OIT News – December 2016

OIT News
Monthly news briefs, information and announcements
Office of Information Technology, NC State University
Issue 110, December 2016


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


01: NC State requires Google 2-Step and Duo to log in to systems and accounts
02: Central IT extended maintenance scheduled for Feb. 4-5
03: OIT Walk-in Center and NC State Help Desk announce holiday operating hours
04: Help NC State save energy this holiday season!
05: New Google Sites
06: Give yourself the gift of education!
07: SAR training scheduled for Jan. 10
08: Staying safe on social media

01: NC State requires Google 2-Step and Duo to log in to systems and accounts
Strong passwords alone are simply not enough to thwart phishing attacks, which can lead to compromised accounts and exposed university data. But when combined with other security measures such as two-factor authentication, a two-step login process, they provide better protection.

Beginning Tuesday, Oct. 31, 2017, NC State will require all employees to use both Google 2-Step and Duo 2-Factor Authentication to access most web-based university systems and accounts.

Two-factor authentication (2FA) methods like Google 2-Step and Duo add an additional layer of security when a user signs in to an account. Once the user activates this security measure, the user will be required to log in with a password and an additional security measure (e.g., a security code that is delivered to a mobile device via text or mobile app, a USB security key or backup codes).

Effective Tuesday, Oct. 31 , 2017, all university employees will be required to use both:

  • Google 2-Step Verification for
    • their Google Apps @ NC State account.
    • any Google generic accounts on which the employee is listed as an administrative or technical contact.
  • Duo Two-Factor Authentication for university web applications that require Shibboleth logins.
    (e.g., MyPack Portal, Moodle, PeopleAdmin).

To meet the Oct. 31 deadline, OIT will approach the implementation in phases, working with colleges, divisions and units to develop timelines for their employees. In the next phase, employees with significant access to Ultra-sensitive or Purple data (e.g., Social Security numbers, credit card data) who have already enabled Google 2-Step will be required to enroll in Duo Two-Factor Authentication. They will be contacted in January and will have a deadline of Monday, Feb. 27 to enroll.

Open enrollment/activation for:

  • Google 2-Step Verification is available now.
  • Duo Two-Factor Authentication will be available on Monday, Jan. 23, 2017.

Employees who choose to enroll ahead of the units’ implementation schedule will need to refer to material provided at Two-Factor Authentication at NC State or contact their IT staff for support and questions.

For more information about this requirement, employees should contact the NC State Help Desk at help@ncsu.edu or 919.515.4357 (HELP) Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., excluding campus holidays. This information is also available via SysNews.

As a general reminder, NC State University will never ask for passwords or security codes. Please do not share them with anyone.

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02: Central IT extended maintenance scheduled for Feb. 4-5
On Saturday, Feb. 4 through Sunday, Feb. 5, OIT will perform extensive system maintenance, such as data center improvements that require the shutdown and movement of equipment, hardware replacement and infrastructure configuration. This extended maintenance window is expected to run from 6 a.m. Saturday to 6 p.m. Sunday.

During the maintenance window, major campus IT systems and services may be offline or experience intermittent periods of unavailability or slow performance. More details about the availability of specific systems and services will be available in the January edition of OIT News and SysNews.

For scheduled system changes and updates, see the Change Management Calendar or SysNews. If you have any questions, contact the NC State Help Desk at help@ncsu.edu or 919.515.4357 (HELP).

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03: OIT Walk-in Center and NC State Help Desk announce holiday operating hours
If you’re going to need IT support from the NC State Help Desk or the OIT Walk-In Center, make sure you are aware of their holiday operating hours.

The operating hours for the OIT Walk-in Center, located in Room 101 of the West Dunn Building (corner of Dan Allen Drive and Thurman Drive), will be:

  • 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. today (Friday, Dec. 16) through Friday, Dec. 23.
  • Closed Saturday, Dec. 17.
  • Closed Saturday, Dec. 24 through Monday, Jan. 2.
  • 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 3 to Friday, Jan. 6.

The Walk-in Center will resume normal operating hours on Monday, Jan. 9.

Customers who have left computers at the Walk-in Center will have to pick them up before 5 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 23, or they will have to wait until Jan. 3, when the Walk-in Center reopens.

The NC State Help Desk will be open during normal operating hours today through Friday,  Dec. 23. It will be closed during Winter Break, Saturday, Dec. 24 to Monday, Jan. 2, but will resume normal operating hours on Tuesday, Jan. 3. You can contact the Help Desk at help@ncsu.edu or 919.515.4357 (HELP). Have a wonderful holiday WolfPack!

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04: Help NC State save energy this holiday season!
As Santa’s best kept secret, you can help NC State save money and reduce its paw print during the Holiday Energy Savings Initiative from Saturday, Dec. 24  to Monday, Jan. 2.

For the past decade, NC State has safely lowered temperatures in many campus buildings to help reduce energy consumption. But, there’s more that you can do that doesn’t require you to dress up like a green or even a red elf with pointy ears and hats.

Before you leave for the Winter Break, remember to:

  • Turn off any non-essential electronics, including scanners, printers and other computer peripherals that won’t be used while you’re away.
  • Turn off all lights in your office and close any exterior windows and doors.
  • Consider a shutdown of your computer as opposed to a sleep or hibernate state, if compatible with your business processes. Even if you need to keep a computer on, turn off your monitor(s).
  • Spread the word about the Holiday Energy Savings Initiative and encourage others to participate to maximize energy conservation and savings. Last year’s initiative resulted in $288,990 in savings for the university and more than $3 million to date.

For more energy saving tips during the Winter Break, visit the Holiday Energy Savings website.

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05: New Google Sites
Many of you have explored the new Google Sites since NC State’s early adoption of it last summer. Last month, Google rolled out the new interface to all G Suite (formerly Google Apps) customers with more features, including:

  • updated drag-and-drop functionality
  • simplified Google Drive integration and real-time collaboration
  • Google Analytics for performance tracking
  • more theme options

You will be able to continue managing classic Sites at least through 2017 or until Google provides a timeline to migrate it to the new interface in 2018.

To experience the new platform, visit Google Sites or follow these steps:

  1. From your Drive, select the New button.
  2. Select More and then Google Sites.

You can also take a tour of the new platform from the More Options menu within Google Sites.

Also, see:

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Give yourself the gift of education!
Upcoming OIT workshops include:

  • Advanced Drive will be offered Tuesday, Dec. 20 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. in Room 110 of the Avent Ferry Technology Center. Are you comfortable creating folders, sharing documents and using Drive’s basic organization tools? If you can answer “yes” to these questions, then you’re ready to take Drive to the next level. Come to this advanced workshop to learn about file management, uploading, exporting and converting documents, advanced searching, installing apps, and new functions. To register, visit Classmate.
  • Google Calendar: Advanced Productivity will be offered Wednesday, Dec. 21 from 9 a.m. to noon in Room 110 of the Avent Ferry Technology Center. If you’re comfortable with the basics of Google Calendar and are ready to use some more of its features, this hands-on workshop is for you. This workshop will focus on calendar sections (e.g., my calendar, other calendars, mini calendar), event details and calendar management. Specific features will include event attachments, maps and directions, sharing and embedding calendars, labs, quick add, search options, mobile notifications, and scheduling Hangouts (video conferencing). To register, visit Classmate.
  • Duo Two-Factor Authentication IT Support Training will be offered Tuesday, Jan. 10 and Thursday, Jan. 19 from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. in Room 110 of the Avent Ferry Technology Center. Register for this one-hour session that will cover common end-user questions, managing business processes and challenges, adding and managing devices, and more! To register and to view additional training opportunities, visit Classmate.
  • Cisco WebEx will be offered Wednesday, Jan. 11 from noon to 1 p.m. in Room 110 of the Avent Ferry Technology Center. This lunch and learn event will provide an overview of how Cisco WebEx Online Meetings enables you to virtually meet, share content and video conference with anyone in the world with an Internet connection, including mobile users. To register, visit Classmate.
  • Gmail: More than your Inbox will be offered Thursday, Jan. 12 from 9 a.m. to noon in Room 110 of the Avent Ferry Technology Center. There is more to Gmail than just composing, replying to and forwarding messages. This workshop will provide an in-depth overview of Gmail features, including an emphasis on labels and search tools, contacts management, chat, tasks, settings, labs, and new features. A reference including many additional helpful resources will also be provided. To register, visit Classmate.
  • Accessibility Scanner Browser Tools will be offered Friday, Jan. 13 from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. in Room 106 of the Avent Ferry Technology Center. From the beginning to the end of a project, accessibility is an important aspect of development. This session will be covering the browser tools that are part of the Accessibility Scanner suite and how they can be included in the development of your project. To register, visit Classmate.

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

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07: SAR training scheduled for Jan. 10
Security Access Request (SAR) training for campus requestors and approvers of access to secured university data will be held on Tuesday, Jan. 10 from 9:30 a.m. to noon in Room 110 of the Avent Ferry Technology Center. To register, visit REPORTER.

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08: Staying safe on social media
As of 2016, 78 percent of the U.S. population has an online social media profile, according to Statista. Compare this with a mere 24 percent of the population, only eight years ago. Globally, an estimated 1.96 billion of the Earth’s population have an online presence. During the holiday season, social media plays a major role in helping us stay connected and share with family and friends. But it is important to be careful, as the social media environment may expose us to risks, such as personal identity theft, social engineering scams, reputational loss, and even “real-life” threats.

To avoid social media pitfalls that can have personally damaging effects, follow these basic safety guidelines:

  • Be vigilant of social engineering. According to Ouch!, “social engineering is a type of psychological attack where an attacker misleads you into doing something they want you to do.” From fake profiles to imposters posing as acquaintances, the online world is rife with hackers trying to convince you to hand over your personal information. The consequences could range from identify theft to reputational and personal loss, depending on the intent of the attack. Only add contacts to your network that you know and trust and can confirm have sent you requests. Be careful what you share publicly, as social engineers will attempt to use the information they glean from your social media presence against you.
  • Review and update your privacy settings regularly. Social media networks often make changes to their privacy policies and features, which may impact your privacy settings. The stronger your privacy settings, the less access hackers will have to your personal information.  
  • Watch out for phishing scams. Links to free downloads, quizzes, games, or even intriguing articles may be phishing scams. Ensure you have a good antivirus or anti-malware program installed, with pop-up blockers and website reputation scanning, to help block bad URLs. But also be savvy about which links you choose to open and never enter your personal information on unknown sites.
  • Keep your posts private, positive and professional. Consider your privacy settings when sharing photos and posts that reveal your location or other personal information. Imagine your comfort level if the content you shared was posted to a street-side billboard or online. Also, whether posting to your private network or publicly, try to keep your posts positive. However, if a post is conveying more serious content, make sure to remain professional. What you share in a rash moment may not only be seen by your social network, but by employers, potential networking contacts, as well as unknown or nefarious individuals. Maintain your reputation and those of your family, friends and workplace by posting thoughtfully.
  • Keep your social media accounts secure. If your social medial site offers two-factor authentication (2FA), be sure to enable it on your account. 2FA adds an additional layer of security by requiring you to enter another security measure, such as an emailed or texted code to log in to your account. This security feature helps block hackers from your account, even if they obtain your password. But always, as a first line of defense, ensure that you use strong and unique passwords on all your accounts.

For additional details, see:

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