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Fighting smart

Divina Paredes | April 12, 2013
"I felt the learning curve was inverted, it was hanging up," says Laura Mather, on her experiences when setting up Silver Tail, an anti-fraud start-up.

It also helps to "hone your criminal DNA a little bit," she says.

This is not about committing crimes. she explains, but being "able to think like a criminal because they will be responding and the only way to be effective is to try to anticipate that response."

The next skills shortage in IT -- if it is not happening already -- will be in information security.

Applying Big Data principles to information security

"With Big Data touching on everything we do, the attack surface will be altered and expanded and our risks magnified in ways we couldn't have imagined," says RSA chief Art Coviello.

Sidebar: Her next venture?

One of her upcoming projects will tackle another aspect of the information technology industry - developing software that organisations can use when interviewing prospective staff to ensure a level playing field for candidates.

She was inspired by a study done by Google which analysed why women often did not pass the phone screen interview (the initial call the company makes to prospective employees) compared to their male counterparts. "They had a lot of women in the pool but when they got the phone screen it was mostly men who passed the phone screen," she says.

Google actually changed the interview questions to make it more quantitative, she says, like how many years have you programmed in this language what sort of certifications do you have, "very much things you don't brag about".

"It levelled the playing field found and they got a much more diverse set of people passing the phone screen."

"Maybe we can create some kind of technology that will help people to interview in a way that doesn't automatically put their bias into the interview," she says.

She says the software can also be used for assessing people for promotions, who will get to do the training, and even selecting the board of directors.

"Most people want diversity," she says. "I don't think people don't want it, it is just a matter how you get there."

While it is hard to change corporate culture, she believes a technology that gets more diversity into the early stages of recruitment, targeting the young professionals in the company, will help bring "real diversity, a meaningful mix in corporations".

"That is even bigger than Silver Tail," she says. "This is not going to be a billion dollar company, I can guarantee that. But it could change the world."


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