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Cybersecurity Advocates: Discovering the Characteristics and Skills for an Emergent Role



Julie Haney, Wayne Lutters


Purpose: Cybersecurity advocates attempt to reduce exposure to cyber attacks by promoting security best practices and encouraging security adoption. However, little is known about the skills necessary for success in this role. To fill this gap, our study explores the professional attributes of cybersecurity advocates. Methodology: We conducted 28 in-depth interviews of cybersecurity advocates. Findings: Our analysis reveals that effective advocates not only possess technical acumen, but also interpersonal skills, communication skills, context awareness, and a customer service orientation. Originality: We are the first to define and enumerate competencies for the role of cybersecurity advocate. Implications: Non-technical skills are often missing from cybersecurity training, limiting career progression into the cybersecurity advocate role for existing security professionals and those from other disciplines. We discuss implications of our findings for improving professional development opportunities and encouraging greater workforce diversity within the cybersecurity advocacy field.
International Journal of Information and Computer Security


security professionals, advocacy, discipline diversity, cybersecurity education, work roles


Haney, J. and Lutters, W. (2021), Cybersecurity Advocates: Discovering the Characteristics and Skills for an Emergent Role, International Journal of Information and Computer Security, [online],, (Accessed July 21, 2024)


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Created April 7, 2021, Updated March 12, 2024