Every day, the UAB Office of Annual Giving reaches out to more than 1,000 UAB friends and alumni through its student phone center.

A simple technology change provided by UAB IT’s telecommunications unit helped the office better serve potential donors — and helped UAB’s Annual Fund collect more philanthropic gifts to support schools, departments and libraries across campus.

Initially, the Office of Annual Giving asked UAB IT to change its unlisted number projected on caller ID to a live number that would direct back to the office, said Randy Kinder, senior director of Annual Giving for UAB. In just one day, UAB IT fulfilled the request.

“Be careful what you ask for,” Kinder said.

The result of the change was positive — but had the Annual Giving staff, who typically fielded two to three calls a week, trying to keep up with a much greater volume of returned calls from potential donors.

“The result was approximately 50 calls per day to Annual Giving regarding a missed call from our department,” Kinder said. “Most folks just wanted to know who we are and why we were calling, but several also made philanthropic gifts to the university during the return calls.”

In fact, the volume of calls prompted another request to UAB IT.

“We needed these calls to be directed to a different number, with a custom voicemail, and for the voicemails to be sent to an email account,” Kinder said. “This way, we could manage returned calls without drastically impacting our resources.”

That request was also fulfilled quickly, allowing Annual Giving and student phonathon staff to focus on seeking gifts for the Annual Fund, which provides funding for scholarships, programs, out-of-classroom learning, curriculum enhancements and more.

“This has been a monumental addition to our operations, which has allowed us to provide superior donor relations and transparency,” Kinder said.

To learn more about the Office of Annual Giving and the UAB Annual Fund, click here.
Friday, 31 July 2015 18:32

UAB IT Reports and Publications

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The IT Update is a monthly update to UAB leadership and the IT community about technology projects designed to enhance the work lives of UAB faculty, staff and students. 

Subscribe to the IT Update

IT Update for July 2015

Each month, the chief information security officers for UA, UAB, UAB Medicine and UAHuntsville publish a monthly electronic newsletter to help users avoid IT errors.

Summer 2015 | Issue No. 8
March 2015 | Issue No. 6

February 2015 | Issue No. 5

January 2015 | Issue No. 4
December 2014 | Issue No. 3

November 2014 | Issue No. 2
October 2014 | Issue No. 1


An ongoing project to build a new fiber hub for the UAB campus will help protect network traffic with redundant fiber cable infrastructure. 

Begun in 2014, the project has built a new fiber hub building inside the 16th Street parking desk and includes alternate network paths that will help provide greater network protection for the east side of campus.

"The end result is that we will be able to reduce risk and outage time" if there is a network problem, said Skip Peckham, director of telecommunications services for UAB IT. "We'll be able to provide redundancy for critical research and administration needs."

The first phase of the project involved building the structure to house cables in the 16th Street parking deck, with the next phases including installation of fiber cables beneath the streets surrounding the deck and other buildings on the east side of campus. In all, the project will have 19 phases, with nearly half of those phases completed or nearing completion.

UAB IT expects to wrap up the project by the end of 2015.
Audience2Central and campus IT employees attend a July 2015 IT Town Hall meetingSeeking input and involvement from all areas of campus, UAB IT is taking steps to be more transparent in its activities and communication.

The SPARK initiative, which in two months has crowdsourced more than 70 technology ideas for UAB and attracted more than 1,700 votes, will help UAB IT respond to technology needs on campus.

In addition, UAB IT is seeking greater involvement from campus IT professionals in departments, schools and libraries across UAB. Campus IT employees have been invited to express interest in a set of task teams that will help advise UAB IT on the reThink Project, the campus network and active directory.

 “Input and involvement from all areas of campus will help us to be more responsive to our customers and partners,” said Dr. Curt Carver, UAB chief information officer and vice president for information technology. “We want to build up the shared governance structure so that people feel empowered to participate.”

Ultimately, the goal is to build a world-class IT organization that drives innovation for UAB, Carver said.
computerVirus
UAB IT has new recommendations for antivirus software for both home use by faculty, staff and students and for campus users.

Microsoft Forefront is no longer supported by Microsoft, which means there will be no new updates to guard against new viruses.

UAB IT recommends that faculty, staff and students use Microsoft Security Essentials on their home machines that have Windows 7 and Vista. Machines using Windows 8 or higher have Windows Defender built in.

Mac users should continue to use Sophos anti-virus, which faculty, staff and students can download for free through UAB IT.

Learn more about antivirus software here.
Thursday, 23 July 2015 09:05

UAB IT releases guidance on Windows 10

Microsoft is scheduled to release Windows 10 on July 29, 2015. Many UAB employees will want to upgrade to the new version, or will be receiving new systems with Windows 10 already installed.

While Windows 10 will add many new features, Windows 10 does not work with many applications at UAB. Most software developers have not released compatibility updates or new versions of their software for Windows 10, and many software incompatibilities are expected.

UAB IT recommendations and guidance:
Because of these issues, UAB IT recommends that Windows 10 not be installed at this time. If Windows 10 is required and is used on a touch-enabled device, UAB IT recommends you use Windows 8 "classic view."
  • UAB IT will offer only limited support for Windows 10.
  • New systems that are ordered from Dell may included Windows 10 by default in the near future, but departments/schools should consider re-imaging those decices using an approved Windows 7 image prior to deployment.
  • Upgrade support for special business cases and exceptions will be evaluated as needed.
  • Windows 7 should remain the primary operating system on university-owned computers until the issues with Windows 10 are resolved.
  • We foresee retiring Windows 7 within three years and moving to Windows 10 as the primary operating system on university-owned computers.

Compatibility Review

Results of our compatibility review of Windows 10 and UAB IT services.

Service Compatible with UAB IT services? Notes
Adobe Creative Suite No All Adobe Creative Suite products are not currently compatible with Windows 10. During installation, the applications stalls and must be ended manually.
Internet Explorer 11 Yes Internet Explorer (IE) 11 is one of two browsers available on Windows 10. The other is the new Edge browser.
Microsoft Office 2013 Yes No published issues.
Banner No Possible use of IE 11 in enterprise mode — no guidance from Banner or Microsoft.
Oracle No On Microsoft compatibility list. This does not include any UAB applications in the Oracle system.
Software Center (SCCM) No Software Center and other software management tools do not successfully install on Windows 10. (They will be available on the next update from Microsoft.)

UAB IT will continue to test the subsequent releases of Windows 10 with the various services and most frequently used software titles. Once we have confirmed that Windows 10 is compatible with most, if not all, services and software that the product is ready for mainstream distribution, this section will be updated with information on how to obtain the new operating system.

If your school or department IT professionals are interested and available to participate in any evaluation and testing related to Windows 10, please contact Sterling Griffin.

Anticipated hardware requirements
Recommended minimum hardware requirements for Windows 10:
  • Processor: 1.5 Ghz (gigahertz) dual core or better
  • RAM: 8 GB (gigabytes) or more
  • Free hard disk space: 30 GB or more
  • Graphics card: Microsoft Direct X 9 graphics deveice with WDDM driver or better
Wednesday, 22 July 2015 16:13

IT Update July 2015

*|MC:SUBJECT|*
 
July 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.

Focused on the future

UAB IT strategic imperatives will improve service, security

New CIO Curt Carver's vision for UAB IT is "a world-class IT organization that effectively balances cost efficiency, agility, and innovation. We are an organization that values its employees as our most precious resource, and thus we create an environment that thrives at a pace of sustainable innovation over the long term."

Learn more about UAB IT's new set of strategic imperatives.

ANNOUNCEMENTS
TOWN HALL MEETING: Distributed and Central IT professionals are invited to an IT Town Hall meeting from 2 to 4 p.m. July 13, at the School of Nursing Auditorium. Please encourage your IT staff members to attend. Register here.

AskIT CLOSED FOR HOLIDAY JULY 3-4: To report an emergency, call 996-5555 and follow the instructions. Standard issues can be submitted at any time by sending an email to AskIT@uab.edu or by visiting the website. A technician will respond when regular hours resume Sunday, July 5.

SECURE MEDIA DESTRUCTION: UAB IT has a new procedure for secure media destruction. Distributed IT personnel will need to make an appointment with AskIT and fill out a new form that ensures all media is properly accounted for before being destroyed. Learn more here

ORACLE REDFLAG ALERTS: Central administration has partnered with UAB IT to send employees notifications via text and telephone when their personal information changes in Oracle HR and Finance applications. The service will work similarly to B-Alert. Effective July 1, employees who have completed the Identity information at BlazerID Central will begin receiving RedFlag notifications.

PHONE SCAM AFFECTS STUDENTS: Be aware that several UAB students have been targeted by a phone scam that has affected campuses across the country. Despite threats about alleged debt, there has been no breach of secure information at UAB. Learn more here.
CAMPUS
SPARK helping UAB crowdsource new technology ideas
We're looking to the UAB community for bold new initiatives and feedback on technology-related improvements. Faculty, staff and students are invited to share their ideas on the new SPARK platform. Learn more here.


UAB IT is rethinking processes to better serve customers
The reThink Project will give UAB users one door into IT to request services or report problems. Distributed IT professionals on campus are encouraged to get involved with the project. Learn more here.


Upgrade improves network in Admin Building 
UAB IT upgraded network equipment in the Administration Building during the weekend of June 13-14. The network upgrades have improved performance, increased capacity and added reliability to the network throughout the building.

Links to eLAS, LMS have changed
UAB IT took advantage of an unexpected service interruption to upgrade the servers that support several campus systems, including eLAS and LMS. With the upgrade, any previously bookmarked links to LMS and eLAS will no longer work. To ensure seamless login to key systems and to receive alerts or messages, UAB IT recommends that users bookmark the Administrative Systems page. Learn more here.

UABFile technology replacement complete
UAB IT recently transitioned UABFile services to newer technology. The solution provides future growth capacity and geographic redundancy. Departments across campus assisted with the project.
RESEARCH
Largest compute cluster in Alabama coming to UAB
Building on a commitment to world-class research, UAB IT is expanding its research compute cluster thanks to a donation from the university's Mission Support Fund. Equipment for the new compute cluster arrived in late June, and when it is integrated into the existing environment will increase capacity to 50 teraflops, making it the largest in Alabama.


Research Administration resources will be expanded
UAB Research Administration and UAB IT are hiring additional staff to support the new clinical trials system, OnCore. In addition, software partner InfoEd has agreed to locate personnel here to help guarantee the successful implementation of IRAP, UAB's Integrated Research Administration Portal. Learn about IRAP here.
OPERATIONS & ADMINISTRATION
Customers will get transparent look at IT finances
The UAB IT Financial Transparency and Accountability Project will give IT customers a chance to better understand their IT costs and better plan for the future. Learn more about the Financial Transparency and Accountability Project here.

Employee reimbursements to be made via direct deposit
Financial Affairs has partnered with UAB IT on a project to allow employee reimbursements to be direct deposited instead of being reimbursed with a physical check. The project, which will expedite the reimbursement process and make it more convenient for employees, was implemented June 29.

UAB IT helping to clean up old Oracle reports
HR and Financial Affairs have partnered with UAB IT to clean up old and orphaned reports in the Oracle Report Viewer. Reports executed by departmental users will be deleted after 30 days. This effort will help improve performance and reduce storage costs.

UAB IT working to be more inclusive of campus IT
UAB IT is developing ways to include Distributed IT in its governance structure. This could include advisory groups for security, technology, projects and changes.
TEACHING AND LEARNING
Faculty Profiles adds new features
In conjunction with the Provost's Office and Research Administration, UAB IT released the next phase of the Faculty Profiles system on June 29. The "Teaching and Learning" and "Professional Activities" sections give faculty a single system where they can manage their accomplishments. Courses, assigned advising and graduate committee participation data has been extracted directly from the student system. Rollout of Faculty Profiles continues with departments in six schools participating so far. Learn more about Faculty Profiles here.
SECURITY
Microsoft SCCM available to all areas on campus
As part of the initiative to protect UAB's assets and inventory servers and workstations, UAB IT is making Microsoft SCCM available at no cost to all areas of campus. A kickoff meeting will be held at 2 p.m. July 9 at the Finley Conference Center. IT managers should contact UAB IT about who will represent their areas at the kickoff meeting.

Windows Server 2003 reaches end of life July 14
UAB IT personnel are actively working to migrate or retire systems that are running on Windows Server 2003, which will be unsupported after July 14. Learn more here

UAB increases PCI compliance
Financial Affairs and UAB IT have worked with merchants on campus to meet requirements set by the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard. UAB has made significant progress in reducing risk in the past year: In 2014, 83 percent of revenue from UAB merchants met requirements, up from 15 percent in 2013.

Discounted security training available
UAB IT has contracted with one of the premier information security training organizations, the SANS Institute, to offer a number of discounted training opportunities to the UAB community. Departments that want to be included in this summer's purchase should contact UAB IT before July 30. Learn more here.
EXPLORING NEW IDEAS
ALUMNI EMAIL: The Office of the Vice President for Development, Alumni and External Relations and the Office of the Vice President for Information Technology are researching options to provide email accounts to UAB alumni.

UNLIMITED STORAGE: UAB IT is considering a new potential service for unlimited storage for staff, faculty and students. Possible partners include Box.com.

BIG DATA: UAB is seeking to partner with the National Science Foundation in the South Big Data Regional Innovation Hub coordinated by the Georgia Institute of Technology and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. If accepted, UAB would take a leadership role in a regional consortium, sharing infrastructure resources, tools and expertise with other member institutions.
DID YOU KNOW?
You can sign up for easy password resets at BlazerID Central.

UAB IT has a contract with a HIPAA-compliant data recovery service.
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Adobe FormsCentral is retiring July 28, but UAB IT can help in the transition. UAB IT offers Adobe Acrobat for download at a discount.

After July 28, users of Adobe FormsCentral will no longer be able to create new forms or collect responses using FormsCentral. Adobe recommends that users immediately export responses to a file type of your choice — and convert your FormsCentral forms to PDFs, if desired. You will NOT be able to do so once FormsCentral expires.

Adobe Acrobat can be used to collect form data automatically and compile it in a table format. Data can be exported to a spreadsheet for further analysis or to create charts for summary reports.

Adobe Acrobat is offered through UAB IT. Learn more here.

To learn more about the retirement of Adobe FormsCentral, please read the Forms Central FAQ or Adobe Forums.
Tuesday, 21 July 2015 08:30

Microsoft releases critical patch

Microsoft on Monday released a critical patch outside of its normal patching cycle. 

The update fixes a vulnerability in Windows that could allow an attacker to execute code on a system if they can convince the user to open a specially crafted document, or have them visit an untrusted webpage that contains embedded OpenType fonts. 

The update, which requires a system reboot, was released to all UAB IT Desktop-supported machines at 4 p.m. Monday. Users have 72 hours to let the patch install and reboot the system. Users should get a notification bubble pop up at the system tray. After 72 hours, if a user has not allowed the patch to install, it will install automatically and the system will be forced to reboot.

UAB IT urges users to find an opportune time to let the patch install and allow the reboot occur to help protect UAB systems and information.
Friday, 10 July 2015 11:25

Dropbox file limit doubles to 4Gb

FileSharing DropboxUAB IT’s SPARK initiative, which has generated more than 60 ideas since its inception last month, inspired an easy win for campus: an increase in the size limit for files uploaded to the UAB Dropbox.

The UAB Dropbox will now accept single file uploads as large as 4 Gb, doubling the previous size allowed.

Ed Harris, assistant director of systems and server support for UAB IT, said he was inspired to increase the limit by a comment on SPARK from Dan Willson, senior systems analyst for the Office of Public Relations and Marketing.

The easy fix is the kind of win for UAB that Curtis A. Carver Jr., vice president for information technology, was hoping for with the new SPARK site — along with bold new ideas in technology.

“We invite everyone in the UAB community to share your ideas with us,” he said. “We’re looking for at least 100 technology-related wins for UAB, and those ideas can be small or large.”

Dropbox allows campus users to share documents that are larger than the size limit allowed by campus e-mail.

The UAB Dropbox averages about 10,000 uses per year, mainly to transfer spreadsheets and other office documents.