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.
Monday, 01 February 2016 15:08

New IT self-service portal launches

PortalScreenshot
UAB IT has launched a new self-service portal that allows customers to search a service catalog and order services; search for knowledge articles; and report problems with services.

The self-service portal is located at askit.uab.edu and can also be accessed from the green “Need help? AskIT” button on the upper righthand side of any page of the UAB IT web site

The portal replaces the old AskIT page, the A to Z list of IT solutions and the FAQs.

In the new portal, IT service listings can be accessed through the service catalog (searchable by category or constituent group and through an A to Z list), and the FAQs are located within an expanded knowledge base that also has new articles about a variety of software and hardware items.

Users need to log in with a BlazerID and password to access the service catalog and knowledge base and to report problems with services. Users will be able to check the status of their requests and problem tickets within the new portal.

As UAB IT transitions to the new service portal, tickets that had been previously entered in the old system will be moved to the new system. Users may receive emails as those tickets are transitioned. UAB IT hopes to have all old tickets transitioned by Feb. 8.

The interface is intuitive, but a list of frequently asked questions can be found here in the new portal (BlazerID login required). The new self-service site is a work in progress, and enhancements and changes are anticipated post go-live.
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.
dataprivacy

Personal information is like money — you should value it and protect it. That's one of the main messages of Data Privacy Day, an international effort to encourage respecting privacy, safeguarding data and enabling trust online.

Here are some tips to stay privacy aware:

Think before you act: Be wary of communications that implore you to act immediately, offer something that sounds too good to be true or ask for personal information. Here's how to report spam to AskIT.

Get two steps ahead: Switch on two-step verification or multi-factor authentication wherever offered to prevent unauthorized access. Sign up for the Identity feature at BlazerID Central so that you can more easily change your BlazerID password and so that you can receive RedFlag alerts if your personal information is changed in the Oracle payroll system.

What you post can last a lifetime: Before posting online, think about how it might be perceived now and in the future and who might see it. 

Own your online presence: Set the privacy and security settings on web services and devices to your comfort level for information sharing. It's OK to limit how and with whom you share information.

Be aware of what's being shared: Be aware that when you share a post, picture or video online, you may also be revealing information about others. Be thoughtful when an how you share information about others.

Post only about others as you have them post about you: The golden rule applies online as well.
DoorsOpenTechConnect opened its doors at the Hill Student Center Wednesday, Jan. 20.Anthony TechConnectTechConnect manager Anthony Truss, center, talks with students at the grand opening of the store.
TechConnect, a new space at the Hill Student Center where students, faculty and staff can connect with UAB IT staff, held its grand opening Wednesday.

The new tech store gives UAB students, faculty and staff a chance to try out computers, tablets and other devices from vendors Apple, Dell, CDW-G and Microsoft, as well as get advice from UAB IT experts. Vendors are also planning on-site visits to demonstrate new technology.

Students, faculty and staff are encouraged to make personal technology purchases through the TechConnect web site, where they have access to special UAB pricing and discounts on desktop computers, laptops, tablets, gaming systems and other accessories sold by UAB IT's vendor partners.

In coming weeks, TechConnect will add repair services for personal devices. 

Through Jan. 29, UAB students, faculty and staff who visit TechConnect can register to win a new Surface Pro 3, provided by CDW-G, and a Dell Inspiron 11 Series 3000, provided by Dell.

TechConnect is located on the first floor of the Hill Student Center, next to Simply to Go and near the dining area. TechConnect is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Thursday, 14 January 2016 11:05

Reminder: Be aware of email phishing attempts

UAB IT reminds the university community to be aware of malicious phishing emails. 


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.
CurtCarver Jan2016townhall
The improvements UAB IT has put in place in the past year — and those that are coming in 2016 — are designed to empower UAB faculty, staff and students, Vice President and CIO Dr. Curtis A. Carver Jr. said in town hall meetings this week.

“We are unleashing the potential of 16,000 people to do really great things,” Carver told IT professionals.

Meetings were held for UAB IT employees as well as campus IT professionals on Wednesday and Thursday.

Among the accomplishments in 2015: a stronger password policy; $2 million in funding for research computing, which will help quadruple speed, networking and storage space; unlimited email; cloud storage through OneDrive, which is live now, and Box, which is in a beta test phase; and standard patch management.

“These are foundational building blocks,” Carver said. “This means people don’t have to focus on things like managing their mailboxes; they can focus on their work and research.”

UAB IT has more plans ahead for 2016, including a new self-service portal that will go live next month and a new system for managing IT billing. Both are powered by industry-leading tools.

Box will launch in the coming months for campus, but some researchers are already engaged in the beta trial.

“We had one research group that moved 100 terabytes of storage into Box,” Carver said. “They were ecstatic.”

UAB IT will also develop a strategic plan in coming weeks, designing a road map for the next three years with input from within the department and from campus IT employees and others in the university community.

Feedback through the SPARK platform has developed more than 90 technology ideas from across campus, which will be incorporated into future plans.

As UAB IT works toward operational excellence, its employees will work closely with constituents and with distributed IT professionals in departments and schools.

“Let’s start with a blank sheet of paper and work to solve problems together,” Carver said.

View the IT Town Hall presentations below:

Thursday, 07 January 2016 08:39

Students: Be aware of malicious callers

UAB students should continue to be aware of malicious callers who aim to scam them out of money.


Students at universities across the country have been targets of similar scams, in which malicious callers, purporting to be law enforcement officers or IRS representatives, make threats about alleged debt. Although the phone scammers often know personal details about students -- such as their majors -- students should know there has been NO breach of protected information at UAB. Such information is often publicly available in student directories or social media. UAB has password-protected its electronic phonebook to keep such information more secure.


 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 a police station phone number or a government number so the call will look like it is coming from such an office.
  • UAB has not suffered a breach that resulted in this scam.

Tips:

  • Do NOT provide Social Security numbers, birth dates or any other personal information.
  • Ask to call the “officer” or "IRS representative" back, take down their number and call the number back.
  • Ask them to meet you at the police station in question, if they claim to be from a police department.
  • When in doubt, hang up and call the UAB Police Department at 205-934-4434.
Users logging into UAB's software download site will see a slight change in the login method.

Rather than a popup login screen in which to enter their BlazerID and password, users will see the standard Central Authentication System screen (below).

CASAuthentication

If a user has already logged into the Central Authentication System, he or she will simply be directed to the software download site.

Login screens for certificate ordering and desktop administration access rights will also undergo the same change.


TechConnect
TechConnect, a new space in the Hill Student Center that opens Jan. 20, will give the campus community a chance to connect with UAB IT staff and get help with their personal computers and get answers about software and services. TechConnect Logo

IT experts will staff TechConnect daily to give guidance to UAB students and employees about their personal computers and about services that UAB IT offers.

Students will also be able to order software and hardware through TechConnect, receiving discounts from CDW, Dell, Microsoft and Apple. 

In the future, TechConnect staff will be able to repair students’ personal computers on site.