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(ISC)², an association of certified cybersecurity professionals, and the Chartered Institute of Information Security (CIISec) have revealed a new guide that outlines the importance of inclusive terminology and language to fostering a more inclusive cyber profession and offers an alternative vocabulary guide and general language guidance for cyber security professionals.

(ISC)² says that the current cyber workforce gap stands at 3.4 million, and the global cyber security workforce still needs to increase by 65 percent to effectively defend organizations’ critical assets. Organizations understand that they need to rethink how they hire and that closing the workforce gap means addressing the lack of diversity and inclusion in the industry.

“To attract as many people as possible to the cyber security industry, we need to ensure that the barriers to entry are tackled,” said Dwan Jones, Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at (ISC)². “This means fostering more inclusive environments and changing the negative perceptions of cyber which allows for more individuals from diverse backgrounds to see themselves in the cyber profession. Inclusive language alone will not solve all of these problems, but it can help change the work culture and avoid alienating those we need to fill the workforce gap.”

“The cyber security industry is in desperate need for diverse talent,” said Amanda Finch, CEO at CIISec. ”Currently, there’s no shortage of people – the challenge lies in identifying, hiring and correctly supporting skilled employees from any and every background. If the industry doesn’t act then others will and we’ll see that talent either go elsewhere or lie completely undiscovered. The industry must ensure this isn’t the case, by doing more to attract these prospective cyber security stars of the future. A big part of this will come down to the language that we use, and ensuring we foster a more inclusive culture that the industry needs.”

The Alternative Vocabulary Guide is organized into categories around race and ethnicity, gender and orientation, accessibility, military and criminal justice, and age. The general language guidance offers key tips to keep in mind when writing code and documentation, including:

  • Avoiding using terms that have a social history
  • Avoiding acronyms, idioms and jargon
  • Being mindful of perpetuating stereotypes or biases
  • Using automated accessibility checks and authoring tools.

Obtain the guide.

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