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March 2018


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.


A tool to save you time


UAB IT developing AI tool to help answer your questions through Canvas, the app

UAB IT is working to develop chatbots — automated tools that can answer questions — for the UAB mobile app and Canvas. A chatbot will help give you personalized answers to your most frequently asked questions — and get you back to work or school quickly. In the app, it will be able to give you personalized answers. In Canvas, faculty will be able to provide their own questions so that students can "chat" and quickly get automated answers. Click the video above to learn more about the chatbot concept.


Campus


Report a tech or WiFi problem right from the UAB mobile app

Having a tech problem on campus? Now you can report it right from your phone. The UAB mobile app's IT tile is upgraded to give you easy access to report a technology problem or a campus WiFi problem. And if you are reporting a WiFi issue, your phone will be able to pinpoint for our technicians where you are on campus, so we can help more quickly. The IT tile also has easy links to IT news, the TechConnect store, email setup help, security tips, 2-factor authentication information, cloud storage information and quicklinks for technology help. Coming soon to the app, we will have even more updates — including the ability for you to move tiles around and delete those you don't need. Get the app here.

Pilot for business intelligence software Tableau launches

UAB will soon have new ways to visualize data to help make more informed decisions for the university and its students. The University of Alabama Board of Trustees last month approved the purchase of licenses for Tableau, a software that produces interactive data visualization for business intelligence. UAB IT will launch a pilot rollout of the software to those on campus already using the tool. Learn more here.

Grand Challenge can help solve local, statewide, worldwide problems

Imagine an America that has solved the problem of obesity, or an Alabama that achieves health parity in the Black Belt. Those grand ideas are what UAB is hoping to solve with its Grand Challenge, a new program aimed at solving large, complex and multi-faceted problems. “A grand challenge is a big problem that when it is eventually solved — or even partially solved — can have a big impact on society as a whole,” said Dr. Christopher Brown, vice president for Research, who is leading the effort across campus. Grand Challenges can be internal or external — obesity, nuclear war, or even developing equal educational opportunities in Birmingham. To tackle these problem UAB will combine its expertise including research, scholarship, teaching, commercialization, patient care, and community service. The plan is to have UAB students, faculty and staff get involved with this program. The Grand Challenge will accept concept papers from UAB students, faculty or staff beginning in spring 2018. An official announcement will be made in March, which will begin the process. Learn more about the Grand Challenge here.

UAB IT sprints aim to create innovation teams for campus needs

UAB IT is launching a new program to help create innovative solutions for campus needs — such as a new master calendar, a chatbot for faculty questions and cataloging community involvement across UAB. These "sprints" will give cross-discipline teams an opportunity to create a prototype for these solutions. The department has partnered with Innovation Depot to lease space at the startup incubator for teams to meet and solve these challenges. Another of the projects could be coming up with UAB-specific information to feed smart devices such as the Amazon Alexa. "These sprints give our employees an opportunity to be agile and innovative as they develop a rapid prototype to solve problems," said Vice President and CIO Dr. Curtis A. Carver Jr. The intent is to give teams a creative space to find solutions — and to include team members beyond IT professionals.

Message alerts you when email comes from external sender

Phishing emails can often mimic the email addresses of your colleagues — making you think that someone at UAB is sending you a legitimate message. Last month, UAB IT launched a new feature in UAB email that will alert you when you receive an email from outside UAB. If you have questions about the message or believe it was included in error, please contact AskIT at askit.uab.edu. Learn more here.


SERVICE SPOTLIGHT


Go back in time with File Restore for OneDrive

OneDrive is now allowing you to go back in time. Faculty, staff and students using OneDrive at UAB will now be able to recover any file changes on documents stored in the OneDrive cloud to any point in the past 30 days. Files Restore is a complete self-service recovery solution that allows administrators and users to restore files from any point in time during the last 30 days. If you suspect your files have been compromised, you can investigate file changes and go back in time to any second in the last 30 days. Learn more here.


RESEARCH


Research computing web site highlights services, research

UAB IT has launched a new research computing web site that highlights the research accomplished using the university's supercomputer — the fastest in the state — as well as the unique services offered by the UAB IT Research Computing team. View the web site here.


OPERATIONS & ADMINISTRATION


As part of ongoing efforts to improve customer service by UAB IT's Desktop Services unit, the group has reduced its problem resolution time to one day. That means if you submit a ticket for a problem with your computer equipment, it should be fixed in one day. Desktop Services will now be working to achieve same-day resolution of problems, and to reduce the time it takes to replace a desktop. "We want to get our customers back to functionality within two hours when their desktop computer is replaced," said Jamie Witter, associate director of IT Client Services. UAB IT has also added service survey to the closure emails for AskIT and Desktop Services customers who have submitted incident and request tickets in the IT Service Portal. The surveys are part of the overall UAB IT effort to improve customer service. Learn more here.


UDrive files moving to the cloud; clean up your files to prepare


UAB IT is undertaking an initiative to move content stored in UABFile, UAB IT’s on-premise storage solution to the cloud, which will provide greater flexibility and be more cost-effective. Content stored in department share drives on UABFile will move to SharePoint online. UABFile also includes individual user drives (aka Home/UDrives), whose content will be migrated to OneDrive. Both cloud storage solutions can be accessed through the Office 365 dashboard. As part of the project, UAB IT is asking those who use UABFile and home/UDrives to clean up their files and remove unnecessary or Restricted/PHI information. Learn more here.


TEACHING AND LEARNING


Classrooms set for technology upgrade over spring break

Ten UAB classrooms will receive updated technology over spring break this year. The upgrades are part of a plan to upgrade 20 classrooms per year over the next three years. Led by faculty members and the Center for Teaching and Learning, the improvements will give faculty members a more consistent technology experience. Updated technology includes remote management, so problems can be resolved quickly by UAB IT technicians. UAB IT is also working on plans to upgrade technology in more classrooms over the next fiscal year. Click on the video above to learn more about how classrooms are being upgraded.


SECURITY


Using University computers and resources? Use common sense

Faculty, staff and students can follow some common sense guidelines to avoid unacceptable uses of University technology tools. UAB's revised Acceptable Use policy, published in late 2017, gives clear guidance on how faculty, staff and students should use University computers, mobile devices and other technology tools. Learn more here.

Warnings to be sent about emails to UAB with SSNs, credit card numbers

This spring, emails sent to @uab.edu addresses that contain credit card or Social Security numbers will result in a warning about unprotected messages that contain Restricted information. UAB IT is already blocking the sending of emails from @uab.edu addresses if the message appears to contain a Social Security number or credit card number. Sending credit card or Social Security numbers via email can make you or others more vulnerable to identity theft — and is against UAB policy. The change is expected to be rolled out at the end of this month. Learn more here.

It's tax time — beware of scammers out to take advantage

Tax season is the perfect time for scammers to try to take advantage of you, information security professionals with UAB IT warn. According to the IRS, sophisticated phone scams targeting taxpayers, including recent immigrants, have been making the rounds across the United States. Callers claim to be IRS employees, using fake names and bogus IRS identification badge numbers. They may know a lot about their targets, and they usually alter the caller ID to make it look like the IRS is calling. Learn more here.

Help us reduce restricted data: If you don't need it, delete it

Storing confidential information — particularly information classified as restricted — endangers students, faculty and staff. If you have stored Restricted/PHI data, such as SSNs, on your computer, departmental server, UABFile drive or in cloud storage such as OneDrive or Box, you need to review your files and delete or redact any information that is no longer needed, especially as UAB IT begins a campaign to migrate data stored in UABFile to the cloud. You can click here or on our new data reduction page to learn more.


COMMUNITY


UAB IT employees recognized for service that totals nearly 500 years

Last month, UAB IT honored 39 employees whose experience at UAB totals 495 years. The annual Service Awards luncheon recognized employees in disciplines across the department, from desktop technicians to developers. "We want to recognize your contributions," said Vice President and CIO Dr. Curtis A. Carver Jr. "Day after day, you make a difference. You empower others to change the world."

UAB IT kicks off department's Benevolent Fund campaign with auction

UAB IT raised more than $800 at a silent auction last month to help kick off its UAB Benevolent Fund campaign. The auction — which featured donations of everything from a Star Wars USB charger to an Amazon Show — was held to help raise funds for the Benevolent Fund. Thanks to the generosity of employees and participants in the auction, UAB IT is nearing its goal for the campaign, which ends March 15.

Check out the TechBirmingham events scheduled for March

TechBirmingham will have multiple events in March that may be ideal for IT professionals at UAB. On March 6, there will be a volunteer recruitment for IT professionals. This event is for individuals interested in helping to develop high school students interested in being tech professionals. Tech Tuesday is scheduled for March 20. On March 22, there is a Birmingham Women in Technology lunch. This event will focus on women working in cybersecurity. Angela Carlisle, Protective Life’s AVP of Information Security Risk Management, will speak on her experience in the field. Visit the TechBirmingham event page for additional details on these events.

TECH CORNER

Board of Trustees approves new telephone system for UAB

The University of Alabama System Board of Trustees last month approved a new telephone system for UAB. The voice over internet protocol system — known as VOIP — will allow UAB to use the Internet as the transmission medium for telephone calls rather than by traditional circuit transmissions. The project is expected to take at least 18 months to implement across campus.


ON THE HORIZON


New procurement system proposal going before UA Board of Trustees

UAB IT will present a request in April to the University of Alabama System Board of Trustees for a new procurement system. Earlier this year, UAB IT was approved for a new telephone system and Tableau business intelligence software.


Remain a Blazer for Life: Keep your UAB email address


Keeping your UAB email address can help you keep in touch with the contacts you’ve built over your college career — and remind you that once a Blazer, always a Blazer. UAB IT is now offering students and staff the opportunity to keep their @uab.edu email addresses once they leave the University. It’s easy to sign up for the Blazer for Life email — when it’s time for you to graduate or leave your job, you’ll just set up forwarding to a separate email address. Learn more here.

 

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February 2018
 
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.
 

Saving you time 

UAB IT working with strategic partners to automate tasks 

At UAB, your time is valuable, whether you are teaching, advising students, conducting research, or running business or administrative operations. UAB IT is working with its strategic partners to find ways to make some of your tasks more efficient, so you have time to get back to the most important parts of your job. Take a look at the video above to see some of the ways we are automating processes to give you back some more hours in your day.

CAMPUS
New message will alert you when email comes from external sender
Phishing emails can often mimic the email addresses of your colleagues — making you think that someone at UAB is sending you a legitimate message. This month, UAB IT will be launching a new feature in UAB email that will alert you when you receive an email from outside UAB. Learn more here.
 
Remain a Blazer for Life: Keep your UAB email address
Keeping your UAB email address can help you keep in touch with the contacts you’ve built over your college career — and remind you that once a Blazer, always a Blazer. UAB IT is now offering students and staff the opportunity to keep their @uab.edu email addresses once they leave the University. It’s easy to sign up for the Blazer for Life email — when it’s time for you to graduate or leave your job, you’ll just set up forwarding to a separate email address. Learn more here.



UDrive files moving to the cloud; clean up your files to prepare
UAB IT has undertaken an initiative to move content stored in individual on-premise home drives, also known as UDrives, to OneDrive, a cloud storage solution. This is part of a larger project to move content in the on-premise UABFile, which includes department share drives, to the cloud. OneDrive is already available for free to all students, faculty and staff. Moving content to OneDrive will provide greater advantages in file collaboration and accessibility. . Learn more here.
 
Desktop making strides in efforts to improve customer service
UAB IT's Desktop Services is continuing its improvement plan to boost its customer service rating through HDI, a leading customer service consultant. Eyeing a goal of 1 day for its average incident resolution time by spring, Desktop is averaging 1.5 days currently, down from 3.5 days in fiscal year 2017. The rate of incidents resolved remotely has risen to 35 percent, up from 28 percent in fiscal year 2017. Learn more about the customer service improvement plan here.
SERVICE SPOTLIGHT

Qualtrics survey tool now available to all students, faculty and staff
The Qualtrics research suite, an online survey tool, is now available for free to UAB students, faculty and staff. Previously, licenses were limited to schools who had subscribed to it. Qualtrics is an online survey tool that allows you to build complex surveys that fulfill a variety of research needs. The tool can help you build and distribute surveys and analyze responses, all from one convenient online location. Learn more here.
RESEARCH
MATLAB license renewed for campus, includes training courses
UAB has renewed the total academic headcount (TAH) license for MATLAB for 2018, which includes self-paced training courses on the software tool. In addition to the renewal, UAB IT has upgraded the license to include the full suite of MATLAB tools available from the mathworks. Learn more here.

NIH grant recognizes 'excellent' computing facilities at UAB
A UAB researcher's grant application received the highest impact score from the National Institutes of Health because of the clinical and computing resources on campus. Dr. Adrienne Lahti, director of the Division of Behavioral Neurobiology at UAB and a new user to the research computing cluster, submitted a grant to the NIH in 2017 and places in the first percentile. The NIH reviewer commented, “Excellent imaging, clinical and computing facilities in place.” Lahti’s application has secured $4 million — or up to 10 years of income — for her lab as she and her team research schizophrenia using multimodal brain imaging techniques utilizing the supercomputing cluster. Learn more about UAB's supercomputer — the fastest in Alabama — here.
OPERATIONS & ADMINISTRATION

Mac users should update computers with latest operating system
Campus faculty and staff who use Apple computers should update their machines with the latest available operating system to keep their computers secure. UAB IT recommends that all Apple computer users who can update to High Sierra 10.13.3 to improve security and stability. The update is a patch for vulnerabilities caused by Meltdown and Spectre. Patches are also available for systems that cannot upgrade to High Sierra.
 
Help UAB IT improve customer service with new survey
UAB IT will be adding a customer service survey to the closure emails for AskIT and Desktop Services customers who have submitted incident and request tickets in the IT Service Portal. The surveys are part of an overall UAB IT effort to improve customer service. Learn more here.
TEACHING AND LEARNING

VP as professor: Teaching helps connect to faculty and students

When Vice President and Chief Information Officer Dr. Curt Carver hears concerns about technology from faculty members, he understands firsthand. That’s because Carver is a faculty member himself — teaching five courses this semester, including two online information security courses at UAB. “I believe that IT leadership should consume our own technology,” Carver said. Learn more here.
SECURITY
 
More than 1,700 sign up for no password expiration
More than 1,700 students, faculty and staff members have signed up for Duo Security, a 2-factor authentication tool that provides better security and eliminates password expiration for their BlazerID passwords (unless their accounts are compromised). Learn more here.

No exam worries: Duo will no longer be tied to Canvas authentication
Beginning Friday, Feb. 2, UAB IT will remove Duo authentication from Canvas in response to students and faculty concerns about not having access to mobile devices when logging into Canvas for exams. If you are interested in signing up for Duo 2-factor authentication you can do so without having to worry about not having access to take exams.  Two-factor authentication is one of the most valuable tools to lower the risk of theft of your credentials and information AND an added benefit is that your BlazerID password doesn’t expire.

Warnings to be sent about emails to UAB with SSNs, credit card numbers
This spring, emails sent to @uab.edu addresses that contain credit card or Social Security numbers will result in a warning about unprotected messages that contain Restricted information. UAB IT is already blocking the sending of emails from @uab.edu addresses if the message appears to contain a Social Security number or credit card number. Sending credit card or Social Security numbers via email can make you or others more vulnerable to identity theft — and is against UAB policy. The change will be rolled out in March. Learn more here.

Help us reduce restricted data: If you don't need it, delete it
Storing confidential information — particularly information classified as restricted — endangers students, faculty and staff. If you have stored Restricted/PHI data, such as SSNs, on your computer, departmental server, UABFile drive or in cloud storage such as OneDrive or Box, you need to review your files and delete or redact any information that is no longer needed, especially as UAB IT begins a campaign to migrate data stored in UABFile to the cloud. The video above has more tips on reducing data, and you can click here or on our new data reduction page to learn more. 
COMMUNITY
TechBirmingham events include luncheon, conference this month
TechBirmingham has a number of events in February that may be of interest to IT professionals at UAB. On Feb. 20, TechTuesday will feature Eric Martin Scott discussing intellectual property rights for programmers and developers. On Feb. 22, new members and those interested in joining can learn more about TechBirmingham. And on Feb. 28, there is a Momentum Leadership Conference with special pricing for TechBirmingham members. Visit the TechBirmingham events page to learn more about these events.
TECH CORNER
 

'I believe this is gonna be our finest hour'
Need a go-to catch phrase? The video above offers five movie lines every IT professional should know — in case you need a little diversion today.

UAB IT begins process for upgrading Active Directory environment
In January, UAB IT began the upgrade for the current Active Directory environment from 2008 R2 to 2016. This upgrade will ensure the maintainability of the directory services infrastructure. This process will begin with the schema extension, then UAB IT will replace each current domain controller with a new 2016 domain controller. Once all domain controllers are replaced, the functional level will be increased. 

ON THE HORIZON

App upgrade coming: Move tiles, report technology and WiFi problems
The UAB mobile app is getting another upgrade that adds better functionality and new features to help you get what you need on campus. Among the changes are the ability to hide and rearrange tiles, so you can pick the tiles you need to see most by moving them around or hiding them altogether. as well as a revamped IT tile that will let you report technology problems and report WiFi problems right from your phone. And when you report a WiFi program, your phone will pinpoint for our technicians just where the WiFi outage or issue is.

New phone system, Tableau proposals going before UA Board of Trustees
At this month's University of Alabama Board of Trustees meeting, UAB IT leadership will present proposals regarding a new telephone system — voice over IP telephone — and Tableau business intelligence software. If approved, the new telephone system would likely take about 18 months to implement on campus. 

DID YOU KNOW?
Student Improvements Strategic Roadmap
 
Tech upgrades improve students' lives from freshman year beyond graduation: With its strategic partners, UAB IT has helped make technology changes to improve students' lives from the moment they step on campus and beyond — with streamlined scheduling tools, improved WiFi and more. Learn more from the video above.
 
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Emails containing credit card or Social Security numbers sent from external parties to @uab.edu addresses will soon result in a warning about unprotected messages that contain Restricted information.

Users who receive such warnings must notify the external party that the sending of Restricted information to UAB employees or students is prohibited. If such emails are part of a current business process, that process should be re-engineered to eliminate the use of Social Security numbers or credit card information.

UAB IT is already blocking the sending of emails from @uab.edu addresses if the message appears to contain a Social Security number or credit card number. Sending credit card or Social Security numbers via email can make you or others more vulnerable to identity theft — and is against UAB policy.

Social Security numbers and credit card numbers are classified as Restricted/PHI under the Data Classification Rule.
UAB IT has undertaken an initiative to move content stored in individual on-premise home drives, also known as UDrives, to OneDrive, a cloud storage solution.

This is part of a larger project to move content in the on-premise UABFile, which includes department share drives, to the cloud.

OneDrive is already available for free to all students, faculty and staff. Moving content to OneDrive will provide greater advantages in file collaboration and accessibility.

Individuals who have a Home/UDrive can choose to migrate the content in their UDrive to OneDrive themselves, or UAB IT can move it for them. If you have a UDrive or Home Drive and would like to migrate your own content, please see the instructions here.

Before moving your content from UABFile to OneDrive, you should eliminate unneeded files and data that is classified as Restricted/PHI from your UABFile storage. Please refer to the Data Classification Rule to see what is classified as Restricted/PHI data, the Data Protection Rule for guidance on storing and sharing Restricted/PHI data, and the Data Reduction web site for guidance on finding and removing Restricted/PHI data.

UAB IT will be migrating the content in department share folders, in coordination with department representatives. If you have access to one or more department shares, you will be notified before the content is moved.
Two is Better Ice Cream eReporter
How would you feel about never having to change your BlazerID password again while making your account more secure?

All you have to do is make a New Year’s resolution to sign up for a Duo Security 2-factor authentication account. Using Duo is simple — you sign in to your account, then click a button on your mobile device to finish logging in to UAB systems. Duo can even remember computers you trust so you only have to log in with Duo once a month on trusted computers.

Duo is available for use with your BlazerID for all UAB students, faculty and staff. UAB Medicine employees will continue to use RSA 2-factor authentication for healthcare software that requires it, but can sign up for a Duo account for applications that use BlazerID.

Why is UAB using 2-factor authentication? 

Two-factor authentication is one of the most valuable tools to lower the risk of theft of your credentials and information. Two-factor authentication refers to a factor you know — your password — and a factor you have — your mobile device.

If a scammer steals those credentials, whether through a successful phishing attack or a password-reuse issue, he or she can impersonate you and access any accounts to which you have access. That can open the door to serious issues, such as changing your direct deposit settings to someone else’s bank account or corrupting your research data. Using 2-factor raises the bar required to successfully pull off such attacks. 

How do I sign up for Duo? 

Head to uab.edu/2factor to learn more about the Duo Security tool and sign up for an account. Once you sign up for Duo, you can’t leave the system — but we won’t make you change your password again unless your account is compromised.

The 2-factor site will walk you through what 2-factor authentication is, why we are using it and how to use it for every device. Our quick-start guide will take you step-by-step through enrolling your devices.
 
December 2017
 
A monthly report to UAB leadership and the IT community about technology projects
designed to enhance the work and lives of UAB staff, faculty and students.
UAB IT 100 Wins
 

Empowering UAB 

IT Annual Report reviews year of progress, expansion, change

The fastest supercomputer in Alabama. The first university to introduce a 100Gbps network. Customer service that has improved five-fold. The IT Annual Report is a snapshot of our progress toward fulfilling the programs and initiatives under each of UAB's seven IT imperatives, but we are constantly on an upward trajectory. In our relentless pursuit of excellence, we will never stop trying to improve the work experiences of our customers. Learn more here.

CAMPUS
Emails with SSNs, credit card numbers will be blocked
Sending credit card or Social Security numbers via email can make you or others more vulnerable to identity theft — and is against UAB policy. Beginning Dec. 1, UAB IT will begin blocking the sending of emails from @uab.edu addresses if the email appears to contain a Social Security number or credit card number. The sender will receive an email from UAB IT’s information security team if the email is blocked. Learn more here.
 
New Data Access Policy, revised Acceptable Use Policy implemented
A new Data Access Policy and revised Acceptable Use of Computer and Network Resources Policy go into effect Dec. 1. “These policies provide UAB students, faculty and staff with clear guidance for use of computing resources and with formalized protection of sensitive and restricted information,” said Brian Rivers, UAB’s chief information security officer. Learn more here.

Help UAB IT improve customer service with new survey
UAB IT will be adding a customer service survey to the closure emails for AskIT and Desktop Services customers who have submitted incident and request tickets in the IT Service Portal. The surveys are part of an overall UAB IT effort to improve customer service. Learn more here.

Reminder: PGP encryption going end of life on Dec. 29
When you log in to your computer, do you see a gray Symantec login page? If so, you will soon need to have PGP removed from your computer. The Symantec PGP encryption software is going end of life on Dec. 29, 2017 — which means it will no longer be supported. Learn more here.

Phase 2 for new IT building approved by UA System Trustees
The University of Alabama System Board of Trustees last month approved phase II for a new information technology building on the UAB campus. The building, to be located at the corner of 9th Avenue South and 17th Street South, would house a new Data Center and office space for UAB IT.
RESEARCH

Research computing team attends global supercomputer event

UAB's Research Computing team attended SC17, the premier international supercomputing event, to learn how the latest advances in computing, storage and network technologies supporting global scientific initiatives can be applied to UAB research efforts and in support of Cheaha, UAB's high-performance computing cluster. They learned about trends in HPC data center design and cooling technologies from vendors on the show floor and at dedicated tutorial sessions and met with academic peers from Stanford, Indiana University, Monash University, UTC, Eglin AFB, and Sandia National Laboratories to learn about how they are bringing high performance computing, cloud and integrated research services to their communities. Learn more here.
SERVICE SPOTLIGHT
OneNote Class Notebook allows easy classroom collaboration
For faculty looking for an easy way to collaborate with students, the Office 365 OneNote Class Notebook is a great way for teachers and students to access shared classroom content. All students, faculty and staff are eligible for OneDrive. OneDrive allows faculty and staff to easily share folders and documents with their students using a simple web interface. Microsoft OneDrive provides online storage for all file types that can be easily accessed from the internet, mobile devices, or within Microsoft Office products. It is part of the Office 365 suite of applications. 
OPERATIONS & ADMINISTRATION

Holiday deals — and Santa — at TechConnect for all staff, students

The holiday season has hit TechConnect, UAB's on-campus and online tech store. For UAB students, faculty and staff, TechConnect will be 20 percent off Skullcandy accessories. And on Tuesday, Dec. 12, Santa Claus will be on hand for photos with students, staff and their families. TechConnect, located online and at the Hill Student Center, offers educational pricing on computers, tablets and accessories, as well as service for your devices. 

UAB IT recommends upgrading Adobe Acrobat, Reader XI
For your security and convenience, UAB IT recommends that anyone using Adobe Acrobat XI and Adobe Reader XI update their software, as Adobe’s support for the products ended Oct. 15, 2017. End of support means that Adobe no longer provides technical support, including product and/or security updates, for those software products. Learn more here.
TEACHING AND LEARNING
 
Three new classrooms upgraded at Heritage Hall
Professors who use three rooms in Heritage Hall returned from the Thanksgiving break to find updated technology in their classrooms. The upgrades are part of a plan to upgrade 20 classrooms per year over the next three years. Led by faculty members and the Center for Teaching and Learning, the improvements will give faculty members a more consistent technology experience. Learn more here.

Canvas alerts from faculty expanded to student performance
Faculty members now have access to expanded automated alerts in Canvas, giving them the ability to communicate quickly with students based on assignment and quiz grades. Working with the Center for Teaching and Learning and eLearning and Professional Studies, UAB IT expanded the Canvas alerts to allow faculty to be able to select individual assignments and enable automated e-mail messages based on the score range achieved on that assignment.
SECURITY
Data Reduction: If you don't need it, delete it
 
Help us reduce unnecessary data: If you don't need it, delete it
Storing confidential information — particularly information classified as restricted — endangers students, faculty and staff. UAB IT needs the help of everyone on campus to reduce the amount of data, such as Social Security numbers or personal health information, that is stored on local computers or servers. Remember this rule: If you don't need it, delete it. And if you do need it, store restricted and sensitive information according to the Data Classification and Data Protection rules. The video above has more tips on reducing data, and you can click on our new data reduction page to learn more. 

Reminder: UAB IT has a new security awareness site
UAB IT's new information security awareness page gives you practical tips, guidance on UAB policies and even a security awareness toolkit so you can help spread the word. 
COMMUNITY

UAB Toy Drive under way; help us collect gifts for children in need
For the 24th year, UAB students and employees will be coming together to make the holidays brighter for area children in need. UAB IT kicked off UAB’s 23rd annual Toy Drive on Nov. 8, and new, unwrapped toys can be brought to boxes across campus until Monday, Dec. 11. On that day, Santa and his elf will greet visitors to the Administration Building as toys are collected across campus and then picked up for the Birmingham area Toys for Tots drive. Learn more here.
TECH CORNER

Duo users will log in using 2-factor authentication to most systems
Beginning Jan. 8, 2018, Duo account holders will be required to use Duo 2-factor authentication to log into most UAB systems that use single sign-on, or the Central Authentication System, for login. Duo users' BlazerID passwords will no longer expire and they won’t have to change their passwords unless the account is compromised. Two-factor authentication is one of the most valuable tools to mitigate the theft of credentials and information. If a malicious actor steals your credentials, whether through a successful phishing attack or a password-reuse issue, he or she can impersonate you and access any accounts to which you have access. Learn more at uab.edu/2factor.

ON THE HORIZON

New email security enhancements coming this winter
Security enhancements for UAB email are coming this winter, with new features designed to protect students, faculty and staff from security risks. Among the changes on tap: email encryption, which will allow email account holders to automatically encrypt email messages they send; and notices when emails are received from external senders. 

DID YOU KNOW?
 
Cloud storage options have many advantages: Cloud storage through UAB Box and OneDrive offers a lot of advantages: collaboration and concurrent editing; large storage size; convenience; and accessibility. And the best part? It's free. Students, faculty and staff can use OneDrive, and faculty and staff can use UAB Box. Learn more from the video above or by clicking here.
 
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November 2017
 
A monthly report to UAB leadership and the IT community about technology projects
designed to enhance the work and lives of UAB staff, faculty and students.
UAB announces an expansion, giving it the fastest supercomputer in Alabama by far
 

Blazing fast

Expansion makes UAB's Cheaha supercomputer the fastest in Alabama

Frank Skidmore, M.D., relies on the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s high-performance supercomputer to help process the brain images he studies to research diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. The latest expansion of the UAB supercomputer — named Cheaha after Alabama’s highest peak — increases the computer’s power fourfold and will reduce the amount of time it takes to process one brain image to less than two hours, an improvement that can lead to advanced diagnosis and treatment, Skidmore says. Learn more here.

CAMPUS
 

UAB IT reaching out for feedback from Desktop Services customers

As UAB IT's Desktop Services works to improve its customer service rating, Vice President and CIO Curtis A. Carver Jr., Ph.D., will be reaching out in coming weeks to Desktop customers to seek feedback on the service they receive. Desktop Services is working closely with HDI, an industry-leading customer service consultant who has evaluated the unit's service and will give UAB IT a plan for improving customer engagement. HDI recently worked with the AskIT Help Desk, which improved its rating dramatically — to a 2.6 — in less than six months. Learn more here.

UAB IT recommendation: Upgrade Adobe Acrobat XI
For your security and convenience, UAB IT recommends that anyone using Adobe Acrobat XI and Adobe Reader XI update their software, as Adobe’s support for the products ended Oct. 15, 2017. End of support means that Adobe no longer provides technical support, including product and/or security updates, for those software products. Learn more here.

PGP encryption going end of life on Dec. 29
When you log in to your computer, do you see a gray Symantec login page? If so, you will soon need to have PGP removed from your computer. The Symantec PGP encryption software is going end of life on Dec. 29, 2017 — which means it will no longer be supported. Learn more here.
RESEARCH
 
Research computing vision: Even faster speeds, larger support team
After two years of successful expansion of the Cheaha supercomputer, UAB is not resting in the quest to continue building a faster high-performance computer to power groundbreaking research. Future plans include growing the team of IT experts who assist research; introducing stronger governance to prioritize needs; and adding even more speed and capacity to Cheaha. Vice President and CIO Curtis A. Carver Jr., Ph.D., spoke to researchers last month at the annual UAB Research Computing Day to share the vision for the future. Learn more from the video above or click here for more information.
SERVICE SPOTLIGHT
 
Cloud storage at UAB offers collaboration, accessibility
Cloud storage through UAB Box and OneDrive offers a lot of advantages: collaboration and concurrent editing; large storage size; convenience; and accessibility. And the best part? It's free. Students, faculty and staff can use OneDrive, and faculty and staff can use UAB Box. Learn more from the video above or by clicking here.
 


Office 365 email has default online archive size of 50GB

Did you know that email within Office 365 comes with a default Online Archive size of 50GB? Once that is reached, a user can request it to be increased to unlimited storage. This change will utilize Microsoft’s auto-expanding archive feature. Please note that once the feature is enabled, messages may be moved automatically to the expanded archive storage. Learn more in this knowledge article.
OPERATIONS & ADMINISTRATION

UAB staff: Get a deal on a laptop at TechConnect

Looking for a good deal as the holidays approach? For UAB faculty and staff, TechConnect will be offering $100 off any laptop beginning Nov. 4 — just in time for early-bird holiday shopping. TechConnect, located online and at the Hill Student Center, offers educational pricing on computers, tablets and accessories, as well as service for your devices. 

Revamped, more friendly IT contracts web page launches
UAB IT has introduced a streamlined IT-related contracts web page, with step-by-step instructions for internal UAB IT contracts and tips for submitting a successful IT-related contract. UAB IT is responsible for reviewing any University contract that includes an IT or IT-related component prior to such contract being executed. Learn more here.
TEACHING AND LEARNING

Scholars@UAB launches as public-facing site for faculty
The former Faculty Profiles site got a new name during a soft launch Oct. 2 as Scholars@UAB. This UAB-branded website will pull from Profiles — an internal system —  and provide a public-facing site that can be linked to websites and professional communications to promote collaboration with colleagues beyond the campus. Learn more here.
SECURITY
Data Reduction: If you don't need it, delete it
 
Help us reduce unnecessary data: If you don't need it, delete it
Storing confidential information — particularly information classified as restricted — endangers students, faculty and staff. UAB IT needs the help of everyone on campus to reduce the amount of data, such as Social Security numbers or personal health information, that is stored on local computers or servers. Remember this rule: If you don't need it, delete it. And if you do need it, store restricted and sensitive information according to the Data Classification and Data Protection rules. The video above has more tips on reducing data, and you can click on our new data reduction page to learn more. 

Emails with SSNs, credit card numbers to be blocked starting Dec. 1
Sending credit card or Social Security numbers via email can make you or others more vulnerable to identity theft — and is against UAB policy. Beginning Dec. 1, UAB IT will begin blocking the sending of emails from @uab.edu addresses if the email appears to contain a Social Security number or credit card number. The sender will receive an email from UAB IT’s information security team if the email is blocked. Learn more here.

Free Laptop Checkup sees successful second year
UAB IT's second annual free Laptop Checkup for students kicked off in a sweet way last month — with a free ice cream social at the Hill Student Center. More than 80 students took part in the Laptop Checkup this year, getting their computers checked out by UAB IT staff for viruses and other problems. As one student said of the Laptop Checkup: "This was absolutely perfect and lifesaving. These people went above and beyond to ensure my MacBook was good to go." Both events were part of UAB IT's celebration of Cyber Security Awareness Month.

Reminder: UAB IT has a new security awareness site
UAB IT's new information security awareness page gives you practical tips, guidance on UAB policies and even a security awareness toolkit so you can help spread the word. 

Protect your devices from KRACK WiFi security flaw
Devices that use WiFi are vulnerable to a recently discovered and serious flaw, dubbed KRACK, in a commonly used wireless security protocol, WPA2. Click here for tips on how to protect your devices.

Report a phishing email, get a chance to win some fish
If you missed the candy Swedish fish tossed from UAB IT's homecoming parade vehicles this year, you have a chance to win some in coming weeks. From those students, faculty and staff who submit a phishing email via PhishMe Reporter, UAB IT will be choosing random names for some special deliveries. Be on the lookout on our Facebook and Twitter pages for more.
COMMUNITY

UAB IT employees help build annual Habitat for Humanity house

Members of the UAB IT team took part for the third year in a row in the annual Habitat for Humanity build sponsored by the UAB Benevolent Fund. Click here for more photos. If you are interested in volunteering to help with this year's build, visit the UAB Benevolent Fund web page.



Homecoming: Crash and Reboot gurney race, Swedish 'phish'
Homecoming 2017 was filled with fun for UAB IT, whose Crash and Reboot team took part in the Gurney Race for the first time. UAB IT also had its dragon-decorated Desktop vehicles in the parade again this year — with some fun treats tossed to parade watchers, including Swedish fish with instructions for faculty, staff and students to report phishing emails.



Carver recognized as Birmingham 'Veteran of Influence'
Vice President and CIO Curtis A. Carver Jr., Ph.D., a U.S. Army veteran, was recognized last month by the Bimingham Business Journal as a "Veteran of Influence." The annual awards were created to honor military veterans or active members of the Armed Forces who have made an impact on the Birmingham business world. “Today’s honorees have made our state a great place to live, work and play," speaker Leroy Hurt said of the veterans at a breakfast in their honor.
TECH CORNER

Security liaisons hear updates on UAB IT security projects 
UAB's Information Security Liaisons learned about upcoming security projects in UAB IT at their recent meeting last month. Among the topics discussed were policy and rule updates; email data loss prevention; Duo 2-factor authentication; sharing data on UAB Box; security awareness training; and the new exception request form, which is now located in the IT Service Portal.

Column from Carver highlights crowdsourcing benefits
The Enterprisers Project published a new column by Vice President and CIO Curtis A. Carver Jr., Ph.D., on crowdsourcing to develop an IT strategic plan. The article gives advice using the approach UAB IT took to its strategic planning, using the SPARK crowdsourcing site to develop ideas from the campus community. Read the article here.

ON THE HORIZON

UAB extending 100G network to Birmingham's Innovation Depot
UAB is expanding its 100Gbps network to Innovation Depot, a move that will provide greater opportunity for entrepreneurs as they seek to start a new business at the technology incubator site. The expansion is part of a plan to think holistically about UAB graduates' access to resources after they leave campus — with access to storage and email as well as access to the high-speed network and high-performance computing, said Vice President and CIO Curtis A. Caver Jr., Ph.D. 

Enhancements for UAB app coming soon
New features in the UAB mobile app, including a quick way to report problems with WiFi and enhancements to the student section, will be coming soon. Download the UAB app in the app store for iOS and Android. Learn more here.

DID YOU KNOW?

New digital signage web site:
UAB IT offers an inclusive digital signage solution to campus departments and schools. Digital signage offers dynamic, vibrant messaging with easily adaptable, branded content. With proper hardware, signs can even be interactive. UAB IT has a new digital signage web page with details on how it works and how to order. And by the way, UAB IT lowered the cost of digital signage earlier this year.
 
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For your security and convenience, UAB IT recommends that anyone using Adobe Acrobat XI and Adobe Reader XI update their software, as Adobe’s support for the products ended Oct. 15, 2017.

End of support means that Adobe no longer provides technical support, including product and/or security updates, for those software products.

You can order Adobe products in the IT Service Portal here.

If you are not familiar with using Microsoft OneDrive, refer to the tutorials.

  1. Log in to OneDrive at http://office365.ad.uab.edu/ using SSO, and click the OneDrive Icon.
    Dropbox1
  2. Navigate to the file you wish to share in your folders. If the file is not in your OneDrive folder, drag and drop it onto the OneDrive window in your browser.
  3. Select the file to share by clicking in the left column.
  4. Click “Share” in the top ribbon.
  5. If the file is to be shared with someone outside UAB, click “Only people in UAB – The University of Alabama at Birmingham with this link can edit this item."
  6. In the “Who can access this link” dropdown, select “Only people in the To: line” and click “OK”
  7. Type the email address of the desired recipient, and a message if desired, then click “Share”
    The recipient will receive an email like the one below:

When the recipient clicks the link in the email, “File to share.docx” in this case, they will be prompted to login to office 365. If they do not have an Office 365 account, they will need to create one by following the on screen instructions. Once logged in, they will see and be able to download the file you shared with them.

If you are not familiar with using Box, refer to the tutorials.

  1. Log in to box at uab.box.com using your BlazerID and password.
  2. Navigate to the file you wish to share in your box folders. If the file is not in your Box folders, drag and drop it onto the Box window in your browser.
    Box1
  3. Click on “Share” to the right of the file name.
  4. Click on the “People in this folder” text and select either:
    • “People in your company” if you want someone else with a BlazerID to be able to retrieve it.
    • “People with the link” if you want to make it available to someone or some group of people outside UAB.
  5. Enter the email addresses of the people you want to be able to see the file in the space provided. Follow each email address with a space or ENTER.
  6. Enter a custom message in the space provided, or leave the default.
  7. Click “Send.”
    An email will be sent to the address(es) you entered similar to this one:

The recipient clicks on the “View File” button in the email to see or download the file.