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.
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:
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.
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
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!
Time is probably the most significant factor when it comes to protecting company premises. The speed in which a potential threat is identified and reliably assessed is pivotal in lessening possible harm to property and those within an organization’s facilities.
Whether an unlawful entry or a malicious act, the ideal security strategy is one that stops an incident before it actually has the chance to occur. Technology that delivers increased awareness is helping to make this a reality.
Today’s advanced technologies are making areas previously considered un-securable safer – Take for instance fiber optic transmission and machine-artificial intelligence. By combining self-learning with fiber optic sensing – as used in NEC’s Intelligent Perimeter Intrusion Detection System – suspicious activity can be located and classified over large areas and sites prone to challenging conditions. Being immune to electromagnetic interference, impervious to seasonal changes, capable of producing few false alarms and higher detection rates and requiring no electrical field power to function makes this cutting-edge technology a practical and effective security addition.
Automation is quickening response time – Even established security practices are being transformed by advances in technology such as the use of high-level algorithms. One such area: Video surveillance. Hours of manual examination and the prospect of human error are being outdone by automated pre-set analysis. NEC’s Enhanced Video Analytics solution – officially known as NEC EVA™ – is an example of such capability. By being able to simultaneously process live and pre-recorded video based on set criteria, suspicious individuals, objects or questionable behavior can promptly be recognized and investigated. Capable of also aligning cameras with multiple watchlists and custom alerts makes threat prevention that much easier and thorough.
Device-based applications are simplifying security through self-service functionality – Pen and paper registration, generic visitor card controls and physical security checks can soon become a thing of the past. When tablet devices are loaded with facial authentication software – as it is with NEC’s Front Desk Assistant – security gets streamlined and more transparent. Self-registration, photo badge creation and arrival notification all become automated through a single touchpoint handled by the visitor. Digitalized activity logs make for ready-to-read and sharable reports for in-depth insight into daily and repetitive facility traffic for greater awareness of what is occurring and with whom.
An increasingly connected workforce is making security alerts more targeted and immediate – Should a 911 call occur, push notification software gets the word out broadly and in varied ways. Emergency messaging by voice, email, text or a combination of all – all achievable using NEC’s UC Emergency On-Site Notification – can advise first responders on where to go and the type and severity of a situation they might face. This same functionality can also keep people in close proximity updated and vigilant or should an event prove to be a false alarm it can swiftly broadcast a cancellation or an all clear.
Looking for ways to strengthen your enterprise security practices?
Learn more about how NEC can help minimalize vulnerabilities to enterprise security threats – explore now
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NEC’s first-ever global partner conference, ADVANTAGE 2019, brought together more than 550 attendees from North America, EMEA and Latin America to learn, share and socialize during the three-day event. Attendees representing 200 partners from 50 countries gathered at the Hilton Bonnet Creek in Orlando, including channel partners, systems integrators, technology partners and guests along with key NEC executives.
With its theme of “Experience. Exchange. Excite,” ADVANTAGE delivered a rich blend of experts, guest speakers, networking opportunities, best practices sharing, deep dives into digital workspace topics, and a view of upcoming offerings. NEC executives, including Enterprise Technologies SVP Paul Kievit, Solutions and Services SVP Ram Menghani, and VP of Digital Platform Solutions Paul Aiello, provided a glimpse into the future of the Smart Enterprise and exciting possibilities that are available via dynamic delivery including Cloud, Smart WorkSpace and the UNIVERGE Integration Platform.
Woven throughout the presentations and educational sessions was the importance of the overall customer experience.
Digital transformation enables businesses to prioritize customer experience (CX), which elevates a commitment to employee experience (EX). For example, NEC’s Smart Workspace enhances employee experiences by providing work flexibility, improved collaboration, increased productivity and engagement. Deploying Smart Workspace allows organizations to reduce costs, retain talent, and create a great work culture.
Break-out sessions focused on current workforce trends, secure data management, unified communications solutions, high-availability servers, overcoming infrastructure challenges, and the importance of building customer relationships.
This year’s Solutions Expo featured global innovative solutions from the U.S., Japan and EMEA. The exhibits showcased the best of NEC’s current offerings as well as solutions that are coming soon.
This year’s agenda also featured guest
presenters who shared their expertise, ideas and knowledge with the audience.
Delivering the keynote address was Seth Mattison,
well-known international expert and author on workforce trends, generational
dynamics and business strategy. Seth, who is CEO of Luminate Labs, energized
the audience with his discussion on The
Future of Work and how workforce dynamics are shaping the new workplace.
LPGA Commissioner Mike Whan expanded
on how NEC is an
important partner in helping the golf organization achieve an
excellent fan experience at its events.
During the “Proud to Partner” session, several of NEC’s top systems integrators shared stories of success, transformation and best practices from their businesses. Featured speakers included executives from AllStar Communications, SETel, Forerunner, Koning & Hartman and Datasciences . Highlights from this session included a success story about a large university win that defined a roadmap for how SETel was able to combine creative financing through NEC Financial Services with NEC technology solutions and partner managed services to deliver an OPEX model to the customer, increased margins to the partner, and eliminate competitive bids.
NEC’s Valued Partners
The ADVANTAGE 2019 conference also
provides the opportunity to recognize our extraordinary worldwide partners
during the awards presentation. The focus was to not only award top performers for their demonstrated
excellence over the past year, but also to give partners the opportunity to
share insights and learn from each other. See a full list of the awards here.
The record-breaking attendance and enthusiastic participation from partners from around the globe made for a smashing success at NEC’s first global ADVANTAGE partner conference. Together, NEC and its partners continue to bring IT and communication solutions that enable organizations and their workforces to embrace the value of digital transformation.
To get an up-close look at ADVANTAGE 2019 check out our video.
Thanks to all who joined us in Orlando. See you in 2020 !
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Fill out the form today and we will get back with you.