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U.S. Chamber of Commerce Report: State of American Business

YourUpdateTV

The pandemic has caused unprecedented economic disruption. In conjunction with the State of American Business, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has released a new economic report on the outlook for and challenges facing key industries across the country. A video accompanying this announcement is available at: https://youtu.be/uTchoM1ZxrQ The Chamber has released its annual policy agenda, detailing the most important legislative and regulatory priorities for the American business community. It includes how business is ready to work with the new Biden Administration and the new Congress to rally for recovery as we continue to battle the pandemic. Neil Bradley, Exec VP and Chief Policy Officer, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, conducted a nationwide media tour from Washington, DC in conjunction with D S Simon Media and YourUpdate TV to address results of a new economic report on the business outlook for recovery in 2021. During interviews with TV and radio stations across the country, Neil Bradley discussed: Results of the new economic report on the business outlook for recovery in 2021 What local businesses can do to rally for recovery post pandemic How business hopes to work with the Biden Administration to get things done on issues including infrastructure, immigration, and the workforce. The Chambers most important legislative and regulatory priorities to help local businesses recover. The latest on support available for local businesses About YourUpdateTV: YourUpdateTV is a social media video portal for organizations to share their content. It includes separate channels for Health and Wellness, Lifestyle, Media and Entertainment, Money and Finance, Social Responsibility, Sports and Technology. Contact Details YourUpdateTV +1 212-736-2727 yourupdatetv@gmail.com

January 25, 2021 10:00 AM Eastern Standard Time

Video
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CMMC Center of Excellence Announces Engagement Agreement with itSM Solutions

Interoperability Clearinghouse

The Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification Center of Excellence ( CMMC COE ), hosted by the Information Technology Acquisition Advisory Council (IT-AAC), a public-private partnership serving the public and private sectors for more than 15 years, is excited to announce a partnership with itSM Solutions, a global consortium of academic, government and industry thought leaders working together to create training and technology solutions that enable enterprises to design, operationalize and automate a cybersecurity risk management program based on the best practice publications created by the National Institute of Standards and Technologies (NIST), the International Standards Organization (ISO), the Center for Internet Security (CIS) and the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations (COSO) of the Treadway Commission. This unique partnership will extend efforts to identify and include proven capabilities within the CMMC COE Marketplace to improve cybersecurity protection and resilience for the global defense industrial base network of contractors, vendors, and suppliers. itSM has created an innovative, turnkey NIST 800-171 FastTrack Readiness Program that will provide DIB companies with an affordable, fixed price cybersecurity risk management solution that will deliver the cybersecurity risk management outcome expected by the Department of Defense. The FastTrack program will include accredited certification training, online mentoring from industry experts plus an online Integrated Risk Management (IRM) platform that will seamlessly integrate all cybersecurity and IT Risk and Compliance functions into a powerfully automated assessment and program management solution. The executed Engagement Agreement establishes a collaborative engagement between itSM Solutions and the CMMC COE to partner in the furthering of their respective and complementary missions and objectives regarding the adoption, use, and expansion of CMMC based cybersecurity practices, risk management, and compliance for the DIB contractor, vendor, and supplier community of providers creating a broader CMMC ecosystem globally to improve security and resilience. Specific actions will include: The co-development of CMMC advisory services, cyber training and education programs to accelerate CMMC certification, increase cyber adoption and improve cyber protection & resilience. Co-sponsor symposiums, training programs and podcasts leveraging their combined cyber and IT expertise. Host regular working groups, with other partners, to enable collaboration and communications. Source qualified CMMC/ cyber professionals to serve as advocates. Establish an independent Industry Cyber Security Advisory Council with peer organizations to advise and educate leaders across government and industry on the continued evolution and effectiveness of CMMC. “This is exciting opportunity for us”, said Mr. John Weiler, Chairman of the Board at CMMC Center of Excellence, “This new partnership will further help advance the goals and objectives for improving the supply chain security and resilience of the US Department of Defense (DoD)”. “itSM Solutions is proud to partner with the CMMC COE on this very exciting initiative,” stated Mr. Rick Lemieux, Managing Partner and Chief Revenue Officer at itSM Solutions. “We look forward to collaborating with the COE on solutions that will not only get DIB companies ready for CMMC certification but also provide them with the skills and tools necessary to manage cybersecurity risk management as they would any other business function”. The CMMC-COE ( http://cmmc-coe.org ) and itSM Solutions partnership will focus on bringing together the many disparate cyber and national security communities of interest to reduce complexity, improve awareness, and accelerate industry effort to become more cyber resilient against the growing threats from nation states and criminal enterprises. The CMMC-COE establishes both a Market Place and Knowledge Clearinghouse that will include resources that support the overall effort, including white papers; tutorials; recorded webcasts; presentations; and more that will help reduce the cost and burden on small and medium size contractors already struggling from the impact of COVID. For more information on the CMMC COE, please visit http://cmmc-coe.org email info@cmmc-coe.org or call 703-863-3766 For more information on itSM Solutions, please visit https://www.itsmsolutions.com/ About Us ---------- CMMC-COE.ORG is a unique non-profit public-private partnership, with a vision to accelerate Cybersecurity Maturity Model (CMM) adoption, and reduce time & cost for security compliance for our partners by leveraging commercial best practices, CMMC standards, and innovative solutions for a measurable success. Our mission, focused on DOD mission objectives, cost containment and expeditious CMMC compliance, is to help the DIB improve cyber posture and resilience, and simplify its acquisition. The CMMC-COE is hosted by the Information Technology Acquisition Advisory Council (IT-AAC), a public/private partnership (P3) chartered in 2007 as an honest broker to reach outside the confines of the Federal IT advisories that lack dynamic reach into the Global IT Market, and dedicated to the adoption of commercial IT management standards of practice and innovations emanating from the Global IT market. Team IT-AAC has already demonstrated the value of its decade long investment, and provides a unique value to agencies seeking to achieve accelerate the transformation of legacy processes and systems. Our Just-in-Time SMEs apply an innovative suite of Technology Business Management and Agile Acquisition Processes needed to assure the business value of commercial IT. The Interoperability Clearinghouse (ICH), is the managing partner that make up the 24 NGO/SDO organizations that make up the IT-AAC. ICH provides the contract vehicles, clearances, and critical resources proven to guide sustainable, measurable and repeatable processes needed to drive better investment decisions as the speed of mission need, while aligning existing processes, methods and workforce with IT reform mandates contained in Clinger Cohen Act, FITARA, IT MGT Act, EO13838. Contact Details Bob Dix +1 703-975-6633 bob.dix@it-aac.org Company Website https://cmmc-coe.org

January 25, 2021 06:00 AM Eastern Standard Time

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Chris Jutt Reviews How Minuteman Press Franchise Conversion Program Helps Independent Printers Sell Their Printing Business

Minuteman Press International Inc

Minuteman Press International Regional Vice President Chris Jutt (Pacific Northwest) shares his professional experiences in connecting sellers of independent print shops with qualified buyers who are looking to buy a printing business. Minuteman Press International, the world’s leading and #1 rated printing franchise, is continuing to expand its Minuteman Press Franchise Conversion Program to help independent printers sell their printing business. “This program is a way for independent printers to sell their business at no cost and no broker fees to them,” says Chris Jutt, Minuteman Press Regional Vice President for the Pacific Northwest Region. Chris has been supporting Minuteman Press franchises in the Pacific Northwest (including Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Montana) while also helping independent print companies find qualified buyers who are looking for the additional training, support, and resources that come with being part of the Minuteman Press network. Chris explains, “Everything is kept in strict confidence and we are simply there for sellers and will work with them at a pace they are comfortable with. We also help sellers by attracting a wide pool of buyers who don’t necessarily need to be in the printing industry because of the built-in training and ongoing support structure provided to them by Minuteman Press. After the sale of the business goes through, we work with the seller and buyer to help ensure a smooth, seamless transition that also best serves the client base.” How high is the demand for a printing business and how can Minuteman Press help? There is demand for buying a B2B business such as Minuteman Press because print is an essential business and Minuteman Press franchises are open and operating during the COVID-19 pandemic. Chris says, “We’ve seen high demand on our end from buyers because of what we can do for them. When selling your printing business as part of the Minuteman Press Franchise Conversion Program, we are able to expand products and services for buyers and provide benefits such as our proprietary pricing and business management software. Selling as a prospective Minuteman franchise opens up the book of buyers to anyone looking to own their own business. No experience is necessary, which boosts the demand from a whole new audience of buyers.” What does an independent printer need to get ready to sell? For sellers, Chris offers the following advice: “In order to sell, the owner needs to make sure their paperwork is in order. They will need at least three years of financials, employee information, and an asset list that shows all leases and owned equipment. With those items, we can at least begin the process together.” When is it a good time to sell a printing business? Selling a business at the right time is always important but sellers shouldn’t wait until it’s too late either. Chris states, “One thing I always try to stress is that you do not want to be selling your printing business when you absolutely have to. Instead, the best time to sell is when your sales are up, the company is doing well, and you are thinking about selling in the next few years. It is never too soon to reach out and see how we can help. It is important to keep running your business and continue to build it even while you are thinking of selling. Also, by having your financials in order and running them properly, that will only help you get a higher sale price for your business.” How does Minuteman Press help evaluate and value a print business? One of the benefits of the Minuteman Press Franchise Conversion Program is that sellers will get a free evaluation of their printing business. Chris explains, “We look at a few factors when evaluating independent printers. Earnings are very important of course, along with the assets in the business. We work with the sellers to make sure they are getting the best value for their business by reviewing their financials with them to make sure they don’t miss any add backs. The P&Ls never show the true picture or value of the printing business, and we get that. We work together with the seller to extract that, and once we have the agreed earnings together, coming up with a sale price is easy.” How long does it take to sell a printing business? Selling any business does take time and it’s not going to be an instant transaction. However, there are things that can be done to move the process along and make sure it goes smoothly. Chris says, “Like any business, selling a print shop takes time. If a seller is willing to assist with the financing for the buyer, it can potentially sell faster than if there is no seller financing. Based on my experience, I can say the most likely time frame is generally six to twelve months, but it’s not guaranteed. It can take less time when there is seller financing included in the campaign.” He adds, “Also, the business has to be priced right. If it is priced right, the business will typically sell within a small percentage of the asking price, which is why it is so important to have the right agreed upon number. Another thing to consider is that the only businesses we work with are from the printing industry, and we at Minuteman Press have been industry leaders for over 45 years. We are experts in the field, and our team will work with sellers in any way we can to help with the sale and transition.” What issues do independent printers run into when selling? Selling a business is not an easy task. If business owners can get assistance from experienced industry professionals, those experts can help the sellers overcome issues they may not have considered on their own. In his experience, Chris says, “One of the primary issues that independent owners run into is having the business correctly valued in order to sell it. Many times, we have sold a print shop after it was already listed with a business broker for well over a year. We only valuate printing, sign, and promotional businesses and we know how to price them right so that they sell for their true value. We are not about just getting the listing, and we only list a company if we feel very confident we can sell it. Once we approve an independent printing business for the Minuteman Press Franchise Conversion Program, we invest time and money into selling the business so it has to be a good fit for us and we need to be a good fit for them.” He adds, “One example that comes to mind is a sale we did for an owner who was thinking of retiring in three years. She actually placed a lower value on her printing business than what it was worth. Together, we went through her P&Ls and also looked at all additional compensation as well as one-off non-recurring expenses. Based on our review and knowledge of the industry, we found the business was more valuable than the owner thought and it ended up selling (at the right price) for more than she expected. She was able to retire and the new owner was able to come in and hit the ground running.” “We look at the Minuteman Press Franchise Conversion Program as a win-win situation that benefits the seller and the buyer, and we are glad to help.” –Chris Jutt, Minuteman Press International Regional Vice President, Pacific Northwest What concerns do independent owners normally have about selling their printing business? One of the biggest concerns that is always top of mind for business owners looking to sell is that they want to make sure these discussions are kept private until the right time. Chris says, “The biggest concern we see from independent printers is confidentiality. They want to make sure that everything will remain confidential so that employees and customers don’t find out prematurely about a possible sale, and we are happy to assure them of this. From day one, confidentiality is extremely important to all of us. The campaigns we run keep the independent printer anonymous until a qualified buyer is found. We have done this before, and we want to make sure the seller is completely comfortable with us when going through the entire process.” Employee retention and customer service are also items that owners have inquired about when selling. Chris explains, “What will happen to the current employees and clients is something we proactively discuss with sellers. We want to make sure there is a smooth transition for all involved. When we have a qualified buyer and convert the company to a Minuteman Press franchise, we are putting people into business that usually do not have a background in the industry. Therefore, the current employees can be a major asset to them.” He adds, “We go into each sale with the intention of retaining the current staff. Employees also know the client base and that helps with transition and customer retention. In most cases, the customers will get the same great quality and service from the staff they have always had, with additional services and pricing discounts they can now tap into because of the conversion into a full-service Minuteman Press franchise.” How is financing obtained for the sale of the business? For buyers, obtaining financing is one of the most vital parts of the process. It also helps sellers when buyers fully understand the importance of financing and how to best secure it. Chris states, “Financing is always a question that is asked early in the stages of research, and rightfully so. There are multiple ways for a buyer to purchase the business including but not limited to bank loans, personal loans, 401k rollovers, and seller financing. Seller financing is extremely common as it gives confidence to the buyer that the seller believes in his or her business.” Chris concludes with this advice for sellers: “Ultimately, there are many eager buyers out there who are looking to own a viable business. If you are looking at selling or retirement in the next couple years, I highly recommend you start the discussions sooner than later and see how we can help you sell your printing business at no cost or broker fees to you.” For more information on the Minuteman Press Franchise Conversion Program, visit https://bit.ly/minutemanpressconversions or call 1-800-645-3006. Learn more about #1 rated Minuteman Press franchise opportunities at https://minutemanpressfranchise.com. Contact Details Chris Biscuiti +1 631-249-1370 cbiscuiti@mpihq.com Company Website https://minutemanpressfranchise.com

January 21, 2021 12:07 PM Eastern Standard Time

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CMMC Center of Excellence & CMMC COE EU Announce Memorandum of Understanding with Gerico Security SRL of Italy

Interoperability Clearinghouse

The Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification Center of Excellence ( CMMC COE ), hosted by the Information Technology Acquisition Advisory Council (IT-AAC), a public-private partnership serving the public and private sectors for more than 15 years, in collaboration with the UK’s Parava Security Solutions representing the CMMC-COE in Europe, is excited to announce a partnership with Gerico Security SRL through a Memorandum of Understanding to expand presence across Italy and Europe. This unique partnership represents an agreement to jointly drive education, awareness, and adoption of the CMMC standard and other cybersecurity measures to improve protection and resilience of the global supply chain that supports the Defense Industrial Base network of contractors, partners, vendors, and suppliers around the world. Through this bold collaboration, the parties will pursue initiatives that are mutually beneficial and deemed critical to the broad adoption and embrace of the CMMC, NIST standards, and cybersecurity best practices including: Sourcing of Senior qualified CMMC/Cyber professionals (both DoD and industry) serving as distinguished guest lecturers in selected events and seminars. Co-sponsorship of selected/approved webinars to gain a prospective on technology and business trends and giving insight to help propagate innovation that leads to crafting better industry proposals in response to DoD requirements. Co-Developing CMMC/Cyber Training and Education programs that will accelerate CMMC certification AND improved cyber protection and resilience “This is exciting opportunity for us”, said Mr. John Weiler, Chairman of the Board at CMMC Center of Excellence, “This new partnership will further help advance the goals and objectives for improving the supply chain security and resilience of the US Department of Defense (DoD)”. “This is a great moment for the deployment of cyber security and CMMC for the European Defense Industry Base. said Andy Watkin-Child of Parava Security Solutions, who also leads the CMMC COE EU. Having Gerico as a Partner in Italy brings their unique cyber security skills to support companies within one of Europe’s Largest Defense Partners deploy CMMC and cyber Security”. “We are proud of the strategical and cultural relationship between our Countries within which this agreement can be considered to be a missing peace. In an era of asymmetric cyber warfare, cybersecurity is the primary defense tool of the western industrial systems and, we believe that the CMMMC model will be used within both the defense and civilian sectors”, said Mr. Giustino Fumagalli, CEO of Gerico Security. Gerico Security SRL is the CMMC’s reference point in Italy. Through the CMMC-COE and PARAVA agreement, Gerico is aimed at supporting the main defense parties on both sides of the Atlantic and is aimed at defining and achieving high levels of cybersecurity both on large and small Italian companies belonging to the DoD’s Defense Industrial Base. Gerico Security is an Italian center of excellence in advisory on information & cyber security, business continuity, internal and third-party audit and security inspection activities. Gerico supports private organizations in business process certifications through the provision of turn-key projects of Governance Risk & Compliance. For more information on the CMMC COE, please visit http://cmmc-coe.org email info@cmmc-coe.org or call 703-863-3766 For more information on the CMMC COE EU, please visit https://cmmc-eu.com/ For more information about Parava Security Solutions, please visit https://www.parava.org/ For further information about Gerico Security, please visit www.gerico-sec.it or send an email to info@gerico-sec.it About Us ---------- CMMC-COE.ORG is a unique non-profit public-private partnership, with a vision to accelerate Cybersecurity Maturity Model (CMM) adoption, and reduce time & cost for security compliance for our partners by leveraging commercial best practices, CMMC standards, and innovative solutions for a measurable success. Our mission, focused on DOD mission objectives, cost containment and expeditious CMMC compliance, is to help the DIB improve cyber posture and resilience, and simplify its acquisition. The CMMC-COE is hosted by the Information Technology Acquisition Advisory Council (IT-AAC), a public/private partnership (P3) chartered in 2007 as an honest broker to reach outside the confines of the Federal IT advisories that lack dynamic reach into the Global IT Market, and dedicated to the adoption of commercial IT management standards of practice and innovations emanating from the Global IT market. Team IT-AAC has already demonstrated the value of its decade long investment, and provides a unique value to agencies seeking to achieve accelerate the transformation of legacy processes and systems. Our Just-in-Time SMEs apply an innovative suite of Technology Business Management and Agile Acquisition Processes needed to assure the business value of commercial IT. The Interoperability Clearinghouse (ICH), is the managing partner that make up the 24 NGO/SDO organizations that make up the IT-AAC. ICH provides the contract vehicles, clearances, and critical resources proven to guide sustainable, measurable and repeatable processes needed to drive better investment decisions as the speed of mission need, while aligning existing processes, methods and workforce with IT reform mandates contained in Clinger Cohen Act, FITARA, IT MGT Act, EO13838. Contact Details Bob Dix +1 703-975-6633 bob.dix@it-aac.org Company Website https://cmmc-coe.org

January 19, 2021 10:00 AM Eastern Standard Time

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Minuteman Press Franchise in Fairfield, CT Empowers Local Businesses to Grow Sales During COVID-19

Minuteman Press International Inc

“We are busier than ever and that is becoming true for those we serve. Everything is coming back and people are enthusiastic to move forward and grow.” Minuteman Press in Fairfield, CT is a locally owned design, marketing, and printing franchise that has remained open as an essential business during the COVID-19 pandemic. Owners Cheryl Camarato and Susan Wybiral have worked hard for nearly ten years as business owners to get where they are today, and they weren’t going to let anything get in their way. Cheryl explains, “Over the last four years we took our sales to incredible heights. We have mentored businesses of all sizes and we are proud of our operations and business growth both before the pandemic and during it.” Cheryl continues, “The beginning of COVID-19 was a scary time for everyone, but we made fast moves to remain open and strengthen our clients’ connections so they could survive and eventually resume growth.” From her words to real world actions, her full staff was hard at work within weeks. A grateful community of entrepreneurs, graduates and families were well on their way developing new ways for keeping life and prosperity in Fairfield. “What I did was shut the door and worked,” Cheryl explains. A lot of people were very happy Minuteman Press in Fairfield was still working on their behalf while they were under unbelievable pressure. “We got an email that said, ‘Thank God you are still working!’ and it was from a large landscaping customer with 90 locations. We take care of design and print, advising on strategy for all of them. I’d say we do postcard mailings for them to the amount of 40,000 per week, give or take.” Cheryl’s reputation for meeting complex situations head-on empowers her capabilities as a problem-solver. “Challenging times are opportunities for us to utilize our full-range of technology. We help our clients by leveraging our products and services as well as the combined years of experience Susan and I have rerouting businesses into success stories, even against the odds.” They are unmatched when it comes to taking calculated risks and they share this talent with everyone who entrusts them with projects. As it turns out, Cheryl has an uncanny ability to come out on the winning side of tough decisions during a time when it’s difficult to calculate because facts are still developing. As the world opens back up, she and Susan are part of the reason the local economy is becoming revitalized. “We bought our center with skillsets perfectly matched to make it all work and developed a healthy relationship with our franchise family over the years, too.” She adds, “My wife and I went to our system-wide World Expo in Las Vegas and I met so many great people from headquarters as well as other franchise owners from around the world. We knew we would never have a slow time because our industry is filled with options that we can extend to our customers. We have recently added another large format machine, a heat press and have been printing floor graphics and doing vehicle wraps. So, while the holidays were bonkers around here with orders as might be expected, we are also busy right now. Our restaurants, small business owners, local government and non-profits are coming to us for help and we have them all covered. We do not have slow periods and we can see the good effects of our work in action all around the area.” Cheryl reduced spending immediately and used her innate and earned business intelligence to bolster her bottom line. She called and visited her customer base to check on their welfare and help them strategize. “We remained open and busy because print is an essential business, so we did a great deal of work for the town, including the parks department which needed health and safety signage without delay. Then, we were sensitive to local families hoping to celebrate graduations. So, we designed printed options like lawn signs and put them online, including Esty as a way to create a special tradition and help our area preserve this rite of passage.” The thoughtful designs were met with $15,000 worth of sign orders and happy families. “It was a strong sales month for us in the middle of lockdowns. We remained positive and somehow, we pulled it off. We took care of signage for between six and eight grammar schools, the same number of middle schools plus public works and the board of education. People really needed help preserving monumental moments and businesses needed help adjusting to unusual hours. Signage was in high-demand and our business never slowed down.” Cheryl is humble about her role as mentor, but her reputation for being there for clients grows even as she models how to handle emergencies. Susan is a production master and takes care of the latest technology their modern printing center houses. Cheryl says, “I am on the money end of our business and with that came the decision to diversify years ago. We made wise equipment decisions that allow us to take care of clients in-house the majority of the time and we never stop devising new ways to make real connections with target audiences. The response is a stronger, more enduring business no matter which industry our client represents.” Four years ago, Cheryl and Susan took an A-frame sign and cut it into the shape of a t-shirt, advertising customized apparel. “Within an hour people came in asking if we could print customized t-shirts. We knew we would work to make sure our clients’ options in marketing was not limited, so we provided things some people might not expect from a ‘print shop.’ During the COVID-19 challenge our efforts really paid off as we are able, for instance, to welcome our construction and landscaping customers into much more than they realized they could use to grow business.” Today there are still uncertainties but Cheryl keeps her finger on the pulse of each brand under her care. She has helped them all make swift adjustments. “We move and groove an go on to the next thing while a lot of other printers just print basics. For example, we have a ton of construction companies and when their owners come in, they come in asking for work orders. We then show them how we can letter their trucks and provide A-frame signs, branded facemasks and an entire marketing strategy to take them around hurdles reaching customers.” “Every time I provide a freshly printed, branded facemask as a sample, I get an order for up to several hundred,” she says. It is how Minuteman Press in Fairfield meets the reality of what her community faces and helps make it possible to keep buying and selling. She adds, “We move quickly and when people were working from home and under stress, we used our status as an essential business to create a bridge between their restricted activity and the message they need to keep in front of target audiences.” Her commitment is firm and her approach to sales is no-nonsense but Cheryl’s devotion to the success of every project entrusted to her staff at Minuteman Press in Fairfield is deeply personal. This is met with lasting gratitude as she concludes, “We are busier than ever and that is becoming true for those we serve. Everything is coming back and people are enthusiastic to move forward and grow.” For more information on Minuteman Press in Fairfield, CT, visit https://www.fairfield-ct.minutemanpress.com. To learn more about #1 rated Minuteman Press franchise opportunities, visit https://minutemanpressfranchise.com. Contact Details Chris Biscuiti +1 631-249-1370 cbiscuiti@mpihq.com Company Website https://minutemanpressfranchise.com

January 18, 2021 10:00 AM Eastern Standard Time

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CMMC Center of Excellence Announces Memorandum of Understanding with Women in Cybersecurity Mid Atlantic

Interoperability Clearinghouse

The Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification Center of Excellence ( CMMC COE ), hosted by the Information Technology Acquisition Advisory Council (IT-AAC), a public-private partnership serving the public and private sectors for more than 15 years, is proud to announce a Memorandum of Understanding with the Women in Cybersecurity Mid Atlantic affiliate. This unique partnership will extend efforts to advance the goals and objectives for improving the cyber and supply chain security and resilience of the US Department of Defense (DoD) global Defense Industrial Base (DIB) network of contractors, suppliers, and vendors. The executed MOU establishes a cooperative agreement between the Women in Cyber Security Mid Atlantic and CMMC COE to partner in the furthering of their respective and complementary missions and objectives regarding the adoption, use, and expansion of CMMC based cybersecurity practices for the DIB contractor community and the information and communication technology community creating a broader CMMC ecosystem to improve security and resilience. Specific actions will include: The co-development of CMMC advisory services, cyber training and education programs to accelerate CMMC certification, increase cyber adoption and improve cyber protection & resilience. Expand and drive diversity across the cybersecurity workforce Co-sponsor symposiums, training programs and podcasts leveraging their combined cyber and IT expertise. Host regular working groups, with other partners, to enable collaboration and communications. Establish an independent Industry Cyber Security Advisory Council with peer organizations to advise and educate leaders across government and industry on the continued evolution and effectiveness of CMMC Through this exciting partnership, the CMMC-COE ( www.cmmc-coe.org ) will also focus on bringing together the many disparate cyber and national security communities of interest to reduce complexity, improve awareness, and accelerate industry effort to become more cyber resilient against the growing threats from nation states and criminal enterprises. The CMMC-COE establishes both a Market Place and Knowledge Clearinghouse that will include resources that support the overall effort, including white papers; tutorials; recorded webcasts; presentations; and more that will help reduce the cost and burden on small/medium size contractors already struggling from the impact of COVID. The CMMC-COE partner network will be sharing a wide range of capabilities from member organizations, including; cyber standards frameworks, education, solution architectures, cyber mentoring, workforce, and other elements needed to scale to the demands of the entire DIB market place in the US and abroad (400,000+ contractors). “This is exciting opportunity for us”, said Mr. John Weiler, Chairman of the Board at CMMC Center of Excellence, “This new partnership will further help advance the goals and objectives for improving the supply chain security and resilience of the US Department of Defense (DoD)”. “The WiCyS Mid-Atlantic is excited to team with the CMMC COE in efforts to enhance the overall security of the defense industrial base supply chain. This partnership clearly demonstrates the CMMC COE’s commitment to a diverse cybersecurity workforce, which is key to defending the nation’s cyber critical infrastructure. Creative and inclusive teaming is essential to the CMMC’s success!”, said Ms. Diane M Janosek, Founder and Senior Advisor, Women in Cybersecurity Mid-Atlantic. WiCyS is a non-profit membership organization with national reach that is dedicated to bringing together women in cybersecurity from academia, research and industry to share knowledge, experience, networking and mentoring. The initiative was created through an NSF grant (Award # 1303441 ) by Dr. Ambareen Siraj at Tennessee Tech University in 2012, and has grown into a wonderful alliance among academia, government and industry. WiCyS offers mentoring, learning, networking and career development to women at all stages of their cybersecurity careers. Whether you are a student just considering a career in cybersecurity or an experienced leader in the cybersecurity workforce, WiCyS provides tangible benefits and a supportive community. The Women in Cybersecurity Mid-Atlantic Affiliate (WiCyS MAA) is a regional affiliate that covers the geographic areas: South New Jersey, South-East Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, District of Columbia, and Northern Virginia, and will continue to undertake activities to promote recruitment, retention, and advancement of women in cybersecurity. For more information on the CMMC COE, please visit http://cmmc-coe.org email info@cmmc-coe.org or call 703-863-3766 For more information on the Women in Cybersecurity Mid Atlantic, please visit https://www.wicysmidatlantic.org/ About Us ---------- CMMC-COE.ORG is a unique non-profit public-private partnership, with a vision to accelerate Cybersecurity Maturity Model (CMM) adoption, and reduce time & cost for security compliance for our partners by leveraging commercial best practices, CMMC standards, and innovative solutions for a measurable success. Our mission, focused on DOD mission objectives, cost containment and expeditious CMMC compliance, is to help the DIB improve cyber posture and resilience, and simplify its acquisition. The CMMC-COE is hosted by the Information Technology Acquisition Advisory Council (IT-AAC), a public/private partnership (P3) chartered in 2007 as an honest broker to reach outside the confines of the Federal IT advisories that lack dynamic reach into the Global IT Market, and dedicated to the adoption of commercial IT management standards of practice and innovations emanating from the Global IT market. Team IT-AAC has already demonstrated the value of its decade long investment, and provides a unique value to agencies seeking to achieve accelerate the transformation of legacy processes and systems. Our Just-in-Time SMEs apply an innovative suite of Technology Business Management and Agile Acquisition Processes needed to assure the business value of commercial IT. The Interoperability Clearinghouse (ICH), is the managing partner that make up the 24 NGO/SDO organizations that make up the IT-AAC. ICH provides the contract vehicles, clearances, and critical resources proven to guide sustainable, measurable and repeatable processes needed to drive better investment decisions as the speed of mission need, while aligning existing processes, methods and workforce with IT reform mandates contained in Clinger Cohen Act, FITARA, IT MGT Act, EO13838. Contact Details Bob Dix +1 703-975-6633 bob.dix@it-aac.org Company Website https://cmmc-coe.org

January 14, 2021 06:00 AM Eastern Standard Time

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Pencil doubles returns for brands with next generation ads created by AI

Stockwood Strategy

Online video ads can now be generated by artificial intelligence (AI), while learning what resonates with audiences, in order to deliver better results for brands. This innovation is being pioneered by Pencil, the Creative AI company, with the launch of its Machine Generated Creative (MGC) platform. US online sales reached almost $800 billion in 2020, up by 32% year-over-year fuelled by the pandemic*. Over ten million advertisers bought over $80 billion of Facebook ads last year, and research consultancy Nielsen has estimated that creative design can drive almost half of campaign performance. Learning Pencil’s MGC video ads, which are each unique and can be generated in 1 minute, have dozens of creative parameters which can be tracked and analysed through the Pencil platform. Using historic ad performance data, Pencil is able to understand what in the ad is resonating with customers. It can then generate new batches of ad ideas which are new and distinct, but which share winning characteristics with past winners. In this way Pencil learns what works while continuously exploring new ideas that might resonate with audiences. For example, a flashlight brand using Pencil may generate a first batch of ads and find that those pitching battery life outperform those pitching brightness. The brand may then generate more ads exploring how battery life is important when keeping a flashlight in the car for emergencies. Performance Pencil analysed over 100 campaigns that used MGC video ads over the past 6 months and found the best MGC ads delivered an average return on ad spend (ROAS) 2x that of other ads the brands were running. One brand’s MGC campaign delivered 7x higher ROAS. Will Hanschell, CEO and co-founder of Pencil commented: “Great ad campaigns are born from many creative ideas that are distilled down to a few. We are doing exactly this, extremely quickly, using AI. In launching MGC, we want to bring speed, insights and new ideas to marketing teams who care about both the creativity and the results of their ads - that means all marketing teams. Our platform uses the same brainstorm and refine process that creative teams have always used, which means creative teams can collaborate with the platform or use it to automate their day-to-day experimentation.” “Video ads have been dominating marketing campaigns around the world, even more so in 2020 as businesses have pivoted to ecommerce and social channels to engage new customers. The Pencil platform allows brands affordable access to the most powerful AI technology available today to deliver badly needed growth for their businesses, from day one.” Technology Pencil leverages proprietary technology to generate ad video, derive insights and make predictions, as well as integrating the OpenAI API to generate ad copy. The OpenAI API provides access to GPT-3, one of the world’s most powerful language models. Pencil is among the first companies approved to use it commercially. This approval requires strict criteria in AI safety and ethics. GPT-3 allows Pencil to go beyond generating product descriptions, and begin to generate entirely new narratives around a brand or product. For example, pitching a flashlight in an ad by first establishing that working in the dark can be dangerous. This makes Pencil’s ads more compelling to potential customers, and therefore more effective for brands. “Our ads are able to learn from what works for the people - like you or me - who see them and click on them. Our platform gives brands a tool to build a deep understanding of what’s working, what isn’t and what they should try next. We are generating ideas and campaigns that self-learn, providing brands with new insights and a way forward to grow their businesses. With the 2x better results we’ve already achieved at 10x less time and cost, we believe AI will be as fundamental to creativity in the future as the pencil was in the past.” adds Will Hanschell Ends *eMarketer, US Ecommerce Growth Jumps to More than 30% About Pencil Pencil is a Creative AI company on a mission to generate unexpected ideas that get results. Pencil generates ads that learn to perform, delivering the return on ad spend that helps brands scale their businesses. Pencil invented Machine Generated Creative (MGC), a new way of making ads that algorithmically optimises for creative novelty, brand relevance and return on advertising spend. It always starts from a human brief and it always involves total human editorial control. Pencil’s MGC platform generates ads in minutes and has been shown to generate ads that double returns for brands. Pencil was founded in 2018 with a team from Google, Facebook and Uber and is backed by Sequoia, Wavemaker Partners, Singapore Innovate and Entrepreneur First. Contact Details Bilal Mahmood +44 7714 007257 b.mahmood@stockwoodstrategy.com Company Website https://www.trypencil.com/

January 12, 2021 06:00 AM Eastern Standard Time

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CMMC Center of Excellence Announces Engagement Agreement with Capitol Technology University

Interoperability Clearinghouse

The Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification Center of Excellence (CMMC-COE), hosted by the Information Technology Acquisition Advisory Council (IT-AAC), a public-private partnership serving the public and private sectors for more than 15 years, is proud to announce a Memorandum of Understanding & Engagement Agreement with Capitol Technology University. This unique partnership will extend efforts to advance the goals and objectives for improving the training and education of the workforce in support of cybersecurity protection and resilience along with supply chain risk management on behalf of the US Department of Defense (DoD) global Defense Industrial Base (DIB) network of contractors, suppliers, and vendors. The CMMC-COE partner network will share a wide range of capabilities from member organizations, including cyber standards frameworks, education, solution architectures, cyber mentoring, workforce, and other elements needed to scale to the demands of the entire DIB marketplace in the US and abroad consisting of over 400,000 contractors. “This is exciting opportunity for us”, said Mr. John Weiler, Chairman of the Board at CMMC Center of Excellence, “This new partnership will further help advance the goals and objectives for improving the supply chain security and resilience of the US Department of Defense (DoD)”. "As a leader in cyber education, Capitol Technology University is excited to partner with the CMMC- COE," said Dr. Bradford Sims, President of Capitol Technology University. "This partnership will allow us to further CMMC implementation through enhanced education, training, and mentoring programs. These programs will advance CMMC implementation guidance issued by the DoD and will allow us to achieve the goals established in the National Defense Authorization Act." Capitol Technology University, located in Laurel, Maryland, is an independent institution that has focused on STEM education since 1927. Capitol Tech, the national winner of the 2020 SC Media Award for Best Cybersecurity Higher Education Program, offers hands-on courses taught by industry experts that lead to undergraduate and graduate degrees in emerging fields such as Mechatronics Engineering and Artificial Intelligence. In addition, Dr. Ron Martin, a Professor of Practice at Capitol Tech in a variety of fields including Access and Identity Management, has been appointed to the CMMC-COE Board of Advisors as Capitol Technology University's representative. Dr. Martin's expertise in identity credentialing will afford the organization access to an expert in this unique aspect of cybersecurity while the leadership position will also benefit Capitol Tech by providing the university a voice during meetings. For more information on the CMMC COE, please visit http://cmmc-coe.org email info@cmmc-coe.org or call 703-863-3766 For more information on Capitol Technology University, please visit https://www.captechu.edu/ About Us ---------- CMMC-COE.ORG is a unique non-profit public-private partnership, with a vision to accelerate Cybersecurity Maturity Model (CMM) adoption, and reduce time & cost for security compliance for our partners by leveraging commercial best practices, CMMC standards, and innovative solutions for a measurable success. Our mission, focused on DOD mission objectives, cost containment and expeditious CMMC compliance, is to help the DIB improve cyber posture and resilience, and simplify its acquisition. The CMMC-COE is hosted by the Information Technology Acquisition Advisory Council (IT-AAC), a public/private partnership (P3) chartered in 2007 as an honest broker to reach outside the confines of the Federal IT advisories that lack dynamic reach into the Global IT Market, and dedicated to the adoption of commercial IT management standards of practice and innovations emanating from the Global IT market. Team IT-AAC has already demonstrated the value of its decade long investment, and provides a unique value to agencies seeking to achieve accelerate the transformation of legacy processes and systems. Our Just-in-Time SMEs apply an innovative suite of Technology Business Management and Agile Acquisition Processes needed to assure the business value of commercial IT. The Interoperability Clearinghouse (ICH), is the managing partner that make up the 24 NGO/SDO organizations that make up the IT-AAC. ICH provides the contract vehicles, clearances, and critical resources proven to guide sustainable, measurable and repeatable processes needed to drive better investment decisions as the speed of mission need, while aligning existing processes, methods and workforce with IT reform mandates contained in Clinger Cohen Act, FITARA, IT MGT Act, EO13838. Contact Details Bob Dix +1 703-975-6633 bob.dix@it-aac.org Company Website https://cmmc-coe.org

January 11, 2021 06:00 AM Eastern Standard Time

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CMMC Center of Excellence Announces Engagement Agreement with SideChannel

Interoperability Clearinghouse

The Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification Center of Excellence ( CMMC COE ), hosted by the Information Technology Acquisition Advisory Council (IT-AAC), a public-private partnership serving the public and private sectors for more than 15 years, is excited to announce a partnership with SideChannel, an innovative tech-enabled advisory firm providing a wide range of risk management and cybersecurity capabilities working with small businesses, mid-market companies, non-profit corporations, venture capitalist portfolios, startups, municipalities and governments on how to protect their digital assets and bolster their cybersecurity posture. This unique partnership will extend efforts to advance the goals and objectives for improving supply chain security and cyber resilience of the US Department of Defense (DoD) global Defense Industrial Base (DIB) network of contractors, partners, and vendors. The executed Engagement Agreement establishes a collaborative partnership between SideChannel and CMMC COE to partner in the furthering of their respective and complementary missions and objectives regarding the adoption, use, and expansion of CMMC based cybersecurity practices, risk management, and compliance for the DIB contractor community and the information and communications technology community creating a broader CMMC ecosystem globally to improve security and resilience. Specific actions will include: The co-development of CMMC advisory services, cyber training and education programs to accelerate CMMC certification, increase cyber adoption and improve cyber protection & resilience. Co-sponsor symposiums, training programs and podcasts leveraging their combined cyber and IT expertise. Host regular working groups, with other partners, to enable collaboration and communications. Source qualified CMMC/ cyber professionals to serve as advocates. Establish an independent Industry Cyber Security Advisory Council with peer organizations to advise and educate leaders across government and industry on the continued evolution and effectiveness of CMMC. The CMMC-COE ( http://cmmc-coe.org ) and SideChannel partnership will focus on bringing together the many disparate cyber and national security communities of interest to reduce complexity, improve awareness, and accelerate industry effort to become more cyber resilient against the growing threats from nation states and criminal enterprises. The range of capabilities offered by SideChannel, including its virtual and fractional Chief Information Security Officer (vCISO) service, further strengthens the portfolio of technology partner providers supporting the CMMC Center of Excellence. SideChannel’s focus is on the delivery of vCISO services and expert level advisory, from former CISOs, to organizations that cannot attract, fund or retain a full-time employee. Their model provides a subscription to industry recognized experts that will build, guide, and mature any organization’s security program. SideChannel’s adoption by both large and smaller clients has led to significantly reduced risk, better aligned prioritization of resourcing and corrected budgets without sacrificing capabilities. “This is exciting opportunity for us”, said Mr. John Weiler, Chairman of the Board at CMMC Center of Excellence, “This new partnership will further help advance the goals and objectives for improving the supply chain security and resilience of the US Department of Defense (DoD)”. “We are honored and excited about the opportunity to partner with the CMMC COE and support the critical efforts to protect our supply chain, to improve cybersecurity protection and better the resilience across the Defense Industrial Base globally,” said Brian Haugli, Managing Partner, SideChannel. The CMMC-COE establishes both a Market Place and Knowledge Clearinghouse that includes resources and supports the overall effort including white papers; tutorials; recorded webcasts; presentations; and more. This will help reduce the cost and burden on small and medium size contractors already struggling from the impact of COVID. For more information on the CMMC COE, please visit http://cmmc-coe.org email info@cmmc-coe.org or call 703-863-3766 For more information on SideChannel, please visit https://www.sidechannel.com About Us ---------- CMMC-COE.ORG is a unique non-profit public-private partnership, with a vision to accelerate Cybersecurity Maturity Model (CMM) adoption, and reduce time & cost for security compliance for our partners by leveraging commercial best practices, CMMC standards, and innovative solutions for a measurable success. Our mission, focused on DOD mission objectives, cost containment and expeditious CMMC compliance, is to help the DIB improve cyber posture and resilience, and simplify its acquisition. The CMMC-COE is hosted by the Information Technology Acquisition Advisory Council (IT-AAC), a public/private partnership (P3) chartered in 2007 as an honest broker to reach outside the confines of the Federal IT advisories that lack dynamic reach into the Global IT Market, and dedicated to the adoption of commercial IT management standards of practice and innovations emanating from the Global IT market. Team IT-AAC has already demonstrated the value of its decade long investment, and provides a unique value to agencies seeking to achieve accelerate the transformation of legacy processes and systems. Our Just-in-Time SMEs apply an innovative suite of Technology Business Management and Agile Acquisition Processes needed to assure the business value of commercial IT. The Interoperability Clearinghouse (ICH), is the managing partner that make up the 24 NGO/SDO organizations that make up the IT-AAC. ICH provides the contract vehicles, clearances, and critical resources proven to guide sustainable, measurable and repeatable processes needed to drive better investment decisions as the speed of mission need, while aligning existing processes, methods and workforce with IT reform mandates contained in Clinger Cohen Act, FITARA, IT MGT Act, EO13838. Contact Details Bob Dix +1 703-975-6633 bob.dix@it-aac.org Company Website https://cmmc-coe.org

January 06, 2021 06:00 AM Eastern Standard Time

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