IT + Innovation News & Updates
May 2013 Update - No.2
Tech Vocabulary of the DayTerabyte: A terabyte (TB) is a measure of computer storage capacity that is 2 to the 40th power or approximately a trillion bytes ( a thousand gigabytes). The prefix tera is derived from the Greek word for monster. A 1 TB drive can hold enough words that it would take every adult in America speaking at the same time five minutes to say them all.
Summer project: G H, and X Drive Clean Up and MigrationThe time has come to migrate these drives to our new servers. We need your help! It's probably not at all surprising that these have an OVERWHELMING amount of data ( the G drive alone is 3.5 TB, that’s terabytes) from 15 years of archiving information. I know folks are busy and I've also heard time and again that we need to clean up the drives (especially that one drive everyone loves to hate.)
We ask/implore/plead for you to please take some time, 10-15 minutes here and there, and organize files and delete those that are no longer relevant. If everyone commits some time, the migration period will be much shorter and we anticipate there will be a noticeable improvement when we reduce the size and bring the data over to the new server. So we can make this happen, we are aiming for June 5 as a date to have all clean up completed.
Pro-User Tips1) Secure your mobile device (phone, tablet, ipad, laptop). It may seem like the recommendations below are annoying extra steps, but simple measures add a layer of "deterrent level" security so your sensitive information cannot be easily accessed by someone else.
Activate the passcode setting. This is usually 4-6 characters long and when you start up your device or "wake" it up, the passcode panel is displayed.
Make it a habit to completely log out of applications each and every use. As an example, you may find an online banking application to be a very convenient tool for your device. If you keep the user name/ID and passcode in the application, your banking access is wide open.
Back up your device and set up tools to remotely manage the device if it should be lost or stolen. When you sync and save data regularly, if your device is lost or stolen, you will, still be able to access data.There are also tools that can assist with remote wiping, even geolocation of your device. If you want recommendations, we are happy to assist!
2) Change passwords regularly and increase complexity of your password. Security experts recommend a password at least 6 characters in length with a combination of letters, numbers and symbols. Length+Complexity=security.
3) At a minimum, reboot (shut down/restart) computers a couple of times a week. Even better, shut down your computer when you leave the office for an extended period of time. This allows for software to refresh (especially when we deploy updates or security patches,) it can help increase performance of your computer, and it saves energy.
LMS subcommittee and Faculty CohortMany of you are aware that we are in the middle of several vendor presentations for a new Learning Management System to replace Angel. I want to commend the faculty and staff who have committed to this endeavor. The preliminary screening process and the detailed analysis that will soon follow takes time, mental fortitude and commitment. I am grateful for their investment in online teaching and learning. If you would like to know more, please visit: ucclmsalliance.weebly.com
Quick NotesThe new version of Kaspersky, our anti-virus software, is coming to your desktop soon. The software runs a complete initial scan of each machine, which may slow things down a bit depending on how much data it needs to scan. When you see Kaspersky running, we do advise leaving the computer on overnight so the scans can keep running when you are not utilizing the machine.
Lastly, please remember that if we don't know about an issue, we can't work to resolve it. We need our campus colleagues to let us know when something isn't working. Contact the helpdesk by phone, email or log on and write up a ticket yourself! More information here: www.umpqua.edu/helpdesk
Thanks for your continued support. Please don't hesitate to call, email, or stop by if you have questions, concerns or good comments to share.
May 2013 Update - No. 1
Expired UCC Alert messageSince we have deployed a new software to the campus environment for emergency desktop alert messaging, you may receive a pop-up about an expired "UCC Alert" license. We were able to remotely remove this from a majority of machines and add the new software to computers in our environment. However, if you receive the message, please know it can expire without any consequence.
Outlook securityWe have restarted the Outlook server. Some users may receive a pop-up message to enter username and password. While it is a legitimate message, the pop-up will continue to show even if you input your information. A simple shutdown/restart your machine will resolve this if you are experiencing this issue.
Accessing your gmail accountAll employees (and students) have a google mail account in addition to their Outlook email account. While this is not new information for everyone, it is a reminder that it is out there. This account is created when a user of any type is loaded into Banner. For faculty (and some staff) if students send an email to you within Banner via the envelope icon, then this is where the message will go unless you have forwarded it to your Outlook email. To access your gmail account and/or forward messages, follow the directions here in the Faculty & Staff section of our IT+I Resources page: http://www.umpqua.edu/it-innovation-resources
Battery back upsFor quite some time, as the battery backups for your desktop computers fail (when the beeping starts) we have replaced the units located under desks with surge protector strips. This is a standard practice in IT environments. If you experience a battery back up issue, please alert the helpdesk so we can substitute these older units with a surge protector.
January 2013 Update
HelpDesk ProcessDid you know that the helpdesk receives on average, around 175 phone calls and approximately 250-275 user requests ticketing system each week? Once a ticket is created from a phone or email request, it is assigned to the appropriate staff member or specific area in IT+I or Facilities. IT staff log into the helpdesk application and review tickets in order to prioritize work and respond accordingly. In some instances, through our helpdesk software, a technician, with your permission and while you are on the phone, can remotely access your computer while you are present in order to troubleshoot and resolve common issues. It is a safe tool to provide more immediate support to employees. Helpdesk is our tool to track user issues, share documentation and gather data on problems and issues in our technology environment. Please continue to assist us with serving faculty, staff and students by submitting a ticket, make a call, or email a request when a technology issue emerges.
Java VulnerabililtyYou may be aware of news stories about a vulnerability with a software tool called Java. It appears this is related to the most recent version. You can rest assured that the version we utilize in our technology environment (it is necessary for Banner) is a version that is not vulnerable to exploitation and we have disabled automatic updates for Java within our system. Of course, please contact the helpdesk if you have questions or concerns.
Infrastructure UpdateWe are in the finetuning stage of transitioning to our new storage and server system, including a co-location site for disaster recovery/back up. One of the components of the migration is to upgrade the Exchange server which is where our email resides. Kathy, our Network Administrator, is working with small groups of staff around campus to move to the new server so the disruption will be minimal, if any. Please note that this does not change the email application on your desktop machine but the online interface is much improved.
Current Lab ListAttached please find a comprehensive list of the computer and classroom labs on campus and the software that is loaded for each space. Mark Worthington, our Windows System Administrator, has created a solid documentation for our labs so we can be strategic in how we refresh the labs and move to virtualizing some of these spaces. If you would like to learn more about virtualization, here is a good easy read on the subject: http://tinyurl.com/avupsf8.
December 2012 Update
InfrastructureWhile the bulk of the data migration to our new data center is complete, we have some remaining servers to migrate, primarily Angel (our learning management system for online and hybrid courses) and the Exchange (email) server. We are working on the migration plan so that downtime for Angel is kept to a minimum and is accomplished when it will least impact students and faculty. We will communicate in advance via email and within the Angel LMS so those individuals directly impacted can plan accordingly. For the migration and upgrade of our email server, we will work systematically through departments and work group areas to be sure users are well supported and can access to their email. Stay tuned for further communication on this effort.
Computer Refresh CycleOne of the goals this year is to better manage the computer refresh cycle for faculty and staff desktop computers. The computer technicians have been tracking model numbers (which helps us determine deployment year) and we have already begun to refresh the oldest models in our environment. As a computer comes due for refresh, a helpdesk ticket is created with information and instructions for the user. We need your assistance to make the transition to an upgrade as smooth a possible: by reviewing the ticket information and preparing for an upgraded computer, we are able to work efficiently through the transfer of data and that ultimately means less disruption and greater efficiency.
3 Best Practices for PasswordsTo maintain your privacy and protect your data, please
1) never share your password with others
2) change your password often, and
3) choose passwords that use numbers and capital and/or lower case letters.
2) change your password often, and
3) choose passwords that use numbers and capital and/or lower case letters.
In case you missed it, read "The 25 worst passwords of 2012" here:
October 2012 Update
InfrastructureOur installation is scheduled for October 3, 4, and 5. That's right-- this week! Our service partner will be onsite to collaborate on this significant effort. We hope to see very little disruption in service during this work although it is a possibility: we will be sure to send appropriate notification to campus if we expect to see a disruption that is greater than 15 minutes. The bulk of this work in the evenings or overnight. The result: an solid data center, an offsite DR (disaster recovery) site, larger, more powerful storage/server space and a unified system to meet the campus needs for several years to come.
Minimum Standards for Hardware, Software and Purchasing PracticesWe've identified some basic parameters for UCC-owned computers and software and we will have this information on the IT website in the next few weeks. We've been working with the Finance, Budget and Purchasing Offices so IT is consulted on UCC-related technology purchases before they are finalized. This helps ensure compatibility and allows for us to prepare and plan to support equipment and software. Ask us! We are happy to speak with you before a purchase. You can also use minimum standard specs to assist in making decisions about personal purchases like mobile devices or laptops. As a last note, when upgrades are provided for UCC-owned technology (like a new or replacement laptop), it is necessary for the "old" device to return to the IT department. We can be sure information is deleted and the device is reallocated, if possible, or recycled appropriately.
Scope of ServiceAs a reminder, we service and support UCC-owned computers, mobile devices and software. For personal/privately owned machines, if there is an urgent technology-related problem, we are limited to a cursory review and recommendation. We can also assist by guiding you through a process (eg software install) or providing resources.
Web Site Sanitation and BackupWorking closely with our contracted web developer and our network administrator, we have been handing important back-end maintenance and upgrades to our website. We've worked our way through the user list and we also identified 450 pages of unpublished content that is 5 or more terms old. We plan to delete all these pages on Thursday, October 4 at 12 noon. If you have unpublished pages (these aren't the live pages you see on our site now) that you want to keep, please let me know before that time. We continue to work through general edits and will be consulting with the Campus Technology Oversight Committee about our overall web presence.
Changes to Microsoft ContractThis year, Microsoft has changed the way that the "Office at Home" software option works. Instead of faculty and staff requesting and receiving CDs with the Office software from UCC IT, authorized users will need to go through the Microsoft website to download software to their personal computer. We are holding for the specifics from our contact at Microsoft.
April 2012 Update
PeopleAdmin for Human Resorces Recruiting and Hiring ProcessesWhat: PeopleAdmin is a software application that allows job-seekers to complete applications and upload materials online, provide for tools for search/screening committees to review and manage pre-employment files electronically.
Why: The installation and development of this system began several months ago. We are now in the final stages of testing and completing the implementation. The software has a number of automated features for efficiency; it brings UCC on par with what other institutions use to manage search/hiring processes.
More information: When the system is ready to move forward, HR will work with appropriate individuals on training and general use of the system.
Blue ImplementationWhat: Blue is the name of the software vetted and purchased to facilitate course surveys (student evaluations) both in face-to-face classes and online courses. It integrates with Banner, has tools beyond course surveys that can be used by departments other than instruction, and can be facilitated online, via email or through paper.
Why:The old evaluation system is no longer operationally supported by the company and the manual work to manage the collecting, preparing and dissemination of these course surveys each term is enormous. IT has been involved in making sure the system will run smoothly. I'm pleased that the end-user (faculty and administrative staff) experience is very user-friendly and efficient. More details will be provided to faculty and instructional staff in the coming weeks.