THEITS-“IT Asset Visibility”

IT security on campus is a omnipresent concern, and one that is only growing as the number of devices on campus increases. One of the methods used to help IT security deal with looming threats is Asset Visibility. The concept is a simple one, know what devices you have and what vulnerabilities those devices have. Kevin Watson and Ammar L Ammar from the University of Tennessee Health Science Center gave a brief introduction into Asset Visibility at THEITS last week, highlighting the importance of both active and passive scanning and vigilance. “If it has an IP address, you should know about it.” According to Mr. Watson. The information an IT department should be able to acquire should be the Network or IP of the Device, Hostname, Function or System, the owner, and if the device is personal/portable.

THEITS-UT Helpdesk Training

Rose Parker and Travis Gorden of the UTK Helpdesk offered insight into their institutions training program at THEITS last week. They started with a simple issue, how do you keep employees current with a wide range of incredibly specific services offered? Their answer was to create a system to help student workers keep current on everything offered by their helpdesk through the use of quick weekly tests, a comprehensive services catalog, and extensive training by the team leaders. Utilizing Blackboard the Helpdesk set up a bank of questions on the current services offered and how to provide them which the student employes would be briefly tested on weekly. Each test was designed to be no more than 5-10 minutes long. At the same time trainers would utilize a hidden blog to communicate the status of the student workers to keep each other updated on which students needed more training or were in difficulties.

THEITS-Tom Hoover “Putting it all Together”

Last week at the Tennessee Higher Education Information Technology Summit CIO Tom Hoover spoke about the changing role of IT on campus at UTC and some of the challenges the university will face in the future. “Expectations are increasing, students want better services and for their professors to better utilize technology.” he said “We have to learn how to provide better service without increasing costs, because in the long run that’s not sustainable. What we are looking for is synergy.” Mr. Hoover went on to talk about plans for upgrading  laser projectors in the classrooms while letting professors use their own devices to present from instead of utilizing podiums filled with redundant technology.

iFixit tears down the Apple Watch

You get to see the innards of the latest Apple device.

OS X Yosemite still vulnerable to rootpipe exploit

The vulnerability that Apple patched is still exploitable according to a security researcher.

Google will require sites to be “mobile friendly” to maintain search rankings

You site needs to be mobile friendly or you will be penalized in Google’s search results.

A look into modern spyware

If you’ve ever wondered why “crapware” exists.

Microsoft to put MS services into Cyanogen

The open source OS Cyanogen for Android devices will soon contain Microsoft’s Bing, OneNote, Skype, etc.

Google Chrome to block old NPAPI based plugins including Java

Google’s Chrome will begin blocking Java with version 42 (you still can re-enable it) and totally prevent it from functioning in version 45 (September 2015).   We’re going to assume that Oracle will update the Java plugin.

Patch Tuesday

Microsoft has released critical patches for Windows and Office.  All users (including Macs) should check for updates.  Adobe has also released patches for Flash Players.