IT Update for September 2015

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September 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.

Robust support for research

UAB IT grants will help build fastest computer cluster in Alabama

UAB IT is building the largest academic compute cluster in Alabama and a powerhouse network and storage array that will be the foundation for groundbreaking research at the university. A series of grants and other financial pledges will strengthen the current network that supports researchers, enabling better collaboration and innovation.

Learn more about UAB IT's plans for research computing.

New passphrase policy will ensure better security
Beginning Sept. 15, UAB will have a new password/passphrase policy. Passwords/passphrases will be required to be at least 15 characters, but will expire after one year. The new policy ensures better security for UAB assets. Implementation of the policy will be phased in; as your password expires, you will be required to change it to one with 15 characters. Learn more about the policy change.

New WiFi service to allow BlazerID login at other institutions
UAB IT is partnering with eduroam to provide a free WiFi service that allows UAB users to log in to WiFi at participating universities with their BlazerIDs. Representatives of participating eduroam universities can also log on to WiFi at UAB with credentials from their participating institutions. The service will be rolled out in September. Learn more here.

Office 2016 now available for Mac users
Office 2016 for Mac is available for UAB faculty and staff. Learn more here.
UAB IT is moving at the speed of trust
Dr. Curt Carver, chief information officer and vice president for information technology, shared a new presentation about UAB IT's plans for technology strategy and improvements at recent meetings around campus. View the UAB IT video and strategy presentation here.

Denman Hall outage a reminder to follow UAB IT news
When construction crews accidentally severed fibers serving Denman Hall, UAB IT was able to update users through its Web site and social media accounts. "This is a prime example of why we urge students, faculty and staff to subscribe to social media accounts and RSS news feeds to stay up to date on technology news," said Kerry Bean, UAB IT communications director. Campus users can follow breaking news from UAB IT via the department's RSS news feed and UAB IT Twitter account.

Three processes under review for reThink Project
UAB IT's reThink Project has launched simultaneous requirements gathering sessions for three processes: knowledge management, request management and problem management, and work is also continuing on the design of the new self-service portal for users. The reThink Project is introducing standardized services and management processes to allow UAB IT to better serve its customers. Learn more about the reThink Project.

SharePoint 2013 upgrade schedule coming soon
The Campus SharePoint Users Group held its quarterly meeting on Aug. 17. The UAB IT SharePoint team discussed the new features coming in the SharePoint 2013 upgrade, and a schedule will be announced soon. A quarterly meeting reminder will be sent to all SharePoint site owners for future meetings. All SharePoint users and interested parties are welcome to attend. 
Grant will help establish ScienceDMZ for research network
A new grant awarded to Puri Bangalore, associate professor and incoming interim director of Research Computing, will strengthen the research computing network at UAB and increase its speed — tenfold. Learn more about the ScienceDMZ.

Plans under way for Research Computing Day
UAB IT is planning a Research Computing Day for Sept. 25. The event, which will be held in the Cudworth Hall auditorium, will begin with a general assembly in the morning and continue with a boot camp in the afternoon. More information will be distributed later this month.
Oracle RedFlag alerts available for UAB employee
UAB employees can sign up for Oracle RedFlag notifications that will alert them via text or telephone message when their personal information changes in the Oracle HR and Finance applications. UAB IT has been working with central administration on the project, which launched over the summer for employees who were already signed up for the Identity feature at BlazerID Central. The service works similarly to B-Alert. 

New system moving faculty recruitment online
The Office of the Senior Vice Provost and the Faculty Affairs Committee have partnered with UAB IT to implement a fully-electronic system to host and manage the entire faculty recruitment, search and hiring process. The primary goal of this initiative is to implement a new online Faculty Recruitment System which will move all aspects of the faculty recruitment process online – using PeopleAdmin technology system.  Moving to a new talent management system offers a tremendous opportunity for the Provost Office to implement a fully-electronic system to host and manage the entire faculty recruitment and search process. The implementation phase of the project is progressing nicely and testing is almost wrapped up. After the implementation phase is complete the core team plans to embark on a phased deployment. 
UAB IT launching SPARK campaign for students
UAB IT's SPARK platform, which gives the campus community an opportunity to suggest technology improvements and vote on those ideas, will focus on students' needs this fall. Learn more about SPARK.

New application supports academic withdrawal, appeals
At the request of the Registrar's office, UAB IT has implemented a new application for UAB students to submit academic withdrawals and appeal academic suspensions. The new application, which replaces a paper-driven process, has an extensive workflow for routing and notifications, ensuring review at all administrative areas. The application also allows students to upload supporting documentation.

UAB launches improved online tool for faculty
UAB faculty members have an improved online tool to help them manage their professional information — a place to document grants, publications, professional activities and teaching. The Faculty Profiles system is currently being rolled out across the UAB campus. Learn more about Faculty Profiles.
Protect yourself from email phishing attempts
Phishing attempts continue to hit UAB email addresses, and UAB IT encourages users to be aware of those attempts and take precautions to protect their personal information. Learn more tips here.

Campus IT participation in Cyber Security Initiative strong

Thanks to participation from campus IT groups, the Cyber Security Initiative has accomplished a lot in a short timeframe. After partnering with all campus affiliated IT departments, UAB IT is preparing a final report on UAB assets to the University of Alabama system in September. The next steps in the project are to continue to install SCCM and provide enhanced features to IT partners; develop advisory teams that partner UAB IT with other areas to ensure that the group defines a proactive campus action plan for identifying and reporting sensitive data; mitigate risk of reported inventory; and determine the best asset management solution for moving into the future.
Registration for BlazerID-authenticated systems coming soon
Over the past month, UAB IT has completed a major milestone of the first phase of deploying a new Identity and Access Management system from Oracle. This new IDM system replaces the legacy identity system currently leveraged by BlazerID-enabled resources throughout UAB. UAB IT is registering systems and applications utilizing the centralized BlazerID for authentication. This registry will assist moving applications and systems which need access to centralized authentication and understanding which applications can support CAS- or Shibboleth-based federated authentication. Additionally, the registry will be used to communicate upcoming changes to data which may have an impact to downstream applications or planned maintenance. Technical staff can begin registering systems and application starting in early September. 

Carver to speak at TechTuesday luncheon
Technology employees at UAB are invited to attend the TechTuesday luncheon on Sept. 22 sponsored by TechBirmingham. UAB Chief Information Officer and Vice President for Information Technology Curt Carver will be the guest speaker for the luncheon. Tickets are free for UAB employees. Click here to register.

TechJunction conference coming Oct. 1
UAB information technology professionals are invited to a free one-day technology conference in Birmingham on Oct. 1. Learn more here.

UAB IT encourages upgrades of Adobe Acrobat
Adobe Acrobat Pro X is approaching end of life support. UAB IT strongly encourages users to upgrade to a newer version of Adobe Acrobat. Discounted pricing is available through UAB IT. Learn more here.
OPTIDOC: UAB IT and Financial Affairs are partnering to explore ending the requirement to fax documentation for purchasing.

VOICE OVER IP: The telecommunications department has been upgrading the infrastructure required to upgrade the telephone system to voice over internet protocol (VOIP). 

CLOUD STORAGE: UAB IT, in partnership with central administration, is finalizing a contract with Box to offer secure cloud storage for UAB faculty and staff at no cost to the UAB community. A beta trial will begin in October.

ENCRYPTION: A technology team with representatives from UAB IT and distributed IT is evaluating encryption solutions to replace PGP.
Discounted subscriptions to the survey tool Qualtrics are available through UAB IT.
Last modified on November 09, 2015