Anna Collard, SVP content Strategy & Evangelist at KnowBe4 Africa, has won the People’s Choice Award at the Cybersecurity Woman of the Year awards in Las Vegas.
The Cybersecurity Woman of the Year awards programme recognises the expertise, leadership, and impact of women in the cyber security industry.
This year’s competition saw nominees from 62 countries judged across nine categories by a panel of international adjudicators.
South Africa’s Collard reached the top three for the People’s Choice Award, with the winner ultimately determined through a popularity vote.
“Winning the award is an incredible honour, especially considering that the other finalists in the category are highly accomplished women: Jen Easterly, director of the US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), and Alex Keedy, director of operations at ZeroFox,” said Collard.
Carmen Marsh, founder of the Cybersecurity Woman of the Year Awards, noted: “We are thrilled to have such an extraordinary group of finalists from across the globe who have shown immense talent and dedication in their respective domains.”
Collard, who lives in Cape Town, is a certified business analyst with multiple security certifications, including CISSP, CISA, CIPP/IT, ex PCI DSS QSA, ISO 27001 Implementer, and auditor. She is also a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Future Council on the Future of Metaverse for the 2023-2024 term and a board member of the MiDO Cyber Academy Programme, aimed at underserved communities in South Africa to bridge the cyber skills divide.
In 2022 Collard was recognised as the IFSEC Global Influencer in Security and in 2020, she received the ISACA South Africa President’s Award and was recognised as one of the Top 50 Women in Cybersecurity in Africa.
At the 2023 ITWeb Security Summit, hosted in June, Collard stressed the need for people to be aware, mindful and rational in order to try to avoid being a target of phishing attacks.
“Cyber security training and awareness programmes don’t automatically result in more secure behaviour. But if we equip people with tools to make them more mindful in the moment, they are less likely to be manipulated,” she said.
Collard has also commented on South Africa’s lack of cyber security skills and how this, together with an immature judicial system, could impact the country’s ability to enforce the Cyber Crimes Act.
She said, “We predict cyber extortion groups and cyber crime syndicates will shift their attention away from the more mature nations like the US towards emerging economies like Africa – where industries have a large cyber dependency, but lack the resources to adequately prevent, retaliate or prosecute cyber criminals. Legislation is a necessary step towards cyber security maturity but plays only one part.”