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Cybersecurity 101: Assessing the Threat & Mitigating Cyber Risks in Higher Education

Cybersecurity threats in the higher education community continue to rise at an alarming rate. Poor security strategies and the need for open learning environments make securing these institutions an even harder problem to solve. It is no longer a matter of whether or not you will be hacked, rather when. Higher education leaders are recognizing the need for a cybersecurity strategy that encompasses responsibility across the institution, from the boardroom to the classroom.

Join The Chertoff Group and Cisco on June 24th with a panel of higher education security experts to learn about:

  • The current higher education threat landscape
  • Trends and observations in higher education cyber threats
  • Methodologies on threat assessment
  • How to identify your unique areas of vulnerability
  • Best practices for enterprise risk management

We have convened an esteemed panel of subject matter experts to discuss the cyber risk confronting higher education today, including:

  • Pat Hogan, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, University of VA
  • Brian J. Tillett,  Principal and Director,  Cisco Cybersecurity Practice
  • Michael A. Wertheimer,  Former Director of Research, National Security Agency

Please be sure to attend the webcast where the panel will share their experiences and insights as well as answer questions. Register now and join us on June 24th to understand the current threat landscape your institution is facing and how to build a comprehensive security strategy to mitigate your risk.

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Campus Safety National Forum – Leveraging Technology to Increase Campus Safety

This week, Cisco is sponsoring the Campus Safety National Forum in Washington, DC. This two-day conference is the premier National Forum for helping security and law enforcement executives, healthcare and education administrators and other education stakeholders from across the country learn how to better safeguard the lives and property on their campuses.

At Cisco, we feel that events such as the Campus Safety National Forum provide a great platform for leaders to share best practices and learn from one another. We believe that technology can help improve campus safety and are committed to working with our partners and customers to demonstrate its value for higher education institutions.

For example, Cisco recently worked with Our Lady of the Lake University (OLLU) to implement video and digital signage solutions to increase campus safety communications. While OLLU was revamping their IT capabilities during a renovation, campus police saw their opportunity to improve campus safety through video notification and security alerts. Cisco helped them upgrade their video capabilities from analog video to IP video to improve surveillance. They also helped OLLU implement digital signage for on-campus communications throughout the main building, the cafeteria and residence halls, which can display security notifications all across the campus.

Most recently, OLLU has incorporated both video capabilities and digital signage into interactive kiosks located around campus. These kiosks provide a variety of important information, including campus maps and the option to connect with an OLLU representative for further assistance, which helps students, faculty and visitors stay connected and safe across campus. The solutions deployed at OLLU are just a few examples of the types of security initiatives Cisco can help provide campuses.

Whether or not you’ll be attending the Campus Safety National Forum or not, healthcare and education administrations and leaders across the county should look into how technology solutions can help them prepare for emergency situations and prevent crises on their campuses. Check out these resources for more information on how Cisco can help protect your students, faculty and facilities at both K-12 schools and high-education campuses.

 

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Overcoming Cancer in a Connected World

My Story: Beth Carter from LCPS-TV on Vimeo.

Growing up, we all had a favorite teacher. It may have been an impassioned English teacher keen on Shakespeare and Tolkien or perhaps a Science teacher with an over-the-top flair for dramatic experiments. As teachers, they inspired and challenged us. As memories, they continue to travel with us throughout life, still often influencing our behavior. For me that memory is Mr. Meredith, of AP English. His passion for teaching helped shape my own approach as an English teacher years later and continues to live on, transferred to my former students who now teach others.

Beth Carter, of Seneca Ridge Middle School in Loudoun County, Virginia, is that kind of teacher. Diagnosed with breast cancer in the fall of 2014, Beth faced the real fear of infection from others and had to reduce contact with the outside world. But keeping a dedicated teacher from teaching is like keeping the sun out of the sky, an impossible task. Driven by her passion for teaching, and with a little help from Cisco, she soon found a way to keep doing what she does best – empowering others.

Beth’s husband, Gregg, is one of our Systems Engineers at Cisco. He decided to reach out to co-workers for help. Their diagnosis was to provide connectivity to enable Beth to teach her students from the comfort of her home. Cisco gladly provided a TelePresence EX90 system for use in her house, and a TelePresence SX20 Quick Set (hooked to a Promethean Board) for her classroom. The system streamlines her desktop at home so she can move fluidly from individual work, to video calls, to problem solving over shared documents. This lets Beth talk to her students face-to-face in real-time to solve math problems. Best of all, Beth’s students are learning much more from her than just math. They are learning how to face their challenges head-on. “I am able to teach lessons to my students as if I was actually in the classroom,” she said. “You have no idea how important that is to me as a teacher to know that during my battle with breast cancer I can stay connected to my kids.”

While distance learning technologies excel at bringing us together, they can also have psychological benefits. As Beth’s situation shows, real-time video enabled learning can let homebound students and teachers be a productive part of any class; enjoying social interaction and increasing their sense of belonging to a community. I would have benefited greatly from that as a teenager when homebound, post appendicitis. During that time another teacher, Mr. Ridgely, traveled to visit me. That’s something I’ll never forget. But imagine if I could have joined his class for those two lonely weeks instead, learning from home using TelePresence? I might be a best-selling author today. For those who face long-term illness, video can be the lifeline that keeps them focused and buoys their spirits until they can physically return to school. Students in the classroom can also benefit by developing a greater sense of compassion and understanding for others and the life changing situations they face.

Thanks to Cisco’s TelePresence technologies, Beth is continuing to inspire adults around her while helping build a positive future for the youth of Loudoun County, Virginia. You can listen to Beth’s story in her own words at https://vimeo.com/129800501 and learn more about connectivity at Cisco Connected Learning.

To see how TelePresence can benefit your students and staff, check out:

TelePresence for K-12 Education

TelePresence for Higher Education

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We don’t need ‘The Rock’ to save the day, we just need to ‘Get Social’!

Mobile applications and sensors are commonly used to monitor traffic, health & wellness and incidents such as road traffic accidents.  But what about the threat of catastrophic disasters such as earthquakes where the loss of life can be unprecedented?

The sun drenched, Californian city of Pasadena is known for hosting the annual Rose Bowl Football game.  It is also located near the infamous San Andreas Fault (SAF).  If you paid attention in geography class at school or if you’ve seen the latest Hollywood blockbuster, ‘San Andreas’  starring ‘The Rock’, you’ll know that this means the city is at risk from earthquakes.

The Rock

Can ‘The Rock’ save the day?

It is suspected that one day California will be hit by The ‘Big One’.  This is a hypothetical earthquake of a magnitude ~8 or greater that is expected to happen along the SAF. Such an earthquake will result in devastation to human civilization within about 50-100 miles of the fault in urban areas such as Palm Springs, Los Angeles and San Francisco. No one knows when ‘The Big One’ will happen because scientists cannot predict earthquakes with any precision.  However, technology is providing them with data that in time will give Californian residents a fighting chance of survival.

Seismometers are highly sensitive instruments that detect seismic activity that occur before earthquakes strike. Unfortunately, due to their cost, the number of seismometers in California are limited.  The Southern California Seismic Network operates just 350 seismic stations and the Northern California Seismic Network has a further 412.

With the threat of ‘The Big One’ forever looming, The Caltec Institute in Pasedena embarked on a project to determine how they could provide a blanket of cheap Seismometers across the state.

Their answer? Smartphones! Yes, really!

Research conducted proved that accelerometers found in most smartphones are sensitive enough to detect large earthquakes.

Creating the ‘Community Seismic Network’ – Caltech is encouraging residents to opt-in to turn their smart phones into mobile seismometers by simply downloading an application called ‘Crowdshake’ onto their android device.

Caltec have said: “if only 1 percent of users in the area opted into the scheme, that few hundred seismometers would be augmented by several hundred thousand additional sensors giving sufficient intelligent processing”.

So how does it work?

Upon downloading the mobile application an algorithm executes in the background of the mobile device.  Algorithms are monitored and when seismic motion is detected by the accelerometer, a message is sent to a Cloud Fusion Center which includes the time, location, and estimated amplitude of the data that triggered the message.

Mobile seisomemetres

The benefit of the Community Seismic Network is huge.  A dense, city-wide seismic network could be used to detect earthquakes rapidly after they start and measure the strength of shaking accurately as it unfolds.

What would this mean to Californian residents? Well, it will enable immediate action to be taken to prevent damage, such as stopping trains and elevators, stabilizing the power grid, and deploying emergency teams.

This is an astounding example of the Internet of Everything! People, data, process and things coming together to save lives in real-time!

Whilst the application is currently a research prototype and not yet fully deployed for public use, Caltech anticipate that the capability of real-time early warning may convince users to download and install the application when it is readily available.

So quite simply, it pays to ‘get social’ especially on those days when ‘The Rock’ isn’t around the save the day!

Get-Social

 

Reference:

The Next Big One: Detecting Earthquakes and other Rare Events from Community-based Sensors.

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Join us at Cisco Live to see how IoE Improves Learning Outcomes

Analysts agree that academic institutions worldwide face more complex challenges than ever before and are under tremendous pressure to cut costs. At the same time, they also need to provide greater access to education, increased security, and improved outcomes and services, among others.

Through solutions enabled by the Internet of Everything (IoE), these academic institutions can successfully address their challenges, transforming schools and universities into connected campuses and taking them to the next level of an improved and digitized learning experience.

IoE in Education

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