Archive for February, 2021

Supporting Communities to Deliver Vaccines at Scale

With the COVID-19 vaccine rollout under way, communities are counting on government agencies and healthcare organizations to adapt quickly to meet their needs. Cisco Meraki is here to help—ready to deploy unique solutions to support public and private organizations as they move quickly to scale vaccination efforts.

Additionally, the U.S. federal government passed the latest “Coronavirus Stimulus 2.0” bill. This funding, which is an attachment to the larger 5,000+ page Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, will provide close to $900 billion to state and local governments, educational institutions, and healthcare providers to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

We spoke with Troy Yoder, Cisco Global Public Healthcare Leader, and Janell Tennyson, Cisco U.S. Public Funding Advisor, on the current state of this initiative.  

What is the current state of Cisco Meraki’s involvement in the COVID-19 vaccine effort? 

The scale of this response is truly impressive across the entire care continuum for healthcare providers. In fact, we are seeing the effort expand to retail, healthcare, and government organizations, with a focus on connectivity, security, and visibility. Setting up a temporary vaccine site in exterior spaces like parking lots or convention centers means implementation needs to be streamlined. 

For many drive-through, temporary, and pop-up vaccination sites, data connectivity is critical. Vaccine databases, electronic health records, and other critical information needs to be accessed by staff in real time—securely and reliably. Additionally, surveillance is vital in these spaces to monitor access and ensure proper vaccine storage and Meraki’s technology is key to meeting those demands seamlessly. 

How is Cisco Meraki leading on the mobilization of partnerships between public and private organizations?  

As vaccine distribution scales out, Cisco Meraki is working closely with our partners and customers. In the past weeks we’ve seen rapid efforts from both private and public organizations, from supporting pharmacy chains with physical security to the rollout of testing sites in the parking lots of hospitals, schools, and local communities. It’s been extraordinary to be a part of these efforts. Given that there’s no playbook for this, we continue to learn as much as we can in order to deliver solutions that scale visibility, security, and connectivity to support vaccine administration.

What role does technology play in the vaccine rollout, both in terms of execution and maintaining safety? 

Cisco helps power an inclusive recovery by driving efficient vaccine administration through technology and expertise. Since the vaccine rollout began, Meraki has been working with partners and customers to operationalize mobile and pop-up vaccination sites through solutions that monitor loss prevention, support physical distancing guidelines, and provide a cloud-based network for virtual patient engagement.    

In terms of the vaccine rollout funding provisions in the recent new stimulus bill (Cares Act 2.0):

What are the specific industries that can apply for this federal funding? 

$8.75B was granted to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), with a minimum of $4.5B extended to states. The two funds (vaccine & contract tracing) were sent as supplementals to existing state awardees (i.e. in addition to regular, nonstimulus funding) under the CDC’s Immunizations and Vaccines for Children cooperative agreement (vaccine distribution $) and the Epidemiology and Laboratory Capacity for Prevention and Control of Emerging Infectious Diseases (ELC) cooperative agreement (contact tracing $). States may choose to “pass along” some of this funding to the local level or keep it for state activities. Whichever organization has control of public health at the state level is likely the same group controlling this new money. Some states have one umbrella Department of Health while others may have separate departments.

What can be purchased with this funding?

These funds can be used for activities to plan, prepare for, promote, distribute, administer, and track COVID-19 vaccines.

When do these funds expire? 

9/30/2024

Where can I learn more? 

COVID-19 Vaccine | CDC

To learn more about Meraki’s solutions that support vaccine administration and how we enable healthcare providers and government agencies to support their communities, visit our website or contact us today.

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Redefining Financial Institution Security beyond the Perimeter

Financial institution executives believe that cybersecurity threats will present the greatest challenge to their industry in 2021, according to a recent survey conducted by core technology provider CSI. And consider this story from securitymagazine.com, where hackers attacked a bank’s security system and took over their cameras. Even after the bank replaced the cameras, the hackers were so embedded that the bank had to replace its entire security system. The lesson? Don’t underestimate the risk of a cyberattack.

Blended threats

Many financial institutions believe that their current security program is good enough—but is it? The threats we face are dynamic, emerging, and global, and they often keep one foot on each side of the physical and digital divide. These blended threats require connecting data, building new capabilities, and gaining new insights, thereby eroding the distance between the roles and responsibilities of physical and cybersecurity teams.  

The need for physical security isn’t going away, so it’s imperative that physical security teams and cybersecurity teams work together to ensure a holistic approach to financial institution security. So, how can your financial institution benefit from a collaborative working relationship between the physical security team and the cybersecurity team?

Adopt emerging technologies with confidence 

As new IoT devices enter the market they can open up a lot of security vulnerabilities. Imagine the scenario where an attacker successfully gains entry to a server room or data center and installs malware or devices to capture confidential, sensitive data—or even brings down the network entirely. How would a financial institution with a conjoined physical and cybersecurity strategy mitigate this situation?  

In this instance, cybersecurity teams faced with intruders could quickly connect the cyber footprint to a physical location. By mapping cyber and physical presence against one another, it’s possible to understand where threats originate. If an intrusive device is planted within an environment, cybersecurity teams can track its presence to its origin and identify those responsible for bringing it in via video surveillance footage. This provides a better view of the threat and more tools to protect valuable assets.

Additionally, consider developing the proper risk mindset and engage across the organization to innovate and behave collaboratively, thereby cultivating an institutionalized approach to governance, controls, and data protections. Cross-organizational cooperation can synergistically carve a path to adopting new IoT technology. 

Deepen your customers’ trust

Online banking and mobile banking have skyrocketed with the pandemic. Extending a digital trust experience into branch locations and physical touch points with customers and members is imperative. 90% of consumers said they feel safer when they can see video surveillance cameras in their bank or credit union and would choose a financial institution with surveillance over one without, all other things being equal. In the age of COVID-19, consumers will be expecting physical distancing measures, cleaning protocols, and mask compliance. Addressing these challenges does not have to mean manual monitoring and processes. New physical security technologies with integrated artificial intelligence can look for multiple threats using multiple sensors in an integrated and seamless response. 

Create synergies–branch transformation 

As branches are redesigned to be more open with self-service kiosks and digital signage, tellers will not be behind a desk but will instead be roaming the branch to assist customers with more complex transactions, like home purchases, retirement, or the intricacies of starting a business. This leaves the opportunity for an integrated networked security solution in this physical domain that can provide critical customer experience data around people-counting and queue length/occupancy for branch performance metrics, but also cover perimeter security and asset protection concerns for both on-site and remote teams. Harnessing the insights from video data for evolving customer experiences becomes a competitive advantage to win.

Being successful today elicits a holistic approach to security to ensure there is consistent protection of consumer data, employees, brand reputation, and infrastructure. Digital transformation for the physical security world has evolved as innovation enables the harnessing of insights from video data to feed a dashboard of information for lines of business with revenue-generation initiatives. Together, physical and cybersecurity teams will be positioned to combat emerging threats, mitigate risk, and deliver value across the organization beyond their traditional roles.

To learn more about a modern approach to security, visit our financial services home page.

Simplifying Physical Security with Meraki and Openpath

Physical security systems are important tools for organizations needing to create safe and secure environments. Most of these solutions are made up of various components with a limited view of the environment. The access control system can tell you that Brad’s badge was used to open the north door at 8:35 am, but it has no way of knowing if it was actually Brad. Security cameras can show you someone came in, but not which badge was scanned. Having integrated systems is key to creating the holistic view of security that organizations need in order to thrive. 

Unfortunately, traditional systems make this convergence challenging, and this leaves organizations vulnerable and in the dark. Adding to the challenge, physical security needs have also become more complex with time. New use cases like social distancing, asset protection, and lockdowns have arisen. It is crucial that organizations have flexible and agile platforms that can quickly adapt to meet the security needs of today and tomorrow. Traditional, on-premise security systems don’t make this easy. A smart, cloud-based platform like Meraki does. 

Best-of-breed systems to secure and safeguard

MV smart cameras are a powerful security tool for organizations, but they are just one part of a complete physical security solution. While exploring physical access control solutions, Bret Hull, CTO at Meraki, explains why Openpath was the natural choice. “By partnering with Openpath, Meraki has found a rare opportunity to bring together two companies whose product development philosophy is rooted in shared beliefs around simplicity and security. This is why we’ve chosen them as our preferred access control partner.” What Meraki has done for security cameras, Openpath has done for physical access control, and this integration combines  best-of-breed systems to secure and safeguard your organization.  

The integrated solution, powered by the Meraki cloud platform, provides open APIs and a rich ecosystem of apps and partners across IoT and networking domains. Like Meraki, the Openpath platform is also designed with an open API architecture. Both platforms are easy to deploy, with flexible configuration options, remote cloud-based management, and unrivaled network and cyber security safeguards. Customers can apply this solution to use cases such as asset protection, emergency lockdown, social distancing, compliance auditing, business intelligence, and more. Compared to legacy or all-in-one solutions, Meraki and Openpath offer a premium, easily customizable and adaptable solution to meet a variety of business needs. 

The partnership brings together real-time video and access control, giving customers a more complete picture of their environment. The Openpath Visual Activity Report ties together Meraki video footage with access control events, allowing organizations to audit activity and ensure that badge credentials match the person who is entering. Openpath alerts are made more powerful with linked video or snapshots, allowing administrators to quickly investigate and validate events. 

An agile platform for current and future needs

The Meraki and Openpath integration provides customers with a convergence of cyber security, physical security, and business intelligence, enabling them to do more with less. 

“This partnership gives organizations the benefit of a more complete, agile platform, which improves security and efficiency across the board,” said Openpath President James Segil. “Making day-to-day processes easier, faster, and more personalized is key to adapting quickly to ever-changing needs, and these two cloud-based solutions at the forefront of innovation are pivotal to achieving that flexibility.” 

At the University of Virginia’s Biocomplexity Institute, the Meraki and Openpath integration is an integral part of their remote security management. Linking Openpath access activity with Meraki video footage enhances asset protection at the facility, providing better awareness of who is accessing the building and when, without physically being on site. To learn more about how this new integration can benefit your organization, visit Openpath on the Meraki Marketplace to request a demo, or reach out to your Meraki rep

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