Excellence, service, security and shared governance are among the hallmarks of a new set of strategic imperatives UAB IT is committed to meeting, Vice President for Information Technology and CIO Curt Carver said.

The strategic imperatives enhance Carver’s vision for UAB IT.

“My vision for UAB IT is a world-class IT organization that effectively balances cost efficiency, agility and innovation,” he said. “Our relationships with our customers, business partners and vendors are long-term relationships that allow us to move at the speed of trust. This vision does not depend on one person but instead on a dedicated team where everyone is an agent of innovation and aligned to support the University of Alabama at Birmingham.”

The department’s strategic imperatives include:
  • Create a secure computing environment for all UAB members through appropriate policy, training and technology.
  • Build an IT shared governance structure with particular focus on partnership with the Health System.
  • Create a world-class IT organization so that if our customers could choose any provider, they would choose UAB IT.
  • Generate business value though reduced costs, process innovation or revenue generation.
  • Innovate UAB through partnerships with institutional business owners, with a focus on academic and research operations.
  • Foster an institutional data-driven decision-making culture that allows UAB to make informed and optimal decisions.
  • Enhance the community of information technology excellence for the economic, social and cultural benefit of Birmingham and beyond. 
At the same time, UAB IT is striving to be more transparent in its interaction with UAB customers and IT professionals across campus. The SPARK initiative invites faculty, staff and students to share their technology ideas and vote on the ideas of others. The reThink Project will change how UAB IT interacts with its customers, and IT professionals in other departments and schools will be invited to participate in the project. And the UAB IT Financial Transparency and Accountability Project will give IT customers a better understanding of their IT costs.
UAB IT is actively working to migrate servers across campus that are using Microsoft Windows Server 2003, which will reach end of life after July 14, 2015, meaning it will be unsupported by Microsoft.

Servers that are not migrated could cause problems with compliance and compatibility as well as increase costs for maintaining aging hardware.

To facilitate this transition, the UAB Enterprise Information Security Office (EISO) is actively working with Windows Server 2003 system owners to ensure a plan is in-place and actively being worked to migrate or retire affected systems.

If your department has affected servers, you should hear from UAB IT staff soon. If you have questions or concerns, call (205) 975-0842 or email datasecurity@uab.edu.
UAB IT took advantage of an unexpected service interruption earlier this month to upgrade the servers that support several campus systems, including eLAS and LMS.

This upgrade improved system performance and strengthened security.

These technical changes did result in a new URL for several services, so users may need to update their bookmarks. Affected systems included eLAS (the Electronic Leave Accrual System for monthly employees); the LMS (the learning system for faculty and staff); Sponsored Access to Accounting Systems (SASS); Benevolent Fund; and State Transparency (UAB Expenditure Transactions).

UAB IT recommends that users bookmark the Administrative Systems page to ensure seamless log in to key systems and to receive alerts and messages.

UAB and other universities have partnered with one of the premier information security training organizations, the SANS Institute, to offer a number of discounted training opportunities.

UAB departments can purchase online security training vouchers, to be used through SANS OnDemand or Sans vLive training programs, at a significant discount.

OnDemand provides student online courseware and recorded video training so that students can study and complete hands-on labs and quizzes at a convenient time. vLive is a live, online training option; classes typically meet two evenings per week for five or six weeks.

With both options, pricing can include a certification exam attempt for that particular course. Pricing for a SANS voucher is $2,330 for the course alone or $2,959 with a bundled GIAC certification exam.

UAB IT Enterprise Information Security will be placing an order with SANS on behalf of UAB on July 30.

Any organization that wants to be included in this summer's aggregate purchase should e-mail Enterprise Information Security before this date.

UAB IT has launched an ambitious project to rethink how it serves customers across the UAB campus.

The reThink Project will introduce standardized services and management processes to help the department better serve customers.

UAB IT will also implement ServiceNow, an industry-leading tool, to give customers one door into IT, through a customized online self-service portal where they can request services, report problems and search a knowledge base for answers to common issues.

“The reThink Project will transform the customer service experience with UAB IT,” said Curt Carver, UAB chief information officer and vice president for information technology.

Campus IT personnel in departments and schools across UAB will be invited to participate in the reThink Project.

UAB IT has chosen ServiceNow for its self-service portal for customers, but before IT employees can configure and implement the new tool, they are redesigning the department’s processes for responding to customer requests and incidents.

The focus is on providing end-to-end services to customers — and a cleaner service catalog that is easier for users to understand.

UAB IT will spend much of this year examining its processes for incident management, service request management and problem management, implementing those processes in the new tool, and testing the tool with IT users and functional users.

The go live date for the new self-service portal is expected in January 2016.

For more information about the reThink Project, visit our project page.
UAB systems including eLAS and the LMS are back online. 

Systems that were affected by the outage included: the Electronic Leave Accrual System (eLAS), the web application in which monthly employees track time off; the faculty and staff Learning System (LMS); Sponsored Access; STREP; Benevolent Fund; and Temp Services.

Users with bookmarks to those apps will need to update those bookmarks on their browsers. Applications can be accessed from the UAB IT home page or the Administrative Systems page.
Several UAB systems — including eLAS and the LMS — are offline. UAB IT is investigating the cause and hopes to have the systems back up as soon as possible.

Systems affected by the outage include: the Electronic Leave Accrual System (eLAS), the web application in which monthly employees track time off; the faculty and staff Learning System (LMS); the state transparency system; and external access sponsorship.

UAB IT will update the Administrative Systems page when the systems become available.
A wave of phishing e-mails using false messages about mailbox size has hit UAB, mainly targeting student accounts in an attempt to steal personal information.

The emails warn that recipients’ mailboxes are “almost full” or have reached “90% of your quote,” and urge recipients to click a link to re-validate their mailboxes. UAB will never direct users to a non-UAB web site for anything regarding email or concerning your password.
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UAB IT is taking steps to block this phishing attempt, but students, faculty and staff should be on alert.

If you receive an email with a hidden link like “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.

Look at the URL of the website you are visiting. In the case of this phish you are being redirected to www.didrihsons  .lv/wp-content/wps4/  and not uab.edu.

You should only enter your UAB credentials at UAB .edu web sites.

To report suspected spam to AskIT, please follow the instructions here

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 wants to crowdsource innovation.

SPARK, a new platform through which UAB faculty, staff and students can submit ideas about technology and vote on the ideas of others, launches this week. The platform, accessed via BlazerID, will allow the UAB community to propose new bold technology projects, as well as suggest efficiencies, enhancements or improvements in existing projects.

“Our intent is to create a voice for you,” said Dr. Curt Carver, UAB chief information officer and vice president of information technology. “We’re looking for 100 IT ‘wins’ over the next year, and we want to leverage the ideas of the UAB community to make our University stronger. This is an opportunity for you to share your ideas, and for us to align those ideas with the needs of a world-class organization.”

Here’s how the new platform works: When you log in to the SPARK site with your BlazerID, you can explore the ideas already submitted and vote on whether you think they are needed for UAB, or you can submit your own idea for one of four campaigns: cost savings and efficiency, existing service enhancements, bold new ideas or revenue generation.

Ideas can be large or small, and those that attract the most support are more likely to be adopted.

To learn more about SPARK and watch a brief video about it, click here.

To enter the SPARK site and submit an idea or vote on others, click here.
Some UAB students have been targets of a phone scam in which malicious callers make threats about alleged debt, similar to scams seen at universities across the country.

According to UAB IT’s Information Security division, students need to know:

  • No law enforcement body will call them and threaten to arrest them over the phone.
  • The attackers can spoof the police station phone number so the call will look like it is coming from the police station.
  • UAB has not suffered a breach that resulted in this scam.

Tips:

  • Ask to call the “officer” back, take down their number and call the number back.
  • Ask them to meet you at the police station in question.
  • When in doubt, hang up and call the UAB Police Department at 205-934-4434.
  • Do NOT provide Social Security numbers, birth dates or any other personal information.