The University needed a way to collect, analyze, and act on large amounts of health-related data so that students could return. Continue reading
Author: Cerrigione, Christopher
myUConn is the official UConn mobile application that connects our community to a collection of information and services which enhance campus life and online experiences. Continue reading
Webex Security Enhancement
ITS is making a change to Webex tonight, April 15, that will enable better protection of meetings.
The incidence of uninvited and disruptive guests crashing video conferencing meetings has increased. In response, ITS is implementing a change in Webex to better protect against these intrusions. Starting at 10:00 pm tonight, all personal meeting rooms will be “locked” by default. When participants join the locked conference, they will wait in the “lobby” until admitted by the meeting host. The host can admit some, all, or none of the participants. When using WebEx as a telephone bridge, the host will need to unlock the room by pressing *5 to allow entry. Hosts may also adjust or disable the personal lock settings in advance but should be aware of the potential risk.
If a disruption occurs, the host should first expel the participant and then report the incident to email@example.com (please include your NetID and the time/date of the meeting). Below are how-to articles that will help you manage your room and lock settings.
If you have questions or need assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Adjusting Personal Room Automatic Lock Settings
Chat plugin available for Aurora websites
Tawk.to is a service that ITS uses on the Technology Support Center website. Continue reading
Expansion of Network Services
ITS has expanded network services to support remote activities. Continue reading
ITS will have a limited moratorium on activities or efforts that have the potential to disrupt remote access starting Saturday, March 14, through Monday, April 6. Continue reading
The SAP Concur project is a collaborative UConn initiative to implement a best-in-class, cloud-based Travel and Expense management service for the university.
Digital Wayfinding Service
A new digital wayfinding service is available to help faculty, staff, students, and guests better navigate the campus. Continue reading
Start of Semester Moratorium
ITS will have a moratorium on non-emergency network and system changes starting Friday, January 17, through Monday, January 27. Continue reading
Wireless in Gampel
The deployment of full wireless network service is complete for Gampel Pavilion. Continue reading
New Firewall Platform
A robust IT security program to protect institutional assets is based on multiple layers. Continue reading
Whitepaper on Innovation
In a Town Hall presentation, I noted that innovation is the highest maturity level for an organization. Continue reading
End of Semester Moratorium
ITS will have a moratorium on non-emergency network and system changes starting Wednesday, December 4, through Wednesday, December 18, 2019. Continue reading
Voter Registration Feature
A new voter registration feature is available on the Student Administration (SA) system. Continue reading
Changes to HuskyPrint Service
HuskyPrint is a computer printing service with over 30 printers located on all six campuses. It was designed for students but is open to the entire UConn community. Continue reading
Start of Semester Moratorium
ITS will have a moratorium on non-emergency network and system changes starting Wednesday, August 21, through Monday, September 2. Continue reading
New private media plugin for Aurora
Aurora is a multisite WordPress Service that enables customers to publish websites that meet institutional brand and accessibility standards, have a mobile responsive design, and remain current with security updates. Continue reading
Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Accessibility policy
University has approved and published the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Accessibility policy.
New course catalog search tool
A new course search tool is available at catalog.uconn.edu. Continue reading
Digital Signage Update
Service updates are available for the digital signage service. Continue reading
Adobe CC Purchasing Program for Faculty and Staff
The ITS Adobe Create Cloud (CC) purchasing program is now available to UConn faculty, staff, and graduate students. Continue reading
University Data Network
ITS is updating elements of the university data network. Continue reading
IT Security Awareness Resource
Security threats to personal and institutional information are an ongoing risk. Continue reading
Written messages are a formal part of interaction for IT professionals at UConn and elsewhere. Continue reading
ITS Support Strategy
A primary way our community interacts with IT at the University is through formal and informal support channels. Continue reading
New Display Name Tool
Advance information about a new tool for updating display names in UConn directories is now available. Continue reading
Status of 2FA Service
2FA prevents unauthorized access to online resources by imposing two independent forms of identification in order for you to successfully authenticate. Continue reading
ITS Strategic Plan Annual Report
The ITS Strategic Plan, delivered in 2014, encapsulates our best practical thinking about institutional IT and communicates long term directions for the organization. Continue reading
ITS has launched a NetID self-service communications campaign. Continue reading
Adobe Creative Cloud for UConn Students
The University has been negotiating over the past months with Adobe for their Creative Cloud product. Continue reading
ITS status update
The overwhelming majority of systems, services, and capabilities have resumed. Continue reading
New Reporting Tool in Student Admin
BI Publisher is a new reporting tool for the UConn Student Administration (SA) system. Continue reading
Pending changes to the University Active Directory environment
Active Directory (AD) is a foundational technology that supports identity and access management at UConn. Continue reading
Storage issues impacting services
Intermittent issues with the university’s storage environment are impacting authentication as well as all local services that rely on storage. Continue reading
Student Employee Affiliation in LDAP
ITS is creating a new affiliation in LDAP. Continue reading
Relocation of UITS Offices
Beginning in August, the University is renovating the Gant Science Complex, and before construction starts, ITS offices housed in the building have relocated or are relocating to the following areas on campus: Continue reading
UITS database hosting service
ITS is announcing the formal availability of a database hosting service. Continue reading
Disaster Recovery Plan
This past week, ITS concluded our annual test of our DR plan. Continue reading
Expansion of Wireless Service
ITS will be expanding the wireless network service in university administrative and academic buildings. Continue reading
The Secure Shell (SSH) Gateway is now available. Continue reading
Protect your computer from ransomware
The recent cyberattack involving ransomware has been infecting computers and critical systems worldwide since Friday. Continue reading
Testing of spam filtering services
ITS is exploring approaches to enhance the University’s protection from spam emails. Continue reading
Storrs HPC facility
Operational changes to the Storrs High Performance Computing (HPC) facility will be effective July 1. Continue reading
Access to Microsoft products for UConn Health
ITS and UConn Health have collaborated to improve accessibility to Microsoft products for faculty, staff, and students. Continue reading
End of semester moratorium April 29 – May 12
ITS will have a moratorium on non-emergency network and system changes starting Friday, April 29 through Friday, May 12, 2017. Continue reading
The IBM Forms Experience Builder (FEB) system is available to developers within our IT community. Continue reading
Upcoming changes to UCONN-GUEST; Encouraging use of UCONN-SECURE
Two wireless networks that ITS provides are designed and intended to serve different populations. Continue reading
Help Center text-based chat
The ITS Technology Support Center offers a chat support option. Continue reading
UConn AnyWare is now generally available. Continue reading
HuskyCT architecture changes
An architecture change was recently implemented for HuskyCT. Continue reading
Phishing attacks and how to avoid being scammed
Phishing is the attempt to obtain sensitive information such as usernames, passwords, social security numbers, and credit card details (and, indirectly, money), often for malicious reasons, by disguising as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication. Continue reading
Update on centrally licensed software
ITS has updated centrally licensed software.
Individual software is a general IT resource that impacts every part of our community, allowing each of us to be more successful in our respective roles. Continue reading
Email service choice for students
Google Apps for Education was chosen for students because it was both a good fit for and a strong preference of this population. Continue reading
Email service choice for students
Google Apps for Education was chosen for students because it was both a good fit for and a strong preference of this population. Continue reading
Enhancements to institutional file storage
Over the past year, ITS has made strategic investments in data storage infrastructure in support of institutional and research activities. Continue reading
Cisco Meeting Server bridge available
Cisco Meeting Server (CMS) bridge is now available for video conferencing.
New service offerings
ITS has two new service offerings for our community. Continue reading
P: drive expansion
ITS has expanded the available storage space on personal (P:) drives. Continue reading
Changes to address ID issues
ITS has established structural changes in order to address our current identity management issues. Continue reading
IT Systems Status and Alerts
Our frontline source for reporting up-to-date information about central systems is the IT Systems Status site. Continue reading
Long-term plans to sunset select legacy web servers
As with any technology, the University’s web servers and supporting resources evolve over time, offering more sophisticated features and better performance. Continue reading
All IT Staff Conference
We designed the IT All Staff Conference with our IT community in mind; we wanted to create an environment conducive to networking and a forum where IT staff could share their accomplishments. Continue reading
How to request and advocate for centrally-funded software
As a central provider of IT services, ITS is responsible for licensing, procuring, delivering, and maintaining software delivered at an institutional level. Continue reading
Upcoming firewall changes
ITS will implement firewall changes on September 13th that will impact the university wireless network. Continue reading
Updated Dell Computer Image
New Dell computers ordered on or after Monday, August 22nd through the HuskyPC program will ship with Windows 10 (Win10) as the installed operating system. Continue reading
New software site license
The Schrödinger Small-Molecule Drug Discovery Suite is now available to UConn faculty, staff, and students on all campuses. Continue reading
Q: drive mapping
ITS has updated automatic Q: drive mapping on ITS managed workstations. Continue reading
Password recovery options
ITS has begun a campaign to encourage our UConn community to set password recovery options for their NetID accounts. Continue reading
Expanded access to MATLAB
Expanded access to the MathWorks MATLAB software will be available to UConn faculty, staff, and students on all campuses, including Farmington, beginning July 1, 2016. Continue reading
eSignLive, a web based electronic signature product, is now available for use by university departments, schools, and colleges. Continue reading
Student email accounts
We are writing to share our plans for the persistence of student email accounts. Continue reading
New email security features
Message encryption and rights management is preliminarily available on the university’s Office 365 email system. Continue reading
End of Semester Moratorium
ITS will have a moratorium on non-emergency network and system changes starting Friday, April 29 through Saturday, May 14, 2016. Continue reading
Update to voicemail implementation
A number of concerns about the voicemail to email integration have been surfaced by university stakeholders. Continue reading
New firewall policy
UConn and many other universities were recently victims of a network attack where unrestricted, Internet accessible printers were remotely activated and used to print offensive propaganda. Continue reading
IT Strategic Plan Article
A little over a year ago, we finalized UConn’s five-year strategic plan for information technology. Continue reading
New email enhancement
Plus Email Addressing, also known as sub-addressing, allows you to create variations of a normal email address that will still be delivered to your institutional email account. Continue reading
New IT security resource for community
Threats to personal and institutional information security are an ongoing reality for network connected individuals and organizations. Continue reading
IT Smart: New Business-to-Department service relationship model
Understanding the relationship between services and our community is the key to effectively meeting the needs of our constituents and is the primary perspective that informed the design of our models for service delivery. Continue reading
UConn cable tv going digital
While public broadcast and cable television throughout the country were required to transition from analog to digital, private installations like we have at the University did not have this obligation. Continue reading
External access to restricted university resources has traditionally been provided via our authenticated Virtual Private Network (VPN) service. Continue reading
IT Smart: Blackboard’s Portfolio
Portfolio is a tool within UConn’s Blackboard learning management system that enables instructors and students to collect, organize, and share completed work. Continue reading
Information security and technology policies
The Information Security Office would like to share draft information security and technology policies and to ask for your review and feedback before they are finalized. Continue reading
IT service incident
On Sunday, December 27th, the University of Connecticut was the victim of an IT service compromise. Continue reading
ITS will be replacing the voicemail system for faculty and staff on the UConn Storrs campus. Continue reading
Moratorium – December 13 – December 24, 2015
ITS will have a moratorium on non-emergency network and system changes starting Sunday, December 13 through Thursday, December 24, 2015. Continue reading
Preview UConn AnyWare
ITS would like to let you know about an opportunity to preview our new application virtualization service, UConn AnyWare. Continue reading
IT community mailing list changes
ITS has made changes to our IT community mailing lists.
We maintain an IT Contacts mailing list that is delivered through our listserv environment and includes all ITS staff, university-wide IT staff, and other stakeholders with a vested interest in IT. Continue reading
Integration of exam schedules
The final exam schedule for the Storrs campus has, in recent years, been generated within a software package that the university utilizes to manage room resources. Continue reading
Report on IT Strategic Plan
A year ago, ITS published the final version of our 2014 – 2018 Strategic Plan, a culmination of a collaborative development and review process. Continue reading
ITS is preparing to reinstate Identity Finder. Continue reading
The goal of all university IT, both central and distributed, is to ensure the secure and robust operation of institutional IT assets for our UConn community. Continue reading
Process improvements for NetIDadmin accounts
The process for requesting and activating NetIDadmin accounts has been improved. Continue reading
Blackboard Collaborate available
UConn instructors leverage our learning management system, HuskyCT, for a wide range of activities, from supplementing coursework to delivering online classes that extend the University’s reach beyond the campuses. Continue reading
Mass mailing service
When rogue email accounts are used to spam the internet, downstream providers typically respond by blocking all email from the source server. Continue reading
During this past week, the university community experienced intermittent outages and performance issues with network connectivity. Continue reading
Launch of revamped myUConn
ITS has launched a revamped version of the university’s mobile application myUConn. Continue reading
Start of Semester Moratorium
ITS will have a moratorium on non-emergency network and system changes starting Wednesday, August 26, through Monday, September 14. Continue reading
Update of NetID Single Sign On
ITS will deploy an update of the NetID Single Sign On prompt on Tuesday, August 18. Continue reading
Mainframe migration completed
ITS is happy to announce that the migration of Genesys from UConn to PSR went smoothly and our local mainframe is now decommissioned. Continue reading
Final update on mainframe decommissioning
This is the final update about our local mainframe decommissioning and its transition to an external provider. Continue reading
HuskyVision switching to digital
HuskyVision will be transferred from analog to digital broadcast television for the fall semester. Continue reading
MSB power shutdown, 8/8
A power shutdown in the Math-Science Building (MSB) is tentatively scheduled for Saturday, August 8th between 5:00 am – 5:00 pm. Continue reading
New configuration on high-tech classroom computers
ITS has developed a new configuration for our high-tech classroom computers. Continue reading
Progress on High Availability
Below is an update on our progress developing High Availability (HA) capabilities for ITS systems and services.
HA represents continuous service delivery under normal circumstances and rapid restoration in the event of disruption. Continue reading
Update on mainframe decommissioning
ITS has been actively engaged in moving off the mainframe to other platforms for the past two years, and this process is now approaching completion. Continue reading
Web Conferencing Services
We would like to share information about individual web conferencing services available to the UConn community. Continue reading
HuckyCT High Availability
HuskyCT, our learning management system, is now in a High Availability (HA) configuration. Continue reading
SDLC tools available
Solution Development Life Cycle (SDLC) tools are available to the UConn IT community. Continue reading
Virtualization Service Offerings
ITS has a proposed design for expanding the University’s application virtualization service offerings. Continue reading
Identity Finder Status Update
ITS has temporarily disabled Identity Finder while we finalize the long-range plans for the service.
Re-designed UITS IT Status page
ITS has re-designed the IT Status page.
The purpose of the IT Status page is to communicate the condition of systems and services to our UConn community. Continue reading
HuskyTime student time card system
The HuskyTime student time card system is now available to the university community.
ITS worked closely with UConn Recreation to develop HuskyTime, a streamlined web-based application that allows students to enter their time into an online time card Continue reading
End of semester moratorium
ITS will have a moratorium on non-emergency network and system changes starting Friday, May 1 through Friday, May 15. Continue reading
Microsoft Lync is becoming Skype for Business
Microsoft is rebranding Lync Online, their enterprise communication tool, as Skype for Business.
Office 365 Microsoft Presentation (4/27)
For faculty and staff interested in learning more about Office 365, ITS and Microsoft are co-hosting a free presentation Continue reading
Reminder: Office 365 migration starts tonight
Reminder: Office 365 Town Hall meeting (4/1)
We would like to remind our IT community that ITS is hosting a town hall meeting to discuss the upcoming migration to Microsoft Office 365 tomorrow, April 1st at 9:00 a.m. in the Dodd Konover Auditorium. Continue reading
Office 365 early migration
We are offering the opportunity to migrate to Office 365 prior to the university-wide deployment scheduled to start at 5:00 pm on April 10th. Continue reading
Reminder: Office 365 Town Hall meeting tomorrow (3/25)
We would like to remind our IT community that ITS is hosting a town hall meeting to discuss the upcoming migration to Microsoft Office 365 tomorrow, March 25th at 9:00 a.m. in the Dodd Konover Auditorium. Continue reading
Revised electronic communication policy
The University has made revisions to the university electronic communication policy that will impact email forwarding.
Office 365 migration update
Below is an update on the upcoming April 10th university migration from our local email and calendar service to Microsoft’s Office 365 cloud service and to share strategies ITS is employing to ensure a smooth transition.
Office 365 Town Hall Meeting
We are inviting members of our IT community to a town hall meeting to discuss the upcoming migration to Microsoft Office 365 and initiate a conversation about support strategies. Continue reading
University email and calendar migration
Faculty and staff who have accounts on the central university email and calendar service, please be aware of the university migration from our local Exchange environment to Microsoft Office 365, currently scheduled to start April 10th. Continue reading
Remote Desktop Gateway
The Remote Desktop Gateway server is an authentication and proxy mechanism used widely by off-site faculty, staff, and students to connect to on-site university computers using the Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP). The University began blocking RDP at the border firewall in 2012 in response to an RDP security weakness. Continue reading
Mainframe decommissioning scheduled for June 30, 2015
The mainframe computer, which UConn has used for over 30 years, was one of the only computing platforms available to the UConn community and has historically been used for administrative, academic, research, and personal computing. ITS has been moving off the mainframe Continue reading
Change management process
ITS is responsible for a broad collection of systems, services, and capabilities that in many different ways, are important to our community. Disruptions will periodically occur as we work to maintain and evolve our infrastructure. ITS has a Change Advisory Board (CAB) that consists of our managers and is tasked with ensuring that substantive changes to IT systems and services follow a standardized process and proceed in a transparent, orderly fashion. This minimizes the risk of outages or other negative impacts to the community. A key step in this process involves communicating effectively and broadly with audiences internal and external to ITS. This crucial step increases awareness among the community of upcoming changes and prompts timely feedback. To achieve our communication goals, ITS is now publishing scheduled changes on the ITS CAB website. This new change calendar gives CAB a mechanism to effectively reach a wider audience and gives constituents more opportunity to surface concerns or to illuminate impacts that may have been overlooked. It also leverages the built-in features of the university events system, such as providing you with the capability to add the CAB calendar to Outlook and subscribe to RSS feeds. ITS is committed to effective collaboration; we believe that our dedicated change calendar will make it easier for us to deliver information and for you to obtain it conveniently via a mechanism of your choice.
Start of Semester Moratorium
ITS will have a two-week moratorium on non-emergency network and system changes starting Monday, January 19, through Monday, February 2.
We understand that this time is a critical period for students and faculty as they acclimate to the new semester. ITS will defer changes to systems and services that might have a production impact in order to minimize potential outages during this high-anxiety period. Changes required to respond to emergent situations will be duly evaluated and pursued only if their need is significant.
Institutional support for software
UConn Software, formerly the Software Licensing Group (SLG), has a new website: http://software.uconn.edu. This site lists supported products, provides pertinent policies and procedures, and includes a simple form to standardize requests for the group to consider and review softwareto be licensed.
The university group works in concert with ITS to represent community interests regarding the acquisition, distribution, and customer support of instructional, administrative, and research software products. The core support group identifies common needs and evaluates available software products for broad applicability. As an advisory body to the University CIO, they help ITS align its finite software spend for the best practical benefit to our community while also providing expertise and assistance on a case-by-case basis to customers.
End of Semester Moratorium
ITS will have a moratorium on non-emergency network and system changes starting Monday, December 8, through Thursday, December 18.
We understand that this time of year is a critical period with students and faculty trying to meet end of semester obligations. ITS will defer changes to systems and services that might have a production impact in order to minimize potential outages during this high-anxiety period. Changes required to respond to emergent situations will be duly evaluated and pursued only if their need is significant.
Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have comments, questions, or concerns.
Office 365 design completed
ITS has completed a design for the university Microsoft Office 365 initiative and would like to ask for any final feedback.
Microsoft Office 365 is an organized collection of cloud-based business productivity technologies that integrates enhanced communication and collaboration tools. It is well aligned towards individuals and their ability to personally leverage technology. Adoption of this architecture represents a departure from the traditional way IT is centrally delivered at the University. For this reason, ITS has pursued this project methodically and requested feedback throughout the process to ensure that the end product would be robust and also effectively meet the diverse needs of our constituents. We have now completed a design, which is the outcome of a rigorous internal and external vetting process. You can review the design documentation on our Microsoft Office 365 website: http://office365.uconn.edu/. As we begin implementation planning, we ask that you send any final feedback to Josh Boggs at email@example.com. Once we complete the implementation and transition project plan, we will no longer be seeking input on the des
Changes to UITS Help Center
The ITS Technology Support Center, located in the Math-Science Building M037 and on the first floor (Homer Commons) of the Homer Babbidge Library, provides first contact support and assistance to the university community for the wide variety of services provided by the organization. Our services and their associated support have historically had community centric differences based on major group affiliation (i.e., faculty, staff or student). Unfortunately, this resulted in varied customer experiences and confusion depending on how individuals approached the organization. Based on feedback from faculty, staff, and students, ITS restructured our Technology Support Center at the beginning of the semester to include a mix of HuskyTech student employees and full-time staff. This was done so that all members of our community, regardless of affiliation, would have consistent support options and, more importantly, a high-quality customer experience. These changes have allowed ITS to pursue process and resource efficiency goals while better meeting the individual needs and expectations of our customers.
The past months have validated the preliminary changes, and with your assistance, we are committed to continued development of the Technology Support Center. Your support and feedback remains key to its successful evolution, and we welcome any insights or observations you might share. Please contact Pat Meinweiser with comments, questions, or concerns.
Student Administration Upgrades
ITS has implemented selected redesigns of the Student Administration (SA) System to address structural problems that resulted in service disruptions during the registration process.
The SA system is a hub for student information and activity and is widely used by faculty, students, staff, and alumni. They experienced numerous problems with login, authorization, kick-outs, and browser incompatibility. These service issues were caused by firewall performance, browser connection, and application software issues. ITS engineered network changes to increase reliability and performance and deployed a new load balancing infrastructure to improve the interaction between client browsers and the SA application. These fixes were implemented at the beginning of October, and the peak registration cycle has now concluded without the raft of service calls that occurred at the beginning of the semester. ITS will continue to assess the infrastructure and to make selected changes and upgrades to improve the experience of our community.
End of life operating systems
ITS is beginning a series of infrastructure enhancements that may require updating end-of-life (EOL) operating systems on devices that are connected to the network.
ITS announced this past spring and throughout the summer that Windows XP and Mac OS 10.7 were end of life and would no longer be supported. Older operating systems are not maintained by the vendor and are increasingly difficult to operate in our environment. We will offer possible workarounds where these exist, but ITS cannot avoid important maintenance in deference to devices with unsupported operating systems. Unfortunately, such equipment will be increasingly unable to utilize network services over time.
We will be happy to explore options with you. Please do not hesitate to contact us for information and assistance.
IBM Forms Experience Builder
ITS is expanding its enterprise workflow services by offering web form development with IBM Forms Experience Builder (FEB).
The University currently uses many paper-based workflow processes, which can be both slow and inefficient. Automating these processes by creating electronic workflows using traditional programming languages, however, is both difficult and time consuming. FEB is a tool designed specifically to develop and deploy data-centric web form applications. It is simpler to use and far faster from concept to production than older approaches. With FEB, the Applications and Technology Solutions (ATS) group can produce better results in less time (less cost) and even add advanced functionality such as workflow stages or the ability to track and analyze results.
Additional information about FEB is available at the following location: https://its.uconn.edu/. Requests for form development can be sent to http://serviceit.uconn.edu/.
The upgraded and expanded Virtual Private Network (VPN) services, deployed on September 15th, have replaced the old VPN portal. On October 6th the old system, vpn.uconn.edu, will no longer be available.
The new VPN portal is accessible via the Web at https://sslvpn.uconn.edu and via client software for OS X, Windows, iOS, and Android devices. When you transition to the new VPN services, be aware that you will need to re-create your personal bookmarks and that clients receive different IP addresses than the legacy system.
Additional information is available at the following location: http://remoteaccess.uconn.edu.
Update on the university Microsoft Office 365 initiative
ITS is now in the design phase of the Microsoft Office 365 initiative. In the research phase, we received significant positive feedback with some questions and concerns from our UConn IT community. Using this information, we produced a tentative design that was reviewed by the ITS IT Technical Partners governance body. The architecture is now at a point where we have begun preliminary planning for an implementation.
ITS is searching for volunteers to test Office 365 and provide us with feedback about their experience. Testers will be given a temporary account and the opportunity to get an early look at the service. If you would like to participate, send us a message firstname.lastname@example.org with your name, netID, contact information, and position within the University. Information about the service and the project is available at http://office365.uconn.edu.
We appreciate your patience and support as ITS continues to make progress on improving services for our faculty and staff.
Updated and upgraded VPN service
ITS will deploy an updated and upgraded Virtual Private Network (VPN) service on September 15th.
VPN services have been utilized historically to provide authenticated access to the university network from remote locations and thereby allow customers to safely and securely utilize certain restricted services from outside the university. Juniper has stopped providing support for the existing hardware, and this has produced numerous problems for our community when they use the old access client. The new infrastructure will be current, fully supported, and consistent with contemporary approaches and re-architected to double its network bandwidth. Web access will be available, but there are also clients for iOS, Android OS, Windows, and OS X. We are deploying the infrastructure in a high availability configuration at two disparate locations to provide a more robust experience than the current implementation.
Additional information is available at the following location: http://remoteaccess.uconn.edu.
Start of Semester Moratorium
ITS will have a three-week moratorium on non-emergency network and system changes starting Monday, August 18, through Sunday, September 7.
We understand that the start of the fall semester is a critical period for students and faculty as they acclimate to the new school year. ITS will defer changes to systems and services that might have a production impact in order to minimize potential outages during this high-anxiety period. Changes required to respond to emergent situations will be duly evaluated and pursued only if their need is significant.
Network connection enhancements
Update, 1/20/2015: project delayed due to contract negotiations
ITS has procured the installation of dedicated fiber connections from the Torrington and Avery Point regional campuses to the Connecticut Education Network (CEN), a university and state-run regional network provider. These connections, similar to the kind recently installed to support the extension centers in Tolland and Norwich, will permit 1Gbs connectivity between the UConn Storrs campus, Torrington campus, Avery Point campus, some additional extension offices, and the Litchfield County Extension Center. Existing connectivity to the Torrington and Avery Point campuses is currently limited to 10Mbps, which is inadequate to meet either the current and projected campus needs of researchers, teachers, learners, staff, and guests. The greatly enhanced connections are scheduled to be live during UConn’s Winter Recess.
DNS/DHCP administration delegation
You may be used to requesting a DNS hostname from ITS, but did you know that we can give schools, departments, and colleges the authority to manage their name spaces and IP networks?
ITS maintains an integrated Domain Name System (DNS), a central repository for mapping Internet Protocol (IP) addresses, and Dynamic Host Control Protocol (DHCP), a central service that assigns IP address requests and parameters required for a device to connect to a network. With delegated administration of your DNS/DHCP, you have more control over your forward and reverse DNS zones, DHCP scopes and ranges, and ability to supply/remove fixed addresses and name records. The integration of DNS/DHCP also allows you to dynamically configure network parameters for devices, like printers, which require a permanent IP address assignment and domain name.
If you would like additional information about this capability, please contact Jeff Farese, Network Design and Engineering, at Jeffrey.Farese@uconn.edu.
Microsoft Office 365
ITS has launched an initiative to explore a Microsoft Office 365 service offering for the University of Connecticut.
Microsoft Office 365 has the potential to enhance individual productivity and facilitate collaboration. It would provide significantly larger mailboxes, Office sharing and interaction tools, text and video chat, one terabyte of personal cloud storage, and other useful features. We are currently in the research phase of the project and will reach out to request your feedback throughout the process. Your insight and perspective will be critical to the successful development of an efficient design that maximizes the service potential for our community and an effective implementation plan that minimizes disruption during transition.
University Exchange Update
ITS and the Law School have combined our mail and calendar environments.
The university Exchange environment was intended to facilitate interaction and collaboration across our community. Design choices and competing systems have historically made this difficult. Over the past year, ITS has evolved the central service based on direct feedback from our IT partners. For example, ITS and UConn Health unified our address books to simplify cross-organization scheduling. This change was designed to increase usefulness and to encourage broader institutional adoption of the central service. Migrating the Law School email and calendar system to our central environment benefits both the Law School and the University. ITS will continue to improve our email and calendar service and will work with units to integrate capabilities or even combine systems.
UITS Printing Services to End
As of June 30, 2014, ITS will no longer provide print services from the mainframe. In conjunction with the Mainframe Decommissioning Project and the University’s green initiatives, all print jobs processed on the mainframe will be directed to Control-D, an online report management tool that is currently in use by many areas.
Control-D provides the option to view reports online and print all or specific selections of the report. Users will have the option to print directly from personal computers as they do today or through UConn’s Design & Document Production Center.
If you have an existing job scheduled that produces a report and have not been contacted by ITS to determine your report distribution requirements please email us at ITS.email@example.com or call Diana O’Donnell at 860-486-1413.
UITS Supports Development of Research-related Mobile Apps
ITS Mobile Solutions has hired a Graduate Assistant (GA) to support development of research-related mobile applications for faculty, a change that extends service to researchers and aligns with the academic mission of the University.
Faculty have been requesting support for mobile app development and while the demand has grown, it has remained inadequate to generate sufficient revenue to offset the expense of a dedicated position. We recognized that research teams need this support now and that the institution would be best served by creating a position. ITS will recover a portion of the operating expense from clients through hourly billing, and we will subsidize the remaining shortfall. For more information and to submit a development request, visit http://mobile.uconn.edu.
New Data Service Plan
ITS has added a data service option to university-owned iPads and laptops for faculty and staff who are eligible for university cellular services.
ITS Cellular Services has long supported data service and hotspot capabilities for university-owned smartphones and other dedicated hotspot devices. Hotspot allows a device to share its cellular data capabilities with a collection of other devices in its vicinity. This is not necessarily the highest performing or most convenient approach, but it is often effective and economical for modest, infrequent sharing. We have received feedback that it often does not adequately address other relevant use cases. Hotspots will continue to be supported, but the ability to add cellular data plans directly to other university-owned devices will allow the community to select mobile services that better meet their needs.
General information about mobile services and specific information about the features and rates can be obtained by navigating to www.cellular.uconn.edu and clicking on Types of Services.
Licensing Agreement for Adobe Creative Cloud
ITS has procured Adobe Creative Cloud for students as both a download and through SkyBox.
Adobe Creative Cloud is a bundle of the most popular Adobe products (e.g., Acrobat Pro, Photoshop, etc.) obtained through an annual leasing agreement. The normal institutional model for this Adobe bundle consists of an unlimited enterprise license for all faculty and staff with student licensing obtained as a fixed quantity add-on to the base agreement. Adobe has not historically supported making these student licenses usable through virtualized environments. These conditions were not a match for our needs at UConn, where not enough faculty and staff require the software to justify an enterprise site license and providing the software on SkyBox, the UConn virtualized desktop environment, is key to maximizing student access. Working closely with university purchasing and leveraging perspective and information from the UConn technical community, ITS broke new ground with Adobe to negotiate an independent fixed license pool for students with approval to deliver it through SkyBox. These licensing terms are unprecedented and will significantly increase student access to the software at a nationally competitive price. Additional details about the Adobe Creative Cloud bundle will be made broadly available before the start of the fall semester.
Upgrades Completed on Data Center
ITS performed successful upgrades to the data center on Saturday, May 31, 2014. During the planned outage, ITS infrastructure staff installed new equipment and performed preventative maintenance. Although some services were disrupted during the outage, access remained to the Network, e-mail, and UConn websites.
Thank you for your patience during the outage. The upgrades are part of a plan to ensure a robust infrastructure that enhances the performance and stability of ITS systems and services.
If you have any questions, please contact the ITS Technology Support Center at serviceit.uconn.edu.
High Availability During Shut down
ITS has implemented infrastructure changes to permit high availability capabilities for our services.
Contemporary IT system and service robustness is best accomplished through a three tier model consisting of 1) effective design and professional practices 2) high availability through infrastructure and operating diversity 3) disaster recovery as an insurance strategy using an external vendor specialist. The first strategy has been our historical approach and the organization is actively pursuing the third strategy. ITS has added high availability capability by implementing custom network connectivity between our primary data center in Gant and our secondary machine room in HBL. This multi-site data center capability allows us to deliver virtualized services from two independent locations as a single extended offering.
Our primary data center in Gant will undergo disruptive upgrades to both power and environmentals this weekend that will result in a 12-18 hour loss of services from this location. By diversifying a number of our generically consumed services between our paired data centers using our new high availability infrastructure, UTIS will be maintaining the following services without substantive interruption during the upgrades to the Gant data center.
- Networking (wired and wireless)
- Email (Microsoft Exchange)
- Authentication (NetID, AD, Radius, CAS, etc)
- Departmental web content management (Aurora)
- University core websites (alert, it status, today, uconn)
Delivery from the secondary HBL location will begin almost immediately as the primary delivery location is shutdown. Any disruption of these services during failover will be extremely brief and should be virtually unnoticed. Outages have an increasingly disruptive impact on our community and we will continue to pursue high availability as well as other architectural and operational strategies to improve the performance and stability of ITS systems and services.
Spam Filter Improvements
ITS has increased the sensitivity of the UCONN email spam filters to more effectively prevent the delivery of unwanted messages.
The university email challenge has always been to correctly identify and prevent the delivery of unwanted messages without misidentifying and blocking wanted messages. Recent feedback from our community indicated that the system was permitting the delivery of too much spam. ITS carefully assessed the service configuration and implemented adjustments this morning to improve its filtering performance. Our tests indicate that this will safely reduce spam delivery by approximately 20%.
Please do not hesitate to contact us or the ITS Technology Support Center if you have questions or concerns or if you believe that your email is being blocked incorrectly.
Access to the University Network Monitoring System
ITS has enabled guest access to WhatsUp, the university network monitoring system.
ITS network technicians utilize WhatsUp to monitor the current status of more than 3,000 network devices in our data network. This tool is not designed or intended to be a generally consumed service at the University, but it is possible that it might be useful for other IT professionals. We have enabled read-only access to WhatsUp from any campus network. You may login using “guest” as both the username and password. Off campus access to this resource requires use of the University VPN service.
Changes to Wait Time on the UITS Support Phone
The six minute limit on ITS Technology Support Center phone system hold times has been discontinued.
This limit was originally created to address feedback pertaining to long holds, but it has become clear that it is not the optimal way to deal with this issue and it has the unintended side effect of forcibly disconnecting people who might have preferred to continue holding. ITS wants to make it easier for the community to access help resources, and so callers on hold will be periodically prompted with three options:
- Leave a message
- Create a ticket through ServiceIT
- Continue to hold
ITS will continue our review of help desk processes to increase call throughput, but in the interim we believe that the range of options above will better meet the different needs of individual callers.
End of Semester Moratorium
There will be a two-week ITS moratorium on network and system changes starting today, Friday, May 2, through Friday, May 16.
We understand that this time of year is a critical period with students and faculty trying to meet end of semester obligations. ITS has imposed significant restrictions on changes to systems and services that might have a production impact in order to minimize potential outages during this high anxiety period. Changes required to respond to emergent situations will be duly evaluated and pursued only if their need is significant.
Contact Information Now Available for All UITS Employees
There are a number of general phone and email contact points that provide access to ITS groups and / or services. When submitting a help or service request, we encourage everyone to contact the organization through either the Technology Support Center or one of the local Service Areas. However, we have received feedback that these mechanisms are not always helpful when trying to contact specific individuals. Now we’re changing that.
ITS is now aggressively ensuring that individual phone numbers and email addresses will be properly available in the University’s online phone book. We will also maintain a staff directory, as we want the community to be able to easily contact us at both the organizational and individual level for all of their IT needs.
UITS Adds Authenticated SMTP To Its Email Repertoire
ITS has added authentication support to its Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) server, resulting in more flexibility and convenience for SMTP users.
Customers that utilize Outlook and Exchange for email already take advantage of authenticated access for outgoing emails, but our generally available SMTP server has not historically supported authenticated access. A consequence of this is that ITS blocks access from off-campus locations to the SMTP server when sending emails. This limitation has required laptops that access the SMTP server directly from off-campus locations to either have a separate configuration using a different SMTP server or to utilize the University’s Virtual Private Network (VPN) when sending email. Enabling authentication capabilities on the SMTP server allows ITS to fully support direct access to the SMTP server from areas outside of our network, limiting complexity and potentially reducing the support needs of our community.
Mail clients configured to utilize smtp.uconn.edu directly can use SMTP authentication through either SSL on port 465 or STARTTLS on port 587. The authentication credentials are simply your NetID and password. Outlook or other clients that use Exchange directly will not require reconfiguration and adjustment – they will simply continue to operate as they do now.
For assistance on configuring ports for SMTP Authentication, users can contact the ITS Technology Support Center by submitting a ticket at http://serviceit.uconn.edu.
UITS Purchases InCommon Certificate Service
ITS has procured an InCommon Certificate Service for the University in response to the recent Heartbleed exploit in the OpenSSL cryptographic software library. This service allows us to generate, for all UConn Domains, an unlimited number of certificates (e.g., SSL, extended validation, client, and code signing) that are validated by a trusted Certificate Authority.
Technical staff across the Institution aggressively responded to the recent Heartbleed exploit and updated University servers. Heartbleed attacked an OpenSSL vulnerability in order to obtain private data. It is possible that some certificates were compromised and it would be wise to replace any that might have been exposed. You may replace your certificates at no departmental cost by using the ITS fully subsidized InCommon Certificate Service.
Additional information on the new service can be found at https://its.uconn.edu/ssl-certificate-service/.
UITS Discontinues SafeConnect
The SafeConnect environment has provided a number of operating and management benefits to the university. It has, however, also generated a significant number of support problems for the community. ITS recently deployed a new version of the environment. It did not adequately address the long-standing support challenges and, after careful consideration of the product and based on direct feedback from the community, it has been permanently disabled. ITS will pursue other, less intrusive, approaches to replace the capabilities that SafeConnect previously provided.
The SafeConnect client that is currently installed on computers will no longer prevent access to the university network and it may be uninstalled at your convenience. If no action is taken, it will automatically uninstall itself after approximately six months of inactivity.
Web Dev Team Releases Events Calendar Update
We are excited to announce a new version of the UConn Events Calendar, which can be found at http://events.uconn.edu. The new version comes with a multitude of new key features and improvements, providing a powerful tool to promote events to the University community.
Some of the new key features and improvements include:
- A brand new look. Out with the old and in with the new. The Events Calendar has never looked better with a new control panel interface and visual display, making the service more streamlined and navigable for users of all kinds.
- Social media integration. Promotion is everything, and now we’ve made it easier for you to get the word out. Easily share your events to Facebook or Twitter straight from the Events Calendar interface – all with the click of a button.
- Crosslisting. Invite other calendars to list your event, or to add an event you see to your own calendar.
- Flag events. See an event displaying the wrong information? You can now flag them, bringing the attention of the organizer to any inaccuracies.
- Account settings. Calendar administrators have more control over their events, as they can now turn off public submissions and event invitations.
For any questions or concerns about using the calendar and submitting or managing events, please contact the ITS Web Development team at either firstname.lastname@example.org or 860.486.0654.
New IT Governance Structure
The IT Partners program is a streamlined governance structure consisting of three standing committees that are organized to provide clear roles, to prevent overlapping effort, and to align participants to focus areas. They provide oversight of University Information Technology and Services (ITS) systems and services and are advisory to the University CIO regarding the efficacy of existing or proposed central IT initiatives.
View the governance structure on the IT Strategy website at itstrategy.uconn.edu/governance-structure.
HuskyTech Joining UITS
The following is an announcement from the CIO.
I am contacting you to provide an update on the ongoing discussions between ITS and SAIT regarding opportunities for integration. The goal of these discussions has been to provide the best practical outcome for the community, and it has become clear that HuskyTech’s excellent service and support to the student community would be complimentary to other ITS support services. Effective March 31, 2014, HuskyTech will report to Pat Meinweiser. Please join me in welcoming this enthusiastic and effective group to the ITS family.
As always, you are encouraged to contact me if you have questions or concerns.
Michael R. Mundrane, Ph.D.
Vice Provost for Information Technology and Chief Information Officer
University of Connecticut