Student Freedom Initiative and Cisco partnership supports cybersecurity infrastructure at HBCUs


Student Freedom Initiative and Cisco have expanded their partnership to strengthen the cybersecurity infrastructure of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) by adding three leading Certified Minority Business Enterprises (MBEs) – Procellis Technology, Sology Solutions and IPC Consulting – to the implementation team of cybersecurity.

This collaboration is a direct and actionable response to the Department of Education/Federal Student Aid (FSA) guidelines promulgated on December 18, 2020 for colleges and universities to comply with the National Institute of Standard and Technology’s 800 171 R2 requirements ( NIST) that establish safeguards to protect sensitive information transmitted online.

Cybersecurity solutions and implementation team expansion are available at no cost to participating HBCUs thanks to the generosity of Cisco, whose initial financial support of $150 million was announced in May 2021.

Through this partnership, each MBE will play a critical role in accelerating the analysis of the current security posture, preparing a gap analysis report, defining the nomenclature needed to mitigate the gaps, ordering and delivery of the required technical solutions and system optimization throughout the twelve months. maintenance of the technical solutions delivered.

“Over the past two years, we have made steady progress in creating scalable systems, processes, governance and technology, and building strategic partnerships to increase the resilience of our institutions and the global competitiveness of our students” , said Mark Brownexecutive director of Student Freedom Initiative.

“We look forward to continuing to expand the number of participating institutions and adding other strategic partners committed to long-term strategic partnerships with all minority-serving institutions to close the wealth gap across the country. prism of education,” continued Brown.

“When we think about HBCUs, aging infrastructure, and the need to be cybersecurity compliant in our Cisco systems, we have the services and products that can help HBCUs,” said Saidah Grayson DillVice President and Assistant General Counsel of Cisco.

“We are leveraging our resources to help HBCUs protect against cyber threats while simultaneously helping to build the diverse IT workforce of the future,” Grayson Dill continued.

“Working with the Student Freedom Initiative gives us the perfect opportunity to put our commitment to social justice into action by supporting HBCUs’ technology efforts in student retention, enrollment and success,” said Damien YoungFounder and CEO of Procellis Technology.

“It has been gratifying to see tangible improvements in the overall well-being of the HBCUs we have worked with, and we look forward to supporting SFI as we continue our relationship,” Young added.

“Sology Solutions is proud to work with Student Freedom Initiative who have a shared vision to close the digital equity gap through the provision of broadband, education and economic development,” said Ed ChristmasFounder and CEO of Sology Solutions.

“Our work to drive technological excellence and IT modernization in HBCUs will have a direct impact and bring real change to underserved communities,” continued Christmas.

“It is an honor to partner with Student Freedom Initiative to ensure that HBCUs and their students have a secure and compliant cybersecurity solution that will allow universities to focus on expanding enrollment, both in in person and remotely, and to increase their teaching and research capacity,” said Milton MooreFounder and CEO of IPC Consulting.

“HBCU students deserve the best education and the best technology, and we are thrilled to contribute to this mission,” concluded Moore.

In direct support of the Student Freedom Initiative’s vision of closing the wealth gap through the lens of education, Cisco has also expanded its philanthropy by providing access to the Cisco Networking Academy and the Talent Bridge.

Students participating in these offers will have the opportunity to obtain professional certifications in cybersecurity and job placement support. It is estimated that there will be a 33% growth in cybersecurity-related jobs through 2030, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and an average salary of $79,000 for those with the relevant security certifications.

Cisco Networking Academy celebrates its 25th anniversary and continues to be one of the oldest IT skills programs in the world. The program offers IT and cybersecurity courses, simulation software, and hands-on opportunities through a learning platform to support instructors and engage learners in 190 countries.

To date, more than 17.5 million learners worldwide have taken Cisco Networking Academy courses to build digital skills, and 95% of students who have taken courses aligned with Cisco certification have awarded the obtaining a job or training opportunity at the Cisco Networking Academy.

Cisco Network Academy certifications represent an investment of time and resources for HBCU students and staff. IT certifications can differentiate HBCU students from other professionals in their career field, which is especially important in today’s competitive marketplace.

Statistics captured in 2021 show how certified people report higher salaries than those who are not certified.


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