Thursday, 01 October 2015 10:03

IT Update for October 2015

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October 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.

Protect yourself online

UAB IT promoting online safety and security during October

UAB IT is joining organizations across the globe in efforts to recognize Cyber Security Awareness Month, which promotes the importance of online safety and security.

Learn more about UAB IT's plans for Cyber Security Awareness Month.

AskIT walk-up help desk moves to Sterne Library
AskIT's walk-up help desk has moved to Sterne Library, a more visible location to assist students, faculty and staff. The desk is located just behind the circulation desk on the first floor. Learn more here.

Test new interactive Administrative Systems page
UAB IT, working closely with Web Communications, is preparing to launch a redesigned Administrative Systems page that gives users an opportunity to configure the page to their needs. Learn more about the new page.

Tech support phone scam targets campus
UAB staff should be aware of a potential scam in which a caller posing as tech support staff asks for the IP address of office printers — possibly to try to gain access to recently printed documents or to try to scam you into paying for unnecessary support. Learn more here.

Office 2016 available this month
Microsoft Office 2016 for PCs will be available the first week of October for faculty and staff. It will be available for download from the UAB IT software site. Learn more here.
Reminder: New passphrase policy in effect
UAB's new password/passphrase policy, which went into effect last month, requires 15-character passwords, but those passwords will expire in one year, not three months. Implementation of the policy is being phased in; as your password expires, you will be required to change it to one with 15 characters. The purpose of the change is to make passwords more secure — the length of the password is doubling, but the password becomes exponentially more difficult to break. Learn more about the policy change and view a video with passphrase tips here.

UAB IT seeking to fill three key positions
Search committees are nearing the final stages of their work to hire three new positions for UAB IT: deputy chief information officer, chief information security officer and chief technology officer. View a video presentation to the search committees by CIO Dr. Curt Carver.
UAB working to strengthen FISMA compliance
The Office of the Vice President for Information Technology is working with the Office of the Vice President for Research and the research community to strengthen the University's approach to FISMA-moderate compliance for grants and make it easier to obtain grants that require FISMA compliance. 

 Research computing committee making progress
The research computing strategic planning committee, led by Dr. Iwan Alexander, dean of the School of Engineering, is working closely with Vice President for Research Dr. Richard Marchase to define the vision for research computing and build a shared governance structure and strategy for the future.
UAB joins beta program for new Advancement platform
UAB is one of six institutions nationwide participating in a beta program for Evolution, Ellucian’s new Microsoft Dynamics-based platform for advancement. UAB IT is partnering with UAB Advancement Services on the project, which kicked off in September. Evolution will ultimately replace the current Advancement module in the Banner system. "This is an invaluable opportunity to partner with Ellucian and our internal IT team," said Michelle Hussey, assistant vice president for Advancement. "Participating in the beta program will allow UAB to have direct influence on the final release of this cutting-edge advancement CRM." Work begins in December, and testing will run throughout 2016.

UAB IT aiding departments make data-driven decisions
UAB IT is helping university departments to foster a data-driven, decision-making culture.  Learn more about UAB IT's business intelligence efforts.

Faculty and staff onboarding process under review
UAB IT is working with UAB Human Resources and other key administrative offices to streamline the onboarding process for faculty and staff. 
Portal gives Professional Studies students more secure access
UAB IT worked with the Division of eLearning and Professional Studies to implement a new administrative portal for professional studies students. Previously, individuals enrolling in professional studies courses had to do so using an ID unique to that system; the new portal integrates the students into other systems across campus and gives them limited-access proto-BlazerIDs.

UAB hopes to eliminate duplication of effort on grade posting
UAB IT is working with UAB eLearning to develop an easier way for faculty to push their grade information from Canvas to Banner, which would eliminate some of the current duplication of effort by faculty.

UAB IT studying flexibility for publishing courses
UAB IT is working to give faculty more flexibility to schedule the publication of their courses in Canvas.
Carver: Tech partnerships can attract jobs to Birmingham
UAB CIO Dr. Curt Carver spoke Sept. 22 at TechBirmingham's monthly TechTuesday luncheon. Carver told members of the city's tech community that building trust and partnerships can help attract new businesses to Birmingham and the region. Carver also spoke about UAB IT's commitment to customer service and communication. "We don't do IT for IT's sake, we do IT for customers," he said. View Carver's presentation to TechBirmingham here.

TechJunction conference draws area tech professionals
UAB employees are participating in the Oct. 1 TechJunction conference, which is sponsored in part by TechBirmingham, of which UAB is a member. Dr. Curt Carver will moderate a panel on CIOs during the conference.

TechBridge partnership on the horizon
UAB IT is exploring ways to assist TechBridge, a non-profit organization that assists other non-profits with IT consulting and outsourcing. 
Student video contest promotes cyber security awareness
UAB IT's Enterprise Information Security unit is sponsoring an undergraduate student video contest for National Cyber Security Awareness Month. Learn more about the video contest.

Cyber security initiative participation high
Participation in UAB IT's campus-wide cyber security initiative is at 77 percent as of Sept. 30. Through the initiative, UAB is deploying Microsoft SCCM across campus in an effort to protect UAB's assets and better inventory servers and workstations. 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.
Next IDM system milestone: Email forwarding
UAB IT's identity management team has been busy migrating some of the key functionality from the legacy system to the new Oracle Identity Management system, which provides more robust security infrastructure for the systems that supports access to UAB systems. After a successful implementation of a new password policy, which went into effect on Sept. 15, the next major milestone will be to use the new system to perform email forwarding. The forwarding functionality allows all emails that are sent to the addresses to be routed to the correct backend mail servers that are assigned to each identity.

UAB IT studying encryption options
UAB IT is evaluating several vendors for a new encryption product which keep the current disk encryption for laptops but also add features to meet the ever growing security landscape. UAB IT is working with distributed IT staff on the encryption review. Several of the key features which are required for the product to be considered are: Management of its encryption method along with management of native windows and MAC encryption, the ability to encrypt files for use in email/cloud sharing, thumb drive encryption, compliance and reporting features. The product should also have a console which can be made available to distributed IT. The evaluation process is under way and a selection will be made in the coming months.
CLOUD STORAGE OPTIONS: Effective Oct. 1, UAB IT has a contract in place with Box. A technical review of the product has begun, and a trial with a limited number of users is under way. A go-live date for Microsoft OneDrive for faculty and staff is set for Oct. 31.

ATHLETICS PARTNERSHIP: The UAB Athletics Department and UAB IT are exploring ways that UAB IT can support athletics programs at UAB.

ALTERNATIVE CMS OPTIONS: Web Communications and UAB IT are partnering to look at new options for content management systems for campus web pages.

100-DAY REPORT: UAB IT is working on a report to highlight Dr. Curt Carver's first 100 days as chief information officer for UAB.
UAB IT has a comprehensive digital signage solution.

You can follow UAB IT on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
Thursday, 10 September 2015 15:32

Encryption guidance

Data that are supported by federal funding must be protected by encryption that meets the federal encryption standard: FIPS 140-2.

If users are unsure about the sharing of UAB data, they can contact UAB IT's Enterprise Information Security unit for help determining the right protection to use.

7-Zip is open source software used to compress or zip files secured with encryption. When you send or transfer files that contain Personal Identifiable Information (PII) or other confidential and sensitive data the files must be encrypted to ensure they are protected from unauthorized disclosure.

7-Zip, like WinZip, creates a container called an archive that holds the files to be protected. That archive can be encrypted and protected with a password. 7-Zip is free software that can create Zip files that can be opened with WinZip or other similar programs.

To obtain a copy of 7-Zip please see and select the Download link.

Once the software is installed please follow these steps to encrypt a file or folder.

Step 1: Right click on the file / folder to be encrypted.

Step 2: Select “7-Zip” then “Add to archive…”

Step 3: In the Add to Archive window change the name of the archive you wish to create.

Step 4: Change the Archive format to “Zip."

Step 5: Change the Encryption Method to “AES-256."

There is a trade-off between using AES-256 and ZipCrypto. AES-256 is proven much more secure than ZipCrypto, but if you select AES-256 the recipient of the zip file may have to install 7-zip or another zip program to read the file contents. Selecting ZipCrypto may allow users to open the zip file in Windows without a zip program, but it does not provide adequate protection against attackers with modern cracking tools.

It is strongly recommended to use AES-256 to protect sensitive and confidential data.

Step 6: Enter a Password. Use a strong password with at least 8 characters and containing upper and lower letters and a minimum of one number.

Step 7: Select “OK” to create the encrypted archive file. The new archive file will be located in the same folder as the original.

Best security practices recommend that you do not email the password with the Zip file as it could be intercepted in transit. It is better to call the recipient of the Zip file and convey the password over the phone.

The UAB Enterprise Information Security Department (EISD) is sponsoring a National CyberSecurity Awareness Month Video Contest for currently enrolled undergraduate students.

The top three winning submissions will be announced via email and signage

There is no entry fee. The deadline for submission is noon, Friday, Oct. 23, 2015.

ELIGIBILITY: Prizes in this contest will be awarded to the best video submitted by an individual or group of currently enrolled undergraduate students. Participating students must be at least 19 years of age by September 5, 2015.

TO ENTER: During the contest period, sign up for a free YouTube account and follow the online instructions for registration.  The video’s format and size must follow YouTube’s video upload guidelines.

YouTube is not a sponsor of this contest.  Lastly the Contest Entry form must be read, completely filled out and submitted before the submission deadline.  Uploaded entries without a submitted entry form will be disqualified.  Groups cannot have more than four total members.

Your submission must:

  • Creatively demonstrate your perceived understanding of one of the following topic areas
    • Keep a Clean Machine
    • Protect Your Personal Information
    • Connect with Care
    • Be Web Wise
    • Be a Good Online Citizen
  • Be 1 minute or less in duration without credits
  • Must be an original and unique recording created by the submitters entered on the submitter form
  • Must be recorded during the submission period (September 5 – October 9).
  • Must comply with all of these submission guidelines and rules as stated in this document

SUBMISSION GUIDELINES: Submissions cannot misrepresent, defame, or have disparaging remarks about the University of Alabama at Birmingham its administration, staff, employees, faculty, students, services or products.  The EISD reserves the right to and will monitor or screen submissions prior to posting them.  By providing a submission, the submitter grants EISD an exclusive, perpetual, transferable license to copy, publish, broadcast, display, distribute, use, edit, translate, alter, combine with other material, reuse and adapt any or all portions of the submissions in any way and for any purpose whatsoever, at any time now or in the future.  Submissions that are not in accordance with the guidelines as stated herein or are not received by the contest submission deadline will be disqualified.  Submissions cannot (1) be sexually explicit or suggestive, violent or derogatory of any ethnic, racial, gender, religious, professional or age group, profane or pornographic, contain nudity or any materially dangerous activity; (2) promote alcohol, illegal drugs, tobacco, firearms/weapons (or the use of any of the foregoing), any activities that may appear unsafe or dangerous, or any particular political agenda or message; (3) promote illegal behavior; (4) promote violence; (5) contain trademarks, logos or trade dress owned by others or advertise or promote any brand or product of any kind (other than the UAB trademarks, logos, trade dress, brands or products); (6) contain any personal identification, such as license plate numbers, personal names, email addresses or street addresses without permission; (7) cannot be in violation of any of the local and national laws in the country of origin.

By submitting a submission you warrant and represent that it: (a) is your or your teams original work, (b) has not been previously published, (c) has not received previous awards, (d) does not infringe upon the copyrights, trademarks, rights of privacy, publicity or other intellectual property or other rights of any person or entity; (e) that you/your team have obtained permission from a person who is used in the submission whose name, likeness or voice is used in the submission.

CONTEST JUDGING: During the contest judging period, submissions will be judged on the following criteria (1) 60 percent – delivery of topic; (2) 40 percent – originality & creativity.  The top three finalists will be determined by the highest cumulative scores awarded by the judges.  Tied submissions will be broken by the highest score awarded in the first topic criteria.  If the tie continues, then it will be broken by the highest score awarded in the second criteria.

PRIZE DETAILS: The first place prize of $250 will be awarded to the individual entry that receives the most votes.  Additional prizes may be awarded to the second and third place entries.

Wednesday, 02 September 2015 09:50

IT Update for August 2015

Subscribe to the IT Update.
View this email in your browser
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. Read more here.

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.
Wednesday, 02 September 2015 09:28

IT Update for September 2015

Subscribe to the IT Update.
View this email in your browser
September 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.

Robust support for research

UAB IT grants will help build fastest computer cluster in Alabama

UAB IT is building the largest academic compute cluster in Alabama and a powerhouse network and storage array that will be the foundation for groundbreaking research at the university. A series of grants and other financial pledges will strengthen the current network that supports researchers, enabling better collaboration and innovation.

Learn more about UAB IT's plans for research computing.

New passphrase policy will ensure better security
Beginning Sept. 15, UAB will have a new password/passphrase policy. Passwords/passphrases will be required to be at least 15 characters, but will expire after one year. The new policy ensures better security for UAB assets. Implementation of the policy will be phased in; as your password expires, you will be required to change it to one with 15 characters. Learn more about the policy change.

New WiFi service to allow BlazerID login at other institutions
UAB IT is partnering with eduroam to provide a free WiFi service that allows UAB users to log in to WiFi at participating universities with their BlazerIDs. Representatives of participating eduroam universities can also log on to WiFi at UAB with credentials from their participating institutions. The service will be rolled out in September. Learn more here.

Office 2016 now available for Mac users
Office 2016 for Mac is available for UAB faculty and staff. Learn more here.
UAB IT is moving at the speed of trust
Dr. Curt Carver, chief information officer and vice president for information technology, shared a new presentation about UAB IT's plans for technology strategy and improvements at recent meetings around campus. View the UAB IT video and strategy presentation here.

Denman Hall outage a reminder to follow UAB IT news
When construction crews accidentally severed fibers serving Denman Hall, UAB IT was able to update users through its Web site and social media accounts. "This is a prime example of why we urge students, faculty and staff to subscribe to social media accounts and RSS news feeds to stay up to date on technology news," said Kerry Bean, UAB IT communications director. Campus users can follow breaking news from UAB IT via the department's RSS news feed and UAB IT Twitter account.

Three processes under review for reThink Project
UAB IT's reThink Project has launched simultaneous requirements gathering sessions for three processes: knowledge management, request management and problem management, and work is also continuing on the design of the new self-service portal for users. The reThink Project is introducing standardized services and management processes to allow UAB IT to better serve its customers. Learn more about the reThink Project.

SharePoint 2013 upgrade schedule coming soon
The Campus SharePoint Users Group held its quarterly meeting on Aug. 17. The UAB IT SharePoint team discussed the new features coming in the SharePoint 2013 upgrade, and a schedule will be announced soon. A quarterly meeting reminder will be sent to all SharePoint site owners for future meetings. All SharePoint users and interested parties are welcome to attend. 
Grant will help establish ScienceDMZ for research network
A new grant awarded to Puri Bangalore, associate professor and incoming interim director of Research Computing, will strengthen the research computing network at UAB and increase its speed — tenfold. Learn more about the ScienceDMZ.

Plans under way for Research Computing Day
UAB IT is planning a Research Computing Day for Sept. 25. The event, which will be held in the Cudworth Hall auditorium, will begin with a general assembly in the morning and continue with a boot camp in the afternoon. More information will be distributed later this month.
Oracle RedFlag alerts available for UAB employee
UAB employees can sign up for Oracle RedFlag notifications that will alert them via text or telephone message when their personal information changes in the Oracle HR and Finance applications. UAB IT has been working with central administration on the project, which launched over the summer for employees who were already signed up for the Identity feature at BlazerID Central. The service works similarly to B-Alert. 

New system moving faculty recruitment online
The Office of the Senior Vice Provost and the Faculty Affairs Committee have partnered with UAB IT to implement a fully-electronic system to host and manage the entire faculty recruitment, search and hiring process. The primary goal of this initiative is to implement a new online Faculty Recruitment System which will move all aspects of the faculty recruitment process online – using PeopleAdmin technology system.  Moving to a new talent management system offers a tremendous opportunity for the Provost Office to implement a fully-electronic system to host and manage the entire faculty recruitment and search process. The implementation phase of the project is progressing nicely and testing is almost wrapped up. After the implementation phase is complete the core team plans to embark on a phased deployment. 
UAB IT launching SPARK campaign for students
UAB IT's SPARK platform, which gives the campus community an opportunity to suggest technology improvements and vote on those ideas, will focus on students' needs this fall. Learn more about SPARK.

New application supports academic withdrawal, appeals
At the request of the Registrar's office, UAB IT has implemented a new application for UAB students to submit academic withdrawals and appeal academic suspensions. The new application, which replaces a paper-driven process, has an extensive workflow for routing and notifications, ensuring review at all administrative areas. The application also allows students to upload supporting documentation.

UAB launches improved online tool for faculty
UAB faculty members have an improved online tool to help them manage their professional information — a place to document grants, publications, professional activities and teaching. The Faculty Profiles system is currently being rolled out across the UAB campus. Learn more about Faculty Profiles.
Protect yourself from email phishing attempts
Phishing attempts continue to hit UAB email addresses, and UAB IT encourages users to be aware of those attempts and take precautions to protect their personal information. Learn more tips here.

Campus IT participation in Cyber Security Initiative strong

Thanks to participation from campus IT groups, the Cyber Security Initiative has accomplished a lot in a short timeframe. After partnering with all campus affiliated IT departments, UAB IT is preparing a final report on UAB assets to the University of Alabama system in September. The next steps in the project are to continue to install SCCM and provide enhanced features to IT partners; develop advisory teams that partner UAB IT with other areas to ensure that the group defines a proactive campus action plan for identifying and reporting sensitive data; mitigate risk of reported inventory; and determine the best asset management solution for moving into the future.
Registration for BlazerID-authenticated systems coming soon
Over the past month, UAB IT has completed a major milestone of the first phase of deploying a new Identity and Access Management system from Oracle. This new IDM system replaces the legacy identity system currently leveraged by BlazerID-enabled resources throughout UAB. UAB IT is registering systems and applications utilizing the centralized BlazerID for authentication. This registry will assist moving applications and systems which need access to centralized authentication and understanding which applications can support CAS- or Shibboleth-based federated authentication. Additionally, the registry will be used to communicate upcoming changes to data which may have an impact to downstream applications or planned maintenance. Technical staff can begin registering systems and application starting in early September. 

Carver to speak at TechTuesday luncheon
Technology employees at UAB are invited to attend the TechTuesday luncheon on Sept. 22 sponsored by TechBirmingham. UAB Chief Information Officer and Vice President for Information Technology Curt Carver will be the guest speaker for the luncheon. Tickets are free for UAB employees. Click here to register.

TechJunction conference coming Oct. 1
UAB information technology professionals are invited to a free one-day technology conference in Birmingham on Oct. 1. Learn more here.

UAB IT encourages upgrades of Adobe Acrobat
Adobe Acrobat Pro X is approaching end of life support. UAB IT strongly encourages users to upgrade to a newer version of Adobe Acrobat. Discounted pricing is available through UAB IT. Learn more here.
OPTIDOC: UAB IT and Financial Affairs are partnering to explore ending the requirement to fax documentation for purchasing.

VOICE OVER IP: The telecommunications department has been upgrading the infrastructure required to upgrade the telephone system to voice over internet protocol (VOIP). 

CLOUD STORAGE: UAB IT, in partnership with central administration, is finalizing a contract with Box to offer secure cloud storage for UAB faculty and staff at no cost to the UAB community. A beta trial will begin in October.

ENCRYPTION: A technology team with representatives from UAB IT and distributed IT is evaluating encryption solutions to replace PGP.
Discounted subscriptions to the survey tool Qualtrics are available through UAB IT.
UAB information technology professionals are invited to attend a free one-day technology conference in Birmingham on Oct. 1.  TECHJUNCTION14 Dark 0 WebBanner2

The conference, TechJunction Alabama 2015, is being sponsored by TechBirmingham and a variety of national sponsors. UAB has joined many of the larger employers in Birmingham in endorsing the event. 

Dr. Curt Carver is a member of their advisory board and will be chairing the CIO panel during one of the sessions. The keynote address will be given by Brunson White, Secretary of Information Technology for the State of Alabama.
The event is free and open to all technology employees at UAB. There is no charge to attend this event, but advance registration is required.  Employees wishing to attend the conference should seek clearance from their supervisors before registering.
BusIntel 1

By Tatiana Kabakova

Back in the 1980s, a new way of doing business evolved as corporations began collecting, combining, and crunching data from sources throughout their enterprise. Their goal was to improve the bottom line by discerning hidden patterns and thereby improving the decision making process. Three decades later, this goal has expanded to include increased student achievement and other data-driven decision making processes.

In the past year, UAB has produced groundbreaking discoveries and innovations, delivering on the promise of “knowledge that will change your world.” The university’s overarching mission pillars embody the commitment to educate, advance research and discovery, care for the sick, respond to the needs of the community and use knowledge to establish Alabama as a progressive economic center that can change the world.

None of this is possible without cutting edge technology and advanced business analysis, which is one of the seven UAB IT strategic imperatives.

 On the student side, UAB IT currently has dashboards available for the following content areas:

  • Enrollment
  • Retention and graduation
  • Credit hour production
  • Admissions funnel
  • Active course registration
  • Graduating student career plan survey results

BusIntel 2

Each of the dashboards has drill-down capabilities that allow users to focus and dissect delivered information specific to their area of interest.

The census enrollment dashboard image shown below provides a good example of UAB diversity trends for the past five years.

Jon Corliss, director of business intelligence in the UAB Office of Institutional Effectiveness, and his team are working tirelessly on supporting institution-wide initiatives concerning faculty and student engagements and student recruitment and retention. 
BusIntel 4

The Office of Associate Vice President for Development and Alumni is another BI (business intelligence) consumer. Cognos allows them to focus on two additional institution-wide initiatives: alumni engagement and campaigning for UAB.

In one month, 73 Cognos users utilized dashboards and reports, delivered by the business intelligence department and the Office of Associate Vice President for Development & Alumni, either to justify decisions or look for business opportunities.

The Director of Human Resources Information Systems, Rahul Thadani, and HR Administrative Systems manager, Jason Womack, reached out to UAB IT recently.  They indicated significant interest in using the Cognos platform for their BI needs.

Soon HR and UAB IT will be able answer questions such as: Which program is successful that prepares diverse students to lead, teach, provide professional services and to become the prominent scholars and societal leaders of the future? Which department is efficiently utilizing resources to stimulate innovation?

The future looks bright when UAB fosters an institutional, data-driven, decision-making culture that allows UAB to make informed and optimal decisions. 

Puri Bangalore

Researchers at UAB need a robust computer network to support their world-class work.

A new grant awarded to Puri Bangalore, associate professor and director of the Collaborative Computing Laboratory, will strengthen that network and increase its speed — tenfold.

Bangalore, who also serves as assistant director of the UAB Center for Information Assurance and Joint Forensics Research, received a $498,443 grant from the National Science Foundation to create a ScienceDMZ, a network to be operated by UAB IT that will allow UAB researchers to more easily and quickly connect with each other and with other institutions.

With UAB researchers working on projects that generate vast amounts of data, they need to be able to upload and download files and images quickly and securely, Bangalore said.

The goal in building the ScienceDMZ is to provide UAB researchers with 10-gigabit connections and key research labs with 40-gigabit connections, allowing researchers to communicate with each other and with researchers at other institutions at far greater speeds.

“Internally we can move faster, plus we can go outside, whether to upload or download data,” Bangalore said. “This promotes collaboration. Instead of waiting for data to transfer, researchers can be working.”

Bangalore said the network is essential to UAB’s success in research.

“If we don’t do this, we’ll be left behind,” Bangalore said. “Networking is the foundation. We now live in a digital world. Everything is digitally driven.”
This grant provides the foundation for UAB to build the 100 Gbps network — giving researchers a network they can depend on as they would electricity or water service at home.
“In an ideal world you would want (researchers) to take this for granted,” he said. “We just expect things to work. But obviously, someone needs to make sure they work.”

Fiber cables serving Denman Hall were accidentally damaged by a construction crew Thursday, affecting service to the UAB network, physical security network and Apogee ResNet at the residence hall.

Telephone service at Denman was not affected.

Construction crews have begun replacing the conduit and fiber cables, with service estimated to be restored by early next week.

We apologize for the interruption of service, which was out of our control.