As part of UAB's ongoing efforts to enhance email security, UAB IT will be implementing several security improvements during April.

These enhancements include additional support for data loss prevention (DLP); enabling email encryption; and improving our protection against phishing campaigns. Additional details will be forthcoming when these services are implemented.

Data loss prevention support will include more email policy tips, similar to the credit card number policy tip implemented in March.

Email encryption will give those who use Office 365 email the opportunity to use an extra layer of security when sending emails, if they choose.

Protection against phishing campaigns will include methods to avoid UAB email servers being blacklisted.
 
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April 2017
 
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.
Campus Email Solutions
 

No limits

UAB IT has worked to improve email — and we're not done yet

Remember when you had to stop your work to clean out your email because your inbox was almost full? UAB IT has been on a journey to improve the email experience on campus, from implementing unlimited email storage to improving the directory. And we have plans this year to make more improvements by cutting costs and improving phishing detection. With your input and feedback, we've included new initiatives in the IT Strategic Plan. Over the next several months we will be bringing you videos (like the one above) that showcase the changes we've implemented and those that are planned to improve the technology experience on campus so that you can get back to changing the world.

CAMPUS


Migration of staff, faculty email to the cloud continues

UAB IT is migrating UAB employee and faculty email to Office 365, a cloud-based system that offers new tools and continuous upgrades to improve the service and environment. Migrations for customers of UAB IT's Desktop Services have taken place throughout March, and will begin for the rest of campus on Friday, April 7. Office 365 offers several advantages for users, and because email is in the cloud, it is not dependent on UAB facilities being available when the user is off-campus. Office 365 is also the email system that students use. Learn more here.


Policy tips send warning if you try to email credit card numbers

Sending credit card numbers and personally identifying information via email makes you more vulnerable to identity theft. UAB IT has implemented policy tip warnings via email to alert you if it appears you are trying to send a credit card number via your UAB email account. These warnings are intended to alert you to potential danger and help you protect yourself. Learn more here.

60-second survey will help UAB IT gather more info about customers
UAB IT wants you to take a 60-second survey to tell us your communication and technology preferences. The quick 10-question survey will give UAB IT more information about how to communicate with our customers and will let us know what technology services are most valuable and important to you. UAB IT appreciates the feedback from students, faculty, staff and researchers.

UAB app adds tiles for BSync calendar, BlazerBucks
Wonder what's happening on campus today? Worried your BlazerBucks are running low? The latest UAB App update features live tiles for BlazerBucks/Dining Dollars accounts and BSync events. Don't have the app? Download it today. Learn more at uab.edu/app.
RESEARCH
 
Brainhack unites researchers around the world in brain studies
Researchers from UAB joined colleagues from around the world last month in participating in the global Brainhack event, working on projects related to neuroscience. UAB IT's Research Computing team assisted with the March 2-4 event, helping teams in the hack to improve the performance of image processing, taking image analysis from 21 days per subject in an untuned workflow to two hours per subject using the graphics processing unit (GPU) tools. Brainhack gathers researchers from a variety of disciplines to cooperate on projects related to neuroscience. Contrary to “hackathons," brainhacks are not exclusive to programmers, but instead open to scientists from all backgrounds and expertise. Attendees were able to work on projects of their choosing with part of the goal being to get people with different backgrounds working together to understand the brain. Projects include generating and testing hypotheses, developing new tools and methods, improving upon existing tools and methods, learning about particular techniques, or doing just about anything else that will directly or indirectly advance attendees' knowledge about and understanding of the brain.
TEACHING & LEARNING

New classroom status page monitors tech outages in classrooms

UAB IT's Classroom Technology team has created a new Classroom Status page to let faculty know the technology status of the classrooms UAB IT oversees across campus. A color-coded system will let faculty know if there are any technology issues in each classroom. Access the page from the IT faculty page or click here.

New online application saves time for prospective students
Students applying as undergraduates to UAB now have a much simpler process that saves time — and has led to an increase in the number of applications to the University. Previously, prospective students had to sign in to apply with a “proto-BlazerID” — a cumbersome process. If they forgot their password, students had to contact AskIT to get it reset. Now, students can log in with a social media account or with a guest account, reducing the amount of time it takes to log in to complete an application. Last year, UAB IT also worked with the UAB Admissions office to include UAB in the Common application — an online service that allows students to apply to multiple institutions with one application.

Public profiles extension of Faculty Profiles to launch in fall
A planned extension to the Faculty Profiles system will allow UAB faculty to create public profiles for their scholarly activities.  The public profiles, which will be backed by the VIVO network, will allow faculty to showcase their researcher expertise and enable collaboration. The system will be able to read UAB data and help researchers and administrators discover experts at other institutions, while making investigators more discoverable to scholars around the world. The public profiles site will allow many of UAB’s departments to stop manually updating their sites with faculty information and simply link to the new site. Testing of the new system is expected to begin in the next month, with a tentative launch date of the public profiles site in September.

Instructors praise technology upgrade in Heritage Hall classroom
A technology upgrade in Heritage Hall classroom 442 is earning rave reviews from those who use the classroom. All of the technology in the room was upgraded: the computer is an all-in-one touch-enabled Windows 10PC; the AV controls were updated to the new classroom standard, with a new control panel with intuitive icon-driven interface; new, brighter projector; and Blu-ray player controlled by the touch panel. Learn more here.
OPERATIONS & ADMINISTRATION
Report Viewer access to be limited to on campus, VPN
On April 15, access to the Report Viewer application will be limited to UAB Campus and Hospital networks, or for external users via VPN. A VPN is used to connect a remote user to UAB campus resources that are restricted for reasons of security and/or licensing constraints. For instructions and downloads, please visit uab.edu/VPN. Anyone who has trouble accessing this resource from off campus should contact AskIT at askit.uab.edu.

Use Internet Explorer 11 to access Oracle and other applications
With the latest Firefox update (52.0) and subsequent updates, Java, Silverlight, Adobe Acrobat, and other plugins will no longer work. Use Internet Explorer 11 to access Oracle and any other system that relies on the above applications. Click here for more information from Mozilla.

Plans for DocuSign moving forward with training
DocuSign 101, UAB IT’s first internal training session for DocuSign has been completed. The internal pilot program has begun usage in a test environment and template training for the internal pilot program will take place during the week of April 3. DocuSign will allow electronic signature of documents, one of the most popular ideas in UAB IT's SPARK crowdsourcing campaign.
SECURITY
Data Protection and Security Policy protects vital information
Managing and protecting data are responsibilities shared by all members of the UAB community. UAB’s revised Data Protection and Security Policy recognizes the vital role information plays in UAB's educational, research, operational, and medical missions, and provides a framework to ensure that electronic data, in all forms, are adequately protected in accordance with federal and state laws and university policies. For information, please see UAB IT's Security website.



Security tip: Take precautions to reduce risk of identity theft
Identity theft is a real threat; it can happen to anyone, and it can be challenging for victims to deal with the fallout. Take precautions to reduce the risk of identity theft and protect yourself and your identity. Click here for tips.
COMMUNITY

UAB hosts ServiceNow user group meeting

UAB hosted the Alabama ServiceNow user group meeting Tuesday, March 14, at the Alumni House. Professionals from around the state who use the software — which is the platform for UAB's IT Service Portal — met to discuss resolving customer issues and continuous improvement and to get a demonstration of the newest version of ServiceNow.

Future of IT in Education focus of UAB IT presentation
UAB IT's experience was showcased last month during a Campus Consortium webinar on the Future of IT in Education. Vice President and Chief Information Officer Dr. Curtis A. Carver Jr. led the webinar for higher education IT professionals across the country and discussed the pace of technology; using technology to create a competitive advantage for universities; and what education will look like in 2020. Dr. Carver also presented at Educause and Gartner last month.
TECH CORNER
UAB IT imperatives and Educause Top 10 Issues
 

Top IT issues include security, student success, data-driven choices
The success and foundation of an institution’s future is built on the success of its students. Educause has identified the top 10 IT issues for 2017, which are foundations for student success. Advances in technology and data science make it possible to use information technology to improve students' institutional experiences. UAB has already adopted many of these priorities in its IT Strategic Plan and seven IT imperatives, and the video above showcases how UAB's IT imperatives match with the Educause Top 10. Educause’s top 10 list includes: information security; student success and completion; data-informed decision making; strategic leadership; sustainable funding; data management and governance; higher education affordability; sustainable staffing; next-gen enterprise IT; and digital transformation of learning. To learn more about the Educause Top 10, click here.

IT Strategic Advisory Committee holds first meeting
The IT Strategic Advisory Committee, made up of 20 members of the campus community, held its first meeting last month. The committee is a first step toward establishing a stronger governance process for IT services. The committee will provide advice and guidance on how the university should prioritize, plan and allocate resources to meet the technology needs of the university. 

ON THE HORIZON
ATTENDANCE MONITORING PILOT: UAB IT is partnering with Ex Libris on new technology for attendance monitoring. UAB IT will pilot the iBeacon technology internally to help determine if it is a viable solution for campus.

PII REDUCTION COMING: UAB IT's information security team will be partnering with IT professionals across campus to reduce the amount of personal identifying information (PII) from campus servers, which will reduce risk for the university and its faculty, staff and students.

IP ADDRESS MANAGEMENT: UAB IT will be implementing a new IP address management system in partnership with IT professionals across campus. IPAM will make it easier for faculty, staff and students to connect to the UAB wired network, and it will also strengthen security by allowing UAB IT to identify where sensitive data is being processed and improve UAB's ability to respond to security incidents.

 
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A technology upgrade in Heritage Hall classroom 442 is earning rave reviews from those who use the classroom.

All of the technology in the room was upgraded: the computer is an all-in-one touch-enabled Windows 10PC; the AV controls were updated to the new classroom standard, with a new control panel with intuitive icon-driven interface; new, brighter projector; and Blu-ray player controlled by the touch panel.

“The Crestron system that controls the room will eventually be monitored remotely to ensure more efficient maintenance and support,” said Walt Creel, manager of classroom technology.

Academic adviser Raven M. Dials said she appreciated that UAB IT sought feedback from instructors and others on campus before making changes in the classroom.

“I had a guest speaker this past Tuesday, but she used the system and it worked great and looks amazing,” said academic adviser Raven M. Dials. “I was happy to see the upgrade as I was having issues every week with the projector shutting off in the middle of my presentations as well as our guest speakers. Thank you for taking the time to have it set up and asking for feedback!”

Academic adviser Courtney White added, “The new system is great. The old one would shut off about 10 minutes into my class every week and take me about five minutes to get the projector working again. I had absolutely no issues today.”

Learn more about the classrooms UAB IT serves here, and get the status of classroom technology here.
EmailtotheCloud

UAB IT is planning to migrate UAB employee and faculty email to Office 365, a cloud-based system that offers new tools and continuous upgrades to improve the service and environment.

Office 365 offers several advantages for users, and because email is in the cloud, it is not dependent on UAB facilities being available when the user is off-campus. Office 365 is also the email system that students use.

After two successful pilot programs, UAB IT has been migrating the email of customers served by Desktop Services throughout the month of March.

On April 7, UAB IT will begin migrating all campus employees' email to Office 365, with migrations taking place in waves throughout the summer. Employees whose email will be migrated will be notifed by email the week before the migration, with detailed instructions about how to prepare for the change.

There are three main steps that employees can take to prepare for the most successful email migration:
  • Update to Microsoft Office 2016.
  • Ensure your user name is set in the format "BlazerID@uab.edu" on ALL of your devices.
  • Ensure that your email is in what is called "cached mode." 
             To enable cached mode:
                   1. Go to File click the Account Settings button and select Account Settings
                   2. Select the account with Microsoft Exchange as the Type, then click the Change button
                   3. Under Offline Settings, check the box for Use Cached Exchange Mode
                   4. Click Next, Finish.
You can find details about these steps at uab.edu/Office365. Contact your department IT staff or AskIT if you have any questions.

UAB IT will host an online Town Hall meeting about the migration for campus IT professionals on Monday, March 27, at 1 p.m.

Click here to learn more about the migration.
Beginning Apr 15, 2017, access to the Report Viewer application will be limited to UAB Campus and Hospital networks, or for external users via VPN.

A VPN is used to connect a remote user to UAB campus resources that are restricted for reasons of security and/or licensing constraints.

For detailed instructions and downloads, please visit uab.edu/VPN. Anyone who has trouble accessing this resource from off campus should contact AskIT at askit.uab.edu.
With the latest Firefox update (52.0) and subsequent updates, Java, Silverlight, Adobe Acrobat, and other plugins will no longer work.

Use Internet Explorer 11 to access Oracle and any other system that relies on the above applications.

Click here for more information from Mozilla. 
April UAB IT Security Awareness

Identity theft is a real threat; it can happen to anyone, and it can be challenging for victims to deal with the fallout. 

The following tips can help you prevent identity theft.

  • Read your credit card, bank, and pay statements carefully each month. Look for unusual or unexpected transactions. Remember also to review recurring bill charges and other important personal account information.
  • Review your health insurance plan statements and claims. Look for unusual or unexpected transactions.
  • Shred it! Shred any documents with personal, financial, or medical information before you throw them away.
  • Take advantage of free annual credit reports. In the US, the three major credit reporting agencies provide a free credit report once a year upon request.
  • If a request for your personal info doesn’t feel right, do not feel obligated to respond! Legitimate companies won’t ask for personal information such as your social security number, password, or account number in a pop-up ad, e-mail, text, or unsolicited phone call.
  • Limit the personal information you share on social media. Also, check your privacy settings every time you update an application or operating system (or at least every few months).
  • Put a password on it. Protect your online accounts and mobile devices with strong, unique passwords or passphrases.
  • Limit use of public Wi-Fi. Be careful when using free Wi-Fi, which may not be secure. Consider waiting to access online banking information or other sensitive accounts until you are at home.
  • Secure your devices. Encrypt your hard drive, use a VPN, and ensure that your systems, apps, antivirus software, and plug-ins are up-to-date.
If you become a victim of identity theft:

  • File a report with the US Federal Trade Commission at IdentityTheft.gov.
  • Use the identity theft report to file a police report. Make sure you keep a copy of both reports in a safe place.
  • Flag your credit reports by contacting the fraud departments of any one of the three major credit bureaus: Equifax (800-525-6285), Experian (888-397-3742), or TransUnion (800-680-7289).
60 Sec Survey Student Page

UAB IT wants you to take a 60-second survey to tell us your communication and technology preferences.

The quick 10-question survey will give UAB IT more information about how to communicate with our customers and will let us know what technology services are most valuable and important to you.

UAB IT appreciates the feedback from students, faculty, staff and researchers to help determine technology priorities and communication methods.

Take the survey here.

Emailing Sensitive Information

Sending credit card numbers and personally identifying information via email makes you more vulnerable to identity theft.


Beginning late Friday, March 10, UAB IT will implement policy tip warnings via email if it appears you are trying to send a credit card number via your UAB email account.

These warnings are intended to alert you to potential danger and help you protect yourself.

The popup policy tip will say: "The content of this email appears to conflict with UAB Policy regarding unsecured transmission of credit card or other personally identifiable information. Be safe and review the email content before sending."

With Friday’s introduction of the policy tip, emails will not yet be blocked from being sent. But emails that appear to include credit card information will eventually be blocked — both in incoming and outgoing emails.

“Sending credit card information, Social Security numbers, dates of birth and other personal or financial information is extremely dangerous and could leave you vulnerable to identity theft,” said Brian Rivers, assistant vice president and chief information security officer. “Our goal with these policy tips is to help protect our students, faculty and staff.”

In the future, UAB IT will add more policy tips and preventive measures to protect other sensitive information — including Social Security numbers — from being transmitted via email.
UAB IT will host an open town hall meeting from 10 to 11 a.m. on Monday, March 20.

The focus of the town hall will be campus needs and opportunities for improvement on the AskIT help desk.

The town hall will be held in the Alumni Theater at the Hill Student Center.

Learn more about UAB IT’s efforts to improve service at the AskIT help desk here.