IT Update for July 2016

July 2016
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.

Empowering UAB

IT Strategic Plan co-authored by campus is published

"Our call to action" is how UAB Vice President and CIO Dr. Curt Carver describes UAB's new IT Strategic Plan, published after an extensive process involving input from 14 town halls and eight committees, made up of more than 100 people. That feedback allowed the campus community to co-author the plan that will guide UAB IT's work for the next three years. The goal is a plan of work that allows UAB IT to empower students, faculty and staff and creates value for the university. Read more about the plan here.

Rivers joins UAB IT as chief information security officer
Brian Rivers will join UAB IT on July 11 as assistant vice president and chief information security officer. Rivers has 20 years of experience in information technology in higher education and business industries, most recently as University Information Security Officer at the University of Georgia. Learn more here.

New tool helps keep users' passwords secure
As part of an ongoing effort to help better secure UAB employees’ passwords, faculty, staff, and students now have access to an account in Keeper, a secure and easy-to-use password management system that allows users to have more complex passwords and easily use them in web applications. Learn more here.

Email change will make it easier to search for users
A change in UAB’s global address list for the campus and UAB Medicine email systems will make it easier for users to search for email addresses across UAB. On July 22, the global address list change will modify the search order to Last Name, First Name Middle, Suffix. Learn more here

Give us your input on on software distribution design
UAB IT is committed to making institutional and home-use software more accessible for the UAB community by simplifying the software distribution process and streamlining the approval path for fee-based orders. There will be an opportunity for students, faculty and staff to review and provide feedback on the new software distribution design on  Friday, July 8 from 1:30-2:30pm in the Hill Student Center room 318. Questions can be directed to Shira Fogel at or 996-6274.

Office 365, UABbox login page look is changing
UAB IT is updating its login page for Office 365, OneDrive and UABbox. The limited single sign-on login page for those cloud-based storage systems will change July 8. The change simply reflects an upgrade of the system that underlies the sign-in method. 
TechConnect Notebook program bundles service, support
TechConnect, the tech store powered by UAB IT, has launched a new Notebook program, which allows students to purchase a Dell laptop bundled with on-campus service and support as well as a loaner program. The laptops are available at a variety of price points and with educational discounts from Dell. Learn more here.

Many SPARK ideas now part of IT Strategic Plan
A year after debuting the SPARK site for crowdsourcing ideas, UAB IT has incorporated many of the ideas not already implemented into its strategic plan. In coming weeks, UAB IT will update the campus community on the status of those ideas.

Board of Trustees approves funds to improve network speed
The University of Alabama System Board of Trustees last month granted UAB IT's request to approve $2.5 million in funding to improve network speed on campus. The funding is part of UAB IT's plan to grow the network capacity to 100GB.

UAB research computing cluster largest in state
UAB's research computing cluster is now the largest in Alabama, with a capacity of 110 teraflops and more than 6 petabytes of storage, giving researchers a greater competitive advantage. Funding for the research computing cluster has come from institutional funds, including grants from the university's Mission Support Fund, and an Alabama Innovation Fund grant.
TechConnect offers variety of payment methods
UAB student Madelyn Taylor last month was the first to make an in-store purchase at TechConnect, UAB IT's technology storefront at the Hill Student Center. UAB students and staff can now make purchases in store using credit cards, Blazer Bucks, Apple Pay or Android Pay. Taylor purchased a new laptop as part of TechConnect's new Notebook program. Students and staff can find discounts on hardware, software and accessories through the TechConnect store and web site.

HireABlazer launches for student employment opportunities
UAB's new system for student job and internship opportunities, HireABlazer, launched last month. HireABlazer replaces DragonTrail and allows students to create a visual profile and search for jobs and internships, and companies to post jobs and seek student employees and interns. UAB IT assisted with the implementation of the new system.

Faculty program selects grant winners using SharePoint site
The 2016-2017 winners of the UAB Faculty Development Grant Program were selected in late April using UAB’s newly updated SharePoint site. The FDGP provides money for research, teaching and service related projects and allows faculty to undertake new efforts for which funding is not generally available, and enables faculty to develop, publications, grant applications, future research initiatives, new skills, and overall enhanced effectiveness as faculty. UAB’s SharePoint site, which was upgraded this spring, provided the platform for the application process and even allowed applicants to edit their submitted form until the deadline. The Research Committee of the Faculty Senate then reviewed the applications and scored them in a list form also created in SharePoint, which allowed the committee to easily rate the applications and select top candidates. 
UAB launches Campus Kronos for timekeeping
UAB Human Resources partnered with UAB IT on implementation of the new Campus Kronos system for timekeeping. Kronos is a cloud-based system accessed via web site using single sign-on. Training on the system for nonexempt employees began last month, and employees will begin using the system July 10. For details, including system requirements for Kronos, click here.
TechBridge, UAB IT host successful Screen on the Green 
On Thursday, June 9, TechBridge and UAB hosted “Screen on the Green,” a free outdoor showing of “The Incredibles” on the UAB Campus Green. Families enjoyed dinner from a variety of local food trucks as they set up their lawn chairs and blankets on the Green. Dr. Curt Carver, vice president and CIO, kicked off the event by welcoming the families of the technology community. “[You] are the real Incredibles,” he told the gathering crowd. “Your superpower is that you care. Your mission is simply to change the world.” TechBridge is a nonprofit that drives community impact by bringing affordable business and technology expertise to nonprofits on the frontline of alleviating poverty. Partners for the event included TechBirmingham, Innovation Depot, SIM Alabama, InfraGard, and the Economic Partnership of Alabama.

UAB IT exceeds Benevolent Fund goal
UAB IT was one of 12 units at the university that exceeded its 2016 campaign goal for the Benevolent Fund. Overall, the Benevolent Fund raised more than $2 million this year to support 120 non-profit organizations in the region and also to help employees needing assistance.

Carver co-chairs CIO Executive Summit
Dr. Curt Carver, vice president and CIO, co-chaired the 11th annual Atlanta CIO Executive Summit held on June 2. Carver served as a speaker in an interactive discussion titled “Volume and Variety in Big Data – Asking the Right Questions. The summit, built “by CIOs, for CIOs,” combined exclusive content and networking to benefit attending IT executives.

'Surviving the IT Talent Crisis' publication features Carver
A new report from Harvard Business Review and the Enterprisers Project, a community of CIOs discussing the future of business and IT, focuses on "Surviving the IT Talent Crisis." Vice President and CIO Dr. Curt Carver is among the CIOs quoted in the report, which highlights best practices for dealing with IT talent challenges. 
Security tip: Don't get hooked by phishing scams
Phishing attacks, or attempts to acquire sensitive information such as usernames, passwords, or credit card details, pose a major risk to you and to UAB. These attacks may come in the form of e-mails that seem trustworthy, but may convince you to install malicious software or reveal your personal information under false pretenses. Look for indicators like threats or spelling/grammar errors, and avoid clicking on any links in suspicious e-mails. For more tips on how to protect yourself from phishing, click here.
HDI team analyzing AskIT help desk to help improve service 
UAB IT is engaging a team from the HDI, an association for technical support professionals, to conduct interviews with customers, examine internal processes, and observe the AskIT help desk. The HDI team will measure UAB IT's service desk maturity level and make recommendations to improve service.

End of support deadline approaches for Microsoft products
July 12 marks the next Microsoft End of Support deadline. After this date, the following Microsoft products and Service Packs will no longer be supported: BizTalk Server 2006, BizTalk Server 2006 R2, Commerce Server 2007, Visual Studio Team Foundation Server 2005, SQL Server 2014 RTM, SCCM 2012 R2 RTM, Dynamics CRM 2013 RTM, and Dynamics SL 2011 SP2.

Panel to test registration form for firewall changes
As UAB IT continues its plan to update and modernize its campus edge protections, five departments and schools have been identified as beta testers for a new registration form and process to request external user access. UAB is modifying its border firewall posture later this year to what is known as default-deny, a best practice for enterprise environments. This posture will improve the security of the campus network, information systems and any private or sensitive data stored at UAB. Any server or service which requires external users to access, such as a public web site, will need to be registered. If you are interested in joining the beta testing group for the new registration form, please contact UAB IT Information Security at
ELECTRONIC SIGNATURE: UAB It has commitments from the university and is moving forward with a plan to design a BlazerID-based system for electronic signature. 

OPTIDOC: Plans for replacement of the system are moving forward after overcoming previous roadblocks.
MORE THAN 100 WINS: Over the past year, UAB IT has partnered with constituents across campus to achieve more than 100 wins for the university community. Learn more about those improvements to technology at UAB here.
Last modified on August 02, 2016