Microsoft releases “Office for Android”

Microsoft has released a mobile version of Office for Android on the Google Play Store for free.


IOS 8.1.3

Apple has released an update for iOS, patch when you can.


Constant Vigilance! UTC IT Security  

In IT everyone knows that security is important part of their job, but for Mr. Michael Dinkins and Mr. David Bean security is their entire job. Speaking at a meeting on January 21, 2015 Mr. Bean outlined the potential security threats that had manifested over the past year with several chilling examples. The Home Depot hack, 56 million payment card numbers and 53 million email addresses stolen. Total cost: Approximately 62 million dollars. JP Morgan Chase, 76 million households and 7 million small businesses were affected (and no one knows whether their data has actually been stolen or not for sure). Total cost for increased security: 250 million dollars per year. Ebay, a breach that took 2-3 months to be revealed to the users of the website and is estimated to have had 112.3 million active users and 145 million records stolen.

According to Mr. Bean, schools are no less vulnerable to cyber attacks than these large companies. In fact between 2005 and 2014 higher education has the highest percentage of data breaches, even top schools like UNC are not only vulnerable but have already been compromised. Even worse, approximately a third of all colleges breached have been breached more than once. “It is a question of when, not if.” Mr. Bean said while a real-time image of attacks originating from all across the globe rained down on the United States behind him. With the estimated cost of $111 per single record breached it is no wonder that both Mr. Bean and Mr. Dinkins take security seriously, the effects can be ruinous.

Some of the biggest security concerns in 2015 are mobile devices, the “internet of things” (Bluetooth or wireless devices), contractors (the source behind many a security breach), and more sophisticated malware like encrypted key loggers. As an illustration of how this impacts UTC Mr. Bean quoted the following metric: “Within 72 hours we received 29,484 alerts.” Granted, as he elaborated, not all of them were cyber attacks, numbers one and two on the alert list are machines running out of date versions of Java, but this gives an idea of the amount of traffic that flows into and out of UTC in a relatively short period of time.

So, what can be done on the users end to protect student and faculty information? As Mr. Bean pointed out, the biggest things you can do are:

  1. Be aware of the danger and thoughtful about what websites you go to.
  2. Be cautious about what apps you install. (Read the End User License Agreement before agreeing to install)
  3. Make security a part of your regular workday, change your passwords.
  4. Don’t give people any opportunities (don’t store sensitive data in non-secure locations)

 


GHOST:New glibc flaw could lead to exploit

They’ve already demoed a working exploit of Exim, make sure to check for a patch soon.


Mind Boggling, Apple posts $18B in profits

A new record.


Apple OS X 10.10.2 Update

Apple has released a new patch for Yosemite.  Use the App Store to update soon.


Announcement from Enterprise Center

Check out this announcement from the Enterprise Center  Click Here!

 


Adobe Flash Patch

Adobe will start pushing out (via Flash Auto Update) another fix for a 0day flaw being used to infect PCs.  Chrome and IE10/11 should be getting patches as well. You can also manually trigger the update to version 16.0.0.296.


New Solutions Center Organizational Model

 

The UTC Solutions Center, in a continuing effort to provide high quality technical support for students, faculty, and staff, has introduced a new organizational model for their Student workers. Under this new plan there are three levels of employee, each with correspondingly higher pay, more hours, and higher expectations. According to Associate Director Tony Parsley “The goal is to have consistency in our processes and focus on the service that we are giving to anyone who comes into the Solutions Center for technical support. So we are incentivizing employees with more hours and higher pay as rewards for dedication, knowledge and customer service.”

 

In addition to the new tier structure a greater emphasis has been placed on documentation and customer service. “Anytime somebody calls or walks in we open a ticket.” Mr. Parsley said “We want to make sure that that the issue is resolved and also so that there is a growing knowledge base to refer to in future should the same issue appear.” This further enhances the training that student technicians are given and ensures quality service for students at UTC.


Streamlining IT Projects using a Questionnaire

Setting up new technology can be hard, even more so when you don’t know who to ask for help. Caesar Wood of the Campus Recreation Department found himself in this situation on our campus several months ago when he was trying to get a software called Fusion set up for use by his department. He approached Larry Prince and Stephen Leather in the IT department for help. The Implementation started with first assessing the needs of the customer and then figuring out who to pull in to help set Fusion up. A questionnaire was developed which was used to pinpoint Campus Recreation’s needs and satisfy them with the minimum amount of difficulty.

 

The result was a very successful roll-out of Fusion and a grateful Campus Recreation Department. In the words of Caesar Wood: “If I had to point to two things that made this successful I would say that they were the close cooperation between everybody involved and the amount of time given to testing the project to ensure it worked before roll out.” The new program, Fusion, allows Mr. Wood to not only track attendance but run credit card payments and metrics on the utilization of the ARC. “I can break down how many students are using the arc, what their age is, how many times the use it a week, up to 104 different reports are available.” He said “It’s a great tool for our department.” Communication has been key in the entire process according to all parties concerned and the root of that communication has been an effective way of pinpointing the customer’s needs, in this case the questionnaire developed by Mr. Leather and Mr. Prince.

 

The idea of an internal questionnaire for use by the IT department as a heuristic device for better ascertaining the needs of the students, faculty, and staff of the University is the important part of this story and provides a model that might help make Central IT even more accessible and approachable. Instead of the customer having to figure out exactly what service they need IT to provide, instead a project manager (or wrangler) would be assigned and work closely with either a liaison or the customer to determine what is needed. This has the obvious advantages of streamlining the process and giving the customer a constant and familiar person to bring their questions and needs to. With this project needing help from everything from the Data Center to Field Support to Banner and Identity Management it would have been a long process for Mr. Wood to accurately predict what help he would need and track everyone involved down. By utilizing this questionnaire as a project manager the whole experience has been nothing less than a pleasant success for all concerned.

Zack Ridder


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