Respect in Security
It used to be that technological innovations such as the internet made the world smaller and bought us all closer together. Sadly, that augmented ability to reach others brought with it a new avenue for unwanted and unpleasant interactions. In 2021, a study by Sapio Research on behalf of Respect in Security, showed around one third of cybersecurity professionals claimed to have personal experience of harassment, either online or in the workplace. The study showed that of those who reported harassment in the workplace, it largely happened at industry events (36%), in the office (47%) and at work social occasions (48%).
Harassment comes in many forms. It might be online or in-person, physical, verbal or non-verbal, and involve direct communication or deliberate action to exclude individuals. However it may occur, it has the same impact on the victim. That of eliciting feelings of humiliation and degradation, or otherwise creating a hostile environment, when ultimately they want little else than to come to work and be part of the team. Although obvious to some, there is still much to be done in terms of making everyone more aware of exactly how what we say or what we do can make others feel. This is particularly important in the current climate for distributed teams working remotely who might not yet fully appreciate the value of face-to-face and non-verbal communication.
Respect in Security found that 45% of respondents argued that more could be done by their employers to “ensure all employees understand what constitutes harassment and what acceptable behaviour looks like”. That last points stands out, while it is generally positive that 82% of respondents stated their employer has an anti-harassment policy and complaints procedure, with the breadth of things which could be considered harassment, it’s important to pre-emptively address these issues before they happen. One of the ways we can do this is by highlighting and reinforcing positive role model behaviours in our community just as much as we define what is unacceptable. The research also found that 16% of respondents reported they would not tell anyone if they witnessed or were victims to harassment, with 7% of these citing fear as their reason why.
As our name suggests, we are people first and strongly believe in a real, compassionate community; we are committed to creating a culture and environment where all members feel safe sharing their thoughts, opinions and identity without fear of judgement or abuse. Respect in Security stands against unwanted and harassing behaviour in any form and Pentest People, along with many of our industry peers, are proud to pledge our support for a workplace and community free from harassment and fear.
Pentest People will continue to do our part in ensuring members of our community, at all levels, have the knowledge that abuse will not be tolerated and that support will always be available should anyone ever be targeted.