OIT News – March 2015

OIT News
Monthly news briefs, information and announcements
Office of Information Technology, NC State University
Issue 89, March 2015

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Follow OIT on Twitter @ncsu_oit
For up-to-the-minute reports on OIT systems, see SysNews
For help with computing problems, contact the NC State Help Desk

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01: Data center maintenance may impact major campus services April 11-12
02: ServiceNow is new call tracking remedy
03: ComTech to upgrade network switches to facilitate research
04: University issues Payment Card Industry (PCI) compliance requirements
05: Use two-factor authentication to add a layer of protection between you and hackers
06: Phase II of Wolfpack Reporting System Rewrite project slated for January 2016
07: It’s about time you use Google Calendar!
08: OIT offers Google Apps workshops
09: SAR training scheduled for May 6
10: Don’t be a cyber statistic!
11: OIT to suspend processing of Web Registry and Mail Manager requests for Google services on April 16 – Updated March 18

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01: Data Center maintenance may impact major campus services April 11-12
OIT will perform extended maintenance on multiple core components of the primary data centers’ infrastructure from 7 a.m. Saturday, April 11 through 6 p.m. Sunday, April 12.

Please note: The MyPack Portal and services available via the portal will not be available during this service window. This means you will NOT have access to your 2014 W-2 Wage and Tax Statement. To ensure you meet the April 15 federal and state tax filing deadline, please print your W-2 Form prior to April 11

OIT services with dependencies on the data centers may be degraded or unavailable for extended periods during the maintenance window. These services include, but are not limited to:

  • MyPack Portal and services available via the portal
  • Other Human Resources, Financial and Student systems
  • Moodle and other Distance Education and Learning Technology Applications (DELTA) resources
  • OIT hosted systems
  • Networked Attached Storage (NAS) shares and exports
  • OIT backup services
  • Remedy System
  • Virtual Computing Lab (VCL) services
  • WolfPrint services

For future updates, see SysNews.

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02: ServiceNow is new call tracking remedy
OIT will disable access to the 15-year-old Remedy call tracking and knowledge base system at 9 p.m. on Tuesday, March 24 and begin its transition to ServiceNow.

The ServiceNow development team anticipates minimal downtime for the transition. Campus users will be able to access their existing service tickets and the ServiceNow knowledge base by 6 a.m. on Wednesday, March 25. After the ServiceNow deployment, campus users will have read-only access to Remedy.

In preparation for the change, the team is contacting workgroup and knowledge owners to approve certain migration elements, including knowledge articles (formerly solutions in Remedy).

OIT is offering both general and custom ServiceNow training sessions for specific departments and colleges. You can register for general training via ClassMate or email Chris King at chking@ncsu.edu to request custom training for your unit.

For ServiceNow project updates, subscribe to the servicenow-info mailing list. For more information, contact the NC State Help Desk at help@ncsu.edu or 919.515.HELP (4357).

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03: ComTech to upgrade network switches to facilitate research
OIT Communication Technologies (ComTech) will soon install more than 50 high-performance network switches to facilitate leading-edge research both on and beyond NC State’s campus.

In 2013, ComTech was awarded a National Science Foundation Campus Cyberinfrastructure – Network Infrastructure and Engineering (CC-NIE) grant that provided nearly $500,000 to purchase the switches that will be installed in Engineering Building 1, Engineering Building 2, Engineering Building 3, College of Veterinary Medicine Research, Mann Hall, Partners III, Venture Center III, Ricks Hall, Riddick Hall, and Thomas Hall.

ComTech will migrate more equipment from 10/100 Mbps ports to 1Gbps ports on switches with 10Gbps uplinks to the campus network.  

The switches will support software-defined networking (SDN), a new network architecture, to permit certain researchers to access a regional SDN test bed that is currently under development. A joint effort involving NC State, MCNC/NCREN, Duke University, UNC-Chapel Hill, and the Renaissance Computing Institute (RENCI), the testbed will also be used to transfer large research data sets, provide 10Gbps links to participants and provide connectivity through a 100Gbps link to the Internet2 Advanced Layer2 Service (I2 AL2S) to other partnering universities and national labs.

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04: University issues Payment Card Industry (PCI) compliance requirements
Payment Card Industry (PCI) compliance is essential and mandatory for NC State. The costs of non-compliance for the university are substantial and can result in:

  • millions of dollars in fines if the university has a breach or a non-compliant event.
  • remediation of a breach or non-compliant event that can be higher than the fines, depending on the number of credit cards involved.  

Due to this elevated risk and the new external regulated financial standards associated with accepting payment cards/credit cards, each college dean or division head (or their approved delegate) must positively affirm the following:

  • The college’s or division’s primary owner for each merchant account.
  • The business manager who will be the key PCI leader for the college or division and who will ensure that the merchant account owners are fulfilling their responsibilities.
  • The key employee who will provide technical assistance for each merchant account in the college or division.

The University Controller’s Office will be contacting each dean or division Head (or their approved delegate) in the next month for the positive affirmations and for any other items required for PCI compliance.

University websites

All NC State units accepting payment cards or credit cards must be approved by the Merchant Services unit within the Controller’s Office. Unauthorized websites or unauthorized acceptances of payment cards or credit cards are explicitly disallowed.

All websites within the NC State set of Web domains that collect payments must be authorized by Merchant Services and be in compliance of PCI standards with approval from OIT Security and Compliance.

NC State reserves the right to take appropriate action to assure PCI compliance, including but not limited to shutting down a website and confiscating funds.

For more information, see the 3D memo published on March 5 or contact Amanda Richardson, Controller’s Office Merchant Services manager, at 919.513.4464 or aarichar@ncsu.edu.

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05: Use two-factor authentication to add a layer of protection between you and hackers
OIT Security and Compliance encourages you to use two-factor authentication wherever possible to reduce your risk of having your accounts compromised due to increased phishing attacks and various malware.

Also known as two-step authentication, this process adds an extra layer of protection between you and the bad guys by requiring you to verify your identity in two steps in order to access your online account services. For example, if you have activated two-factor authentication for your Google Apps @ NC State account, you will be required to log in with both your password and an additional security code that is delivered to your mobile device via text, voice call or mobile app — hence, two steps or factors.

An ever-growing number of services already support two-factor authentication, including Facebook, Tumblr, eBay, PayPal, Twitter, and online banking. To learn more about who supports two-factor authentication, visit Two Factor Auth (2FA). You are also encouraged to read each company’s documentation thoroughly to understand how two-factor authentication works with their service and how to log in if your two-factor device and/or number is unavailable.

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06: Phase II of Wolfpack Reporting System Rewrite project slated for January 2016
OIT and campus customers are working on phase II of the Wolfpack Reporting System (WRS) Rewrite project. Available via the MyPack Portal, WRS is a one-stop shop for frequently used financial reports.

After consulting with various campus groups, the WRS project team has started the development work to combine and rewrite some WRS reports to address performance issues related to running reports and using drill downs. The team’s goals are:

  • combine the best features of the financial reports.
  • eliminate confusion about which reports to use.
  • provide additional ways to view financial data.
  • provide training on newly defined reports.

The project team hopes to complete phase II by January 2016.

In October, the team updated the WRS to improve its performance and add new functions, including:

  • The main menu now loads significantly faster and stays open in its own tab/window, with each report opening in a separate tab/window. Campus users save time by not having to reload the main menu for each new report.
  • Multiple reports can be opened simultaneously with drill-down and rerun functionality.
  • The type and number of financial reports that are run on campus can now be captured.

For more information about upcoming changes, see the Wolfpack Reporting System Rewrite website.

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07: It’s about time you use Google Calendar!
Finding a suitable time for everyone to meet can be a difficult and time-consuming task even with Google Calendar. But, there’s a solution: Suggested times, which offers you open time slots where all participants are available to meet.  

To use Suggested times,

  1. Create a calendar event for a specific date.
  2. Add the names of your guests.
  3. Click the Suggested times link. A pop-up box with available time slots will appear.

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08: OIT offers Google Apps workshops
OIT’s upcoming training courses include:

  • Introduction to Google Hangouts – Laptop/Desktop Application will be offered on Tuesday, March 24 from noon to 1:30 p.m. in Room 110 of the Avent Ferry Technology Center. This is a fun and interactive workshop to learn about the emergence of Google Hangouts, a free Web conferencing tool that allows easy communication on campus or across the globe via video, audio and text messaging. Learn how to use the Hangouts platform and its many helpful features. You are encouraged to bring a laptop to the session and can register via Classmate.
     
  • Google Forms will be offered on Wednesday, March 25 from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. in Room 110 of the Avent Ferry Technology Center. Are you looking for a way to easily create surveys, plan events or gather data? Are you interested in learning more about specific apps available in Google Drive? If so, don’t miss this interactive session on the basics of creating forms and viewing responses. You will also learn several advanced features, such as embedding forms in websites, adding page breaks and incorporating question validation. If you would prefer to use your own laptop, feel free to bring it. To register, visit Classmate.
     
  • Create and Collaborate with Google Drive will be offered on Thursday, March 26 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. in Room 110 of the Avent Ferry Technology Center. In this hands-on workshop, you will learn everything you need to know to get started using Google Docs/Drive at NC State. You will learn how to use Drive in a collaborative environment, including editing a file simultaneously with other people, securing a document through file sharing permissions, and creating files for use by a group of colleagues or friends. To register, visit Classmate.
     
  • Gmail: Advanced Tools, Tips & Tricks will be offered on Tuesday, March 31 and Wednesday, April 22 from 9 a.m. to noon in Room 110 of the Avent Ferry Technology Center. If you’re comfortable with the basics of Gmail and are ready to take it to the next level, this more advanced hands-on workshop is for you. You will learn more about creating labels, filters and canned responses, scheduling Google Calendar Events, and using Google Drive through Gmail, along with any planned or newly released Google features. To register, visit Classmate.
     
  • Google Slides will be offered on Thursday, April 2 from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. in Room 110 of the Avent Ferry Technology Center. This session will focus on how to create, edit and share presentations. It will also include themes, transitions, animations, and more. If you would prefer to use your own laptop, feel free to bring it. To register, visit Classmate.

  • Gmail: Beyond the Basics will be offered on Tuesday, April 7 from 9 a.m. to noon in Room 110 of the Avent Ferry Technology Center. This workshop will provide an in-depth overview of Gmail features, including Labels, Search tools, Contacts management, Chat, Tasks, Settings, Labs, and new features. If time permits, a brief introduction to Google Hangouts will be provided. To register, visit Classmate
     
  • Introduction to Google Services at NC State will be offered on Thursday, April 9 from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. in Room 110 of the Avent Ferry Technology Center. Workshop topics will include a review of currently available Google apps on campus, accessibility, recommended settings, security tips, support, Web Registry tools (i.e., generic accounts, calendar resources), and much more! To register, visit Classmate.
     
  • Google Calendar will be offered on Wednesday, April 15 from 9 a.m. to noon in Room 110 of the Avent Ferry Technology Center. This workshop will focus on appointment slots, event attachments, maps and directions, sharing and embedding calendars, labs, quick add, search options, mobile notifications, scheduling online meetings, and more. For prerequisite information and to register, visit Classmate.

For other available training sessions, visit Classmate Scheduled Workshops. If you are interested in custom software training, please complete the Custom Training Form. Email all training questions to classreg@ncsu.edu.

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09: SAR training scheduled for May 6
Security Access Request (SAR) training for campus requestors and approvers of access to secured university data will be held Wednesday, May 6 from 9:30 a.m. to noon in Room 108 of the Avent Ferry Technology Center. Visit Classmate to register for training.

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10: Don’t be a cyber statistic!
OIT Security and Compliance wrapped up its Data Privacy Month awareness program on Feb. 28. Many students, faculty and staff participated by watching security videos that show them how to protect and secure their personal and work-related data. OIT also incorporated social media to extend its reach across campus to help users practice safe cyber interactions.

OIT’s job is not over; it remains vigilant about data protection and encourages all campus users to be aware of cyber threats and associated risks. A National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) online privacy study shows that consumers are more concerned with the loss or theft of their personal and financial information than being involved in a car accident or a victim of a crime. Use these safety tips to help you protect the privacy and security of your own and university information:

  • Activate Google’s two-step verification for an extra layer of protection for your account.
  • Keep your apps and operating systems up-to-date. Reboot your devices at least weekly to allow updates to install.
  • Install the free, university-provided antivirus software on up to three of your Internet-connected devices to reduce risk of virus infection and malware.
  • Change your password often and choose strong passwords that are:
    • easy to remember but hard to guess.
    • passphrases and include uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols.
    • unique for each of your online accounts.
  • Beware of phishing attacks. Never give your password to anyone! NC State will NEVER ask for your password.
  • ALWAYS hover over links in email, posts or texts to verify their intended location.
  • Never click on suspicious or unrecognized links in emails, including those from NC State.
  • Do not store credit card or other personal information in your email account.
  • Arm yourself with security knowledge by watching brief security awareness videos at SANS Securing the Human.

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11: OIT to suspend processing of Web Registry and Mail Manager requests for Google services on April 16 – Updated March 18
To prepare for transitioning the remaining university’s Postini email services to Google Vault, OIT will suspend the processing of all Google-related Web Registry requests for generic accounts, Google groups and global resources on Thursday, April 16. The Mail Manager tool for adding, deleting, and modifying email aliases will also be disabled.

Campus users can still submit requests for Google-related items created and managed through Web Registry, but they will not be processed until Tuesday, April 28. The Mail Manager tool, however, will NOT be available during this time period.

If you have any questions, contact the NC State Help Desk at help@ncsu.edu or 919.515.4357 (HELP).

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