IT Update for August 2015

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August 2015
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.

IT transparency

Task teams, shared governance among new initiatives for UAB IT

UAB IT is taking steps to be more transparent with customers and constituents, soliciting input from across campus through the SPARK initiative; inviting campus IT professionals to Town Hall meetings; and encouraging campus IT involvement in task teams for the reThink Project, active directory and campus network.

Learn more about UAB IT's plans for shared governance.

ANTIVIRUS RECOMMENDATIONS: With Microsoft Forefront going end of life, UAB IT has new recommendations for antivirus software for home use for faculty, staff and students as well as campus use for those employees whose computers are not managed by Desktop Services. Learn more here.

UAB DROPBOX FILE SIZE: An idea on SPARK inspired UAB IT to double the size limit for files sent via the UAB Dropbox. File sizes can now be as large as 4Gb. 

CONTRACTS: The contracts page on UAB IT's web site has been updated to provide more information for departments submitting IT-related agreements. Items on the site include a routing checklist and copies of various addenda that can be provided to vendors in advance to help expedite the routing and review process. UAB IT and UAB Contracts are planning informational meetings for the university community to help explain why these provisions are needed and how to best ensure a smooth routing process for IT-related contracts and agreements.

SHAREPOINT 2013: The campus community is invited to attend the SharePoint Users Group meeting at 10:30 a.m. Aug. 17 in CEC 140. Topics will include a discussion about UAB IT's plan to migrate sites to SharePoint 2013. 
New service provides digital signs to campus departments
UAB IT now offers a digital signage service to the UAB community. Departments can order one or multiple digital signs for display, and UAB IT will handle the purchase and installation as well as host the content management platform. Learn more about the digital signage solution.

Annual Giving campaign boosted by small tech tweak
A quick technology fix for the UAB Office of Annual Giving dramatically improved the office's ability to solicit donations for the Annual Fund, which provides substantial support for UAB's schools, departments and libraries. Learn more about the assistance to the Office of Annual Giving.

Telecommunication changes allow greater flexibility
As part of an ongoing plan to upgrade campus telecommunications services, UAB IT is migrating its local, long distance, and toll-free dialing to a new carrier. As part of this change, 30,000 phone numbers in the 975-, 996-, and 934- exchanges will be moved, and the underlying trunking technology will be converted from PRI (primary rate interface) trunks to SIP (session initiation protocol). The project moves phone services to a network-based infrastructure, which will be more flexible for campus needs.

UAB network becoming more robust and agile 
An ongoing project to build a new fiber hub for the UAB campus will help protect network traffic with redundant fiber cable infrastructure. Learn more about the fiber hub project here.

UAB IT assisting with Hill University Center plans
UAB IT has begun to help assess the telecommunications needs of campus departments that will be moving into the new Hill University Center. UAB IT is also in the process of installing network accessibility in UAB's new freshman residence hall. While Apogee will provide ResNet service in the new dorm, UAB IT is assisting with infrastructure.

SPARK crowdsources more than 70 ideas
UAB IT's crowdsourcing platform, SPARK, has collected more than 70 new technology ideas and more than 1,700 comments in the past two months. Learn more about SPARK here.

reThink timeline revised to include input from Distributed IT 
UAB IT's reThink Project — which will implement standardized processes for IT services within the industry-leading ServiceNow tool — has finished the build and initial testing of the incident management portion of the project. In August, requirements gathering will begin for service request management, problem management and knowledge management. Learn more about the reThink Project and view the latest project newsletter.
OnCore clinical trial management system to be implemented
UAB IT is partnering with Research Administration's Clinic Trials Office to implement the OnCore Clinical Trial Management System across the enterprise. Once implemented, OnCore will provide all units conducting clinical trials with functionality to manage the trial from its inception to completion. 
UAB IT working with administration on ACA compliance
UAB's HR and Financial Affairs departments have partnered with UAB IT and the vendor Health efx to ensure that UAB is in compliance with the Affordable Healthcare Act. UAB IT is in the test phase of building interfaces between UAB and Health efx to ensure that all employees eligible to receive health benefits are identified.

Financial transparency prompts better grasp of IT costs 
When the first work stream of the IT Financial Transparency & Accountability Project wraps up this month, UAB IT leaders will have a better understanding of costs across the IT budget and dashboards to help them manage this data. An update will be presented to the steering committee in September, and the second work stream will kick off with an onsite meeting with Apptio, the company that is being used to convert UAB IT's financial operations to align with the technology business management (TBM) model. When the project is complete, customers will have better visibility into the cost of the IT services they consume. Learn more about Financial Transparency.

National search under way for key UAB IT leadership roles 
Search committees have been formed to fill three leadership positions in the UAB Information Technology organization: chief information security officer, chief technology officer and deputy CIO. Learn more about the searches for these key leadership roles.
UAB IT helps get incoming freshmen prepared for campus
Along with other UAB departments and campus organizations, representatives from UAB IT helped welcome incoming freshmen to campus this summer at the Goin' Green orientation sessions. UAB IT distributed handouts to incoming students and their parents with information about IT services and software. Students also received information about how to get their computers ready for campus.
UAB IT strengthens security posture with Microsoft SCCM
IT professionals from the School of Engineering shared their success with deployment of Microsoft SCCM at a kickoff meeting for the Cyber Security Initiative last month. The initiative makes SCCM available at no cost to all areas of campus as part of the effort to protect UAB's assets and inventory servers and workstations. The School of Engineering reported that it is able to more effectively manage patched and unpatched machines, and that remote control is effective when supporting their users. UAB IT has made available task and deployment guides and tutorials to assist campus IT professionals with implementation. Video of the kickoff meeting and the PowerPoint presentation is also available at the web site.

Exceptions required for Windows Server 2003 systems
UAB IT has been working since last fall to transition campus from using Microsoft Windows Server 2003, which reached end-of-life last month. Any departments still running Windows Server 2003 are urged to plan to upgrade to Windows Server 2012 as soon as possible. Systems using Windows Server 2003 no longer meet UAB's minimum security standards and will be denied access to the campus network. Application and system owners may request an exception by completing the Exception Request Form and submitting it to AskIT. The UAB Enterprise Security Council will review each request and provide a risk acceptance recommendation to the CIO for final approval. Learn more here
UAB IT offers guidance for Windows 10
In July, UAB IT and Microsoft offered the campus community a sneak peak at Windows 10. UAB IT also released guidance about use of the updated operating system for campus computers. Learn more about Windows 10.

TechBirmingham training available for IT employees at UAB
Through UAB's institutional membership with TechBirmingham, all technology employees at UAB are entitled to free or significantly discounted access to the events, networking opportunities, training and other events sponsored by TechBirmingham. Learn more about upcoming events.

UAB IT fortifies security with modern identity management
UAB IT is introducing a new security infrastructure for its identity management (IDM) system, with a go-live set for Aug. 15. The project will not affect end users but is the first step in replacing the identity management system that supports access to UAB programs with a more robust central authentication service. The new system replaces the way UAB creates users in Exchange, Office 365 and the active directory. The user interface for BlazerID is not changing, but the security system will be brand-new, will utilize an industry standard and has been tested for the last six months. The next step will be for IT professionals across campus to register their applications in the new system. Further instructions will be communicated to IT professionals in coming weeks.

Campus IT professionals take part in ITIL training
A group of central and campus IT employees completed ITIL service management training in July, with 22 people going on to achieve ITIL Foundations certification. Additional training options will be offered to UAB's technology community as the reThink Project continues.

Info-Tech resources to be available soon

IT personnel will soon have access to a new technology resource. UAB IT has subscribed to Info-Tech Research Group services, which will provide blueprints and toolkits for application, strategy and infrastructure projects, as well as tools to improve team processes and governance. Information about how to obtain one of the named-user licenses will be available on the IT web site when the service goes live later this month.
PASSWORD LENGTH: UAB will change its password policy in September to ensure better security. As of Sept. 15, passwords will be required to be at least 15 characters, but they will not expire for 12 months. More information will be communicated in coming weeks.

ORACLE: UAB is considering replacing the Oracle e-Business product which supports Human Resources, Finance and Payroll for the university.

UNLIMITED CLOUD STORAGE COMING SOON: UAB IT is negotiating a contract with, which would allow unlimited storage for faculty and staff. If approved, the contract would go into effect Oct. 1.
Discounted subscriptions to Adobe Creative Cloud are available through UAB IT.

Adobe FormsCentral has reached end of life, but UAB IT can assist in the transition.
Last modified on May 29, 2018