IT Update for May 2017

May 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.
AskIT: We're there for you

'We're there for you'

AskIT working toward customer service improvements

In just six months, UAB IT has improved its customer service rating from a 0.4 to at least a 2.2, according to HDI, an industry-leading customer service consultant. Since summer 2016, UAB IT has made significant improvements in the AskIT help desk a main priority. New leadership, additional staff, new training, standard knowledge sharing and process improvements have helped AskIT's technicians deliver a better customer experience for faculty, staff and students at UAB. Improvement plans don't stop there. Learn more from the video above or by clicking here.


UAB IT has reduced the monthly cost of digital signage by 33 percent

UAB IT is now dropping the cost of maintenance for digital signage 33 percent, from $45 to $30 a month. There will also no longer be an upfront license fee. These changes are to ensure that UAB IT is doing its part to provide a consistent, cost-effective digital signage solution for campus. Learn more here.

IT SPARK campaign wraps successful run; more campaigns coming
UAB IT's SPARK campaigns have been retired, but new, more targeted campaigns will be coming soon. UAB IT launched a SPARK site to crowdsource ideas to improve technology on campus. "We wanted to make sure your voice was heard and that you helped set our priorities for the future," said Vice President and CIO Dr. Curtis A. Carver Jr. "You responded with 64 ideas, nearly 400 comments and more than 2,500 votes on ideas from email storage size to network speed to desktops." Many of the ideas submitted to the site were incorporated into the IT Strategic Plan, if they were not solved quickly. "UAB IT strives to empower the students, faculty, staff and researchers at UAB to change the world. Thanks to the ideas you have provided, we’re able to see your needs and priorities and align them to the  UAB Strategic Plan," Carver said. A SPARK campaign for UAB app ideas has also just ended but will return in the fall so that UAB IT can co-author new ideas for the UAB app.

Cell phone office moving to TechConnect at Hill Center
UAB IT's office for institutional cell phone service and support is moving to the TechConnect store, located at the Hill Student Center, effective Monday, May 8. The cell phone office has been located in Cudworth Hall. The new location is a better fit with the services already offered at the store, which provides sales and service for personal technology purchases for students, faculty and staff.

UAB IT to host town halls on UAB Dropbox service
UAB IT will host two town halls later this month to discuss the UAB Dropbox service and potential options for similar services, including Box and OneDrive. More details about the online town halls will be announced soon.

Migration of staff, faculty email to the cloud accelerating

UAB IT is migrating UAB employee and faculty email to Office 365, a cloud-based system that offers new tools and continuous upgrades to improve the service and environment. Migrations for all of campus will continue through early summer. Moving email to Office 365 will save UAB about $400,000 per year. Office 365 offers several advantages for users, and because email is in the cloud, it is not dependent on UAB facilities being available when the user is off-campus. Office 365 is also the email system that students use. Learn more here.

New security enhancements coming to UAB email
As part of UAB's ongoing efforts to enhance email security, UAB IT will be implementing several security improvements. These enhancements include additional support for data loss prevention (DLP); enabling email encryption; and improving our protection against phishing campaigns. Additional details will be forthcoming when these services are implemented. Learn more here.

Office 365 email users will see better spam digest
As email migrations to Office 365 continue for campus faculty and staff, UAB IT reminds email users that the spam digest will look different in Office 365. Email notifications for items quarantined by Microsoft Exchange On-line Protection (EOP) will be sent to the individual user and come from Office 365 email users can access their spam digest by logging in here here.

Get a Dell at TechConnect, get $150 back

TechConnect, UAB IT's on-campus technology store, has a new deal on Dell computer purchases: Buy a PC at at least $699, and get a $150 rebate. TechConnect's Laptop Program has new options for your student, with a variety of models to choose from. Learn more here.

UAB IT set to welcome new Blazers during orientation
Along with departments across campus, UAB IT is preparing to help welcome incoming freshmen and non-traditional students during orientation sessions this summer. UAB IT and TechConnect, the on-campus technology store, will take part in the activities fair and for the second year will host a reception for parents. "The services and products offered by UAB IT and Tech Connect in the Hill Student Center are a huge selling point to new students and their families attending Goin’ Green New Student Orientation," said DeeDee Barnes Bruns, executive director for new student programs. "Families see this benefit, students utilize the services and products, and all are reminded and reassured that people at UAB are sincere in their support of students toward success and graduation and their future beyond the time spent on campus."
Take care with WiFi when you are on the go this summer
Going on a trip soon? UAB IT Information Security has some WiFi and device security tips that will ensure you make it to your destination and back with no problems. Take a look at the video above.

Data Protection Rule establishes roles and responsibilities
Protecting UAB data — from personal health and financial information to top-notch research — is one of the most important responsibilities at the University. UAB’s Data Protection Rule establishes roles and responsibilities for those individuals and groups who will safeguard and use UAB data.

TechBridge Digital Dinner raises funds to help alleviate poverty
On March 23, the 2017 TechBridge Digital Dinner was held to raise money in order to use the impact of technology to alleviate poverty in the community. TechBridge seeks to assess the technology needs of nonprofits and provide the appropriate support needed to ensure their success. The organization has agreements with software companies such as Salesforce and Microsoft that allow them to easily provide nonprofits with much needed software. UAB IT is heavily involved with sponsoring the organization and serves on both the advisory board and the marketing subcommittee. TechBridge is a beneficiary of the UAB benevolent fund. Hundreds of technology, business, and nonprofit leaders attended the dinner and raised more than $16,000, exceeding their goal for the evening. UAB IT contributed by sponsoring two tables at the dinner. To date, TechBridge has raised more than $140,000 towards achieving its mission. Support from TechBridge “transforms organizations," said Vice President and CIO Dr. Curt Carver, who is a member of TechBridge's board. TechBridge’s next event will be their summer outing at Regions Field on June 14.

UAB IT to welcome two new employees through Innovate Birmingham
UAB IT is looking forward to hiring two new permanent team members from the Innovate Birmingham program, a unique training program funded by an America's Promise grant. UAB IT has been involved in the program this spring, helping to set up equipment for the cohort of professionals being trained for technology jobs in the region.

UAB to host "Inside UAB" for Alabama CIO Leadership Association
UAB will host members of the Alabama CIO Leadership Association on May 25 for "Inside UAB." The event will focus on UAB's strategic initiatives and engagement with IT and the University's partnership with the City of Birmingham and Innovation Depot to develop IT talent. UAB President Dr. Ray Watts will also speak about developing leaders.

UAB IT supports ggUAB's annual BlazerCon
UAB's Good Games group — known as ggUAB — held is annual BlazerCon last month, with some support from UAB IT — and even some cookies for refreshments. The event included video and card game tournaments, arcade cabinets, movie screenings and more.

New service level agreement implemented for infrastructure
In an effort to provide transparency and measurable results, UAB IT’s Infrastructure & Operations has developed a new Infrastructure service level agreement (SLA) to govern managed server provisioning, maintenance, and support. The new SLA is currently being reviewed by existing clients for feedback and planning sessions and includes topics such as Service Descriptions, Support Procedures, and Standard Maintenance Windows. Learn more here.

ISL PROGRAM: UAB IT's Information Security team will be working closely with designated IT professionals from UAB's academic and business units to better safeguard university data. The new information security liaisons for each unit will begin meeting with UAB IT representatives later this month. ISLs will serve as a primary contact for each department, managing network access authorization, assisting employees with conducting University business in a secure and compliant manner, participating in computer security incident response and other security issues. 

Oracle is in the process of undergoing a backend database upgrade. Once begun, the process will upgrade backend Oracle 11c databases to 12g.

AUTOMATED PATCHING: UAB IT is in the process to standardize customers on new operating system and rolling out monthly automated patching and standard patch windows that align with the new VM Hosting SLA.


UAB IT's Classroom Technology team has created a new Classroom Status page to let faculty know the technology status of the classrooms UAB IT oversees across campus. A color-coded system will let faculty know if there are any technology issues in each classroom. Access the page from the IT faculty page or click here.
Last modified on June 16, 2017