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.
Monday, 01 February 2016 15:06

Register for easy BlazerID password reset

Beginning Feb. 2, users will be prompted to register a phone number or non-UAB email address during the existing password change process, if they have not already signed up with those services.

Having a phone or email address registered with the UAB eNotify service gives users a quick way to reset a forgotten BlazerID password — without having to wait for a follow-up call from AskIT.

Password reset codes can be sent as alerts via text message, voice call or email. The service is also used to deliver Oracle RedFlag alerts to UAB employees when direct deposit, tax withholding or personal information is updated via Oracle Self Service.

Outside of the password change process, B-Alert and eNotify registrations can be updated at any time through the uab.edu/enotify site.

Beginning May 1, all users will be required to sign up for eNotify password reset alerts, and this will be enforced during password changes as needed. Until May 1, sign-up is optional but highly recommended.

"This will free IT staff from a large percentage of time that is now occupied with password resets," Deputy CIO Robert Howard said. "You can get your password reset more quickly, and we can do the work that is most important to the university."

Here is a sample screenshot of the new form which will promot for B-Alert/eNotify registration:

ChangePasswordENSpage
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.
Wednesday, 27 January 2016 09:41

New self-service portal to launch next week

UAB IT will launch its new self-service portal on Feb. 2. Customers will be able to search a service catalog and order services; search for knowledge articles; and report problems with services.

When the self-service portal launches, it will be accessed from the “Need help? AskIT” button on the front page of the UAB IT web site at uab.edu/it. 

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

Users will 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.

The interface is intuitive, but details about how to use the site will be posted when the new portal launches. The new self-service site is a work in progress, and enhancements and changes are anticipated post go-live.
Tuesday, 12 January 2016 16:19

IITS Videoconferencing Service

Housed on the UAB campus, IITS (Intercampus Interactive Telepresence System) offers a state-of-the-art videoconferencing network. IITS is a secure, HIPAA compliant videoconferencing network offering bridging, desktop and cloud videoconferencing. All services are free of charge for administrators, faculty, staff and students conducting university business. UAB has several videoconferencing locations that are connected to IITS. These sites are equipped with video monitors, cameras, visual presenters, and other equipment necessary to conduct telepresence meetings and/or classes. These facilities enable the user to hold visual conversations with virtual full motion, examine or display drawings, charts, and documents, and/or conduct effective training sessions.

Using the IITS, you may conference with any compressed digital video room(s), desktops or mobile devices in the world. For more information on IITS services or to schedule a meeting or class, visit http://.iits.uasystem.ua.edu or call IITS at 205-975-6854.
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:

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.
AskIT will have special holiday hours over the next two weeks.

All operations — including the walk-up help desk and phone support — will be closed Friday, Dec. 25, and Friday, Jan. 1.

Walk-up support at Sterne Library will be also closed Dec. 26 and 27.

Walk-up support will be available at Sterne Library from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Dec. 21-23 and Dec. 28-31 but will close early on Dec. 24 and on Dec. 31 at noon.

Phone support will remain available from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays and from 1 to 6 p.m. Sundays, as well as 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Dec. 21-24 and Dec. 28-31.
Friday, 18 December 2015 12:17

UAB IT offers "The 12 Days of the Holidays"

UAB IT is offering holiday greetings to the campus community, with a look at some of our accomplishments over the past year to help empower UAB students, faculty and staff.

Wednesday, 02 December 2015 09:49

IT Update for December 2015

*|MC:SUBJECT|*
 
December 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.

UAB partners on big data hub

Regional innovation hub one of four announced by NSF

UAB IT, the School of Engineering and the School of Medicine's Department of Neurology are partnering with Georgia Tech and other institutions on the South Big Data Regional Innovation Hub.

Learn more about the big data hub.

ANNOUNCEMENTS
Ellis joins UAB IT this month as chief technology officer
Shawn Ellis joins UAB IT on Dec. 1 as associate vice president and chief technology officer. Ellis has a broad background in information technology in higher education and various industries and has most recently been interim associate chief information officer at the University of Georgia. Learn more here.

Take part in UAB Toy Drive Dec. 1-16
UAB IT is partnering with the the campus community to make the 22nd annual UAB Toy Drive a success. New, unwrapped toys will be collected in boxes around campus and donated to Toys for Tots on Dec. 16. Find out where boxes are located and how to get involved.
CAMPUS
UAB IT to have tech store in new Hill Center
When the new Hill Center opens in early 2016, UAB IT will have a prime location to help reach out to university students and staff. UAB IT's technology store will showcase the services and software available for students and faculty at UAB. UAB IT staff will be on hand to assist members of the UAB community in understanding the technology that is available and how to use it.


Self-service portal set to launch in early 2016
UAB IT is on target for an early 2016 launch of its new self-service portal, the customer-facing centerpiece of UAB IT's transition to ServiceNow, an industry-leading tool that incorporates best practices for IT service management. The new self-service portal will give customers an opportunity to request services, browse a service catalog, find answers in a knowledge base, and report problems with services. The transition to ServiceNow is part of UAB IT's reThink Project, an organization-wide effort to rethink how UAB IT serves customers and approaches its work.
RESEARCH
UAB IT shares poster at annual UAB Core Day
Members of UAB IT's research computing team took part in this year's UAB Core and Shared Resources Day last month, presenting a poster along with other departments and organizations across campus. The annual Core Day gives research computing a chance to give campus researchers an opportunity to see the services and solutions available through UAB IT.

UAB increasing internet speeds to 100Gbps
During 2016, the University of Alabama System Regional Optical Network (UASRON), which links UA, UAB, and UAH to the Internet and Internet2, will be upgraded to support 100 Gigabit connections. Learn more about the upgrade plans here.
OPERATIONS & ADMINISTRATION
UAB IT partners to provide departmental IT roadmaps
UAB IT has partnered with the Athletic Department and Student Affairs to evaluate their technology needs and deliver an assessment to help both departments enhance their services and seek better solutions. UAB IT is wrapping up an assessment for the School of Public Health's technology needs.

New telecom carrier will upgrade UAB phone network
UAB IT is moving forward with its plan to upgrade campus telecommunications services. The department has signed a contract with a new carrier to move 30,000 phone numbers and convert the underlying technology to SIP (session initiation protocol), a network-based infrastructure that will be more flexible for campus needs.

Fiber hub project adds more redundant infrastructure
UAB IT has installed fiber for the next phase of its fiber hub project, which is protecting network traffic with redundant fiber cable infrastructure. The latest phase includes the Learning Resources Center, 1715 Building, School of Health Professionals, Ninth Avenue Office Building and Central Utilities Building 5. Learn more about the fiber hub project.
TEACHING AND LEARNING
Canvas data can help improve student success
UAB is working toward a more strategic relationship with Canvas, the university’s learning management system, with one of the goals being to harness the tool’s data to support and improve student success. Learn more about a recent UAB trip to visit Canvas representatives.
COMMUNITY
UAB IT participates in TechBridge meeting
Members of UAB IT's Leader Team recently attended a reception with sponsors of TechBridge, an organization whose mission is to provide IT support and consulting services to nonprofit organizations. TechBridge's focus is on nonprofits whose goal is to alleviate the causes of poverty.

Carver available to speak on UAB's technology roadmap
Vice President and CIO Dr. Curtis A. Carver Jr. is available to speak to university departments and organizations about campus technology and UAB IT's strategy and plans for the future. To request him as a speaker, click here.

UAB IT works with Auburn on technology partnership
UAB IT representatives met last month with members of the Auburn University Office of Information Technology community to discuss ways the two schools can exchange information to benefit both institutions. Among the topics discussed were dark fiber, Skype and VOIP, Duo Security and password management tools. The next meeting is scheduled for spring 2016.

Carver featured in CIO Review magazine 
UAB CIO Dr. Curtis A. Carver Jr. was featured in a recent issue of CIO Review magazine, discussing innovation, agility and cost efficiency in the magazine's education special edition. Read the article here.
SECURITY
UAB users urged to sign up for eNotify
UAB IT encourages staff and students to sign up for eNotify's Identity feature at BlazerID Central, which allows users to reset their password on their own if their account is compromised. The eNotify system will also text users RedFlag alerts if their personal information in Oracle has been changed. Learn more here.
TECH CORNER
Older versions of IE no longer supported after Jan. 12, 2016
Older versions of Internet Explorer — including versions 8-10 — will go end of life on Jan. 12, 2016, which means Microsoft will no longer provide security updates to those browsers. UAB IT employees have been using Internet Explorer 11 in enterprise mode, with few problems with apps. Click here to learn how to use enterprise modeUAB IT Desktop Support customers will be upgraded automatically to IE11 enterprise mode, and all system administrators are encouraged to ensure that their users have been migrated to IE 11 before that date. For more information on what settings are suggested in enterprise mode, click here.

SharePoint team partners with consultant for design phase
The UAB IT SharePoint team has finalized its calendar for migration of SharePoint sites to an upgraded version of SharePoint. Design work is under way in partnership with consultants, with a goal to make the design more customer-friendly and intuitive. Installation of the core system will begin in December, with site conversions beginning in spring 2016. Setup and testing for the converted sites will take place through next fall. 

Active directory advisory panel convenes
An active directory advisory committee made up of information technology professionals across campus has begun meeting to discuss its goals, which will include reducing the number of active directory domains at UAB. 
EXPLORING NEW IDEAS
UNLIMITED EMAIL COMING IN NEW YEAR: Unlimited email storage will be a new feature when UAB IT upgrades its email system for campus faculty and staff in early 2016. When the upgrade is complete, it will have many new features, including unlimited email for users.

SPARK NEW IDEAS: UAB IT's SPARK platform continues to generate new ideas, and UAB IT is making progress on many of the ideas submitted to the crowdsourcing site, including the replacement of Optidoc.

NEW IT BUILDING IN CAMPUS PLANS: UAB IT has been working with the university on plans for a new IT building, which is one of the priorities of the campus master plan. The proposed plan for the facility would dedicate 25 percent of the space for co-location that could be used by schools and departments.

ELECTRONIC CONTRACTS: UAB IT continues to work with UAB administration on an electronic contract management solution.
DID YOU KNOW?
ONEDRIVE ACCOUNTS: UAB campus faculty and staff have access to a OneDrive account with 1TB of file storage and the ability to download Office 365 apps for desktop and mobile use. Learn more here.

INTERACTIVE ADMIN SYSTEMS PAGE: UAB's administrative systems page is now interactive. Choose the buttons you want to display in the order you need to access UAB systems. Bookmarking this page, rather than individual systems, is recommended so that you can stay up to date on changes and outages.
HAPPY HOLIDAYS
Happy Holidays from UAB IT
UAB IT would like to thank all of our customers for a successful year. We have accomplished much in 2015 — from quadrupling our research computing processing power to using a simple technology tweak to boost donations to the UAB Annual Fund — and we would not have been able to do so without you.
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