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Ask Jack: Does Language Play A Part In Cybersecurity?

I have noticed that cybersecurity training is written in English. What about those in the United States whose first language is not English? Are they at a higher risk?


People whose first language is not English may be at a higher risk according to one researcher:

A criminologist at the University of South Florida, has conducted a study on cyber hygiene and victimization among limited English proficiency (LEP) internet users.

The research highlighted the lack of resources and guidance available in languages other than English, leading to risky online behaviors among LEP users such as using unsecured networks and sharing passwords due to limited cybersecurity knowledge and resources.

The study emphasized the need for providing cyber hygiene information and resources in various formats, including visual aids and audio guides, to accommodate diverse literacy levels within LEP communities.

The most proven way to limit human error is through orientation of employees on your security standards and ongoing training. This is only effective if the trainees understand the subject matter. Providing the information in a language the trainees understand is crucial for limiting risk.

The takeaway is that cybersecurity orientation and training should be conducted in the languages reflective of your workforce. For example, if you have Spanish LEP workers, then you should provide the training in Spanish.

Jack McCalmon, Leslie Zieren, and Emily Brodzinski are attorneys with more than 50 years combined experience assisting employers in lowering their risk, including answering questions, like the one above, through the McCalmon Group's Best Practices Help Line. The Best Practice Help Line is a service of The McCalmon Group, Inc. Your organization may have access to The Best Practice Help Line or a similar service from another provider at no cost to you or at a discount. For questions about The Best Practice Help Line or what similar services are available to you via this Platform, call 888.712.7667.

If you have a question that you would like Jack McCalmon, Leslie Zieren, or Emily Brodzinski to consider for this column, please submit it to ask@mccalmon.com. Please note that The McCalmon Group cannot guarantee that your question will be answered. Answers are based on generally accepted risk management best practices. They are not, and should not be considered, legal advice. If you need an answer immediately or desire legal advice, please call your local legal counsel.


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