Written by: Dave Spencer and Meg Bhatia
Building an inclusive community is not an overnight activity, which is why Dell Technologies emphasizes fostering an inclusive culture in our mission. While there are many corporate activities that take place to encourage an inclusive community, you might ask yourself: how can a security team play a role?
Dell Technologies Security and Resiliency Organization (SRO) led a program to detect and adapt all content produced by SRO to incorporate inclusive terms. We had a unique opportunity to help influence how the company spoke about certain topics.
First, we observed common terms used within the security world that may be perceived as offensive and their more inclusive alternatives. Examples include primary vs. master and allow-list vs. whitelisted. We then established content owners serving each of our security pillars – physical, cyber, supply chain, governance and compliance, and product. The content owners created an inventory of the documentation created by each pillar, which would be scanned for non-inclusive terms. Finally, we collaborated monthly to build processes towards the long-term goal of ensuring all SRO deliverables use inclusive language.
We used various platforms and tooling to scan SRO-created content for non-inclusive language and suggest alternatives. By searching our internal sites and external assets, we tracked non-inclusive terms and reported them to the content owners. From there, the content owners worked with the original authors to update the documents.
“It isn’t just about avoiding offense. Many of the suggested terms are clearer and more understandable across diverse backgrounds and geopolitical boundaries” – David Spencer, senior manager, Product and Application Security, Dell Technologies
Through this program, we scanned more than 18,000 Dell SRO documents for non-inclusive terms and updated nearly 1,000 assets across our security organization. When our team develops new content, it goes through the same process to ensure those assets use inclusive language.
You too can foster an inclusive community through an inclusive language program. Your teams’ decisions on what language to use can help alter the balance in a positive direction. Referencing external guidelines, such as the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) guidance on inclusive language, is a great way to start.
A diverse team brings unique perspectives. Dell Technologies commits to actively working towards equity and inclusion for all. Discover more ways inclusion in thought and communication is uplifted by Dell Technologies here: Diversity & Inclusion (dell.com)