Oracle users have the opportunity to add a new layer of security to the system that houses employees’ financial and personal information at UAB.

UAB will deploy a security challenge, 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.

The security challenge is part of a series of improvements to make the Oracle system more secure, which have been made with the support and endorsement of the President’s Risk Cabinet.

If users opt in to the security challenge, they will also have the option to click a “Remember Me” box, which will skip the security challenge using cookies in the user’s browser. If a user switches to a different device or a different browser or clears the browser’s cookies, the user will be prompted to answer a security challenge question again.

The security challenge in Oracle will be optional at first, then mandatory for users beginning in early summer.

Last month, Oracle changed its login page to match the Central Authentication System screen used on other UAB systems. And last year, UAB introduced a new Oracle RedFlag notification system that uses the same technology as the B-Alert system to notify employees if changes have been made in their personal information, direct deposit accounts or tax withholding forms via Oracle Self Service.
On March 11, UAB IT will implement a change to the email system that will result in mobile devices receiving a notice that a policy is being applied. Faculty and staff email users should click "accept" on the popup message on their devices to keep receiving campus email on their mobile devices.

The policy makes no changes to the settings on users' mobile devices but will prevent random popups in the future.

The messages vary by device with some including a list of items that can be managed and others providing a short message similar to the following:

Server must be able to remotely control some security features on your phone.  Continue?

UAB IT is adding this default mobile device policy to eliminate future confusing policy messages that occur as part of some Microsoft Exchange maintenance activities.

If you have specific email questions or concerns, please direct those inquiries to or phone 205-996-5555.

Student email is not affected by this change.
Saturday, 27 February 2016 17:29

UAB investment boosts research storage

Funding from the College of Arts & Sciences and the School of Engineering and UAB administration has allowed UAB IT to increase its research storage tenfold, from 0.7 to 6.7 petabytes.

The investments reflect UAB’s commitment to improving the campus’ research technology infrastructure. The increase comes from a combination of administration funds, deans' funding and state grant funding.
palazzo alexanderDean Iwan Alexander of the School of Engineering and Dean Robert Palazzo of the College of Arts & Sciences have invested in research storage.
“Improving our research capacity through this kind of technology investment enables our faculty to focus on a critical mission of UAB: advancing research and discovery,” said Dr. Iwan Alexander, dean of the School of Engineering.

“Investing in technology will help give our researchers a competitive edge as we move forward as world-class research university,” said Dr. Robert Palazzo, dean of the College of Arts & Sciences.

Vice President and CIO Dr. Curtis A. Carver Jr. said the increase storage represents a “tenfold difference” for researchers. max michael aDean Max Michael of the School of Public Health has invested in funding for research compute capacity.

“Last year, we could barely hold one genomic packet,” he said. “In a couple of months, we’ll be able to hold 10 and process those at the same time.” 

In addition to the funding for storage, the School of Public Health, led by Dean Max Michael, will contribute funding to improve research compute capacity. 

Wednesday, 24 February 2016 09:34

Which cloud storage service is better for you?

CloudStorageOptionsGraphicUAB IT has launched two new services to give faculty and staff options for storing their documents and data in the cloud.

OneDrive and UABbox have similar features, but determining which one is best for you often comes down to preference — and to the size of the files you need to store, UAB IT experts said.

The two services have many things in common, including:

  • Collaboration features, such as concurrent access and editing and the capability to share via a link. Students, who use Office 365 for email, also have access to OneDrive accounts, so collaboration 
  • Mobile applications, which allow you to access your files among different devices.
  • Both are offered at no charge to UAB faculty and staff. The services are not currently available to hospital staff.

The biggest difference between the two services is the size of files you can upload.

With OneDrive, you can upload files up to 10GB. On Box, you can upload file sizes up to 15GB.

Box’s storage capacity is unlimited, while OneDrive’s storage capacity is currently 1TB, which will be upgraded to 5TB by the end of March.

Because the file size capacity is greater in UABbox, it is more typically used by researchers. In fact, of the 58 TB currently in use on UAB’s service, most of that is used by two researchers.

UAB IT currently recommends that users not store sensitive data in the cloud. Refer to the Guidance for the Use of Cloud Services for more information.

Users who need to store documents on campus servers can get a UABFile account. 

Resources for users:
Log in to OneDrive (use BlazerID and password)
OneDrive help
Log in to UABbox (use BlazerID and password)
Box help
UAB IT presentation about cloud storage services

UAB is investing in technology to speed network connectivity across campus at least 20-fold. While many changes are focused on the research network, the improvements will boost network connectivity for all faculty, staff and students.

The most recent investments in network technology are $1 million from the university — including $500,000 from the Mission Support Fund — and $1.2 million from UAB IT.

“This is a critical strategic investment to help position researchers at UAB to be competitive for grants and to be more efficient in research endeavors as they communicate with colleagues across the country,” said Dr. Curtis A. Carver Jr., vice president and CIO.

With new cloud storage solutions UABbox and OneDrive deployed across campus, strengthening the network will help those solutions work more smoothly and responsively.

Among the initiatives to help strengthen network connectivity:

·      Increasing the raw fiber bandwidth from 10 to 100 Gbps to Nashville and Atlanta. “This project will give us the ability to shift our strategy regarding internet bandwidth from providing ‘just enough’ bandwidth to providing excess capacity to handle bust usage like Box,” said Shawn Ellis, chief technology officer.
Completion of the upgrade is expected by September.

·      Partnering with content delivery network Akamai to deploy an internet caching switch at UAB, which will increase internet bandwidth 20 to 60 percent across campus. The project is expected to be under way within 90 days.

·      Deploying a separate research network, or ScienceDMZ, which will increase speed tenfold.

·      Planning the funding strategy to deploy at least 1 GBps minimum wired bandwidth to every desktop at UAB.

In addition, UAB IT has been able to secure funding to add 6 petabytes of storage for researchers. Last summer, the department was awarded a $500,000 grant from the Alabama Innovation Fund for a 3-petabyte research storage array; new internal UAB funding has allowed the department to double that storage.

UAB IT's latest unlimited storage option for campus faculty and staff is UABbox, a free, cloud-based storage option provided by UAB IT in partnership with Box. UABbox

The service, which has been used mainly by researchers during its beta trial, has now been expanded to campus faculty and staff. Hospital staff are not included in this expansion. 

UABbox allows unlimited storage of non-sensitive data, in file sizes up to 15GB. 

UABbox includes web-based access, a Box sync desktop application and a free mobile app, and it also allows easy data sharing with other Box users.

When users log into UABbox with a BlazerID and password, they will find a folder titled "Welcome to UAB Box" that includes FAQs, Box support files, a Box user guide and Box user video tutorial library.

Storage of sensitive data in UABbox is not recommended at this time. Refer to the Guidance for the Use of Cloud Services.
UAB IT is embarking on a partnership with content delivery network Akamai. When implemented, this partnership will effectively increase internet capacity at UAB, making it faster for researchers to upload their findings, for staff members to share documents and even for students to stream the latest season of their favorite show.

UAB is the first university and the second institution in the state to sign on with the company. The city of Montgomery, with others, is also engaging in a partnership with Akamai.

Akamai works as a caching server, storing content locally on the university network — clearing space on the network for other traffic. Bandwidth would increase 20 to 60 percent.

“This is like free internet,” said Vice President and CIO Dr. Curtis A. Carver Jr.

UAB IT’s projected move to 100 GB connections is what made the university attractive to Akamai.

But making it easier to watch Netflix isn’t the reason behind the desire for a faster network.

The education and administration needs of researchers, students, staff and faculty at a world-class institution have driven UAB IT’s plans for improving technology campus-wide.

“This marks UAB as a major player in technology,” Carver said, which in turn helps Birmingham and the state attract technology partners for economic development.
An email upgrade being rolled out for UAB faculty and staff this week will support much larger mailbox sizes.

Faculty and staff members will be transitioned to the new email system gradually over the coming weeks.

In addition to the larger email storage space, users will see a new interface when logging into email accounts through a web browser. The look and feel will be closely aligned to what students see in their Office 365 email accounts.

In the new interface, users should note that the Calendar, People (previously called “Contacts”) and Tasks will be in the upper right-hand side of the interface, rather than the lower left-hand side.

OWA2013 mailboxClick image for larger view.
Users will also see a new login page for the Outlook Web App.

OWA2013 loginClick image for larger view.

It will take several weeks to transition all faculty and staff email accounts to the new system. Users should not see any changes to their email when using the Outlook application, other than the increased storage space.

Among the new features of the Outlook Web App:

·      Inline composing, which allows users to quickly compose and reply to emails without popping out a new window

·      Forgotten attachment reminder, which tries to detect whether you intended to include an attachment (by interpreting an email you typed) and pops up a reminder if you click send without including the attachment. This feature works with recent browsers such as Internet Explorer 9 and above.

·      The Outlook Web App comes with three apps installed: Bing Maps, which adds a Bing tab with a quick link to a map if an e-mail message contains a street address; Action Items, which creates a suggested Task for the user to review if an email suggests a possible action; and Suggested Meetings, which suggests an appointment be added to the user’s calendar if an email has an offer to meet.

·      Email actions allow users to hover the mouse over an email they want to delete and see new icons to the right-hand side of the email: delete and flag. This makes it easier to delete emails without having to select them first.

Monday, 31 August 2015 17:07

UAB joins eduroam network

UAB is becoming a member of the eduroam® WiFi network and rolling out the new service in September. Eduroam

eduroam® provides 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 the WiFi network at UAB with credentials from their institutions. Click here to learn more about eduroam and find out participating institutions.

With eduroam’s network, user credentials are not revealed to the institution at which a user joins but instead are only revealed to their home institution, providing an extra measure of security for visiting users.

eduroam (education roaming) is a secure, world-wide roaming access service developed for the international research and education community.

View a map of participating institutions.

Connection guides for various devices:


Apple iOS

Windows 7

Puri Bangalore

Researchers at UAB need a robust computer network to support their world-class work.

A new grant awarded to Puri Bangalore, associate professor and director of the Collaborative Computing Laboratory, will strengthen that network and increase its speed — tenfold.

Bangalore, who also serves as assistant director of the UAB Center for Information Assurance and Joint Forensics Research, received a $498,443 grant from the National Science Foundation to create a ScienceDMZ, a network to be operated by UAB IT that will allow UAB researchers to more easily and quickly connect with each other and with other institutions.

With UAB researchers working on projects that generate vast amounts of data, they need to be able to upload and download files and images quickly and securely, Bangalore said.

The goal in building the ScienceDMZ is to provide UAB researchers with 10-gigabit connections and key research labs with 40-gigabit connections, allowing researchers to communicate with each other and with researchers at other institutions at far greater speeds.

“Internally we can move faster, plus we can go outside, whether to upload or download data,” Bangalore said. “This promotes collaboration. Instead of waiting for data to transfer, researchers can be working.”

Bangalore said the network is essential to UAB’s success in research.

“If we don’t do this, we’ll be left behind,” Bangalore said. “Networking is the foundation. We now live in a digital world. Everything is digitally driven.”
This grant provides the foundation for UAB to build the 100 Gbps network — giving researchers a network they can depend on as they would electricity or water service at home.
“In an ideal world you would want (researchers) to take this for granted,” he said. “We just expect things to work. But obviously, someone needs to make sure they work.”