Rising number of measles cases in the US raises important questions
Since the 1970s, health organisations worldwide have strenuously worked to eradicate a large number of diseases with the implementation of new and developing vaccines. However, with growing concerns surrounding the long-term effects of these vaccinations, many parents are opting not to vaccinate their children, leading to a rise and re-emergence of diseases which had previously been removed in countries such as the US.
The US has consequently seen a growing number of measles cases, according to recent studies. The large majority of cases were individuals who were unvaccinated, rather than the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine itself being unsuccessful.
"The reason measles has come back is not because the virus has mutated. It's not because the vaccine isn't effective. It's because a critical number of parents have chosen not to vaccinate their children," said Dr. Paul Offit, Director of the Vaccine Education Center at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.
Many choose to become unvaccinated for religious reasons, or have general distrust surrounding vaccinations. There have also been concerns surrounding a link between the vaccine and autism according to a historic report which has since been discredited and retracted.
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Earlier this year, Minnesota saw one of the largest outbreaks of measles in over 20 years, where many unvaccinated individuals. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said that measles "is so contagious that if one person has it, 90% of the people close to that person who are not immune will also become infected."
However, such information has not been enough to convince many parents. Following from a measles outbreak that began at Disneyland, a subsequent change in California law has led to the removal of parents’ rights to remove children from receiving vaccinations on the grounds of religious reasons.
With the law stating all children are to be vaccinated prior to attending school, many parents have been seen to forge medical documents in order to make their child exempt from the process.
“It really isn’t up to the parents,” said Catherine Flores-Martin, Executive Director of the California Immunisation Coalition. “Some doctors may feel emboldened if they … feel they can do that without scrutiny or consequence. It’s an issue that physicians need to address with their peers, and we’re going to help start that conversation. It’s up to the doctors to behave professionally.”
Nonetheless, such a stance has been adopted by further US states in order to tackle the ongoing rise.
Check Point: Securing the future of enterprise IT
Cybersecurity solutions provider Check Point was founded in 1993 with a mission to secure ‘everything,’ and that includes the cloud. Conscious that nothing remains static in the digital world, the company prides itself on an ability to integrate new technology with its solutions. Across almost three decades in operation, Check Point, with its team of over 3,500 experts, has become adept at protecting networks, endpoints, mobile, IoT, and cloud.
“The pandemic has been somewhat of an accelerator in the evolution of cyber risk,” explains Erez Yarkoni, Global VP for Cloud Business. “We had remote workers and cloud adoption a long time beforehand, but now the volume and surface area is far greater.” Formerly a CIO for several big-name telcos before joining Check Point in 2019, Yarkoni considers the cloud to be “part of [his] heritage” and one of modern IT’s most valuable tools.
Check Point has three important ‘product families’, Quantum, CloudGuard, and Harmony, with each one providing another layer of holistic IT protection:
- Quantum: secures enterprise networks from sophisticated cyber attacks
- CloudGuard: acts as a scalable and unified cloud-native security platform for the protection of any cloud
- Harmony: protects remote users and devices from cyber threats that might compromise organisational data
However, more than just providing security, Yarkoni emphasises the need for software to be proactive and minimise the possibility of threats in the first instance. This is something Check Point assuredly delivers, “the industry recognises that preventing, not just detecting, is crucial. Check Point has one platform that gives customers the end-to-end cover they need; they don't have to go anywhere else. That level of threat prevention capability is core to our DNA and across all three product lines.”
In many ways, Check Point’s solutions’ capabilities have actually converged to meet the exact working requirements of contemporary enterprise IT. As more companies embark on their own digital transformation journeys in the wake of COVID-19, the inevitability of unforeseen threats increases, which also makes forming security-based partnerships essential. Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan (HOOPP) sought out Check Point for this very reason when it was in the process of selecting Microsoft Azure as its cloud provider. “Let's be clear: Azure is a secure cloud, but when you operate in a cloud you need several layers of security and governance to prevent mistakes from becoming risks,” Yarkoni clarifies.
The partnership is a distinctly three-way split, with each bringing its own core expertise and competencies. More than that, Check Point, HOOPP and Microsoft are all invested in deepening their understanding of each other at an engineering and developmental level. “Both of our organisations (Check Point and Microsoft) are customer-obsessed: we look at the problem from the eyes of the customer and ask, ‘Are we creating value?’” That kind of focus is proving to be invaluable in the digital era, when the challenges and threats of tomorrow remain unpredictable. In this climate, only the best protected will survive and Check Point is standing by, ready to help.
“HOOPP is an amazing organisation,” concludes Yarkoni. “For us to be successful with a customer and be selected as a partner is actually a badge of honor. It says, ‘We passed a very intense and in-depth inspection by very smart people,’ and for me that’s the best thing about working with organisations like HOOPP.”