Sivan Tehila: Shaping the Cybersecurity Industry by Building new Technologies and Preparing Next Generation of Cyber Leaders

Sivan Tehila, Program Director & Professor at YU, Co-Founder & CEO at Onyxia , Founder at Cyber Ladies NYC

We are living in a highly complex time where, on the one hand, cybersecurity attacks have become more sophisticated, and at the same time, there are too many security tools but not enough talent in the industry.

Many experts in cyber security are walking an extra mile to address these issues. One such expert, we at CIO Look, came across is Sivan Tehila. A cybersecurity expert and an entrepreneur with over 15 years of experience, Sivan is dynamically contributing to solving the problems in this industry.

She is the Founder of Cyber Ladies NYC, and a Program Director & Professor at Yeshiva University. Besides, she also co-founded Onyxia, a brand-new cybersecurity startup (stealth mode) with the vision to support small-medium businesses to protect themselves in the e volving cybersecurity era. Sivan is a cybersecurity strategist, solution architect, and trailblazer for women in cyber.

Being Involved in Complicated Defense Operations at Young Age

Sivan started her career in the Israeli Defense forces, where she served for ten years as an Information Security Officer. She served as the Head of the Information Security Unit in the Intelligence forces and the CISO of the Research and Analysis Division in her latest positions. During her military service, she got her primary training, and at a relatively young age, she was responsible for building strategies and plans for complicated defense operations and managed dozens of soldiers under her command. Later she joined Rafael, an Israeli Defense industry, and then Israel Railways, where she designed and built a unique and innovative Security Operation Center (SOC) to monitor and protect against potential cyberattacks on the train, which is considered a national critical infrastructure.

The Journey Continues

When Sivan moved to New York in 2019, she joined Perimeter 81, a leading cloud security company, as Director of solution architecture. During her career in Israel, she often felt like she was the ‘only woman in the room’. After moving to the US, she noticed that it’s the same here. That’s when she decided to start a community to empower women who work in the cybersecurity industry and encourage other women to create and develop a career in cybersecurity. That’s how Cyber Ladies NYC began.

Creating Next Generation Leaders

Recently Sivan has been nominated as the Program Director for the online and in-person cybersecurity programs at Yeshiva University. She has been teaching at Yeshiva University for two years before starting her current position as Program Director, and that’s how she realized that she is enjoying teaching and developing new content. Sivan feels that educating and preparing the next generation of cybersecurity leaders is a critical mission, and she is very excited and grateful for this opportunity.

Sivan also developed a cybersecurity program for Manhattan High School for Girls, and there’s nothing more rewarding than witnessing the program’s impact on them. Last year, one of her student’s parents called to tell her that thanks to her program, their daughter decided to learn computer science in college and planned to continue to the Masters program Sivan is managing at YU. “I can’t even describe the feeling I had at that moment,” expresses Sivan.

These are very fulfilling moments that drive Sivan to continue her mission to support the next generation of cybersecurity leaders and hopefully get more women to join them!

Sivan’s vision at the Cybersecurity Masters program at YU is to prepare the next generation of cybersecurity leaders, readying them for great jobs and impactful careers. At YU, they provide the next generation of cybersecurity leaders with the tools, mindset, and values to deal with the evolving cybersecurity threats and protections. Also, since women make up only 20% of the cybersecurity workforce, promoting diversity and gender equality in the cybersecurity industry is another vision of Sivan and her Cyber Ladies NYC Community.

Helping Women Find Jobs in Cybersecurity Industry

As part of this year’s YU and Cyber Ladies NYC activities, they launched a mentorship program to help women find their first job in the cybersecurity industry. It was a challenging but extremely rewarding opportunity with three successful and unique programs and over 50 mentees participating. Upon completing the program, an astounding 60%+ of the participants were able to start a new job in the field during the pandemic.

“While this is just the beginning for these programs, the potential for positive impact is tremendous. There will be an influx of women seeking to join the cyber workforce, and I am very proud of the impact we have created,” asserts Sivan.

Creating and Building Something Meaningful Everywhere

Sivan always keeps moving and sees herself everywhere she can create and build something meaningful and helpful. She loves working with students, and her long-term mission is to train and prepare the next generation of cybersecurity leaders with 50% women.

She is also extremely excited and passionate about technology and building new products to support these leaders. She believes the technology she is currently working on with her brand-new company will make CISO’s and IT managers’ lives much easier and support and make their work more efficient, meaningfully improving their company’s security posture.

Giving Valuable Instructions to Future Entrepreneurs

Sivan advises emerging women entrepreneurs in the cybersecurity industry that having a strategy is the key. She states, “Like everything in life, planning in advance can help you deal better with opportunities and failures. Same thing when it comes to our Career. Building a career strategy that includes the education and experience you need to achieve your goals.” In fact, this is what she and her partners include in their Mentorship program at YU and Cyber Ladies NYC. They are helping their students to build their career paths with the help of leaders in the industry.

She adds, “Get yourself a mentor you appreciate, and trust is another way to learn from someone else’s journey and support your career/ business decisions.”

Towards Secured Future

Sivan is a strong force for highlighting the need for greater support for women wishing to enter the bustling cybersecurity space, which men typically dominate. Both professionally and through her Cyber Ladies NYC organization, Sivan is constantly working to spread awareness about challenges and opportunities for women in cyber and the general industry. Currently, Sivan is also working on building a technology that will focus on supporting and improving the security of companies.