If you call AskIT in the near future, you might receive help from Vice President and CIO Dr. Curt Carver.

Department leadership will be taking an active role in assessing how AskIT can improve how UAB IT serves campus — in some cases by answering calls and helping customers.

Curt HelpDeskCIO Dr. Curt Carver takes calls at the AskIT Help Desk.“This is one of our top priorities. I’m personally going to work to get this fixed,” Carver said. “We want you to experience quick, reliable service that enables you to get back to doing great work that helps change the world.”

Developing a responsive, proficient and courteous help desk is among the objectives in the IT Strategic Plan. Help desk improvements are part of an overall plan to create a world-class IT organization that builds trust with its customers and offers reliable services to exceed their needs and expectations.

In recent, weeks, a team from HDI, an association of technical support professionals, has been auditing AskIT to make recommendations on improving service. The goal is to improve AskIT’s maturity as a help desk to a 3-plus rating, on a scale of 0 to 4, in 24 to 30 months.

Over the next year, UAB IT will take several steps to making those improvements, including:

  • Updating equipment for technicians
  • Offering standardized training and customer service classes to AskIT staff
  • Hiring an associate director to focus on increasing customer service
  • Supplementing the current staff with additional technicians with customer service experience

UAB IT will also assess customers’ calls to help answer their questions and solve their problems more accurately and quickly.

“We’ll be looking at the top 10 reasons customers call us,” said Scott Sorenson, assistant vice president for process and quality management. “We’ll look at ways we can automate processes so we can answer customers’ questions faster.”

As customer service maturity improves, UAB IT will analyze the results to ensure continuous improvement.
Browsing web sites, shopping online, playing Pokemon Go — there are dozens of ways we go online every day. While no browser, app or device can be perfectly secure, learning safe browsing habits and practicing them every day can help you be safer and more secure online.

When you are reading e-mail or browsing online, be on the lookout for suspicious links and deceptive web pages, which are major sources of malware. CyberSecurityTip Icon

Also be careful when selecting browser plugins, apps, or other downloadable files since they can introduce new vulnerabilities.

Here are some suggestions to make your day-to-day online browsing more productive, safe, and secure.

  • Keep your browser software up-to-date. Be sure to install antivirus updates and regularly check for and install browser plugin (e.g., Adobe Flash and Java) updates.
  • Be more secure! Make sure a URL includes HTTPS before entering any personal information.
  • When in doubt, ignore. Don't click on pop-up windows or extraneous ads.
  • Keep your private information safe. Use a strong, unique password or passphrase for each account, and avoid storing account information on a website. Consider using separate browsers for sensitive logins and general web browsing. UAB IT offers a free password tool, Keeper, to help students, faculty and staff keep their passwords secure.
  • Use private networks for sensitive transactions. Avoid checking your bank account, making purchases, or logging in to other websites that include sensitive information when using public Wi-Fi. Make sure that on campus you use the UABSecure WiFi network, rather than UABStartHere.
  • Go stealth when browsing. Your browser can store quite a bit of information about your online activities, including cookies, cached pages, and history. To ensure the privacy of personal information online, limit access by going "incognito" and using the browser's private mode.
A $2.5 million investment in the university’s research network will improve network speed not only researchers but also for faculty, staff and students.

The University of Alabama Board of Trustees has approved $2.5 million for the project, which includes $500,000 from the National Science Foundation and $2 million in UAB institutional funds.

The research network upgrade will create a significant competitive advantage for researchers in genomics, personalized medicine, cyber security and other disciplines, as it couples with high performance research computing expansions to allow the transport of very large data sets.

The upgrade will include installation of a 100G edge upgrade with a science DMZ, border firewall and intrusion prevention system. The investment would speed network connectivity at least 20-fold.

“This upgrade is a critical strategic investment that will greatly facilitate high performance research in a number of areas,” Vice President and CIO Dr. Curtis A. Caver Jr. said.

Improvements in the research network will also benefit the network across campus. UAB IT has been working on a number of initiatives to strengthen network connectivity:
  • Increasing raw fiber bandwidth from 10 to 100 GBps to Nashville and Atlanta, which increases capacity for the campus community and helps facilitate the use of cloud storage systems like UABbox and OneDrive.
  • Partnering with content delivery network Akamai to deploy an internet caching switch, which will increase internet bandwidth 20 to 60 percent across campus.
  • Deployment of a separate 40 GBps network and associated science demilitarized zone dedicated to research centers and traffic.
TechConnect's new Notebook Program offers students lower prices on a laptop they want, bundled with the on-campus service and support they need.

Through the TechConnect Notebook Program, students can purchase one of three Dell laptops at up to $238 off retail prices, along with a service program that allows them to get support at the on-campus TechConnect storefront in the Hill Student Center. For a limited time, each Notebook Program purchase is also eligible for a $200 gift card from Dell, increasing the savings.

If a computer needs to be serviced for a prolonged period, students in the program are furnished with loaner laptops so that their studies can continue uninterrupted until their regular device is functioning properly.

Students or parents can purchase from TechConnect's web site or in the store. The storefront takes a variety of payment options, including credit cards, Blazer Bucks, Apple Pay and Android Pay.

Products can be ordered and paid for online now, with pickup available prior to the start of the fall term.

More information about the Notebook Program is available here.

TechConnect also offers affordable tablets that have been tested by UAB IT to work in the university's learning environment and that can complement students' primary devices.
As part of an ongoing effort to help better secure UAB employees' passwords, faculty, staff and students now have access to an account in Keeper, a secure and easy-to-use password management system that allows users to have more complex passwords and easily use them in web applications.

Keeper LogoThrough Keeper, your passwords and logins are saved in a private digital vault protected by powerful encryption. Keeper is a zero-knowledge security platform, which means that only the user has knowledge of and acess to his or her Master Password and the encryption key used to encrypt and decrypt his or her information.

IOS and Android apps are available in addition to the web application.

Keeper is available to UAB staff, students and faculty. It is not available to UAB Hospital staff at this time.

How to get a Keeper account:
  • Register with Keeper here.
  • Create a master password that is not your BlazerID password.
  • When creating your Master Password, Keeper requires a 15-character password length with one special character (e.g. !@#$%), one uppercase letter, one lowercase letter and at least one digit.
  • Note: Your browser may prompt you to save your Keeper Master Password. NEVER allow the browser to save your Keeper password.
  • To complete the registration process, you will need to enter your @uab.edu email address, and set a Master Password along with a "Security Question and Answer." Next you must accept the terms of use and click "Create Account."
NOTE: You must use your @uab.edu email address that is listed in the UAB phonebook. That address can be either your BlazerID@uab.edu or alias@uab.edu. To check your @uab.edu email address published in the UAB directory, click here.

After registration is complete:
  • Install the browser extensions (available for Chrome, Firefox, Safari and Internet Explorer) here.
  • Tutorials, Quick Start Guides and 24/7 support and live chat are available here.


Please send any feedback on Keeper Password Manager by entering a problem ticket in the IT Service Portal.
UAB IT is updating its login page for Office 365, OneDrive and UABbox.

The limited single sign-on login page for those cloud-based storage systems will change July 8. The change simply reflects an upgrade of the system that underlies the sign-in method. The screenshot below shows the change.

ADFS loginscreen2
"Our call to action" is how UAB Vice President and CIO Dr. Curt Carver describes UAB's new IT Strategic Plan, published after an extensive process involving input from 14 town halls and eight committees, made up of more than 100 people.

That feedback allowed the campus community to co-author the plan that will guide UAB IT's work for the next three years. The goal is a plan of work that allows UAB IT to empower students, faculty and staff and creates value for the university.

"This has been a delightful year to reimagine what IT could be as a competitive advantage for UAB," Carver said. "This is our call to action. This is about empowering UAB."

Carver and UAB IT set out in June 2015 to listen to the campus community through the crowdsourcing site SPARK and through town halls and meetings across campus, and that effort to listen intently carried through to the strategic planning process. 

"We have a clear voice from the customer about what needs to be done," Carver said. "We want IT that creates value for the university, not IT that creates value for IT."

In addition to publication of the strategic plan, UAB IT in August will produce a poster that maps the timeline of the work described in the plan's Appendix A.
Phishing attacks, or attempts to acquire sensitive information such as usernames, passwords or credit card details, pose a major risk to you and the university.

These attacks may come in the form of emails that seem trustworthy, but may convince you to install malicious software or reveal your personal information under false pretences. CyberSecurityTip Icon

Look for indicators such as threats or spelling and grammar errors, and avoid clicking on any links in suspicious emails.

Ultimately, you are the most effective way to detect and stop phishing scams. When viewing e-mail messages, texts, or social media posts, look for the following indicators to prevent stolen passwords, personal data, or private information.

Some more tips to avoid being a phishing victim:

  • Beware sketchy messages. Phishy messages may include a formal salutation, overly-friendly tone, grammatical errors, urgent requests or gimmicks.
  • Avoid opening links and attachements. Even if you know the sender, don't click on links that could direct you to a bad web site. And do not open attachments unless you are expecting a file from someone.
  • Verify the source. Check the sender's email address to make sure it's legitimate. If in doubt, just delete the message.
  • 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).
  • If you are unsure whether a request is legitimate, contact the company directly. Do NOT use contact information provided in the request.
  • 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.

To report suspected spam to AskIT, please follow the instructions here.
 
BrianRivers Cropped2Brian Rivers is joining UAB IT July 11 as assistant vice president and chief information security officer.

Rivers has a broad background in information technology and security, with a career spanning 20 years in higher education and Fortune 500 business industries. For the past five years, Rivers has served the University of Georgia as University Information Security Officer.

Rivers holds both a Bachelor of Science in computer science and a Bachelor of Science in mathematics from Georgia College & State University.

“Brian brings leadership and experience to the position and will help us develop a world-class IT organization for UAB,” said Dr. Curt Carver, vice president and CIO.

“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."

Members of the search committee included Robert Howard, associate vice president and deputy CIO; Dr. Franklin Tessler (UAB Medicine); Dr. Julio Rivera (Collat School of Business); and UAB IT’s Cindy Jones.
A change in UAB’s global address list for the campus and UAB Medicine email systems will make it easier for users to search for email addresses across UAB.

The current format for searching email user names is in alphabetical order based on First Name, Middle and then Last Name.

On July 22, the global address list change will modify the search order to Last Name, First Name Middle, Suffix. This will make it easier and quicker for users to find the correct email address on campus.

New incoming messages will bear the new name order for senders, but old messages will retain the old name order.

Feedback from campus customers prompted the change, and the proposal was reviewed by an advisory committee of IT employees from across campus.

UAB IT is coordinating with HSIS to make the change across the University and UAB Medicine.

If you have any questions about the change, please contact AskIT (for campus customers) at askit.uab.edu or HSIS (for hospital employees).

If you have feedback or suggestions for improvements to technology at UAB, please visit SPARK at ideas.uab.edu.
UAB IT is committed to making institutional and home-use software more accessible for the UAB community by simplifying the software distribution process and streamlining the approval path for fee-based orders.

There will be an opportunity for students, faculty and staff to review and provide feedback on the new software distribution design on Friday, July 8, from 1:30-2:30 p.m. in the Hill Student Center room 318.

Questions can be directed to Shira Fogel at sfogel@uab.edu or 996-6274.
A phishing email purporting to be from the "IT Service & Support Desk" has hit several email inboxes among faculty and staff at UAB.

The fake email is likely an attempt to steal user information and should be deleted. The subject line may be "Dear Employee/Staff and Student," and it asks recipients to check email access due to a maintenance update. Clicking the email takes users to a non-UAB site called "IT Security Systems Update." A copy of the email is below:

Phishing ITServiceDesk

If you receive an email with a hidden link such as “Click Here,” do the hover test. Hover your mouse over the link and look at the lower left pane to see where the link leads.

Look at the URL of the website you are visiting. 

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.
In the coming months, TechConnect — our technology store powered by UAB IT and located in the Hill Student Center — will be offering some technology products for personal purchase, such as laptops, tablets, limited accessories and fee-based support services, to faculty and staff for personal systems.

UAB IT is looking for feedback from the UAB community related to offering a payroll deduction option for these purchases to make it more convenient for employees.

To be approved to offer a payroll deduction option, UAB guidelines require a minimum of 100 persons to indicate they would utilitize the payroll deduction option. If you are interested, please fill out the survey here.
June CyberSecuritySign

Mobile devices have become one of the primary ways we communicate and interact with each other. The power of a computer is now at our fingertips, allowing us to bank, shop, view medical history, attend to work remotely, and communicate virtually anywhere. With all these convenient features come added CyberSecurityTip Iconrisks, but here are some tips to protect your devices and your personal information.
  • Password-protect your devices. Give yourself more time to protect your data and remote wipe your devices if it's lost or stolen by enabling passwords, PINs, fingerprint scans or other forms of authentication.
  • Secure those devices and backup data. Make sure that you can remotely lock or wipe each mobile device. That also means backing up data on each device in case you need to use the remote wipe function.
  • Verify app permissions. Don't forget to review app specifications and privacy permissions before installing it.
  • Update operating systems. Security fixes or patches for mobile devices' operating systems are often included in these updates.
  • Be cautious of public WiFi hot spots. Avoid financial or other sensitive transactions while connected to public WiFi hotspots.

 
EmpowerUAB campus2
After weeks of input from IT customers across campus — including students, faculty, staff, researchers and IT employees — UAB IT has drafted an IT Strategic Plan designed to empower everyone at UAB.

The draft plan has been published on the IT Strategic Plan web site. Members of the UAB community are encouraged to review the plan and provide additional feedback within a 30-day period ending June 24, after which the final plan will be reviewed by the strategic plan executive committee and published.

Feedback is welcome on the SPARK platform, where there are campaigns for each IT strategic imperative.

“We have welcomed input from across campus as we finalize this strategic plan,” said Dr. Curt Carver, vice president and CIO. “As our partners, you have helped co-author this plan, which will help prioritize the technology improvements worthy of advancing UAB.”

When the plan is published in June, it will provide UAB IT with a roadmap for developing those technology improvements. But Carver noted that the plan is a living document that may evolve as the needs of campus change.

“When we publish the final strategic plan, we will embark on the real work — completing the objectives that will help us support and empower our world-class university with world-class IT services,” Carver said.


ScreenontheGreen web
Help kick off summer with Screen on the Green, a free movie event on the Campus Green, sponsored by UAB IT and TechBridge.

Faculty, staff and students are invited with their families to watch “The Incredibles” on Thursday, June 9. The movie will begin at 8 p.m., but attendees are invited to begin gathering at 7 p.m. on the Campus Green. Bring blankets, lawn chairs and coolers with snacks to enjoy a fun night under the stars. (Please remember that alcohol is not allowed on campus.) Food trucks will also be on hand with a variety of dinner and dessert options.

RSVP for yourself and your number of guests here.

UAB IT is sponsoring the event to celebrate a year of technology-related successes on campus. Partner sponsor TechBridge is a non-profit organization that drives community impact by brining affordable technology and business expertise to other nonprofits, specifically those that are on the frontline of alleviating the causes of poverty. Other partners include SIM Alabama, TechBirmingham, the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama, Innovation Depot and Infragard.
UAB IT is hosting Microsoft's Education Tech Days event on campus May 18-19.

The event is targeted at technical managers and support personnel from schools and universities across the Southeast and will cover many products and technologies. Sessions will be hosted by Microsoft specialists, partners or peers from other schools and universities in attendance.

Sessions topics will include collaboration for education (Office 365); Microsoft cloud; SQL Server 2016; modern data visualization and analytics; Windows 10; and more.

A data summit will be held Wednesday, May 18, in the same location as Tech Days. This event is targeted for academic and data managers and support personnel from schools and universities across the Southeast.

The event is open to both internal and external attendees, so registration is required. The event will be held in the Hill Student Center, ballrooms C and D.

Registration can be accessed here.
UAB’s 3-year subscription to Adobe’s Creative Cloud product will enter the final year of the agreement beginning in June 2016 and run through May 2017. For that final year UAB IT will be able to offer subscriptions for $150 instead of the current $300. In addition, the $150 pricing for a subscription through May 2017 is retroactive to any customers that subscribed to Creative Cloud since April 1, 2016.

Take advantage of this opportunity quickly to get full value of the price reduction and length of the subscription as the $150 will not be prorated during the year and will be valid only through May 2017. Pricing for any new agreement with Adobe as of June 1, 2017, and subsequent subscription prices to UAB customers, will be based on negotiations with Adobe next year.

Adobe Creative Cloud subscriptions include:

·      Photoshop CC, for image editing and composition

·      Illustrator CC, for vector graphics and illustration

·      InDesign CC, for page design, layout and publishing

·      Dreamweaver CC, for web sites, app design and coding

·      Adobe Premiere Pro CC, for video production and editing

·      After Effects CC, for cinematic visual effects and motion graphics

·      Acrobat XI Pro, for creating, editing and signing PDF documents and forms

·      Adobe Muse CC for web site design without coding.

To learn more about Adobe Creative Cloud and place an order, click here.


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. low techideas

As the next phase of strategic planning begins, students, faculty and staff are encouraged to continue sharing their ideas on the SPARK platform, where there is a campaign for each of the seven strategic imperatives.

Getting campus feedback through the strategic planning period has been essential to shaping a plan that will empower UAB students, faculty, staff and researchers through technology. 

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.

Hundreds of people participated in IT town halls in April, providing feedback that will be incorporated into the draft plan as committees continue to shape IT strategy and priorities for the next three years. Committees are made up of faculty, staff and students from across campus disciplines and departments.

"This is not our strategic plan; this is your strategic plan," Vice President and CIO Dr. Curt Carver said. 

During the 30-day review period, UAB IT will host two town halls to showcase the strategic plan, which will be published in June.

But while the plan will guide IT strategy and priorities for the future, Carver noted that the IT Strategic Plan will be a living, breathing document that will evolve as campus needs change.

Details about the plan, committees, strategic imperatives and town halls can be found at uab.edu/empoweruab.
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.

The FBI has warned consumers to be on alert for such scams. Similar scams — in which malicious callers pretend to be law enforcement — have targeted UAB students in recent months, even costing them and their parents money.

The FBI will never call private citizens requesting money.

Often, callers in such scams appear to have students' personal information, but it is important to note that there has been no breach of personal information at UAB. Malicious callers often try to solicit more personal information from their victims over the course of the call.

If students or parents receive a call that seems suspicious, they should disconnect immediately and notify law enforcement.

If you receive these calls, do not follow the caller's instructions. Instead, the FBI advises you should:

  • Notify your banking institutions.
  • Contact the three major credit bureaus and request an alert be put on your file.
  • Contact your local law enforcement agencies if you feel you are in immediate danger.
  • File a complaint through the Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov.