UAB IT employees are currently in a pilot program for using Office 365 for email, the same system used by UAB students. The School of Engineering will soon take part in a similar pilot.

If the pilots are successful, all campus employee email will be migrated to the Microsoft cloud system.


Office 365 offers several advantages for users, including new tools and continual upgrades to improve the service and environment. And because email is in the cloud, it is not dependent on UAB facilities being available when the user is off-campus. 

Once the pilot programs are successful, UAB IT will begin migrating all faculty and staff email to Office 365. More information and training will be forthcoming before the switch is made.
In partnership with the Office of the Provost and other departments across campus, UAB IT is introducing a number of new technologies designed to improve students' education — and help them stay in school.

Beginning in the spring semester, a pilot program offering automated communications in Canvas will go campus-wide, giving faculty another tool with which to reach students who have missed class.

The program allows instructors to send automated messages to students who have missed class or who have not logged in to view information about the class.

The intent of the messaging is student engagement and retention: Instructors can personalize the messages, but the idea is to give students a second chance when they might otherwise drop or fail the class.

The new functionality joins other new technologies that will debut in the spring, including a new class waitlist in BlazerNET and a schedule planner that makes it easier for students to register for classes.

Another pilot program likely to begin soon would incorporate eBeacon technology in UAB’s new mobile app to help take attendance in classrooms.

Vice President and CIO Dr. Curt Carver said technology can help boost enrollment and improve the retention and graduation rates for UAB — which in turn helps boost the economic impact in the Birmingham area. Enrollment was up 6.5 percent for fall 2016, and the retention rate increased 3.1 percent.

“We’re going to have to take transformational steps,” Carver said. “These technology improvements and automations make our students’ and faculty’s lives easier — so that they can go about helping to change the world.”
UAB IT and HSIS have successfully collaborated on a standard data classification requirement that will streamline protection of UAB institutional data.

Data classification supports the university's and the hospital's efforts to comply with regulations and contracts across the institution.

The proposed classication model categorizes UAB data into one of three confidentiality levels: Public, Sensitive or Restricted/PHI (personal health information). Data protection requirements are derived from the classification.

The Data Classification Requirement is scheduled for implementation in mid-2017. More information and training for the new data classification system will be forthcoming to assist the UAB community with implementation of the new requirement.

To read the proposed standard, click here.
As we integrate more of our lives into social networking sites, keep these dos and don’ts in mind when sharing online.

Dos

  • Keep your personal information private. Assess whether it’s necessary to share sensitive information such as your birthday, mailing address, phone number, e-mail, mother’s maiden name, sexual orientation, or Social Security number.
  • Be cautious about accepting requests to connect online. Connect only to people you trust who will not misuse the information you post.
  • Check the location settings on photos and videos you post to social networking sites.
  • Avoid joining online groups where you don’t know all the members or what they stand for.
  • Use passphrases to protect your social media accounts. A passphrase is a set of words that create a phrase that is 20 to 30 characters long.


Don’ts

  • Don’t share too much information that could be used to complete a profile about you. For example, share your birthday, but not the year you were born. Or share your hometown, but not the address where you live.
  • Don’t share any information that is being used for verification purposes such as your mother’s maiden name, the name of your first pet, or the street where first lived. Consider making up alternate answers to those questions that only you would know.
  • Don’t post when you are traveling or going out of town on vacation. It’s an open invitation letting criminals know that you are in a different location and that your home is vacant.
  • Don’t post photos of inappropriate or illegal activities.
  • Don’t click on attachments or links without checking the source.
  • Don’t “check in” to every place you visit. That information could be used to identify you in a vulnerable location.
  • Don’t use weak passwords, and never share your passwords!
To better protect the campus network and sensitive data, UAB IT is updating and modernizing its campus edge protections to limit the impact of attempted intrusions by external attackers.

By the end of December, UAB will modify its border firewall posture to what is known as "default-deny," a best practice for enterprise environments. What this means is that only approved network services will be allowed; everything else will be denied to help protect the network and UAB employees' and students' data. 

UAB IT has been working with campus IT professionals behind the scenes for months to ensure a seamless transition.

Campus IT professionals can request a firewall rule change exception through a new form in the IT Service Portal.  

For more information about the change, please review our frequently asked questions.

The upcoming change does not impact any servers or services located within the UAB Health System network, as HSIS utilizes the default-deny firewall policy for their network segment.

All firewall requests from VLAN administrators should be entered by Dec. 29 if at all possible. 

Any VLAN administrators who have completed their requests and are ready to be flipped to a default-deny state can request that ahead of Dec. 29. UAB IT will schedule flipping to this default-deny state and troubleshoot any issues encountered with the campus IT staff. 

If you have any specific technical questions, feel free to contact the Enterprise Information Security staff at 975-0842 or via email at datasecurity@uab.edu.
TechConnect holiday

Need a new laptop for your student? 

TechConnect, UAB’s student-centered tech store powered by UAB IT, has great deals just in time for the holidays. 

Starting Dec. 1, customers can receive a free $150 Dell eGift card with the purchase of a Dell PC valued at $699 or more. The eGift card deal lasts until Jan. 31. 

All of the Dell laptops sold at TechConnect qualify for the eGift card and also include on-campus service and a loaner program (exclusive to the TechConnect Notebook program) if something goes wrong with your laptop and repairs are needed. 

For more information, visit TechConnect in the Hill Student Center or online at uab.edu/techconnect.
Want to learn more about developing apps for iOS?

On Tuesday, Nov. 15, Steve Hayman, National Consulting Engineer for Apple, will be at UAB to host "Build Your Own IOS Apps."

This session will allow attendees to see Swift, a powerful and intuitive programming language, in action.

The session will be held from 9 to 10:30 a.m. in Hill Student Center Room 203. 

According to Apple, Swift is a powerful and intuitive programming language for macOS, iOS, watchOS and tvOS. Writing Swift code is interactive and fun, the syntax is concise yet expressive, and Swift includes modern features developers love. Swift code is safe by design, yet also produces software that runs lightning-fast.

UAB IT has resolved an email issue that caused some emails sent to the IT Service Portal from being delivered on Sunday, Nov. 6, and Monday, Nov. 7.

The email issue also affected emails sent to some other addresses, including:

UAB IT is moving the emails that were sent on Sunday and Monday into the IT Service Portal and you should have received ticket notification. 

We apologize for the inconvenience and will work to prioritize your requests to complete them as quickly as possible.

You can also enter a request ticket or report a problem with a service within the IT Service Portal at askit.uab.edu.

An email circulating to UAB inboxes with the subject line "Transaction declined" is a phishing attempt to infect your computer with malware.

The email looks similar to the image below:

Malware

This email is not related to the campus-wide simulated phishing campaign that UAB IT is launching this month as a tool to educate campus users about phishing attacks that attempt to steal personal or financial information. Please visit uab.edu/phishing to get up-to-date information about the latest phishing attempts and tools to help you protect your information. Campus users can also download the PhishMe Reporter tool for one-click access to report phishing attempts. Follow UAB IT on Twitter for alerts on phishing attacks.

If you receive an email with a link such as “Click Here,” do the hover test. Hover your mouse over the link and look at the lower left pane to see where the link leads. Even if the page looks familiar, verify the URL or type in a URL you know before entering your information.

Look at the URL of the website you are visiting. 

To report suspected spam to AskIT, please follow the instructions here or download the PhishMe Reporter button for one-click reporting.

Follow these additional tips to avoid being a phishing victim:

  • Do NOT click links in messages that ask you to log in. Type a trusted Web address in your browser or Google for the Web site if you don’t know the address.
  • Never type personal, sensitive information (such as passwords or account numbers) on Web sites without verifying the Web site’s authenticity and security — look for an “https” in the address bar.
  • Verify the address. Malicious web sites may look identical to a legitimate site, but the address may use a variation in spelling or a different domain (.com vs. .edu).
  • Misspellings and grammatical errors can be a dead giveaway in phishing emails and subject lines.
  • If you are unsure whether a request is legitimate, contact the company directly. Do NOT use contact information provided in the request.
  • Don’t open attachments. They may contain viruses or malware that can infect your computer.
  • Protect your password. Information security and IT officials at both the university and UAB Hospital will never ask users for passwords or any other sensitive information.
  • Report suspicious activity. If you have any questions or you receive a suspicious email that you want to report, university employees and students can call the AskIT Help Desk at 205-996-5555. Hospital employees can call the HSIS Help Desk at 205-934-8888.
UAB IT worked closely with the Office of the Provost to implement a new waitlist option in BlazerNET.

Beginning in spring 2017, many classes will have a waitlist option — noted with the "WL" code — in the class schedule. Students can place themselves on the waitlist for seats that might become available. When a seat does open, an email notification will be sent to the first person on the waitlist for them to register. Prerequisites and registration restrictions will still apply. 

The new function allows UAB to more quickly identify course needs. "This will allow us to stay ahead of the course demands," said Dr. Bradley Barnes, vice provost for enrollment management.

Vice President and CIO Dr. Curt Carver said the new functionality, along with a new Scheduler Planner, is another example of using technology to meet the needs of students.

"Students are at the center of what we do at UAB, and we're excited to use technology to improve academic success," Carver said.