CREST report highlights challenges of cyber security pros with physical disabilities

Report makes recommendations to attract more physically disabled people into the industry to help fill skills gap

A report published by CREST highlights the issues faced by physically disabled people wanting to work in cyber security.  CREST – the not-for-profit body that represents the technical security industry including vulnerability assessment, penetration testing, incident response, threat intelligence and SOC (Security Operations Centre) – also highlights what the industry needs to do to attract more physically disabled people in order to help fill the acute shortage of skills.

Globally, more than one billion people are living with a form of physical disability, which is one in seven of the population. Eighty per cent of these will acquire the disability between the ages of 18 and 64, meaning they are most likely to be in work or at work age when it happens. They are also 50 percent more likely to be unemployed.

The CREST study found that many cyber security professionals with disabilities still face obvious obstacles such as outdated office environments, which may not have lifts or those that are provided are not big enough for wheelchairs. Hygiene facilities can also be difficult to access and there is  a lack of specialist equipment for specific needs such as Braille keyboards or speech recognition software as well as visual alarms or even server halls located on ground floors with chairs for people with mobility issues.

“People with disabilities are often very used to working with and adapting technology,” said Ian Glover president of CREST. “This may mean that they have the essential technical capabilities required for working in the cyber security industry.  It may also mean that they are more comfortable working remotely and adapting working practices, skills that are essential in the cyber security industry.”

“While there is a legacy perception that adapting the work environment for people with disabilities is challenging and costly, this is changing as more companies are realising the advantages of harnesses talent from a more diverse talent pool. Remote working environments remove many of the physical limitations and allow the industry to advance disability inclusion; vital in an industry where demand for skills outstrips supply.”

“The eradication of discrimination is a profound moral argument and recognising and valuing differences is essential in overcoming ignorance,” adds Ian Glover. “Whether discrimination and bias are conscious or unconscious, they will impact negatively on the working lives of those who experience it and lead to negative impacts on performance and commitment in the workplace. The argument that overcoming biases leads to more productive as well as harmonious societies is  indeed compelling.”

 

The CREST report was borne out of research conducted among its members and an open Access to Cyber Day. The report is one of a set of collaboratively produced diversity related publications produced by CREST. Others in the set include: Stress & Burnout; Gender Balance, and Neurodiversity.

To download the full report, go to: https://www.crest-approved.org/knowledge-sharing/research-reports-position-papers/index.html