AVP ChiefTechOfficers DS Brian

The second of two presentations from candidates for UAB’s chief technology officer will take place at an open forum June 22.

Brian Rivers, UAB’s chief information security officer and interim CTO, will present his ideas for the position from 3 to 4 p.m. Friday, June 22, at Cudworth Hall Auditorium.

Rivers has more than 20 years of experience in information technology and more than a decade of experience in senior leadership roles. He has held a variety of responsibilities in the areas of process control, software development, systems administration, networking, and information security. He has led a multitude of large-scale, transformative initiatives in environments ranging from higher education to 24x7 manufacturing to nationwide sales and marketing. He has always effected significant positive change through building strong relationships, creating understanding and agreement, and consistently following through on commitments.

Candidate Tim Brown, executive director of the Northwest Regional Data Center at Florida State University and a former director of IT infrastructure services at UAB, presented his ideas on June 11.

AdobeFlashPlayerStudents, faculty and staff who use Adobe Flash Player are urged to update the program quickly to avoid security vulnerability issues. 

Adobe has released security updates for Adobe Flash Player for Windows, macOS, Linux and Chrome OS. These updates address critical vulnerabilities in Adobe Flash Player 29.0.0.171 and earlier versions. Attackers could use the vulnerability to gain access to your computer and possibly even your private data. 

These attacks leverage Office documents with embedded malicious Flash Player content distributed via email.

Customers of UAB IT's Desktop Services will receive updates to Flash Player. The new version 30.0.0.113 is being released to Desktop Supported and Campus Supported Windows 7 (Active-X, NPAPI and PPAPI) and Win8+ (NPAPI and PPAPI) browsers utilizing the on-premise Adobe Flash update server.  It is being deployed to Desktop Supported Windows 8+ (Active-X) browsers via Microsoft SCCM or Windows Updates. A reboot of your computer is not expected but could be required based on the activity state of Adobe Flash Player at the time of the upgrade.

If you have questions, please contact your department's IT support or contact AskIT at uab.edu/askit or 205-996-5555.

AVP ChiefTechOfficers DS 1

The first of two planned presentations from candidates for UAB’s chief technology officer will take place at an open forum June 11.

Tim Brown will present his ideas for the position from 3 to 4 p.m. Monday, June 11, at Hill Student Center’s Alumni Theater. Please enter the theater on the third floor.

Brown has served as executive director of the Northwest Regional Data Center, an auxiliary of Florida State University, since April 2008. He has more than 27 years of experience in IT, with a focus on strategic planning, budgeting, and building and leading support and development teams in academic settings. He served as director of IT infrastructure services at UAB from 2001-2005 and as associate director for computer services from 1993-2001. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Auburn University and a Master of Science degree in health informatics from UAB.

Further presentation details for a second candidate will be announced soon.

AVP Research Computing Announcement Web

Ralph Zottola, Ph.D., will be joining UAB IT as assistant vice president for research computing, the chief architect for UAB Research Computing applications, including the state’s fastest supercomputer.

Dr. Zottola will begin work at the University on June 15. He joins UAB from the University of Massachusetts Medical School, where he earned his doctorate in biochemistry and remained to serve in multiple roles to develop academic, informatics and research computing infrastructure and services. He most recently served as chief technology officer for research computing at the UMass Office of the President, where he provided leadership for UMASS to develop the Massachusetts Green High Performance Computing Center. Dr. Zottola has 23 years of progressive IT executive experience and has held faculty appointments in the Department of Quantitative Health Sciences and the Graduate School of Nursing at UMassMed, where he taught a graduate biomedical informatics course.  

“Dr. Zottola brings a wealth of experience and a vision for our research computing environment,” said Curtis A. Carver Jr., Ph.D., vice president and chief information officer. “Developing a world-class high-performance computing environment will help UAB’s researchers accomplish work that will change the world.”

As UAB’s first assistant vice president for research computing, Dr. Zottola will be a pioneer at UAB and a partner to researchers across campus. Under his leadership, research computing should help increase the competitive advantage for grants and speeding discoveries that can change the world.

Zottola will report to the vice president for information technology and chief information officer and will be responsible for creating and managing a team to design, develop and deliver a cost-effective mix of applications, data-analysis platforms and visualization tools running on shared high-performance computing resources across the UAB campus, which is home to the fastest research computer in Alabama.

“I would like to thank the members of the search committee, led by Robert Howard, for their hard work identifying excellent candidates for the position,” Carver said.

Members of the search committee included Howard, associate vice president and deputy CIO; Iwan Alexander, dean of the School of Engineering; James Cimino, director of the Informatics Institute; Christopher Brown, vice president for Research; Robert Kimberly, director of the UAB Center for Clinical and Translational Science; Elliot Lefkowitz, professor of microbiology; and Ilias Perakis, chairman of the Department of Physics in the College of Arts and Sciences.

UAB IT is introducing a new on-premise restricted storage option to serve departments that have a continued need to process Restricted/PHI data in an environment similar to UABFile, a storage solution which is being retired. The new solution will be offered at least until June 2019 but may be extended if there is a continued need on campus.

Individuals who use services provided by HSIS for this similar purpose should continue to do so.

The new service, Secure UABFile, has been discussed by the Storage and Collaboration Working Group, a campus-wide panel of IT representatives.

UAB IT has been undergoing a plan to migrate content from UABFile department shares and UDrive/home drives to the cloud in OneDrive and SharePoint online. Content from individual UDrives has been successfully migrated to OneDrive, but many departments expressed concern about the need to process Restricted/PHI data, which is currently not permitted to be stored in SharePoint.

UAB IT is working to make the experience as close to UABFile as possible while adding enhanced security. Departments will not need to take any action to be transitioned to the new service. The cost will be at the same rate as UABFile through the end of the current fiscal year; future rates will be determined later, but will remain cost-recovery for UAB IT.

This service will allow departments more time to reduce and redact Restricted/PHI data. The new Secure UABFile will remain online for at least a year after UABFile is retired and may be retained longer depending on business demand and funding availability.

To learn more about how to remediate Restricted/PHI data in your department files, visit our web page on data reduction.

If you have questions about the new service, please contact AskIT at uab.edu/askit or 205-996-5555.



Collaborating within your department or organization can be easier with a new Office 365 feature called Groups.

With an Office 365 Group, you will receive a group email address and Outlook inbox, shared calendar, shared planner, and a SharePoint Online site for document collaboration, all operating under the Office 365 umbrella.

You won’t have to manually assign permissions to each resource because adding members to the group automatically gives them access to each tool.

Groups give teams greater collaboration opportunities than distribution lists under the old on-premise email experience.

Learn more about Office 365 Groups in this knowledge base article and in our Office 365 FAQs.

To request an Office 365 Group, open a request ticket through the IT Service Portal.

If you have questions about Office 365 Groups, contact AskIT at 205-996-5555, askit@uab.edu or at uab.edu/askit.

To help keep classroom technology up-to-date, UAB IT has formalized its partnership with the Office of the Provost, eLearning and Professional Development, UAB Facilities, and the Center for Teaching and Learning to collaborate on the criteria for classroom upgrades.

The committee of representatives from each organization will meet regularly to form and endorse the strategy for establishing the standard technology needed for each classroom. View classrooms supported by UAB IT here.

“Our goal is to have consistent, updated equipment so that faculty and students in provost-supported classrooms have the same technology experience from classroom to classroom,” said Jason Johnson, executive director for client success for UAB IT.

Faculty and students can check the status of each classroom here.

Learn more about classroom upgrades here.

CyberWatch Mktg DS 1

Keeping up to date on the latest phishing emails and scams will be easier with a new internal web site devoted to sharing news of such attempts.

The CyberWatch web site at uab.edu/cyberwatch, which is open to all students, faculty and staff who log in with their BlazerID and password, will share the latest phishing email attacks and scams, with tips to help you recognize those malicious attempts to steal your information.

Phishing emails are often an attempt to get your BlazerID and password — which could give thieves access to your personal and financial information, as well as data from across the University.

Log in to the CyberWatch site at uab.edu/cyberwatch to get the latest on phishing emails and other scams. Remember that not all phishing emails will be uploaded here, so use your best judgment and err on the side of caution with suspected phishing attempts.

To report phishing attempts, you can forward the suspected email to phishing@uab.edu or download PhishMe Reporter here for one-click access to report phish.

To further protect your information and your credentials, sign up for two-factor authentication at uab.edu/2factor.

Email Encryption DS 1

Protecting sensitive information you send through UAB email will be easier with encryption, which can now be applied to messages sent through Office 365 email.

There are two methods to secure information:

  • With an installed Encryption button in Outlook for 2016 for Windows.
  • By using the term [Encrypt] (including the brackets) anywhere in the subject line of your message. If you don’t have the encryption button for Outlook 2016 for Windows, this method will work for you.

Encryption ensures even greater protection for sensitive information sent via campus email.

Please remember that Restricted/PHI data such as Social Security numbers and credit card numbers are still not permitted in email, regardless of encryption.

The following knowledge articles will help you download and install the encryption button and send and read encrypted emails. You will need to log in to the IT Service Portal with your BlazerID to view the images associated with the knowledge articles.

If you experience any problems with email encryption, please contact AskIT at 205-996-5555 or at uab.edu/askit.

DLP OneDrive Web

UAB IT is implementing a new configuration in OneDrive and SharePoint Online to better alert you if Restricted information is stored in your files. The new configuration will be launched May 25.

Data that is classified at UAB as “Restricted” — such as Social Security and credit card numbers — is not permitted to be stored in the cloud.

The new data loss prevention, or DLP, configuration will help prevent unintended exposure of Restricted data that could result from document sharing.

DLP will scan OneDrive and SharePoint online documents to determine those that contain Restricted data such as Social Security numbers or credit card numbers. SSNs and credit card numbers are classified as Restricted/PHI under the UAB Data Classification Rule.

If one of your files contains such information, the file will be flagged and you will see a new icon — a red circle indicating access is prohibited. Access will be restricted to the owner of the file and the last person who modified the file.

If you have a file flagged as having restricted information, you should:

  • Delete the file from OneDrive or SharePoint Online
  • Remove the restricted data from the file; or
  • Migrate the file to local, on-premise file storage. AskIT can help you with on-premise storage.

Learn more about how data loss prevention works in OneDrive and SharePoint here.

Learn more about how to remediate Restricted data in your OneDrive files here.

If you have any questions or problems with DLP, please contact AskIT at 205-996-5555, askit@uab.edu or uab.edu/askit.