IT Update for November 2015

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November 2015
A monthly report to UAB leadership and the IT community about technology projects
designed to enhance the work and lives of UAB staff, faculty and students.

New cloud storage service

OneDrive for faculty and staff debuts Nov. 2

Beginning Nov. 2, UAB campus faculty and staff will have access to a OneDrive account with 1TB of file storage and the ability to download Office 365 apps for desktop and mobile use. 

Learn more about Microsoft OneDrive and how to access your account.

ANNOUNCEMENTS
Howard joining UAB IT as deputy CIO
Robert Howard will join UAB IT on Nov. 16 as associate vice president and deputy chief information officer. Howard has 19 years of experience in information technology at higher education institutions, most recently as CIO at Armstrong State University in Savannah, Ga. Learn more here.


100 day-letter: Find out where we've been and what's ahead
Vice President and CIO Dr. Curt Carver has shared with the UAB campus a letter detailing UAB IT's progress over his first 100 days — including new initiatives and services — as well as plans for the future. Read the letter here.
CAMPUS
reThink Project: New service portal gets review
Focus groups of IT professionals from across campus got a peek at a new user-friendly service portal, which is the customer-facing centerpiece of UAB IT's transition to ServiceNow, an industry-leading tool that incorporates best practices for IT service management. UAB IT sought feedback from IT professionals on the new portal, which will soon undergo testing for a planned launch in late January 2016. Customers will be able to browse a service catalog, order services, report issues with services and equipment and search a knowledge base through the new portal. Learn more about the reThink project.

UAB electronic directory accessible by BlazerID, password
To better protect students, staff and faculty, personal information in the UAB online directory is now accessible only by BlazerID and password. The change was made to help protect members of the UAB community from harassment and scamming. Information for units and entities does not require a login. Learn more about the change.

Password length: Longer is better, recommendations say
Longer passwords — like the 15-character passwords that UAB now requires — are harder to crack and should avoid single dictionary words or easy patterns. Learn more password do’s and don’ts here.
RESEARCH
Box trial will get under way soon
A beta trial of unlimited storage through an enterprise agreement with Box will be getting under way soon. The cloud storage service will be provided by Box through Internet2.


Research computing committee to meet this month
The research computing committee, chaired by Dr. Iwan Alexander, dean of the School of Engineering, will reconvene this month to continue development of a research computing strategic plan.
OPERATIONS & ADMINISTRATION
Administrative Systems page now interactive
UAB's administrative systems page now has an interactive layout that allows users to choose their own configuration of the buttons that access various UAB systems, such as Banner and Oracle. Learn more about the redesigned page.

Streamlined login process can help prospective students
UAB IT worked with the Office of Student Recruiting and Retention to help streamline the process of authentication for prospective students, making it easier for future Blazers to schedule visits to campus and research enrollment.

UAB IT working with SoPH IT teams to evaluate tech needs
At the request of the dean of the School of Public Health, UAB IT is working together with the IT teams in the School of Public Health to conduct a school-wide IT needs analysis. Meetings are scheduled with departments, school leaders, and their respective faculty, researchers and staff. UAB IT’s recommendations are expected by late November.

UAB IT partners with UAB Athletics for IT support
UAB IT is working with UAB Athletics to provide IT support, a partnership that will create a competitive advantage for Blazer teams through technology. UAB IT will provide desktop support, office automation and collaboration support.
TEACHING AND LEARNING
UAB IT assists Faculty Senate with SPARK ideas campaign
UAB IT is expanding its SPARK crowdsourcing platform to other areas of campus. The UAB Faculty Senate has launched an ideas campaign to help determine what issues the senate should focus on in 2016. The Faculty Senate SPARK campaign has attracted eight new ideas and 100 votes so far.

Faculty experience task force to convene soon 
The UAB Faculty Senate is partnering with UAB IT to convene a faculty experience task force to enhance the work experiences of all UAB faculty through technology. The first meeting is being scheduled before the end of the year.

Email assistance helps Registrar's office respond to students
UAB IT worked with the Registrar’s office to streamline email communications from students regarding questions about graduation. Students can now email graduation@uab.edu, a shared inbox for the Registrar’s office that will help facilitate better customer service for students.
COMMUNITY
UAB IT Leader Team helps at Habitat build
UAB IT employees pitched in with other members of UAB's administration Friday, Oct. 23, at the UAB Habitat for Humanity build, a project coordinated by the UAB Benevolent Fund. The dedication of the house is set for Tuesday, Nov. 3.



UAB IT offers security advice to Community College leaders
UAB IT information security staff made a presentation to the Alabama Community College Presidents fall conference last month, offering advice on preventative measures that all organizations should take to limit the risk due to data breaches. 
SECURITY
In wake of phone scams, protect your online information
Scammers have continued to target UAB students — and even their parents — with threatening phone calls demanding money. As a result, UAB has password-protected the personal information in its online directory, but students and staff are urged to protect all of their information online. Learn more tips to protect yourself.

Malicious email attachments could hold files for ransom
UAB users were hit recently with emails containing malicious attachments that could encrypt users' files, enabling attackers to hold the files for ransom. Learn more here.

Late-night video reminds us to safeguard passwords
Want an example of how NOT to safeguard your password? Jimmy Kimmel Live showcased just how easily people can be susceptible to social engineering that gives away clues to their passwords. Don't follow the lead shown in this video!

Standard server security measures deployed across campus
UAB IT has been working with distributed IT professionals in departments and schools to help minimize risks to UAB's information assets. Because UAB operates in a decentralized server environment, UAB IT has implemented standard server patch management software across campus to mitigate security risks. The project is part of a larger cyber security effort across the University of Alabama system. Learn more here.
TECH CORNER
SharePoint upgrade under way
The UAB IT SharePoint team has begun the design phase for migration of UAB's SharePoint sites to SharePoint 2013, which offers a more intuitive and customer-friendly version of the software. Installation of the core system will begin in December, with site conversions beginning in spring 2016. Setup and testing for the converted sites will take place through next fall. The SharePoint team will contact individual site owners with their site's schedule in coming weeks.

Vulnerability found in Adobe Flash Player
A vulnerability was found in Adobe Flash Player. Find more details and determine if you have the updated version here.
EXPLORING NEW IDEAS
UNLIMITED EMAIL IS COMING: Unlimited email storage will be a new feature when UAB IT upgrades its email system for campus faculty and staff. When the upgrade is complete, it will have many new features, including unlimited email for users.
DID YOU KNOW?
ENTERPRISE SOFTWARE: UAB IT has a library of software available at no cost or at a discount. Access the software library here.

EXPONENTIAL CHANGE: If you take 30 linear steps, you walk across the room. If you take 30 exponential steps, you walk to the moon. We live in a time of exponential change in information technology.
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Last modified on December 02, 2015