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Saudi Research & Innovation Network (Ma’een)

Saudi Research & Innovation Network (Ma’een)

Many countries work on organizing and preparing access to scientific research pursuant tools through academic networks. These are known as specialized networks dedicated to supporting the needs of national research and educational scientific societies.

Academic networks are independent entities working on enabling collaboration between universities and research centers in areas supported by the networks and their services.

As KACST provides internet services in the Kingdom, and recognizes the importance of academic research, it has become the entity designated by all international academic networks to present the Saudi academic network, in order to link universities, research sectors and academic sectors with major international companies and research institutes.

The Internet Services Unit at KACST works on the Saudi Academic Network project that increases the educational effectiveness by providing speed and efficiency in transferring data among its subscribers, therefore allowing them to benefit from the available applications and research services.

Academic networks vary depending on the geographical location. There are national, regional and international networks. The most famous international networks are: (Internet 2) in North America, (Giant 2) in Europe and (TIEN 3) in Asia.

The following objectives can be achieved through an academic network:

  • Connecting education and scientific medium nationally and internationally, which will enhance cooperation in research, education, and knowledge for universities, research centers and digital libraries.
  • Allowing easy access to information within one technical environment.
  • Reducing subscriptions cost for digital libraries.
  • Establishing a technical environment that provides variety of services to enable researchers and academics to do their work and test new technology. In addition, it will save time and money to support their needs.
  • Enhancing education by facilitating higher quality dedicated internet speed to transfer data among users, and by the use of the applications and the research services.

GBYTE

ACADEMIC DESTINATION

COUNTRY

3,459

Internet Archive (Publications), US

US

1,229

State Higher Education Network Baden- Wuerttemberg (BelWue), DE

DE

876

German Weather Service DWD-AS , DE

DE

844

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

US

450

National Library of Medicine, US

US

87

JANET Jisc Services Limited, GB

GB

77

The Italian Academic & Research Network - GARR, IT

IT

70

Ireland›s National Research & Education Network , IE

IE

67

US Geological Survery, US

US

66

University of California at Berkeley, US

US

52

Japan Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, JP

JP

34

Stanford University, US

US

30

National Aeronautics and Space Administration, US

US

Network Usage

Network usage has increased recently. The utilization rate reached 3 Gigabyte of data; more than 30 entities have been visited using the network during the last year.

The Most Prominent Services Provided by the Academic Network

 Network Virtualization Service

KACST is considered one of the first organizations to utilize network virtualization technologies in the Kingdom and the Arab region. Network virtualization is a new concept, which enables the creation of entire networks in software. This technology comprises different services ranging from load balancing, firewalls, routing, and switching, in addition to connecting to other virtual and non-virtual networks.

In the year of the report, KACST implemented network virtualization for all of its customers. Its successful implementation became a reference for its customers and other parties interested in applying it in similar environments.

 Managed Backup and Recovery Services

Backup and recovery solutions are a critical component of any disaster recovery plan. They help customers protect their valuable data from accidental loss and/or recover their data from an earlier time depending on data retention policies. In the year of the report, KACST provided a complete backup and recovery solution that benefited hosted servers that are managed by customers. Furthermore, the service has been experimented with by different customers and gained a high level of satisfaction.

 Two Factor Authentication

Two-factor authentication (2FA) is a method of confirming a user’s claimed identity by using a combination of two different components. This ensures stronger security while allowing customers to access different services at different locations and times. In the report year, KACST provided 2FA as a standard for its customers to access their cloud services with the highest possible security levels, pushing toward more advancement in information security.

 

 Load Balancing as a Service

Load Balancing as a Service (LBaaS) is very useful for managing online traffic by distributing workloads across multiple servers and resources. This will allow customers to maximize their workload performance and help prevent overload to provide users with a seamless experience. In the report year, KACST provided the LBaaS for its customers. The service has been experimented with by many customers and gained a high level of satisfaction. Customers also showed interests in using the service.

 Network Security Vulnerability Assessment

The Information Security Unit (ISU), conducted an in-depth security audit, vulnerability scanning and inspection of potential points of exploit on customers’ computers or networks to identify security holes. This service was applied for 23 organizations. It detects and classifies system weaknesses in computers, networks and communication equipments, and predicts the effectiveness of countermeasures.

 Website Scanning Service for ISUs’ Customers

Websites have become effective in ensuring the quality of services provided, making them within the range of cyber threats. This has led to the development of the website scanning and test service. The Internet Service Unit (ISU) tests web applications for security vulnerabilities during the development process. ISU has been working to address the problems of 68 websites (that have 3822 ongoing links) hosted by the unit or owned by the customers.

 Activation of Early Warning System for Cyber Attacks

ISU established a comprehensive security system to manage information security and provide early detection services for threats and cyber attacks and to respond to security incidents. The service can be given to customers connected with the ISU and it includes:

  • Monitoring of suspicious behavior and activities.
  • Monitoring systems, applications & servers at risk.
  • Evaluation of the weaknesses of servers, applications and added systems, and the best technical methods for remediation plans will be given.
  • Detection of illegal intrusions by activating and using HIDs intrusion detection system.
  • Participation in an international security intelligence platform to exchange data and information on online and cyber threats around the world, and pass it on to the customers of the ISU. Based on that, we passed 6 threats alerts to 6 customers connected to the ISU.

 Implementing and Deploying the Unified Security Management and Monitoring Platform

Through this platform, the data is linked and analyzed from multiple sources within the ISU and outside, in order to obtain more details about the latest security alerts or threats for the ISU or its connected customers. Any security alerts are followed up and the results are passed to the competent security teams to be handled by unifying the services of the information security operation centers to the participating parties. Two call centers were connected and now operate as a unified Security Operations Centers.

 Security Consultation Service

The ISU participated in an in-depth security investigations with different government and academic agencies as well as studying information security projects and evaluating them for 6 government agencies.

 ‘Dhaif’ Service

KACST offers to the subscribers of the network a web-hosting service with suitable space sizes and integrated infrastructure of state-of-the-art devices and advanced software programs, information security and connection speed. This service also detects the software programs of websites before launching them, in order to identify the security breach and to avoid any potential hacking attempts. The number of users of this service has grown rapidly throughout the year of the report by 28%.

 

 ‘Hefz’ Service

KACST enables internet subscribers to save their electronic data and to create a backup in KACST which can be retrieved when needed. This service characteristically provides information security, speed of data transfer and technical support. The number of authorities that have benefited from this service in the year of the report increased by 6%.

 Khabar’ Service

KACST provides an academic news service to contribute to building an academic society that is aware of the latest scientific news and activities. The subscriber can access this information through the website, and/or follow the Khabar account on Twitter.

 Field Visit Services/strong

KACST provides an academic news service to contribute to building an academic society that is aware of the latest scientific news and activities. The subscriber can access this information through the website, and/or follow the Khabar account on Twitter.

 Obtaining Innovation Award in Information Technology (CIO 100)/strong

This award is granted to leading Middle East organizations utilizing information technology to gain maximum value and improve the quality of their businesses. The award demonstrates the organization’s capabilities of applying the latest technologies to improve operations and reduce costs. It also shows that the organization has used recent technologies of 2016 in innovative ways and in line with the organization’s business strategies toward improving work and operational efficiency, and the evolution of electronic services toward technological excellence in all work areas.

In the report year, KACST won the CIO 100 Award for innovation in Information Technology for making one of the best 100 innovations in Information Technology in the Middle East. One of the main factors for winning this award was the successful implementation of the VMware NSX solution.