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Outsourced cybersecurity staff, one way healthcare is getting around the talent shortage

The overarching cybersecurity theme of summer 2017 is shaping up to be a widespread infosec talent shortage against the backdrop of fear that arose after the WannaCry ransomware threats happened. Adding to the chaos are predictions that more attacks are not only coming, but will be far worse when they hit. That scenario is opening doors for managed security services providers, managed detection and response firms and virtual CISOs contracting with hospitals to keep them safe.

Managed Security Services Providers

Like third-party managed services providers that tend to many of the day-to-day tactical details of dealing with IT, MSSPs do the same for data security, taking on responsibility for maintenance and upkeep and doing the monitoring and the tracking of issues as they emerge inside or outside of the organization they are servicing. MSSPs are doing a lot of work in the age of the hacker, which is why some healthcare organizations are turning to MSSPs in the first place.

Healthcare organizations will partner with MSSPs to act as their security operations center and consume critical data surrounding events and alerts that could be indications of a problem; 24 hours a day, they are responsible for alerts and the first sign of an intrusion or potential exposure, said Christopher Ensey, chief operating officer at Dunbar Security Solutions, among other things a managed security service provider.

[Also: Here are the dos and don’ts when hiring healthcare cybersecurity pros[1]]

Healthcare has been lagging in IT security, and MSSPs are a way to add that competency quickly, said Bill Ho, CEO of Biscom, a secure document and messaging systems company.

Sometimes more specialized expertise is needed, Ho said. Much like your doctor referring you to a specialist, an internal IT department may not have specific and in-depth knowledge around security. With the speed at which threats change these days, it s no surprise that many organizations are finding that managed security service providers can help them fortify their defenses. The advantages are personnel steeped in the security space and able to keep abreast of the latest threats and concerns, and services that can be quickly scaled up or down as incidents appear and are resolved rather than adding permanent headcount, which is not only expensive but hard to find, Ho said.

Managed Detection and Response

While MSSPs handle cybersecurity broadly, MDR firms specialize in pinpointing security incidents and crafting an appropriate response. MDRs leverage both manual and automatic analysis to give organizations a better chance of defending systems against cyberthreats. And the services are tailored to meet the specific needs of each organization.

“MDRs and MSSPs are rushing to the market. That’s going to be a help to the industry once the security market sorts itself out, said Kurt Hagerman, CISO of security firm Armor. If they can take advantage of the security people need, that will be one potential solution to the problem.”

The virtual or regional CISO

Another alternative is to hire a regional or virtual CISO. This infosec expert typically brings both experience and certification with a background specific enough that it enables her or him to hit the ground running and make necessary recommendations. And it doesn t hurt if they are part of a larger organization.

Virtual CISOs are assigned to a specific account, but that designated CISO can draw on anyone else in the company with whatever the organization needs, said Mac McMillan, CEO of CynergisTek, which offers virtual CISOs for hire. They basically get the benefit of many CISOs — with just one.

[Also: Meet the virtual CISO, the security expert plugging hospital staffing holes[2]]

That bodes well for both the regional CISO and customers because they essentially have an entire team at their fingertips.

What about a tools-centric approach?

What with the infosec staffing crisis, and outsourcing options such as MSSPs, MDRs and virtual CISOs gaining a foothold in healthcare, some experts see hospital strategies evolving beyond the next big thing in security technology.

It s not a very good use of a relatively high-salary security specialist s time to comb through logs on a daily basis and review reports every day and investigate every little alert that fires off of a device, Dunbar s Essey said. Organizations want these highly compensated security professionals to lead a security strategy.

What s more, Hagerman added that the current approach of chasing bright shiny objects without necessarily then having the expertise, personnel or financial wherewithal to effectively use that tool is driving many hospitals away from a security tech approach and toward service providers.

We re about 500,000 security professionals short of the needed jobs, Hagerman added. There s just not enough security professionals to go around.

Associate Editor Jessica Davis contributed to this report.

Twitter: @SiwickiHealthIT
Email the writer:

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  1. ^ Here are the dos and don’ts when hiring healthcare cybersecurity pros (
  2. ^ Meet the virtual CISO, the security expert plugging hospital staffing holes (
  3. ^ @SiwickiHealthIT (
  4. ^

Bermuda’s Redemption Depends on the Last Great Yacht Race

The America s Cup is the monument to excess Bermuda deserves

The keystone event of competitive sailing lies a three-hour flight from Atlanta, precariously dropped in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. Six teams representing countries from North America, Europe, Asia, and Oceania have descended on Bermuda in a display that combines elite technology and old-fashioned manpower in a battle for the oldest trophy in international sport. Combined, they will spend more than half a billion dollars in service of the America s Cup, an event reserved for the elite. Bermuda, one of the finest vestiges of the British Empire, has welcomed them with open arms. The country s aim goes beyond the hospitality that courses through the island; this tiny dot, hundreds of miles from anything but water, hopes a major sporting event, no matter its niche, will be enough to save Bermuda. The setting is idyllic. The island is shaped like a cursive lowercase j. Its Great Sound offers an expanse of protected crystal blue water, smooth at the surface despite the constant presence of swirling wind. Brightly colored homes jut from the undulating landscape, parsed by palm trees and the occasional Anglican Church. There’s no place where you can’t see the ocean. Occasionally, a rooster crosses your path, glances back at you indifferently, then crows indifferently.

With average house prices stretching into the seven figures, it s one of the most expensive places in the world to live

This tiny island is an outlier in the long line of Cup hosts. The 2013 venue was San Francisco, a city situated in a Bay Area that holds 7.15 million people. Before that, it was Valencia, Spain[1] — home to one of Europe s busiest ports and 2.5 million residents. Newport, Rhode Island, a popular former hosting site and 2017 s backup plan should Bermuda been unable to fulfill its duties, is the historic home of some of America s greatest yachters and only hours from Boston and New York City. Bermuda, meanwhile, is an island with 65,000 people stretched across 20 square miles. It s approximately 665 miles from the U.S. coast. With average house prices stretching into the seven figures, it s one of the most expensive places in the world to live. Unlike contemporary island vacation spots like the Bahamas or Jamaica[2], its prices freeze out all but the wealthiest travelers. It is the perfect place for the America s Cup.

The America s Cup, the crown jewel of the world s most expensive sport, feels right at home in Bermuda

Watching a regular sailboat lope through the water is relaxing. Watching an America s Cup yacht carve through Bermuda s translucent turquoise ocean is surreal. The wind gives these $10 million catamarans speed, raising them from shiny black hulls onto hydrofoils, the under-boat wings that allow them to rise above the waves and shred whitecaps. The move perches crews six feet above the water, reducing drag, increasing speed, and allowing skippers to make hairpin turns that seem psychically impossible from the shore. The end result is a craft that hovers above the horizon, anchored to the ocean only by its foils and the dual rudders that steer it. The boats look like the offspring of the Flying Dutchman and a Formula One car. They float over the ocean at 30 knots per hour. The foundation of the America s Cup is innovation. Hydrofoils are the latest in a long line of technology that s made boats faster and faster, often doubling the speed of the wind that serves as their only propulsion. It s great for watching the sport on television, but the Cup s biggest disadvantage had long been its inability to translate as a spectator sport from the docks.

The entire scene is the fanciest wedding reception you ve ever seen.

Fortunately, Bermuda is prepared. The America s Cup Village, constructed on newly-laid concrete jutting into the Great Sound where the races take place, is loaded with screens big and small that feature a live television broadcast filmed from a helicopter high above the water. It s also filled with stages for upbeat island music, a host of MCs to pump up the crowd, an expansive playground, and plenty of upscale concessions. The Village, as currently constructed, is marketed to a crowd several classes higher than your standard MLB or NFL game. The first refreshment stand you see upon entering the grounds is a Moet & Chandon tent, selling glasses of champagne for $25 a pop. Even in a country where the median home price is $1.2 million, this seems pricey.

Bermuda's Redemption Depends On The Last Great Yacht Race

Bermuda's Redemption Depends On The Last Great Yacht Race

Moet is one of two wines to have an outsized presence at the event. The other, a screw-top white called Mouton Cadet, paid handsomely for the privilege to be the race s official wine[3]. Cadet s other sponsorships include golf s Ryder Cup[4] and the Cannes film festival. Somewhere near the media tent, a lone ice cream truck, plastered with airbrushed pictures of Spongebob and Patrick, sticks out like a sore thumb. There isn t a Bud Light tallboy in sight. The only American beer I can find is Narragansett s Del s Shandy, a choice that would be a clever nod to the race s Newport background had the brewery not moved from Rhode Island to upstate New York several years prior.

While the event caters to the 1%, it puts a stringent effort toward breeding new fans by catering to sailing neophytes. Panels and exhibitions throughout the grounds explain the race and boats with measured words that go far beyond whose boat is faster. The exhibits are well crafted, kid-oriented, and brings together first-time islanders and race veterans alike. The divide between those two groups becomes much more apparent in the Club AC, the high-end lounge targeted toward the race s corporate partners and big spenders. The club is brand new to the island, built atop what used to be a shallow patch of ocean. The wood-and-stone structure opens out to an impressive deck that backs up to the Cup s finish line, allowing patrons the best view in the house. Everything, from the fixtures to the staff, has a shiny glow as though it had been covered with protective plastic just minutes before. The venue is, in a word, gorgeous. As serving staff approaches with complementary bottles of Moet, a lone man with a ukulele turns popular songs maudlin in his effort to be the worst hype man of all time. As the saddest possible version of Dancing on the Ceiling plays, be-aproned waiters pass out tiny seafood appetizers to well-dressed guests.

The entire scene is the fanciest wedding reception you ve ever seen. Instead of a bride shuffling with her father as Israel Kamakawiwo ole s cloys Somewhere Over the Rainbow, you re watching two boats slice through water so blue you understand how doomed pilots mistake it for the sky. To get to the section of the suite where fun sized bottles of champagne are passed around and cheerful bartenders pour dark and stormies, you must first pass through an array of sponsors; Panerai watches, Vineyard Vines apparel, and Sperry Topsiders first and foremost among them. The cheapest item for sale is a $65 t-shirt. An official 20 x24 print from the event costs $850. A Vineyard Vines associate traps me as I pour through his racks, showcasing his knowledge of the brand by pointing out my whale-adorned light blue slacks. I neglect to tell him they were a $4 thrift store purchase, instead feigning interest until a woman who looks like she just stumbled 3d-printed from a Kentucky Derby[5] pamphlet pulls him away.

These bold strategies pay off; Sperry has a booth where a kind gentleman customizes each pair of $100 shoes purchased with a design of your choice. The tattoo-gun hum of his engraver echoes throughout the building all afternoon.

This is history for us, I think everyone is excited to be connected to an event with such a legacy.

The Club s allure doesn t end with its fixtures and accouterments. The staff, both male and female, is categorically beautiful. Each is at least a generation younger than the guests they re serving. They appear the work of a slick promotional company that hires models to work as servers for upscale events. A quick conversation with the attendants proves this false. They re all connected to the island or the race in some way. Many are wives or girlfriends of crew members.

I wanted to be part of the event. This is history for us, Amanda, a local lawyer who volunteered in order to be part of the biggest sporting event to come to the island, tells me. I think everyone is excited to be connected to an event with such a legacy. Another, a Texas A&M student named Elizabeth, serves as a rare transplant on the staff. She originally came to visit her father for summer vacation and worked her way into a role in the featured cabin. The duo, adorned in perfectly-fit breezy blue dresses and boat shoes, have well practiced smiles and disarming conversational skills.

While they may be volunteers, they are extremely good at their jobs. The ladies spend much of their day chatting with increasingly tipsy (and loud) baby boomers. The men pour drinks and clear off tables. Every one exudes the warmth and friendliness for which the island has come to be known.

Bermuda's Redemption Depends On The Last Great Yacht Race

Bermuda's Redemption Depends On The Last Great Yacht Race

Aside from the volunteers, the absence of actual Bermudians inside the suite is notable. The host of a pre-race morning show calls the country the most lively place he’s ever been and receives a chorus of cheers. He then asks how many of us are from Bermuda. In a room of 150, maybe six people call back. You have to head outside, past the waves of sales associates and security, to find islanders. The sterile luxury of the high rollers suite gives way to a more authentic experience on the race grounds. The grandstand, filled to capacity, buzzes with activity for the hour preceding the qualifying races until their conclusion. A deejay pumps up the crowd by giving brief play-by-play that leads into chants and cheers. The difference between the two venues is significant. Club AC buzzes twice during ORACLE Team USA s opening win over New Zealand[6], then fills the remaining two hours with a din of light conversation and clinking glasses. The grandstand, which ushers estimate is 70 to 75 percent Bermudian, increases in pitch on every turn. Boats gliding through the finish line, whether in first or second place, earn a warm homecoming after each race.

Outside the grandstand, a concrete park welcomes ticketed visitors with big screen broadcasts of the race, the manufactured energy produced by hours of bass-heavy pump-up music, and the chance to purchase $20 personal pizzas. The centerpiece of the grounds is a large, nautical themed playground surrounded by sponsored exhibits that allow children and their parents to crank hydraulic winches just like the sailors on the six competing teams do. The whole scene is like a county fair, only all the playground features are boats and all the American children you hear screaming will one day go to Choate.

It s brought tourists here and united them with Bermudians in support of the sport.

Every Bermudian I speak to is a first-timer at the race, having skipped previous Cups in San Francisco and Valencia. They are all very happy to have the race in their backyard, citing everything from the event s prestige to its economic impact on the island.

I just think it s great. It s gorgeous to come up here. I m just relaxing, enjoying the atmosphere, Patricia Darrell, a Bermudian who has brought her grandchildren to the Village to share her first America s Cup experience, tells me.

It s brought tourists here and united them with Bermudians in support of the sport. Look at these people around me. She gestures behind her. This man is from America. Would he have come here if not for the race? John, a sailing fan lured to the sport after watching it in his hometown of San Francisco four years earlier, shakes his head in confirmation.

And now he knows what we have to offer. Now he can come back. Now he can tell people about Bermuda. It s attracting the whole world. That s something Bermuda needs because of our recession.

Bermuda is betting this prestige sporting event will be enough to right an uneven economy

The country wasn t immune to the economic downturn that affected the majority of the developed world at the turn of the last decade. Though tourism only makes up seven percent of the island s revenue, its useful status as a tax haven has made it a popular destination for international business. Insurance companies specializing in insuring smaller insurers — an ouroboros of investments, claims, and bad luck — is the business of choice. Back in 2000, the New York Times estimated these companies could save some $7 billion in federal taxes just by moving their headquarters to the middle of the ocean[7]. Being in a tropical paradise was just icing on the cake. But as the late 2000s put a squeeze on American businesses, the economic downturn made a big enough splash for its ripples to reach Bermuda. From 2008 to 2014, an island with 64,000 people lost an estimated 6,500 jobs[8].

The nation had declared its six-year recession dead and buried in June 2015, suggesting an embryonic recovery was set to take place[9]. However, negative growth reared its ugly head less than two months later[10]. Unemployment rates remained a problem; a lack of jobs prevented an economic revival on the island. The Cup s presence is meant to be the stimulus to counteract the shrinking pool of construction and banking jobs that have plagued Bermudians in recent years. Bermuda s GDP continued to decline as recently as tail end of 2016.

People out here are getting paid the same as they were 10, 15 years ago, David McCann, a boat captain for Blue Water Divers Bermuda says. But the cost of living keeps going up. Everything here is expensive.

Being born here is a gift, but sometimes there s a breaking point — either you can afford to live here or you can t. The country shelled out big in hopes the race would be the kind of financial boon to jumpstart its economy. Bermuda spent an estimated $77 million on the two-month event[11], a financial commitment every bit as important to race organizers as the perfect sailing conditions of the Great Sound. The spending breakdown includes $25 million in infrastructure improvements — including the racing grounds and the concrete jetty on which Club AC stands — $12 million in operating costs, which covers the rangers patrolling the Sound to keep stray boats from floating on the course, and $15 million in sponsorship fees that allow Bermuda to earn a spot directly under America s Cup on this year s official neoprene beer coozies.

The accompanying economic impact report suggests this is a sound investment. Each of the six ships has had a large team presence on the island over the past two years, housing everyone from skippers to engineers as they gather information and acclimate to the swirling wind of the island. The race s key demographic — old money families steeped in the event s nearly two centuries of tradition — are the perfect market for a lineup of hotels with an average per-night cost of more than $600 during the race. The two-month event piggybacks from the impact of a three-day America s Cup World Series[12] event that hit the island in 2015. Those races didn t just serve as an introduction to the world of high-level yachting for Bermudians, it also brought an estimated $8.6 million in additional island spending[13] — including $2.6 million in hotel revenue.

Bermuda's Redemption Depends On The Last Great Yacht Race

Bermuda's Redemption Depends On The Last Great Yacht Race

However, this year s event may not meet those lofty expectations. The 33rd America s Cup in 2013 brought an estimated $550 million in economic activity to San Francisco and its outlying areas. While impressive, that was still a far cry from the $1.4 billion suggested back in 2010. The gold standard for economic infusion came in 2007, when Valencia saw a spending uptick of $1.1 billion as host port. Still, the island stands to benefit from a major influx of cash from the comprehensive event. It s hoping it could be much more. If ORACLE Team USA wins and decides to bring the Cup back to the island for its next iteration — something several team members suggest is a strong possibility throughout the weekend — Bermuda will double-down on that initial buy-in while having to make limited infrastructure improvements for a 2019 race..

While the event may be bringing new life to the Great Sound, some Bermudians have failed to see an impact across the country through the qualifying rounds. With two cruise ships docked at King s Wharf each weekday, only Team USA hats and polo shirts can differentiate yachting fans from regular vacationers down at Horseshoe Bay. One lifeguard I flag down tells me the weekday crush at the beach has been roughly the same

Sailing fans typically don t make it down here during the day, I guess, he tells me, staring through me to keep an eye on the throngs of tourists, several in American flag bathing suits, who have descended on the beach. You notice a bit more traffic, more cabs, but it s not a burden.

“It’s good for the island, you know,” Derek, one of the aforementioned cab drivers reflects. “But it doesn’t really affect us. Someone is getting paid, somewhere. The event is on one side of the island, so if you’re not there, you might not notice.”

Corporate synergy rules the races

If Bermuda was looking for an event with deep pockets, it landed a whopper. The America s Cup lacks the commercial popularity to sustain itself, leading to a significant buy-in from teams with nine-digit racing budgets. These are the teams that don t have to think twice about the cost of building state of the art training facilities they ll tear down two years later. The event s prescripted catamaran yachts, a sleek blend of carbon fiber and smart technology, cost upward of $10 million before they re even dropped in the Sound. That s a tremendous price, but still a huge adjustment from the 113-foot trimarans of the 2010 race, whose costs were so prohibitive it helped limit participation to only two teams — BMW ORACLE and Swiss champions Alinghi. The spending in the stands is massive, but it fails to measure up to the output of the teams competing for the Auld Mug. The America s Cup is not a self sustaining event; the sheer cost of constantly improving technologically gluttonous boats, by nature, cannot be. ORACLE co-founder Larry Ellison is the United States[14] godfather, a man with enough money to save American yachting through investment and commitment.

While he lost his first attempt at the Cup, failing in the Challenger series of the 2007 event, he s been undefeated since then. His presence has been the deciding factor that s brought the silver chalice back to its familiar home, courtesy of the Golden Gate Yacht Club. Outside Magazine pegs his contribution to the team at anywhere between $250 and $300 million[15]. His buy-in is apparent just by looking at the team s headquarters. Every team has shipping containers littering their grounds, but ORACLE Team USA s are the only ones branded with official team logos. On the edge of the grounds, along the coast, is a small bar meant to entertain reporters and team associates. Televisions along the borders display precisely-edited promotional videos detailing the tremendous technical specs of the U.S. vessel. For a series of pop-up structures, the U.S. base is slickly warm and familiar, lined with trappings of home. Traditional wisdom suggests it will cost upwards of $100 million to bring home the sterling silver ewer that serves as sailing s top prize. Ellison and his team don t have to bear that cost on their own this race. In an act of corporate synergy that would make Jack Welch blush, ORACLE Team USA has teamed with European aerospace giant Airbus to create a cross-continental tag team designed to expand the event s impact beyond crystal blue water.

Airbus prides itself as the team s Official Innovation Partner, and the work between the teams makes so much sense it s amazing 2017 marks just the second race to take place under the union. The gist of the deal is simple; Team USA has access to the company s comprehensive equipment testing facilities in Toulouse, which allows for some of the most complex aerodynamics trials in the sport.

This is, first off, an undertaking of human resources. This is not a sponsorship. It is a partnership, Airbus Head of Business Development Pierre-Marie Belleau explains. All the technology we are developing can be carried across to Team ORACLE.

Bermuda's Redemption Depends On The Last Great Yacht Race

Bermuda's Redemption Depends On The Last Great Yacht Race

OTU gets the advantage of steadily improving its technology at the speed of a 72,000-person European megalith. Airbus gets to use that data and apply it to its ever-expanding fleet of aircraft. The latest round of sharklets — the molded wing-tips that jut upward into the sky on larger planes — have designs lifted from the hydrofoils that push Jimmy Spithill s craft above the Bermuda water and toward another America s Cup. Some 30 Airbus engineers work in a part-time capacity with the Americans; another four are full time. An even smaller staff has set up a base of operations on the island, collecting data in real time and reporting back the most efficient ways to improve. Airbus s contributions don t stop there. The company s loaned-out engineers also map the wind data of Bermuda s Great Sound, building predictive models from 400 sensors located on the yacht s wing. They also play a role in designing the hydraulic control systems that control every move the team makes.

It really is a win/win partnership, Belleau grins.

Airbus s foray with OTU isn t its first entrance into the world sailing market, but it is by far the most successful. The aviation giant had teamed with local favorite Groupama Team France[16] and then with BAR Great Britain before finding a suitable connection with Ellison s pet project. The reason behind the switch was no surprise.

Being associated with a winner makes sense for everyone within Airbus, COO and President Fabrice Bregier tells me. We invested in big data to get these test results. An association with the American team also means more visibility in a market dominated by the company s biggest competitor, Boeing. Bregier dismisses these claims, however.

ORACLE Team USA is very big. They don t need anybody, but they were open to a partnership could they have been from a different nationality? Yes. We have challenges in America, we have invested in an assembly line in America — this is a big market for us, which is challenging because this is the home turf of Boeing.

But we equally could have had interest in China[17], which is our biggest market today. If Airbus wanted to get its name on a hull, Bregier contends, they would have been sponsors. If this was solely about diving into new markets, they would have found a sport with a greater foothold in Asia.

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Instead, it was the combination of Team USA s success, ORACLE s big data backing, and the common sense sharing between the two that made a tech giant and an aerospace standby the gold standard in competitive sailing. The work is difficult, but it pays off. ORACLE Team USA, defending champions, boast the top record through qualifying, earning an extra point to take with them into the finals. This kind of headline-grabbing partnership isn t exclusive to Ellison s lineup. The other teams on the island have also found ways to earn their turns in the spotlight off the water. Artemis Team Sweden[18] is an up-and-comer in the racing world, their third-place finish this year marking their ascension to the Cup s upper tier. Their success is a remarkable comeback from tragedy, as the team lost crewman Andrew Bart Simpson after its boat suffered a catastrophic failure and capsized off the coast of San Francisco in 2013[19]. While their resilience shines through in the team s results on the water, the team s public relations work from Bermuda paints a distinct U.S./Europe divide between the sport s top teams.

While Artemis s main goal is bringing Sweden its first-ever America s Cup, its secondary cause is sustainability.

Artemis Racing is particularly proud of its land use at Morgan s Point. With the help of its partner, Caroline Bay, Artemis Racing has taken an abandoned US Navy base and turned it into the team s base of operations on the island, team head of media relations David Tyler recites. The building didn t require any land excavations or major ground works, and whenever the team decides to leave Bermuda, the base can be packed up and relocated without a trace, or recycled for another use.

Bermuda's Redemption Depends On The Last Great Yacht Race

Bermuda's Redemption Depends On The Last Great Yacht Race

That s not the only step they ve taken in their leave no trace approach to the 2017 Cup. The Swedes have also partnered with Bluewater, a Scandinavian water filtering company whose aim is to ensure all team waste is recycled. Artemis proudly boasts a recycling system that produces 154 gallons of fresh water per hour — something especially useful during the eight week drought that falls over the island leading up to the finals. Of course, that doesn t mean Artemis is a humble program focused solely on environmentalism. The team has also made its own significant buy-in when it comes to constant improvement on the water. When pressed if the Swedes subscribe to the $100 million per Cup rule of thumb that accompanies the race, Tyler avoids talking specifics but his answer remains clear.

It s fair to say that it s a competitive budget.

National teams aren t always what they appear

Cross-continental partnerships aren t new to the America s Cup. All six teams compete for national pride, albeit unconventionally. Every boat has a national flag atop its wing, but the racing rosters themselves are a marriage of Olympic sport and the free market. It s no mistake the Louis Vitton logo flies higher than the national banner on each yacht. Citizenship is no requirement to compete on a country s crew. America s general manager, Grant Simmer, is an Australian[20] who served as navigator for the Aussies 1983 win that broke a 122-year run of U.S. dominance. Spithill, his skipper, broke into the game at age 19 with Young Australia in 1999. Artemis Team Sweden is dotted with British, Australian, and Italian sailors. Softbank Team Japan[21] has only three native Japanese crewmen.

The race for dominance makes strange bedfellows and breeds rivalry. English national Sir Ben Ainslie is the most accomplished sailor of his generation after leaving five Olympiads with four gold medals and a silver. 2017 marks his first appearance as Great Britain s skipper after spending previous Cups with New Zealand and OTU. Dean Barker steered New Zealand to its second America s Cup in 2000 as the Kiwis reserve helmsman. After being forced out of his role with the team, he s now in Bermuda serving as Japan s skipper, helmsman, and CEO. Of the six teams competing for this year s Auld Mug, only two — Great Britain and France — can claim homegrown skippers. In the end, this blending is endemic of the event itself. The America s Cup fills several roles. It brings several cultures — or at least a very specific subsection of those cultures — together in service of a storied race foreign to landlocked states. There s a certain type of fan so invested in yachting he or she will follow the Cup to a reef-surrounded patch of land 700 miles deep in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. For them, Bermuda is paradise — the ideal setting for like-minded individuals to sip Moet and discuss catamarans.

The America s Cup fills several roles. It brings several cultures — or at least a very specific subsection of those cultures — together in service of a storied race foreign to landlocked states.

For Bermuda, the race is an unexpected celebration of the island. Though there s no local team, the sailors, engineers, and crew that have called the island home have become part of a welcoming community that has exuded warmth throughout the Cup. Most of the locals in the stands have personal connections with the team s they ve come to know over the course of years. Beyond community, the America s Cup is a play to get the country s finances back on track. The event is a two-month bounty of revenue and exposure officials hope will spark a larger trend and stem a recession that has lasted nearly a decade. As the sun turns bronze on a beautiful Saturday evening, the qualifying rounds come to an official, but not largely effective, end. France, with just two wins in its return to global racing s biggest event, is the sole team eliminated. Though ORACLE Team USA wins the group, the team s status as defending champions meant the team could have spent the opening rounds fishing from the sides of their catamaran and still wound up in the final two. That leaves New Zealand, Great Britain, Sweden, and Japan left to compete for the sport s biggest prize.

The Challenger Playoffs eventually whittle Great Britain and Japan from the ranks. Three days later, Sweden is forced to pack up its environmentally-forward camp after falling to New Zealand. As many predicted, and for the second straight Cup, sailing s biggest prize will come down to a battle between America and New Zealand. Most Bermudians are rooting for the former.

I think a lot of Bermudians have their fingers crossed the cup will stay here, McCann, the local boat captain says. It would mean a lot for us, having an event like this to call ours. My day in the Village ends with one last conversation. Kevin, a security guard who has seen every day of the Cup qualifiers from several different vantage points, welcomes me to take one last tour of the emptying grandstand before offering his option.

It s definitely a different atmosphere. We have big events like 24th of May [Bermuda Day, which features a road race], but we have nothing of this magnitude, really, or going on for that amount of time. But it s good.

It is definitely upscale for an event. I go to my share of sports events on the island. I ve never been to one where they re selling $250 champagne or $30 for a drink.

I thank him for taking the time to speak with me, though a polite crowd seems to be putting little strain on his efforts to keep the peace. Kevin nods, and tells me it was a pleasure. Have a good– He stops as though he s forgotten something, smiles, and raises one finger to slyly point toward me.

Have a Bermudaful day.


  1. ^ Spain (
  2. ^ Jamaica (
  3. ^ paid handsomely for the privilege to be the race s official wine (
  4. ^ Ryder Cup (
  5. ^ Kentucky Derby (
  6. ^ New Zealand (
  7. ^ estimated these companies could save some $7 billion in federal taxes just by moving their headquarters to the middle of the ocean (
  8. ^ an island with 64,000 people lost an estimated 6,500 jobs (
  9. ^ suggesting an embryonic recovery was set to take place (
  10. ^ reared its ugly head less than two months later (
  11. ^ spent an estimated $77 million on the two-month event (
  12. ^ World Series (
  13. ^ brought an estimated $8.6 million in additional island spending (
  14. ^ United States (
  15. ^ pegs his contribution to the team at anywhere between $250 and $300 million (
  16. ^ France (
  17. ^ China (
  18. ^ Sweden (
  19. ^ suffered a catastrophic failure and capsized off the coast of San Francisco in 2013 (
  20. ^ Australian (
  21. ^ Japan (

Parpos: A visit to South Middlesex Correctional Center

By Suzanna Parpos

They say it takes a village to raise a child. I believe it. My village is the concentric circles that encompass my world that is, the boy that day-in and day-out steals my heart. My world calls me mom. A year ago, I set out on this incredible journey to learn about those that comprise these concentric circles the agencies the people who day-in and day-out selflessly sacrifice and put their lives on the line to protect my world your world all of our worlds. Some of these circles are more visible than others they re uniformed and on the front [blue] line. Other [concentric] circles are less visible. They are the branch of law enforcement we hear about when those who comprise it are slain, but beyond that, their existence is absent from civilians daily thoughts. Yet, every day, their fearlessness helps to ensure our freedoms.

Last week s headline from Georgia, where two inmates fatally shot two corrections officers, brought visibility to the neglected circle. Those in the communities impacted by the escaped prisoners did what was innate to civilians they retreated indoors and they feared. It s what many of us did locally when James Morales escaped a Rhode Island detention center earlier this year. But what happens is we fear and then we forget when the fugitive is captured and the headline becomes further removed from our memory. We freely go about our daily lives without hindrance, once again. This isn t what it s like for correction officers and correctional program officers. Day-in and day-out, they walk among those that the majority of us would rather not. And depending on the security level of the facility, they walk with handcuffs and a radio but no gun.

To assume they merely just sit around waiting for fights to break out among inmates would be incorrect. That misperception can be attributed to television. I ve told you before about how I am Framingham. And, I candidly admit that in my near four decades, I cannot recall a single time that I thought of the Department of Corrections (DOC) facilities in my town. That is, until last summer when I went on a ride-along with the Framingham Police Department. It was on that 4 p.m. 12 a.m. shift, when day fell into night, that I saw my hometown through different eyes. And in driving by MCI Framingham and South Middlesex Correctional Center, I realized why these facilities were so absent from my thoughts; I realized why I never had to fear the inmates essentially living in my backyard.

It s because of people, like Daniel MacDonald, Correctional Program Officer (CPO) at South Middlesex Correctional Center (SMCC), that I ve been able to overlook SMCC and MCI Framingham (MCI-F) all these years. This isn t to say the aforementioned is right. And this isn t to suggest my existence has been in a bubble. My career in education began in the inner city. I had students in my classroom who were learning to cope with their parents incarceration; I know crime and punishment exists. But what the absence of SMCC and MCI-F from my thoughts exemplifies is the extraordinary commitment of our local law enforcement of how every day the men and women that comprise this far-too-often overlooked circle, or branch of law enforcement, show up and do their job. After getting a civilian s insider perspective from the front lines with the FPD, it was time to see things from the post-arrest perspective. And it s with much appreciation that I thank all those involved with authorizing my visit to South Middlesex Correctional Center (SMCC).

It isn t what your mind pictures. The perimeter of SMCC isn t etched by barbed wire; that world is a stone s throw away at MCI-F. SMCC is a minimum and pre-release prison for female offenders. There are currently 134 inmates the majority of them in minimum security. The near two dozen that are pre-release and eligible to work in the community are watched under close eye. Make no mistake about it, the main goal of the DOC is security and public safety. CPO Daniel MacDonald has been at SMCC for 19 years. He s worn the dual hats that of both security and programming. As the day shift commander, MacDonald is responsible for the assignment of his staff, among other administrative tasks. Yet, he also serves as the volunteer coordinator and field training officer. It s less known to the public, but SMCC offers countless programs, such as being one of the prisons in Massachusetts where America s VetDogs outsources some of its training to inmates who help train the dogs that ll be assigned to veterans based on their specific needs.

And then there is the Family Reunification House. This is an on-site house built in 2008 by male inmates from another prison. As they prepare for life outside the prison, SMCC inmates may be eligible to spend anywhere from two hours to two overnights with their children in this house. After a walk-through of the entire SMCC facility, it s evident that these women are given every opportunity to make a better life for themselves when they are released. That is why MacDonald encourages the offenders to take advantage of the time spent at SMCC. Their living quarters are as expected small. It s a tight space shared bunk beds, a specifically designed see-through television, a bulletin board with some pamphlets tacked on not much else in the bare rooms. There is a decent-sized library for them to utilize; however, there is no internet access on the computers.

SMCC staff strive to ensure all have health insurance when they re released and they re given articles of clothing to start them off as they enter the working world on their own. The walk-through was eye-opening and it must be stated the fact that there was no part of me that felt fear walking among the offenders who were out and about doing such things as getting their laundry. Of course, I was with CPO MacDonald; however, the rules or way of life seemed undeniably understood by the women living at SMCC. Though the established atmosphere is that of teaching and how to better one s self, it s also an environment that still very much holds women accountable for the actions that led to their confinement there. When I asked MacDonald what traits define a successful CPO, he emphasized the importance of understanding mental health and trauma issues because that is often what contributed to the women ending up in prison. Inmates at SMCC can stay anywhere from a few weeks to a few years.

MacDonald is very much aware of his surroundings when he walks the grounds at SMCC; however, that state of hypervigilance doesn t necessarily spill over into the personal lives of correctional program officers there. Perhaps a contributing factor of this is the minimum/pre-release level of security of SMCC. Some outsiders may question the various rehabilitative opportunities provided to the inmates; however, if these women thrive when they return to society, then we all benefit. MacDonald explained how much of his job entails good listening skills and realizing that there really isn t much of a difference between these female offenders and us. Again, the inmates are held accountable, but are also taught. That rang familiar to when a former student of mine questioned whether she d make the same mistakes as her father and end up incarcerated like him. And the words of encouragement I offered that second-grader were, You will make smarter choices because you re learning there are other options.

Does this mean the system is perfect that there ll be no repeat offenders after they re released? We re all human; we all stumble it s just that some of those falls come with much graver consequences than others. And, yes, of course, you can t go around breaking the law. But, sometimes our stumbles aren t law-breaking falls; yet, they still leave us confined, only in a much different way. Whether we re restrained by the words printed in a stack of papers or the secrets we harbor of a group, we all want the same thing: freedom. Life is what you make of it. It s true for us and it ll be true for these female offenders when they return to society.

To those who make every effort to protect the public from criminal offenders who make it possible for me to freely go play ball in the park with my child, thank you. Thank you to the correction officers and correctional program officers, like Daniel MacDonald, who selflessly guard the common center of those concentric circles: my world your world all of our worlds.

Suzanna Parpos can be reached through her website:

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