Taking Action Against Racism

Taking Action Against Racism

Changes, Large and Small, Can Make a Big Difference

I grew up in a multicultural environment where diversity was the norm and the color of a person’s skin was simply another dimension like hair color and height. I consider myself lucky, because I know that every day people all over the world have a very different experience.

Recent events in the United States have heightened our collective awareness about inequality based on characteristics such as race. While it makes me optimistic to watch citizens everywhere stand up against racism and fight side-by-side to eradicate such deplorable acts, I also know that there is a bigger role for us all to play.

Diversity Is An Asset

At Nozomi Networks, our aim has been and will continue to be to create cybersecurity technology that changes the world for the better. We’ve always believed diversity is an asset, and embraced people across countries and cultures, in our employees, partners and customers.

Diversity has always been an important part of our company culture. It makes us better. Working with people of different cultures, races, religions, etc. helps us bring fresh perspectives and thinking to bear on a problem, and innovate in countless ways that go well beyond a technology perspective. This is something I’m especially proud of. That said, we want to do more. We must do more.

As an OT cybersecurity company, we use standard terminology that has existed in the industry forever. Starting with education around technology and security, labels from long ago are still very much in use — for example, the theory behind the “blacklist approach” and the “whitelist approach.” Until recently, it didn’t occur to me when using such terminology to wonder whether my best friend or any other individual would be offended by it. Now, I realize that it should have. Unfortunately, there are many other examples I could use. Non-inclusive vocabulary embedded in technologies, books, international standards and so on is overlooked and should be addressed.

Taking Action by Eliminating Non-inclusive Terminology

It will take time to eradicate racism in the world, but for Nozomi Networks, it’s fundamental that we do our best every single day. This journey is not a sprint, unfortunately. It is a marathon that requires continued action, big and small. Today, we take action by making sure that offensive terminology is no longer part of our programming vocabulary. No matter how established it may be in the industry, it will not be part of our product. To that end, we just released a patch update that provides new terminology for words that do not reflect the diverse nature of Nozomi Networks and the world we serve. Beginning with this patch, and continuing with all future releases, we want our product to be part of the solution.

I want to personally thank friends, coworkers, and customers for their patience while we rectified and removed the use of non-inclusive language within our tech vocabulary. We base our products on international standards, but questioning old standards is long overdue and we want to be an active driver for positive change. We look forward to continuing the dialogue around other ways we can do more. I encourage other leaders in the tech community to do the same.