shared with IT World that the Chromium-based browser opens up new opportunities for Microsoft.

“In effect, Microsoft can now compete in other races that it has never before considered,” he wrote, adding it could provide them with an advantage against AWS as the cloud race between the two tech giants intensifies.

Additional benefits for users giving the new browser a try, he added, include having a much more unified experience for end-users on a platform that IT can control, as well as having the ability to easily port existing Chrome apps into Edge.

The new Collections feature to allow employees more easily collect and organize web content and research.

Microsoft Search in Bing can be easily accessed on mobile phones, thereby enabling knowledge workers to search for corporate information on the go.  

Microsoft Search in Bing can be accessed on mobile phones.

Microsoft Search in Bing also offers new inPrivate mode so that online browsing and searches by employees are not attributed to them.

The new Microsoft Edge browser offers new inPrivate mode.

The new Microsoft Edge browser also comes with a new logo. 

The new Microsoft Edge browser has a new logo

In order to pilot the new Edge browser within the corporate environment, IT administrators will need to download an offline deployment package. The new Edge browser will not automatically deploy for enterprise or commercial customers, Microsoft says. Tools like Configuration Manager tools and Intune deployment, the company adds, can simplify deployment.

The new browser is supported by FastTrack and App Assure. FastTrack will allow businesses with an eligible subscription to Azure, Dynamics 365, and Microsoft 365 to deploy this new browser at no extra charge. Businesses having sites compatible with legacy Microsoft Edge, Google Chrome, or Internet Explorer 8 and above, will also work on the new Microsoft Edge the same way.

The new Microsoft Edge is available in more than 90 languages, ready to be downloaded on all supported versions of Windows and MacOS. It is also available to download on android and iOS.