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Getting More Responsive Security by Learning From Disaster Responses

Editor’s Note: In the two previous blogs, we discussed some of the issues and dilemmas found within information security knowledge and practice domains. Those challenges arise fundamentally from the traditional approach that many organizations have adopted to address information security requirements. In this fourth installment, we look at how good preparation can improve security outcomes, as illustrated in a few case examples.

As the Dutch philosopher Erasmus once said, “prevention is better than cure.” Most organizations’ security approaches have focused primarily on erecting defensive systems to prevent attackers from compromising information and systems through exploiting security weaknesses associated with technology, process, or people in the organization.

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Blending Learning Pilots Take Off with Citizen Schools and MIND Research Institute

This blog was originally published on the Citizen Schools inspirED blog and reposted with permission from Citizen Schools.

Meeting every student’s academic needs in the classroom can be challenging but is essential to their success. Many of the public middle schools Citizen Schools partners with are reaching students who are academically all over the map, with many falling below grade level.

In order to provide customized support to the highest-need students, we began “blended learning” pilots this year focused on core math instruction. Blended learning, which pairs computer-aided instruction with face-to-face classroom methods, enables Citizen Schools’ staff in four pilot programs across the country to offer more personalized and more efficient academic support during the expanded learning day.

st-math-photo-3-300x300Partnered with Cisco Foundation and MIND Research Institute, the blending learning math program utilizes Spatial-Temporal (ST) Math instructional software to focus on improving students’ math skills, with the aim of increasing student proficiency for long-term success.

Launched this September, over 350 students are utilizing the ST Math instructional software at four schools across the country. And after 3 months of implementing the pilots, the initial feedback and support from our school partners is positive.

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Cisco Partner Case Study in Oil and Gas – Canadian Natural Resources by Provist

Cisco partner Provista IP Communications* provided a solution to Canadian Natural Resources that delivered a flexible off-shore wireless network supplying data mobility whilst remaining secure and manageable.

When you search for case studies in Oil and Gas there are lots that cover the carpeted areas of organizations – office areas mainly, but fewer that actually reach outside to places like manufacturing or refinery areas, or even oil rigs. That’s why I was pleasantly surprised to read the case study from Provista. Provista are a Cisco partner based near Glasgow with a presence in North-East Scotland and the Midlands in England.

You’ll hopefully remember my blog: Ferguson Group Ltd keeps an Eye on Operations with Cisco Physical Security, in which I talked about the coming of a new ‘space-age’ equivalent for Scotland. In that blog we looked at physical security and video in particular. With this Canadian Natural Resources (CNR) case study we can see how the Cisco technologies go further out to inhospitable environments and help keep workers away from danger, and more productive if they have to be off-shore.

Read the case study and you’ll see the provision of Cisco wireless technologies helped enable CNR overcome some business challenges:

1.  “The cost of resourcing engineering consultancy and deployment time was significantly higher due to travel restrictions.”

2.  “It would be difficult to ensure that installed wireless networks would remain active in the event of a single device failure.”

3.  “Canadian Natural regularly had guest visitors to their off-shore oil platforms and thus requested a secure, but separate, connection for guests to make use of.”

Provist goes on to say that there were some major business benefits are being achieved:

  1. Cost/Safety: “Provista’s solution ensured that there was no need for highly-trained technical staff to be present at the remote sites.”

  2. Lower Downtime: “Canadian Natural technical staff have a longer window of time to deploy replacement equipment in the event of a failure.”

  3. Worker/Guest Productivity: “Employees and guests can be more productive off-shore as a result of the wireless network access.”

The case study goes on to talk about the implementation and Cisco elements for management and control. This is an example of how Oil and Gas customers will often start building networking infrastructure in the carpeted areas (like CNR did) and then extend out to non-carpeted areas such as oil platforms. The number of oil rigs that have a pervasive WLAN is actually relatively low. Sure, there are numerous proprietary networks for sensors and the like, but we’re now seeing the implementation of WIFI on rigs that are providing converged (i.e. compatibility and convergence with IT and OT – or Operational Technologies systems and networks), as the Internet of Things, and the Internet of Everything continues its journey of becoming more pervasive. This is a convergence based on Industry standards.

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Cisco Partner Weekly Rewind – December 24, 2014

Partner-Weekly-Rewind-v2Each week, we’ll highlight the most important Cisco Partner Ecosystem news and stories, as well as point you to important, Cisco-related partner content you may have missed along the way. Here’s what you might have missed this week:

As we wind down 2014 I am preparing to spend some down time with friends and family over the next several days. Since the holiday season is upon us, we will all be taking a break from the Partner Blog starting tomorrow. We will return on January 5.

In the meantime, as always, you can reach out to me directly with comments or questions. I hope each of you are looking forward to some rest and relaxation these next several days. I will see you again in 2015!

Off the Top

Pete Wareham was on hand this week to talk about the latest specializations available from Cisco. The Service Provider Technology Specializations really help partners capture new opportunities and Pete explained just how they do that for you.

Want the full update on these four new specializations? Check out Pete’s blog and let us know what you think.

Don’t Waste Time on Winless Opportunities

Karin Surber continued her excellent sales series with an entry this week on how not to suffer from “cannon fodder syndrome.” Want to know just what that means? Well Karin can explain what it means, why you don’t want it to happen to you and just how you can avoid it. Read Karin’s blog and give your feedback and stories. We welcome your input. Read More »

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Holiday wishes

As usual, in the post-Supercomputing / post-US-Thanksgiving-holiday lull, the work that we have all put off since we started ignoring it to prepare for Supercomputing catches up to us.  Inevitably, it means that my writing here at the blog falls behind in December.  Sorry, folks!

To make up for that, here’s a little ditty I wrote to tide us all over until we all return after the new year.

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