IT Update for May 2016

May 2016
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.

Empower UAB: Next steps

Ideas from town halls, SPARK will be incorporated into strategic plan

Over the past three weeks, UAB IT customers have taken an active part in shaping the IT Strategic Plan — voicing their opinions in 14 town hall meetings and eight committees, even jotting ideas on Post-It notes. As the next phase of strategic planning begins, students, faculty and staff are encouraged to continue sharing their ideas on the SPARK platform. By the end of May, an executive committee will approve the draft of the plan before it is shared with the campus for a 30-day review period. Learn more here.

Sign up for automated BlazerID password reset
Forgotten your BlazerID password and need to reset it? The easiest way is to have already signed up for automated password reset through BlazerID Central. Those who are signed up will get a code via text message to reset their BlazerID password, bypassing the need to talk to AskIT. For those not enrolled during the next time you reset your password, you will be prompted to enroll during that reset process. As of May 2, enrollment in the automated password reset tool is mandatory. Learn more here.

New feature adds new layer of security to UAB systems 
UAB has deployed a security challenge in Oracle, adding a layer of security to the system that houses employees' personal and financial information. The security challenge is a series of questions for which Oracle users will provide unique answers. Each time a user logs in, he or she will be presented with a random question. Learn more about the security challenge and other new security improvements here.

Adobe Creative Cloud now available at half price
Adobe Creative Cloud subscriptions will now be available to UAB faculty and staff at half-price for a 13-month subscription. UAB IT is reducing the price of Adobe Creative Cloud subscriptions from $300 to $150 — and including an extra month subscription. Learn more here.

FBI phone scam targets universities across country  
A phone scam targeting college students across the country is spoofing the FBI's phone number, threatening students and parents that they will be arrested if they do not pay thousands of dollars for such alleged debts as tuition, student loans or parking tickets. Similar scams have affected UAB students and parents, who are advised to be alerted to the new scam. Learn more here.
WiFi better at library, athletic fields, mini-park; more coming
UAB IT continues to make improvements to its WiFi coverage across campus, with new outdoor WiFi hotspots installed in a number of locations over the past several weeks. The undergraduate Student Government Association requested improved WiFi coverage in a top ten list of technology needs presented to UAB IT leadership in March. New hotspots are located at the baseball and softball fields; Sterne Library; the Education Building mini-park; and the tennis courts. Plans also call for more hotspots at Lister Hill Library, the School of Optometry, Campus Green, Hill Student Center, Unity Park and the soccer field. Improvements have also been ongoing at the Administration Building, with new WiFi access points installed on 11 floors so far.

Praise & Progress recognizes UAB employees
UAB IT has launched a new internal program that recognizes the successes of employees both inside and outside the department. Monthly Praise & Progress sessions will give UAB IT employees a chance to recognize their own accomplishments and their fellow employees. In the first session, a third of the participants recognized employees outside UAB IT. Learn more here.
IRAP change reduces processing time for research staff
The reporting tools available through IRAP — the Integrated Research Administration Portal — allow UAB research staff to analyze workflow and identify changes that might further streamline procedures. A recent change within IRAP has reduced processing time for the staff of the Material Transfer Office, from five days to 1.5. The office staff of the Material Transfer Office recognized that Addgene, a plasmid repository that accounted for 28 percent of all initial receiving agreement records for calendar year 2015, allowed electronic signature approval by the institutional official. The standard operating procedures for the office were modified to adopt the online signature and expedite review. It is worth noting that the Addgene agreements often involve materials from multiple institutions; however, there is only one IRAP record for the transaction. Thus these numbers underrepresent the actual number of agreements and do not reflect the true time savings.

New IRAP module deployed for Animal Care and Use panel
Deployment of a new IRAP module that supports the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee has reduced the administrative burden of investigators, reviewers and the IACUC office. Implementation of IRAP modules usually begins with converting the central administration office into the system followed by introduction of electronic forms for use by the campus. The IACUC and its support Office made the transition from a legacy system into IRAP in December 2014; however, there was no change at that time in the Word forms used by investigators to request approval of research animal use. After extensive testing, a single, web-based Animal Use Request/Registration (AUR) form was made available April 1, 2016. It replaces eight Word forms and includes many features to reduce the administrative burden of investigators, reviewers, and the IACUC Office. An associated, online handbook is hyperlinked to the form to allow users ready access to explanations about the reason a question is being asked, examples of possible responses, and where additional help may be obtained. The rollout of this form involved two Town Halls and multiple training sessions in computer labs at various locations on campus for the convenience of investigators. Training continues to be available by registering for an IRAP Help Session in the Learning Management System of by scheduling one-on-one or group training with the IACUC Office. With the changes in procedures made possible by IRAP, the IACUC’s processing time for initial submissions has been reduced by approximately 30 percent. The new, online form is expected to further reduce the time to approval.

Research storage funding approved by UA Board of Trustees
The University of Alabama System Board of Trustees approved funding for improvements to the research computing infrastructure. Funding from the College of Arts & Sciences and the School of Engineering will allow UAB IT to increase UAB's research storage tenfold, from 0.7 to 6.7 petabytes. Learn more about research computing.
UAB IT will take active role in New Student Orientation
In addition to participating in the student activity fair, UAB IT will sponsor a parent reception and provide technology information at this year's New Student Orientation sessions. Vice President and CIO Dr. Curt Carver will also present information to students during each session, which will be held throughout the summer for new freshmen, transfer students and non-traditional students. UAB IT staff will also be available at TechConnect, UAB IT's storefront at the Hill Student Center, to answer questions for incoming students and their parents.
Budget Works offers online submission, approvals
The UAB Budget Office recently contracted with UAB IT Application Consulting Services to build a new and enhanced budget model tool, Budget Works. The legacy product referred to as BMS (Budget Model System) had reached end-of-life and the need for a custom application to continue the method used to create and submit departmental budgets was determined. The UAB Budget Works budget model application is a budget development tool used by UAB employees to create and submit budgets through an online application and uses a built-in approval process. Budget Works is used to establish departmental budgets for the next fiscal year and can be used to print or download reports as needed throughout the year. The new application was completed in time for testing and training prior to the start of the new budget season. Training is currently ongoing.
Gift keeps mother's memory alive
A gift from the family of Deputy CIO Robert Howard will establish the Cynthia Howard Endowed Support Fund for Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis Research, an opportunity to fund research into the disease that took Howard's mother's life and a chance for Howard and his family to give back to UAB and the Birmingham community. Learn more about the gift here.

Join UAB, TechBridge for outdoor movie on Campus Green
TechBridge and UAB will host Screen on the Green, a free outdoor showing of "The Incredibles" on the UAB Campus Green on Thursday, June 9. Families are invited to bring lawn chairs, coolers and blankets to enjoy the film. Admission is free with registration. Click here to register. Doors open at 7 p.m., and showtime is at 8 p.m. Partners for the event include TechBirmingham, Innovation Depot, SIM Alabama, InfraGard, and the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama. TechBridge is a nonprofit that drives community impact by bringing affordable business and technology expertise to nonprofits on the frontline of alleviating poverty.
New classification system will help secure UAB data
Classification of data is central to building a secure computing environment for UAB. UAB IT will soon introduce a data classification standard that uses a common three-level system for identifying data: public (green), private (yellow), and sensitive (red), which will require the most security. Each classification level will have minimum security requirements. The goal is to identify the location of UAB’s most sensitive data so that the required controls for protecting it can be implemented. 

Keeper password security tool coming for campus
Later this month UAB IT will deploy Keeper, a best-in-class password management software tool that allows users to securely store and manage passwords and logins. The service will be available to all UAB faculty and staff. The software has been in beta testing for several months.
More than 200 improvements made to IT Service Portal
After meetings with campus IT and focus groups with students and staff, UAB IT has made more than 200 improvements — both large and small — to the IT Service Portal. Input from customers and IT professionals has been essential in making these changes to help improve the user experience. While the pace of changes being moved to production will change over time, UAB IT will continue to seek areas of improvement to the portal and in how services are delivered to campus. Details about completed and upcoming improvements resulting from user input are available at campus IT feedback sessions and student and staff focus groups.

UAB IT recommends uninstall for Quicktime for Windows
Apple has ended support for Quicktime for Windows, leaving the software vulnerable to exploitation. UAB IT recommends that user unintstall Quicktime for Windows. Instructions can be found here

Microsoft Education Tech Days coming May 18-19
UAB IT is hosting Microsoft’s Education Tech Days event on campus May 18-19. The event is open to both internal and external attendees, so registration is required. Space is limited so register early. The event will be held in the Hill Student Center, ballrooms C and D. Registration can be accessed here.

TechBirmingham events available to IT employees
Through UAB's institutional membership with TechBirmingham, all technology employees at UAB are entitled to free or significantly discounted access to the events, networking opportunities, training and other events sponsored by TechBirmingham. Learn more about upcoming events.
TECHCONNECT REPAIRS COMING: TechConnect, UAB IT's technology storefront at the Hill Student Center, will soon offer repairs for technology equipment. Repair services are expected to begin by mid-summer.

ALUMNI EMAIL: UAB IT continues to work on a solution that would provide alumni with UAB email accounts.
UNLIMITED STORAGE: UAB IT offers two services to faculty and staff for unlimited cloud storage, UAB Box and Microsoft OneDrive. Wondering which one would work better for you? Learn more here.