Honoring Those Who Serve and Have Served

NEC Commemorates the Day with Maj. Eric King and #VETSWHATSNEXT

Each year on November 11, America honors and celebrates the brave men and women who serve and have served in our nation’s armed forces.  Here at home and around the world, 1.3 million active duty military and 860K reserve service members protect our freedoms and secure our liberty.  There are 18.2 million veterans in the United States, according to the most recent statistics from the US Census.  To each and every one, we owe our sincerest gratitude.

Earlier this year, NEC’s effort to help thank one of these veterans was completed as he received the keys to his new mortgage-free home located in Irving, Texas, home to NEC Corporation of America’s headquarter office. Major King is a father of three who served three combat tours overseas. This decorated veteran medically retired from the military in 2016, and since has been focused on getting healthy and raising his three children. Maj. King and his family received their new home courtesy of Operation FINALLY HOME, built on land donated by the City of Irving, and supported by donations and volunteers from several companies, including NEC.

Watch the video the day that Maj. King and his family learned they were going to be given the home up to the day they received the keys.

This gift of thanks given to U.S. Army Major Eric King and his family has had a tremendous impact on them, prompting Maj. King to write to Operation FINALLY HOME:

“Thank you Dan Wallrath, Operation Finally Home and all supporters. We are at 6 months of being in our beautiful home and we still have the same feelings we had on the day of the key dedication ceremony…still filled and overwhelmed with joy, love and appreciation. Thank you!!”
– Eric K. King

Honoring Those Who Serve and Have Served – NEC Commemorates the Day with Maj. Eric King and #VETSWHATSNEXT

Maj. King has dedicated himself to giving back by helping other veterans reclaim their lives. He launched #VetsWhatsNext, a nonprofit charity to help change the lives of disabled Vets and their families. Through fundraising activities and #VetsWhatsNext product sales, he hopes to benefit organizations such as Operation Finally Home and Veterans scholarship foundations. For more information go to https://www.VetsWhatsNext.com/, and follow on Facebook, Twitter (@VetsWhatsNext), and Instagram (#vetswhatsnext). NEC supports #VETSWHATSNEXT.

Honoring Those Who Serve and Have Served – NEC Commemorates the Day with Maj. Eric King and #VETSWHATSNEXT

Pictured with Maj. King and modeling some of the #VetsWhatsNext gear are some of our NEC Veterans (from L to R): Charlie B. – Army, Auby T. – Army, Tammy L. – Navy, Stacey T. – Navy, Maj. Eric King – Army, John W. – Air Force, John E. – Air Force, Russell H. – Marines.

AFIS Internet Conference 2018

Please join NEC in offering our heartfelt thanks to Maj. King, our NEC veterans, and all that are serving or have served.  We honor their service and sacrifice that allows us to continue to enjoy freedom and democracy in this great country. Your show of gratitude can have a far reaching impact on so many, just as it did with Maj. King.  If you are looking for additional appreciation ideas, here are 8 Ways to Express Appreciation on Veterans Day from Military.com.

NEC Partners with NSHOF, FC Dallas and Frisco ISD to introduce the STEAM FC Experience for Middle School Students

I was pleased to attend the recent launch of STEAM FC presented by NEC, an innovative educational program developed in partnership with Frisco Independent School District (FISD), the National Soccer Hall of Fame (NSHOF) and FC Dallas at their headquarters in Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas. This program’s name and its focus is all about introducing FISD sixth graders – in its first phase – to the many ways Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics (STEAM) can be applied using professional soccer and stadium management as its core.

In addition to my duties with NEC Corporation of America, I’m also the head of the NEC Foundation, which is focused on delivering social value in the communities where our employees live and work – one of these values being Education. Frisco ISD, developed the curriculum to creatively connect science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics to the business world in ways most kids don’t see these disciplines today.

STEAM FC is truly an innovative learning initiative. Participating students experience classroom problem-solving and brainstorming sessions, tour the National Soccer Hall of Fame (NSHOF) — with its gesture technology, virtual reality and cutting-edge facial recognition technology from NEC. They get active in the Movement Lab, learning how athletes use science to reach peak performance. Components of the Toyota Stadium Tour also will include learning how marketing works, how the electrical system works, how the grass on the soccer field grows and is maintained; essentially, STEAM FC curriculum incorporates the business and the combined STEAM skills involved in running a pro soccer team at this specialized venue.

At NEC, we believe in giving all kids, but especially girls and economically disadvantaged children, unique access to STEAM initiatives in the hope it sparks inspiration and passion and the possibility that more of these underrepresented groups will enter STEAM professions. Diversifying the talent pool for STEAM jobs can only improve our worldwide competitiveness.

For more details about STEAM FC field trips, you can visit the FC Dallas STEAMFC web page.

Be Prepared When Ransomware Attacks Strike

While ransomware attacks are certainly nothing new, a recent report indicates that such incidents have increased more than 360% year-over-year in the first half of 2019. In addition to businesses and individuals, more and more cyberattacks are targeting local governments in several states, including  Maryland, Michigan, Florida, Indiana and the recent attacks on 23 Texas towns.

These attacks not only cause disruptions and inconvenience, but cost millions in recovery and restoration efforts, loss of revenue, decreased productivity and reduced levels of customer service. Ransomware and other cyberattacks will probably never be eliminated completely, but organizations can mitigate the negative effects of an attack and be prepared before one occurs.

Being Prepared Before an Attack

Here are a few recommended steps that businesses and other organizations should consider before and after an attack.

  • With the help of a security expert, conduct a “health check” on your systems to identify any vulnerabilities. Consider both external attacks as well as internal breaches (intentional or not).
  • Keep backup data off premise, both physically and logically away from production data.
  • Ensure that all systems used for backing up data have the latest software patches, follow protocols and can detect ransomware.
  • Reduce the complexity of having multiple systems by consolidating backup data from all systems—disaster recovery, applications and cloud systems.

Education and communication also play an important part in cyberattacks. Makes sure all end users are educated about security protocols, including not falling for spoofing attacks. If a ransomware or other attack does occur, communication with all stakeholders—employees, partners and customers—is a critical step. Mitigating anxiety and alleviating fear through ongoing communication help make things go more smoothly during the recovery process.

Once an attack occurs, acting quickly will be critical as well. Hire a professional with experience to help you make the right business decisions regarding recovery efforts based on the amount of time it will take, cost considerations and what losses are occurring.

Expertise in Data Backup and Recovery Solutions

NEC, with our experience and expertise in data backup, business continuity planning and recovery solutions, can be a powerful ally in mitigating risks prior to an attack and enabling faster recovery should an attack occur.

NEC delivers Backup as a Service (BaaS) by providing a suite of off-site data backup services. Our BaaS solutions range from ensuring that systems are up-to-date to providing secure targets, which can optionally move data to and from tape storage. Our staff is fully trained on a range of backup systems and can ensure that data is backed up locally and off-premise.

As the first technology infrastructure provider to join Iron Mountain’s Data Center Marketplace, we offer protection and accessibility through infrastructure built to our specifications and made available at Iron Mountain’s secure, compliant and energy efficient above-ground and underground data centers.

In order to optimally address a wide range of customer requirements, NEC offers a suite of BaaS deployment options:

  • Customers with data stored in public clouds, and with highly dispersed systems, often require a fully managed backup solution, with backups performed at the application and bare metal/VM level. Once notified of a ransomware attack, it’s important to scan backups to detect any malware (not just ransomware) so that the system will not be re-infected when restoring from backups prior to the incident. Examining ransomware-encrypted data upfront will help prevent overwriting old “clean” data inside the backup. NEC uses industry leading agents to isolate and not transfer ransomware-encrypted data from any client/server locations. This action is performed to ensure data integrity prior to storage and to alert customers of any intrusion.
  • NEC also provides physical and virtual backup appliances deployed on premise for customers with: a requirement for local storage; a large amount of servers or data and a need for a fully managed backup solution. Through this option, application and bare metal/VM-level backups are stored locally and analyzed for ransomware prior to deduplication, compression, encryption and secure transmission to NEC.
  • Other customers use their own backup software and have strict backup time windows that require the highest performance data backup ingestion. For them, NEC offers an upgraded BaaS Appliance using our HYDRAstor platform. This platform provides the highest ingestion and deduplication performance and delivers highly secure replication to NEC HYDRAstor systems located at Iron Mountain. NEC offers ransomware detection services based on the customer’s specific policies and landscape.
  • For customers that use their own backup software, but don’t require high performance, NEC offers the HYDRAstor Virtual Appliance (HSVA). The HSVA runs in a virtual machine and acts as a backup target for a customer’s own infrastructure. It deduplicates using localized NEC HYDRAstor technology before encrypting data for transfer to NEC HYDRAstor at Iron Mountain. NEC offers ransomware detection services based on the client’s specific policies and landscape.
  • Sometimes customers prefer to push data to tape using industry standards. NEC, in collaboration with Iron Mountain, offers tape restoration and long-term retention services for all the services listed above.

Providing Protection from Both Outside and Inside Threats

Dedicated NEC-based infrastructure is built according to best practices for redundancy and security. Ensuring that data backup systems and storage are off site reduces access to these critical systems by both hackers and insiders. For a reasonable monthly fee, NEC offers low total-cost-of-ownership BaaS that provides:

  • Industry Leading Backup Agents
  • Secure off-site data storage
  • Disaster recovery for 24/7 business continuity
  • Value Added Services
  • On-Premise Appliance Options

For a complimentary Backup Assessment, fill out the form below.

Learn more about NEC’s back up, recovery and business continuity offerings and download the white paper.

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NEC Building Community Through Service

NEC Corporation of America (NEC) has been a sponsor of Herbert Marcus Elementary in Dallas, TX for the past three years. The involvement of NEC and the volunteer efforts of NEC employees, has made a tremendous difference at this school. Last year the school moved into a “Breakthrough Campus” category in the Dallas Independent School District and, according to the Principal Jonatan Romero, NEC played a big part in this transformation.

As one of our projects this year, NEC decided to “Stock the School” with supplies for each teacher. Unfortunately, many teachers have a financial burden of out-of-pocket costs to supply their students with basic supplies. NEC wanted to help ease that burden for the 50+ teachers at Herbert Marcus by providing each teacher with a care package of basic school supplies such as: folders, pens, hand sanitizer, dry erase boards, markers, etc.

Quantifiable Impact:

  • Provided essential classroom supply kits for 46 classes – impacting up to 800 kids in these classrooms
  • Custom decorated 20+ clipboards to include in the classroom supply kits
  • Painted chalkboards in 3 classrooms
  • Assisted teachers move and set their classrooms
  • Painted and refreshed the health clinic
  • Painted and refreshed the Community Outreach room
  • Painted and brightened up the main stairway
  • Assisted 10 teachers with classroom décor and organization
  • Painted colorful and fun ceiling tiles for the Art room
  • Fresh coat of paint in a large multi-purpose classroom
  • Hand wrote 46 Thank You notes to every teacher in the school to start their new year with motivation
  • Purchase of a much needed projector and screen for the auditorium
  • Purchase of new stage curtains for the auditorium

Stock the School at Herbert Marcus Elementary

NEC’s global branding statement is, “Orchestrating a brighter world.” NEC volunteers decided we could brighten up the school by adding a fresh coat of paint to the nurse’s clinic, stairways, and a few classrooms. The students spend a large part of their day in the school and adding a new coat of paint assisted in revitalizing areas for a refreshed and positive learning environment. Our goal was to ensure students and teachers walk into the classroom confident, empowered and prepared!

Facial Recognition: How Policy Can Catch Up to the Technology

Facial recognition (FR) stands at a critical point in its development.

The technology is racing forward and improving rapidly. Adoption of FR tools as a law enforcement asset is growing. It’s now commonly accessible by police agencies nationwide.

And beyond its original applications in the military, counter-terrorism and law enforcement, the technology is improving other sectors, such as aviation and travel, hospitality, healthcare, financial services and retail.

Yet public understanding of FR lags behind. And, driven by incorrect popular perceptions, public policies that would ban or over-regulate FR’s use seem ill-informed and out of step with present realities.

This poses a challenge to those of us committed to the success and propagation of FR: How can we ensure that public perception — and policymakers’ perception — of FR is better aligned with the technology’s value to society, and, specifically, to law enforcement?

Recently I had the privilege of moderating a blue-ribbon panel of FR leaders who assembled to tackle this precise question.

The panel convened for the 33rd Annual International Biometrics Association User Conference — formerly known as the AFIS Internet User Conference – in Scottsdale AZ.

“We’ve got to get better at helping policymakers understand the value and positive outcomes of this technology,” said Ashwini Jarral, executive director of the Integrated Justice Information Systems Institute, setting the tone for the discussion. “That way, we can go and fix these policies and laws.”

It was heartening to see our panelists rapidly establish a consensus around at least three themes:

Theme #1: Educate policymakers and the public on two key points: Propelled by misapprehensions, some municipalities have banned FR in law enforcement. Leveraging public education as a basic push-back strategy, the panel recommended two areas of focus:

First, the public isn’t distinguishing between FR as an investigative tool and as a surveillance tool. People need to understand that FR doesn’t mean constant video surveillance. It’s not “Big Brother,” rather it’s used for investigatory leads.

“Investigation and surveillance are two different things completely,” said Lt. Derek Sabatini of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. “Detroit and Chicago, for example, have large surveillance systems, but these systems don’t include live facial recognition. Facial recognition tools are only used for investigative purposes.”

Secondly, the public seems unaware of procedural safeguards already in place to regulate the use of FR.

“This is not the ‘Wild West,’” said Lt. Sabatini. “There are governance systems that mandate that you must have a right to know and a need to know before you can access that data. There are criminal penalties if you misuse that data.”

“People mistakenly think that sweeping and universally accessible databases are being freely shared between states and the federal government,” said Tovah LaDier, executive director of the International Biometrics + Identity Association. “In fact, states must give individual permission for the federal agencies to permit access.”

Existing federal legislation provides that states may enter into agreements with the FBI to provide state-level department of motor vehicle (DMV) database access, only for the specific purpose of assisting the FBI in fulfilling its law enforcement responsibilities.

Theme #2: Publicize FR’s positive track record: Popular fears of FR overreach are disproven by the technology’s excellent performance in law enforcement.

Lt. Sabatini told the conference that Los Angeles County has been using FR as an investigative resource since 2009, and deployed it in 11,000 cases last year alone. Yet the County has never faced a civil liberties court challenge charging abuse. He said that the New York Police Department had leveraged FR for 7,000 investigations last year, which had helped generate some 1,000 “legitimate arrests.”

Faith Contreras, the Facial Recognition Program Administrator for the Arizona Department of Transportation, pointed to successes in child trafficking and child smuggling. She said it’s also been used to investigate a range of cold cases and to identify unknown deceased individuals.
 
Theme #3: Embed governance capabilities within the technology: Panelists concurred that when it comes to protections relating to such matters as privacy and consent, the desired policy objectives have to actually be built into the technology.

“You can write policies all day long,” said Mr. Jarral. “But if you can’t demonstrate that your policies are actually embedded within the technology, you’re going to lose this battle.”


At the panel’s closing, Ms. LaDier affirmed her association’s commitment to the “transparent and secure use” of FR and related technologies. She also announced the forthcoming launch of a “responsibleid.org” site that would serve as an educational platform and a repository of “good news” about FR.

“Any technology can be used properly, and it can be abused,” she said. “Considering facial recognition’s enormous benefits, we cannot ban the technology. We have to do the hard work to regulate it so that it is used properly.”