Security Awareness Training in Place at Precision Plus

Michael Reader

By Jeff Lemmermann
Chief Information Officer, Precision Plus

In the headlines every day:
Computer hackers breach company, steal data. 

Even with technology’s constant advances and savvy IT professionals dedicated to prevent cyber attacks from happening, the “bad guys” seem to always find a way around technology and stay one step ahead of everyone else, compromising the personal information of many.

Most of the large data breaches nowadays are the result of social engineering.  Just one or two users fooled into clicking on something or giving up some bit of information can circumvent just about any protection.  So the goal has to be to let the users know about the threats and how to avoid them.

Criminals are on the lurk for the perfect opportunity to hack, often capitalizing from the launch of a new feature, such as the recent Facebook Messenger payment service, and the lack of knowledge by those attempting to use it. Often, subscribers receive a “phishing” email, which prompts them to enter personal information, user credentials, passwords, or to click on a potentially dangerous link.

One of the most important steps companies can take to combat cyber crime is to empower their employees with criminal tactic awareness tools, as well as information and updates on new threats and cyber criminal trends.

To accomplish these initiatives, Precision Plus’ Security Awareness Training Program uses a combination of live learning sessions, online classes, email notices on emerging threats, and a dedicated user tool which tests the users’ ability to identify fake emails. Our Security Awareness Training Program is an ongoing effort, offering a variety of training points and methods to suit the spectrum of user needs and learning preferences.

The education sessions, for example, which are conducted several times per year, consist of 30 to 40-minute conferences, focusing on the latest threats, online tools for protection, and programs that can be installed at home to help protect personal information.

Through implementing programs such as these, Precision Plus, hopes to give our employees the tools and knowledge that will help them make the right decisions when facing a doubtful cyber situation. There is no substitute for a knowledgeable user to prevent an information security incident.

How Inventors, Institutions, Innovators, Educators and Businesses Collaborate to Forge a Brighter Future for Our Children: Two Case Studies

Michael Reader

Mukwonago and Beloit (located about 50 miles apart) are two school districts in Wisconsin,  whose students’ paths are not likely cross. However, there is a common thread which  the share:  students from both districts are equally as excited about technology, and are eager to join in extracurricular activities to create products and solve problems, by putting STEM-related principles to work.

Educators and facilitators at both school districts provide the direction, mentoring and encouragement to makeit possible to happen, understanding that the students’ inventions and innovations will need to be put to the test…perhaps through competition, or possibly in the field. Extracurricular initiatives such these are often halted by lack of funding and/or access to facilities, materials or tools that can take the project from design to reality. This is where Precision Plus. and the Milwaukee School of Engineering Rapid Prototyping Consortium come to play. More on that later.

People may know Dean Kamen as a prolific inventor with more than 150 patents to his name, including the famous Segway. However, Kamen is also well known for launching “FIRST – For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology,” an organization whose mission is to “transform culture by creating a world where STEM is celebrated, and where young people dream of being science and technology leaders.” FIRST celebrated its 26th anniversary on March 20, 2015. Kamen explains FIRST in this short video retrieved from their Facebook Page:

Early in the history of FIRST, Kamen enlisted the help of Woodie Flowers, PhD and Professor of Mechanical Engineering at MIT, to create the FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC), where high school teams would compete with robots they designed themselves. Twenty-eight U.S. teams participated in the first competition held in 1992. Today, there are over 800 teams competing globally.

In addition to the FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) for grades 9-12, FIRST also sponsors three other competitions: The Junior FIRST LEGO League (Jr.FLL) for children ages 6 to 9, The FIRST LEGO League (FLL) for children 9-14 in the U.S.), and the FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) for grades 9-12. In all instances, the competitions are designed for young people to “gain self-confidence, develop people and life skills, make new friends, and perhaps discover an unforeseen career path.”

First Case Study. One of the teams competing this year in FIRST is The Mukwonago BEARs (Building Extremely Awesome Robots), also known as FRC Team #930 from Mukwonago, Wisconsin. The team is participating in two regional competitions: Wisconsin Regional (March 18-21) at the University of Wisconsin’s Milwaukee Panther Arena, and Buckeye Regional (March 25-28) at Cleveland State University’s Wolstein Center in Cleveland, Ohio.

Earlier in the year, FRC Team #930 contacted Precision Plus for support… not financial, but prototyping support. The team needed access to state-of-the-art equipment and technology to design and prototype one-of-a-kind components for their robot. The perfect place to get this accomplished was the MSOE Rapid Prototyping Consortium Center to which only members have access for a specified number of lab hours. As an active member of the consortium, Precision Plus was able to donate lab time for FRC Team #930 to use in time for the competition.

Second Case Study. Precision Plus also had the opportunity to support the launch of Beloit’s FIRST LEGO League for middle school students, The cyBER Team. The program is led by excellent educators and facilitators, with an added layer of mentoring, which is provided by high school students who are also involved in FRC. Through this type of engagement, the high school students are also learning to better communicate and teach. Last November, the cyBER team competed for the first time with great first-time results.

This video documents cyBER Team’s progress during their first year.

Twenty-six years ago, Dean Kamen had an idea, which is continues to grow. Precision Plus is happy to support the school districts of Beloit and Mukwonago and wishes them continued success.