AVP ChiefTechOfficers DS Brian

The second of two presentations from candidates for UAB’s chief technology officer will take place at an open forum June 22.

Brian Rivers, UAB’s chief information security officer and interim CTO, will present his ideas for the position from 3 to 4 p.m. Friday, June 22, at Cudworth Hall Auditorium.

Rivers has more than 20 years of experience in information technology and more than a decade of experience in senior leadership roles. He has held a variety of responsibilities in the areas of process control, software development, systems administration, networking, and information security. He has led a multitude of large-scale, transformative initiatives in environments ranging from higher education to 24x7 manufacturing to nationwide sales and marketing. He has always effected significant positive change through building strong relationships, creating understanding and agreement, and consistently following through on commitments.

Candidate Tim Brown, executive director of the Northwest Regional Data Center at Florida State University and a former director of IT infrastructure services at UAB, presented his ideas on June 11.

AdobeFlashPlayerStudents, faculty and staff who use Adobe Flash Player are urged to update the program quickly to avoid security vulnerability issues. 

Adobe has released security updates for Adobe Flash Player for Windows, macOS, Linux and Chrome OS. These updates address critical vulnerabilities in Adobe Flash Player 29.0.0.171 and earlier versions. Attackers could use the vulnerability to gain access to your computer and possibly even your private data. 

These attacks leverage Office documents with embedded malicious Flash Player content distributed via email.

Customers of UAB IT's Desktop Services will receive updates to Flash Player. The new version 30.0.0.113 is being released to Desktop Supported and Campus Supported Windows 7 (Active-X, NPAPI and PPAPI) and Win8+ (NPAPI and PPAPI) browsers utilizing the on-premise Adobe Flash update server.  It is being deployed to Desktop Supported Windows 8+ (Active-X) browsers via Microsoft SCCM or Windows Updates. A reboot of your computer is not expected but could be required based on the activity state of Adobe Flash Player at the time of the upgrade.

If you have questions, please contact your department's IT support or contact AskIT at uab.edu/askit or 205-996-5555.

AVP ChiefTechOfficers DS 1

The first of two planned presentations from candidates for UAB’s chief technology officer will take place at an open forum June 11.

Tim Brown will present his ideas for the position from 3 to 4 p.m. Monday, June 11, at Hill Student Center’s Alumni Theater. Please enter the theater on the third floor.

Brown has served as executive director of the Northwest Regional Data Center, an auxiliary of Florida State University, since April 2008. He has more than 27 years of experience in IT, with a focus on strategic planning, budgeting, and building and leading support and development teams in academic settings. He served as director of IT infrastructure services at UAB from 2001-2005 and as associate director for computer services from 1993-2001. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Auburn University and a Master of Science degree in health informatics from UAB.

Further presentation details for a second candidate will be announced soon.

UAB IT is introducing a new on-premise restricted storage option to serve departments that have a continued need to process Restricted/PHI data in an environment similar to UABFile, a storage solution which is being retired. The new solution will be offered at least until June 2019 but may be extended if there is a continued need on campus.

Individuals who use services provided by HSIS for this similar purpose should continue to do so.

The new service, Secure UABFile, has been discussed by the Storage and Collaboration Working Group, a campus-wide panel of IT representatives.

UAB IT has been undergoing a plan to migrate content from UABFile department shares and UDrive/home drives to the cloud in OneDrive and SharePoint online. Content from individual UDrives has been successfully migrated to OneDrive, but many departments expressed concern about the need to process Restricted/PHI data, which is currently not permitted to be stored in SharePoint.

UAB IT is working to make the experience as close to UABFile as possible while adding enhanced security. Departments will not need to take any action to be transitioned to the new service. The cost will be at the same rate as UABFile through the end of the current fiscal year; future rates will be determined later, but will remain cost-recovery for UAB IT.

This service will allow departments more time to reduce and redact Restricted/PHI data. The new Secure UABFile will remain online for at least a year after UABFile is retired and may be retained longer depending on business demand and funding availability.

To learn more about how to remediate Restricted/PHI data in your department files, visit our web page on data reduction.

If you have questions about the new service, please contact AskIT at uab.edu/askit or 205-996-5555.



Collaborating within your department or organization can be easier with a new Office 365 feature called Groups.

With an Office 365 Group, you will receive a group email address and Outlook inbox, shared calendar, shared planner, and a SharePoint Online site for document collaboration, all operating under the Office 365 umbrella.

You won’t have to manually assign permissions to each resource because adding members to the group automatically gives them access to each tool.

Groups give teams greater collaboration opportunities than distribution lists under the old on-premise email experience.

Learn more about Office 365 Groups in this knowledge base article and in our Office 365 FAQs.

To request an Office 365 Group, open a request ticket through the IT Service Portal.

If you have questions about Office 365 Groups, contact AskIT at 205-996-5555, askit@uab.edu or at uab.edu/askit.

To help keep classroom technology up-to-date, UAB IT has formalized its partnership with the Office of the Provost, eLearning and Professional Development, UAB Facilities, and the Center for Teaching and Learning to collaborate on the criteria for classroom upgrades.

The committee of representatives from each organization will meet regularly to form and endorse the strategy for establishing the standard technology needed for each classroom. View classrooms supported by UAB IT here.

“Our goal is to have consistent, updated equipment so that faculty and students in provost-supported classrooms have the same technology experience from classroom to classroom,” said Jason Johnson, executive director for client success for UAB IT.

Faculty and students can check the status of each classroom here.

Learn more about classroom upgrades here.

CyberWatch Mktg DS 1

Keeping up to date on the latest phishing emails and scams will be easier with a new internal web site devoted to sharing news of such attempts.

The CyberWatch web site at uab.edu/cyberwatch, which is open to all students, faculty and staff who log in with their BlazerID and password, will share the latest phishing email attacks and scams, with tips to help you recognize those malicious attempts to steal your information.

Phishing emails are often an attempt to get your BlazerID and password — which could give thieves access to your personal and financial information, as well as data from across the University.

Log in to the CyberWatch site at uab.edu/cyberwatch to get the latest on phishing emails and other scams. Remember that not all phishing emails will be uploaded here, so use your best judgment and err on the side of caution with suspected phishing attempts.

To report phishing attempts, you can forward the suspected email to phishing@uab.edu or download PhishMe Reporter here for one-click access to report phish.

To further protect your information and your credentials, sign up for two-factor authentication at uab.edu/2factor.

Email Encryption DS 1

Protecting sensitive information you send through UAB email will be easier with encryption, which can now be applied to messages sent through Office 365 email.

There are two methods to secure information:

  • With an installed Encryption button in Outlook for 2016 for Windows.
  • By using the term [Encrypt] (including the brackets) anywhere in the subject line of your message. If you don’t have the encryption button for Outlook 2016 for Windows, this method will work for you.

Encryption ensures even greater protection for sensitive information sent via campus email.

Please remember that Restricted/PHI data such as Social Security numbers and credit card numbers are still not permitted in email, regardless of encryption.

The following knowledge articles will help you download and install the encryption button and send and read encrypted emails. You will need to log in to the IT Service Portal with your BlazerID to view the images associated with the knowledge articles.

If you experience any problems with email encryption, please contact AskIT at 205-996-5555 or at uab.edu/askit.

DLP OneDrive Web

UAB IT is implementing a new configuration in OneDrive and SharePoint Online to better alert you if Restricted information is stored in your files. The new configuration will be launched May 25.

Data that is classified at UAB as “Restricted” — such as Social Security and credit card numbers — is not permitted to be stored in the cloud.

The new data loss prevention, or DLP, configuration will help prevent unintended exposure of Restricted data that could result from document sharing.

DLP will scan OneDrive and SharePoint online documents to determine those that contain Restricted data such as Social Security numbers or credit card numbers. SSNs and credit card numbers are classified as Restricted/PHI under the UAB Data Classification Rule.

If one of your files contains such information, the file will be flagged and you will see a new icon — a red circle indicating access is prohibited. Access will be restricted to the owner of the file and the last person who modified the file.

If you have a file flagged as having restricted information, you should:

  • Delete the file from OneDrive or SharePoint Online
  • Remove the restricted data from the file; or
  • Migrate the file to local, on-premise file storage. AskIT can help you with on-premise storage.

Learn more about how data loss prevention works in OneDrive and SharePoint here.

Learn more about how to remediate Restricted data in your OneDrive files here.

If you have any questions or problems with DLP, please contact AskIT at 205-996-5555, askit@uab.edu or uab.edu/askit.

AVP Research Computing Open Sessions Updated DS

Two remaining candidates for assistant vice president of research computing are set to present their ideas for the position at open forums in May.

Faculty, staff and students are invited.

Presentations include:

  • Ralph Zottola, Ph.D., will present from 3 to 4 p.m. Wednesday, May 16, in the Cudworth Hall Auditorium.
  • Jill Gemmill, Ph.D., will present from 3 to 4 p.m. Thursday, May 17, in the Cudworth Hall Auditorium.

Purushotham Bangalore, Ph.D., current interim director of research computing, presented Monday, April 30.

Dr. Bangalore is a professor of computer science in the College of Arts and Sciences and interim director for research computing in the Office of Vice President for Information Technology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. He has 25 years of extensive experience in several areas of high-performance computing (HPC), including designing novel HPC algorithms, object-oriented libraries, message-passing middleware, multidisciplinary applications, parallel program synthesis frameworks, scalable and reliable petascale compute and storage systems, and collaborative environments. As the interim director for Research Computing, he is responsible for the design, procurement, deployment, and day-to-day operations of a 468 TFLOPS compute cluster with 6 PB storage system and a high-speed research network.

Dr. Zottola received his doctorate in biochemistry from the University of Massachusetts Medical School, where he remained to serve in multiple roles to develop academic, informatics and research computing infrastructure and services. He then served as chief technology officer for research computing at the UMass Office of the President, where he provided leadership for UMass to develop the Massachusetts Green High Performance Computing Center. Zottola has 23 years of progressive IT executive experience. He also has faculty appointments in the Department of Quantitative Health Sciences and the Graduate School of Nursing at UMassMed, where he teaches a graduate biomedical informatics course.

Dr. Gemmill has provided leadership in scientific and high-performance computing; campus and regional network infrastructure and services; federated authentication/authorization technology and infrastructure; data security technology and policy; collaboration technology standards; and scientific visualization. Her innovation has been recognized by multiple industry awards (Data Center Executive of the Year 2008; ESRI Special Achievement in GIS 2003; E-Gov “Best of the Best” Pioneer Award 2002) and she has been a principal on 30 funded awards totaling more than $30 million from funding agencies including the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, DoE, IMLS, and National Parks Service, and UAB Health Services Foundation.

The new assistant vice president of research computing will be UAB’s pioneer and chief architect of UAB Research Computing applications. Reporting to the vice president for information technology and chief information officer, the position will be responsible for creating and managing a team to design, develop and deliver a cost-effective mix of applications, data-analysis platforms and visualization tools running on shared high-performance computing resources across the UAB campus, which is home to the fastest research computer in Alabama.



UAB Solution Studios has been connecting students, nurses and clinicians to solve patient-centered problems.

Sprints LogoIn its first sprint project, UAB IT has partnered with UAB Solutions Studio to create a tool to connect them more easily.

UAB IT has worked closely with the team behind the Solution Studio, an interdisciplinary team that connects clinicians and STEM students to solve patient care problems. UAB IT has developed a prototype for an online Solution Studios tool that will connect students and clinicians more quickly and efficiently. The prototype is set to be showcased later this month for university officials and community members.

"It's an education as well as a product," said Nancy Wingo of UAB Solution Studios. "At the heart of it is people with a passion to help people."

Learn more about Solution Studios here and about the project in the video above.

A "sprint" refers to a specific amount of time in which technology work must be completed and presented for review by the product owner. The UAB IT sprints program is designed to help create innovative solutions for campus needs. The sprints will give cross-discipline teams an opportunity to create a prototype for these solutions.

Other sprint projects include UAB-specific skills for smart devices such as Amazon Alexa; a university calendar; and chatbots for faculty questions and other campus needs.

With space leased at Innovation Depot, the intent is to give teams a creative space to find solutions and to include team members beyond IT professionals.

Box Drive is a simple way to work with all of your files — even billions of files — right from your desktop — without taking up much hard drive space.

Box Drive is part of UAB Box, available to campus faculty and staff at UAB.

Box Drive integrates with Windows File Explorer and Mac Finder, so working with files in Box Drive feels like working with files in a network drive — with added features such as external collaboration, search and version control.

When Box Drive is installed, you open your Windows Explorer or Mac Finder to find every file you need, edit as you would any local file and save it automatically to the cloud.

Among the features of Box Drive:

  • Access all files: all of your files stored in Box right from your desktop.
  • Increased security: Files are no longer stored on your hard drive, reducing the risk of data loss if your device is lost or stolen.
  • Files shared with you: Any files shared with you, including read-only, will automatically appear in Drive.
  • Save every version: Automatically retain version of files every time you click “save” and never have to worry about losing work.

To learn more about UAB Box, click here.

To learn more about using Box Drive, click here.

ResearchComputing Seminar1

UAB IT Research Computing hosted NVIDIA for a deep learning workshop on campus April 11. The seminar was divided into two sessions and was presented by engineers from NVIDIA. Both sessions were held at the Edge of Chaos and were attended by approximately 80 faculty, staff and students.  

ResearchComputing Seminar2The first session was titled “Deep Learning Demystified” and introduced key terminology, use cases from various industries, how deep learning differs from previous algorithmic approach, and covered topics on how a deep neural network gets trained, optimized, and deployed. the lecture also covered topics on how to apply deep learning to challenging problems, the types of problems benefit most from deep learning, the skills and knowledge that is needed to use deep learning, and the characteristics of successful deep learning projects. 

The second session was titled “Applied Deep Learning” and was a hands-on lab session in which the instructor led the attendees through an image classification workflow using NVIDIA DIGITS. This lab gave attendees experience in leveraging deep neural networks (DNN) — specifically convolutional neural networks (CNN) — within the deep learning workflow to solve a real-world image classification problem using NVIDIA DIGITS on top of the Caffe framework and the MNIST hand-written digits dataset.

Both seminars were well received by the UAB community and were helpful in promoting the use of the Cheaha high-performance computing platform and the GPU compute fabric at UAB.

AVP Research Computing Open Sessions Web
Candidates for assistant vice president of research computing will present their ideas for the position at open forums in coming weeks. Faculty, staff and students are invited.

Presentations include:

  • Purushotham Bangalore, Ph.D., current interim director of research computing, will present from 2 to 3 p.m. Monday, April 30, in the Cudworth Hall Auditorium.
  • Ralph Zottola, Ph.D., will present from 3 to 4 p.m. Wednesday, May 16, in the Cudworth Hall Auditorium.

A third candidate’s presentation has not yet been scheduled.

Dr. Bangalore is a professor of computer science in the College of Arts and Sciences and interim director for research computing in the Office of Vice President for Information Technology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. He has 25 years of extensive experience in several areas of high-performance computing (HPC), including designing novel HPC algorithms, object-oriented libraries, message-passing middleware, multidisciplinary applications, parallel program synthesis frameworks, scalable and reliable petascale compute and storage systems, and collaborative environments. As the interim director for Research Computing, he is responsible for the design, procurement, deployment, and day-to-day operations of a 468 TFLOPS compute cluster with 6 PB storage system and a high-speed research network.

Dr. Zottola received his doctorate in biochemistry from the University of Massachusetts Medical School, where he remained to serve in multiple roles to develop academic, informatics and research computing infrastructure and services. He then served as chief technology officer for research computing at the UMass Office of the President, where he provided leadership for UMass to develop the Massachusetts Green High Performance Computing Center. Zottola has 23 years of progressive IT executive experience. He also has faculty appointments in the Department of Quantitative Health Sciences and the Graduate School of Nursing at UMassMed, where he teaches a graduate biomedical informatics course.

The new assistant vice president of research computing will be UAB’s pioneer and chief architect of UAB Research Computing applications. Reporting to the vice president for information technology and chief information officer, the position will be responsible for creating and managing a team to design, develop and deliver a cost-effective mix of applications, data-analysis platforms and visualization tools running on shared high-performance computing resources across the UAB campus, which is home to the fastest research computer in Alabama.

April Moms Dads Grads DS 1280x720
Looking for a HOT computer sale? TechConnect has got you covered!

For UAB faculty and staff, TechConnect is offering $100 off any Dell computer. This offer is valid for TWO weeks, April 16-30. Computers must be purchased in store (online sales are not eligible).

TechConnect, located online and at the Hill Student Center, offers educational pricing on computers, tablets and accessories, as well as service for your devices. Have any questions? Call TechConnect today at 205-934-8333.

UAB students, faculty and staff now have the ability to access Zoom video conferencing, free of charge thanks to a partnership with the University of Alabama System.

Zoom provides cloud video conferencing, simple online meetings and group messaging, providing a complete conference room solution.

Zoom is also HIPAA compliant.

To access Zoom, begin by filling out a user account request form on the UA System web site. Within a day, you should receive an email with instructions to activate your account.

Please note, if you have already established a trial or free Zoom account, you will need to remove the application from your machine to use the UA System enterprise license.

Contact the Intercampus Interactive Telepresence System (IITS) for the University of Alabama System at 205-975-6854 or via email at iitscal@uasystem.ua.edu. The web site is located at iits.uasystem.ua.edu.

UAB IT Research Computing will host a deep learning workshop with NVIDA on Wednesday, April 11, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Edge of Chaos.

Please register here if you are interested in attending, as it helps in planning for the event.

The first session, from 9 to 11 a.m., will focus on “Deep Learning Demystified.” The lecture will introduce key terminology, use cases from various industries, how deep learning differs from previous algorithmic approaches, and how a deep neutral network gets trained, optimized and deployed.

The second session, from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m., is titled “Applied Deep Learning.” The lecture will cover how to apply deep learning to challenging problems, what types of problems benefit most from deep learning, what skills and knowledge is needed to use deep learning, and the characteristics of successful deep learning projects.

Labs will include "Applications of Deep Learning with Caffe, Theano and Torch" and "Image Classification with NVIDIA DIGITS."

The Edge of Chaos is located on the fourth floor of Lister Hill Library. Contact Thomas Anthony if you have any questions.

UAB IT is off to a running start with its sprints program.

Teams have finished one “sprint” and are preparing for more challenges. A "sprint" refers to a specific amount of time in which technology work must be completed and presented for review by the product owner. The UAB IT sprints program is designed to help create innovative solutions for campus needs. The sprints will give cross-discipline teams an opportunity to create a prototype for these solutions.

UAB IT has worked closely with the team behind the Solution Studio, an interdisciplinary team that connects clinicians and STEM students to solve patient care problems. UAB IT has developed a prototype for an online Solution Studios tool that will connect students and clinicians more quickly and efficiently. The prototype is set to be showcased later this month for university officials and community members.

Other sprint projects include UAB-specific skills for smart devices such as Amazon Alexa; a university calendar; and chatbots for faculty questions and other campus needs.

With space leased at Innovation Depot, the intent is to give teams a creative space to find solutions and to include team members beyond IT professionals.

TravelSafety3
Traveling this spring or summer? Here are some tips to protect your tech and your data while you are on the road or flying the friendly skies.

Protect your tech and data when traveling:

  • Travel only with the data that you need; look at reducing the amount of digital information that you take with you. This may mean leaving some of your devices at home, using temporary devices, removing personal data from your devices, or shifting your data to a secure cloud service. Authorities or criminals can't search what you don't have.
  • Most travelers will likely decide that inconvenience overrides risk and travel with electronic devices anyway. If this is the case, travelers should focus on protecting the information that they take with them. One of the best ways to do this is to use encryption. Make sure to fully encrypt your device and make a full backup of the data that you leave at home.
  • Before you arrive at the border, travelers should power off their devices. This is when the encryption services are at their strongest and will help resist a variety of high-tech attacks that may attempt to break your encryption. Travelers should not rely solely on biometric locks, which can be less secure than passwords.
  • Make sure to log out of browsers and apps that give you access to online content, and remove any saved login credentials (turn off cookies and autofill). This will prevent anyone from using your devices (without your knowledge) to access your private online information. You could also temporarily uninstall mobile apps and clear browser history so that it is not immediately apparent which online services you use.

Get your device travel ready:

  • Change your passwords or passphrases before you go. Consider using a password manager if you don't use one already.
  • Set up multifactor authentication for your accounts whenever possible for an additional layer of security.
  • Delete apps you no longer use.
  • Update any software, including antivirus protection, to make sure you are running the most secure version available.
  • Turn off Wi-Fi and Bluetooth to avoid automatic connections.
  • Turn on "Find My [Device Name]" tracking and/or remote wiping options in case it is lost or stolen.
  • Charge your devices before you go.
  • Stay informed of TSA regulations and be sure to check with the State Department's website for any travel alerts or warnings concerning the specific countries you plan to visit, including any tech restrictions.
  • Clear your devices of any content that may be considered illegal or questionable in other countries, and verify whether the location you are traveling to has restrictions on encrypted digital content.
  • Don't overlook low-tech solutions:
    • Tape over the camera of your laptop or mobile device for privacy.
    • Use a privacy screen on your laptop to avoid people "shoulder surfing" for personal information.
    • Physically lock your devices and keep them on you whenever possible, or use a hotel safe.
    • Label all devices in case they get left behind!

Due to enhanced security measures in most countries, travelers with tech should be prepared for possible disruptions or additional wait times during the screening process. Here are some steps you can take to help secure your devices and your privacy.

Good to know:

  • While traveling within the United States, TSA agents at the gate are not allowed to confiscate your digital devices or demand your passwords.
  • Different rules apply to U.S. border patrol agents and agents in other countries. Federal border patrol agents have broad authority to search everyone entering the U.S. This includes looking through any electronic devices you have with you while you are traveling. They can seize your devices and make a copy for experts to examine offsite.

These guidelines are not foolproof, but security experts say every additional measure taken can help reduce the chances of cybertheft.

FindTimeMicrosoft has released a new tool designed to give Outlook users an easier way to schedule meetings.

FindTime allows colleagues to easily find time for a meeting without emailing back and forth before agreeing on a time.

FindTime is an Outlook add-in that allows you to quickly find time to meet with others by pinpointing times to meet via available free/busy data for your attendees as well as creating a poll where attendees can vote on the times you suggest, and even suggest new times themselves.

While FindTime organizers are required to be in Office 365, FindTime invites can be sent to anyone with an email address. Recipients do not have to have FindTime installed, nor do they have to be Office 365 users.

FindTime’s voting website can be accessed from any device.

For added security, FindTime encrypts personal information (such as your email address) in Azure. FindTime also encrypts information about the invites you create, such as the email subject, the attendees and the email body.

The app is available for Outlook 2013, Outlook 2016, Outlook on the Web and Outlook for Mac.

          

Learn more about FindTime and install it here.