TechKnowledge — IT News
Your Information - Even Safer Now
April 22, 2013 — The University Data Classification System has four levels ranging from Public to Highly Restricted.
The Information Security Officers (ISOs) across the four campuses recognized the need to further differentiate security requirements for certain types of data. Within Data Classification Level 3 (DCL3) some data types such as protected health information (PHI), e-commerce, SSNs, etc. require more stringent security requirements that are not reasonable for other DCL3 data (ex: FERPA-protected student data).Therefore Data Classification Level 4 (DCL4) has been redefined from National Security Interest to Highly Restricted. This change allows for a differentiation in security requirements of the data types listed above. Any data types requiring the most stringent security measures now fall within Level 4. While this will impact the security measures for DCL4 data, it does not decrease security requirements for DCL3 data.
What prompted the adjustments? What are the expected benefits from the change?
This change groups like data to ensure appropriate security measures. The ISOs reviewed the security measures and applicable statutory and regulatory requirements as well as industry best practices for meeting those requirements in the most effective and efficient manner. As a result DCL4 was redefined as Highly Restricted and now includes the data types requiring the most stringent security measures.
Access to Wi-Fi, Even When Travelling
April 1, 2013 — The University of Missouri has joined the eduroam community to provide Wi-Fi access while travelling to participating institutions. MU faculty, staff and students can use their MU username and password to access wireless networks on eduroam-affiliated campuses.
Likewise, a wireless network named "eduroam" now exists on the MU campus for visitors from affiliates to use while they're here (must be set up prior to travel). Only visitors to MU from affiliated campuses should use the eduroam network; by design, it prevents access to MU-specific resources. All active faculty, staff and students with current PawPrint/password should continue to use MizzouWireless, not eduroam.
Users should call the IT Help Desk at (573)882-5000 before travelling to get set up prior to their trip. If help is needed while travelling, the Help Desk can also assist.
MizzouWireless Outage Response
March 8, 2013 — The MizzouWireless network, which is managed by the Division of IT (DoIT), experienced outages that affected the entirety of the MU campus March 6–8. While our technicians continue to investigate the specific reasons for the incident, we would like to share what we know.
Our technicians, alongside engineers from our wireless equipment supplier, worked around-the-clock to stabilize the network and re-enable access on the MU campus. At this time, MizzouWireless is running successfully and continues to be monitored 24/7 by our networking team. In addition, we are investigating the root cause for this issue.
Truly, we understand the importance of MizzouWireless in the daily activities of the University, and its success will continue to play a primary role in our plans for the future as we strive to prevent future issues.
Thank you for your patience during these outages. We pride ourselves on providing technology services and support to the MU community and are committed to serving you better as we carry out improvements.
Microsoft BitLocker Encryption Now Available
January 16, 2013 — Using full disk encryption helps protect data by encrypting a laptop or desktop computer's entire hard drive, as well as external hard drives and thumb drives. This feature provides assurance that in the event that a PC is lost or stolen, unauthorized access to the data is minimized.
Full disk encryption is strongly recommended for Data Classification Level (DCL) 3 and 4 data because any unauthorized disclosure would likely cause serious consequences for the University community. DCL3 and DCL4 data includes information like:
- Student or personnel information (other than directory information)
- Social Security Numbers
- Protected Health Information (PHI)
- eCommerce or Payment Card Industry (PCI)
Look for more information about data classification levels on the UM InfoSec site.
Microsoft BitLocker is available at no charge for University equipment. Contact your departmental IT Pro to begin service.
Protect Your Technology During the Break
December 7, 2012 — Ready to enjoy time off school? Follow these tips to avoid email overload or data loss while you’re away!
- Before leaving campus, make sure that you have turned on junk mail filtering. Whether you are on campus or off, it's important that you get in the habit of checking your junk mail folder about twice a week for valid email mistakenly directed there.
- Consider temporarily unsubscribing from any mailing lists to which you belong.
- While you are away from campus, continue to check your student email for campus news.
- The semester isn’t over yetGrades haven’t been printed yet, so make backup copies of your data. Equipment or software crashes can, and often do, destroy data.
- To protect your computer from viruses, update anti-virus applications, operating system and programs weekly.
- Do not open attachments or click on links from unknown sources.
- If there is constant contact to the Internet, such as DSL or cable modem, consider using a personal firewall solution as an added line of defense against unwanted network access.
- Take extra measures to protect your laptop and all the data stored on it. Keep it locked, and don't leave it visible or unattended in your vehicle.
Show your spirit with GoMizzou
November 27, 2012 — GoMizzou now offers a convenient collection of campus-related social media channels. From within GoMizzou, Android and iPhone users can now browse the official Facebook and Twitter feeds for Mizzou, Althetics, MSA, Maneater and more! YouTube channels and Mizzou music are also just a swipe away!
The free GoMizzou application provides dynamic University of Missouri information (sometimes based on the user's location). GoMizzou also provides access to the MU libraries, directory, a searchable campus map, local news and events, safe ride request, campus dining menus, course information and athletics details.
Division of IT Applications Development Network (ADN) and the Missouri Students Association (MSA) encourage student suggestions or requests. For more information, please visit DoIT's ADN pages.
Windows 8 Brings Security Risks With New Features
While MU likes to keep up with the latest IT trends, we also assess the risks associated with any new technology. With the recent release of Windows 8, the Division of IT (DoIT) has closely evaluated the new operating system to determine the most secure implementation. Due to a number of factors discussed below, the Division of IT cannot yet recommend Windows 8 for University use.
There are many popular services for storing and accessing files “in the cloud.” While access to personal files from anywhere may be convenient, it isn’t secure for University data. Windows 8 is closely integrated with cloud technologies, which could jeopardize users in the event of a breach or interruption in service.
Tablets have quickly become an alternative to using laptop or desktop computers. However, DoIT does not recommend running a variant of Windows 8 called RT (Microsoft Surface, for example) due to its heavy reliance on cloud computing.
Becoming accustomed to how a computer works takes time. Due to the significant interface changes to Windows 8, some users may experience a steep learning curve and may require training.
Most computers recommend a complex login password, i.e. at least a length of eight letters (upper and lower case), numbers and special characters. However, Windows 8 allows for passwords based upon a PIN or an image, which is not secure enough when safeguarding sensitive University data.
DoIT will continue to evaluate Windows 8 for possible future implementation.
New AnyConnect VPN now available
The Division of IT now offers Cisco AnyConnect VPN for encrypted remote access to University resources. AnyConnect is available for Windows, OS X, iOS, some Linux distributions, and some Android devices.
To begin using the new VPN client, install it from AnyConnect.missouri.edu. There is no charge for individuals to use the AnyConnect VPN client. The legacy Nortel/Avaya VPN system will be unavailable effective Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012. The legacy Cisco VPN will be unavailable effective Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2013.
More information is available online, or contact the IT Help Desk with any questions.
It’s MU Security Awareness Month
DoIT will host security expert workshops on campus in an effort to help faculty, staff and students become better informed about computer and information security issues. Some of the workshops will be more technical or IT Professional focused; however, the sessions are open to all campus community members. Audience participation is encouraged, so please bring your questions and take full advantage of the experts on-hand to answer them!
For a full schedule, please visit MU Security Awareness Month.
Want to take your coursework with you?
Blackboard is introducing an all-new version of their Mobile Learn app with new features, including test taking on the go, push notifications, use on cellular networks and more. Download the latest version of Mobile Learn from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store. Once installed, students may purchase Blackboard access for $1.99 per year or a one-time fee of $5.99.
Older versions of Mobile Learn will no longer be able to access Blackboard. Users who do not wish to upgrade may continue to access Blackboard on their mobile devices through a web browser.
For more information, see the MU eTopics webpage.
For a full list of features, visit Blackboard, Inc. online.
Secure TransmIT Now Available
August 31, 2012 — Secure TransmIT transfers files safely using a web browser or Microsoft Outlook. University faculty and staff can send files using a fully encrypted transmission to anyone with a valid email address. It even provides the necessary security to send sensitive or restricted data as defined by the UM Data Classification System (DCS).
Some electronic files cannot or should not be sent via email. Secure TransmIT is the ideal solution for these situations:
- Large files (up to 50 GB every 30 days)
- Specific file formats (such as .exe files)
- Files containing sensitive or restricted content (such as data protected by FERPA)
There is no charge for Secure TransmIT service. Contact the IT Help Desk to join the service. Details are available online.
Columbia-Boone County Joint Communications Offers Smart911 Web Service
August 23, 2012 — Columbia-Boone County Public Safety Joint Communications now offers a free web service to help when you call 9-1-1.
Smart911 (www.Smart911.com) is a secure site where citizens can enter information to make available to 9-1-1 operators. Smart911 delivers 9-1-1 caller information automatically to the call taker's workstation at the Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP). The important information — which may include photos, medical issues and/or current location — helps first responders (police, fire or EMS) address the emergency.
Some key features of Smart911 include:
- The system works with any 9-1-1 call placed within Boone County.
- Existing 9-1-1 fees support Smart911, so it's free to register.
- Smart911 is 100% private and secure.
- Information travels with you — any Smart911 participating PSAP will receive your information with your phone call.
- Smart911 is provided by Columbia/Boone County Public Safety Joint Communications.
Better-informed first responders are better equipped to help you. With Smart911, paramedics are aware of critical medical information like Alzheimer's or allergies. Police have photos in case of an Amber Alert, and fire fighters know household details — ensuring that everyone is rescued during an evacuation, even pets. Information can include family members' photos, medical conditions, home addresses of mobile phone and VoIP callers, disabilities or other rescue-related information. Register today at www.Smart911.com.
August 10, 2012 — Run StartHere-MizzouWireless on your laptop when you return to campus in order to reconnect to the wireless network.
The security certificate for MizzouWireless was updated in late May. If you've been away from campus for the summer, you need to get the new certificate when you return to campus. Running StartHere-MizzouWireless will update your certificate and connect your laptop to the wireless network.
- Connect to the wireless network called StartHere-MizzouWireless.
- Open a web browser.
- Follow the instructions on the configuration wizard.
StartHere is not intended for use on mobile devices. Most mobile devices will either update automatically or prompt the user to accept a new certificate. If prompted, accept the certificate.
If you have trouble connecting, visit the The Mizzou Store TigerTech Service Desk in the lower level of The Mizzou Store for assistance. See also the KnowledgeBase article How to: Configure Wireless Internet Access at MU for detailed wireless configuration instructions.
University Employees Receive Special Offer from Microsoft
July 6, 2012 — Wish you could use the same Microsoft applications from your office computer on your home machine? Microsoft offers University of Missouri employees enrollment in Software Assurance Home Use Program (HUP).
Under HUP, University employees may purchase a single Mac or PC version of any Microsoft titles actively enrolled in Software Assurance coverage on their campus. Currently, Microsoft Office Professional Plus 2010 is the only software available systemwide at the discounted price of $9.95, which includes packaging, shipping and handling.
What's included in Office Enterprise 2010:
- SharePoint Workspace
By enrolling in HUP, employees are entering a software license agreement directly with Microsoft, not the University of Missouri. This special offer is for current employees, and HUP license agreements expire when employment is terminated with the University.
Interested employees must use their campus email to validate their eligibility through MyServices. Upon registration with MyServices, employees will receive an email message with a link and authorization code needed to complete the transaction with Microsoft.
Software support and HUP frequently asked questions are available through Microsoft online.
Cell Phone Discounts for the University Community
June 8, 2012 — Being a member of the University of Missouri community has its benefits — some of which are discounts on software, computers and cell phone service.
As students come to campus each year, they frequently hear of "educational pricing" on popular software and computers through The Mizzou Store TigerTech. However, most don't realize that departments, faculty, staff and students are also eligible for discounts on current or new cellular service plans.
A simple phone call may save existing customers up to 15% off their current monthly rate. Discounts vary among carriers. AT&T, Sprint, U.S. Cellular and Verizon offer reduced rates for both departmental service plans and personal contracts for individual faculty and staff members. AT&T, Sprint and U.S. Cellular also offer discounted rates to students.
The eLearning Portal... is LIVE!
The University of Missouri eLearning portal is now available! Online programs and courses serve students not only in Missouri, but throughout the country and all over the world. Regardless of their physical location, anyone can be a University of Missouri student.
The portal is the product of an extensive, cooperative, system-wide effort to produce an integrated online environment in which:
- Prospective students may conveniently seek online courses and programs, find institutional information and apply for admission.
- Enrolled students may register for online courses, review personal information such as holds, enrollment dates, and account and advisor information, as well as connect to all of their courses in Blackboard via single sign-on.
- Content managers can customize their campus presence by providing dynamic news, calendar and program-specific descriptions in order to attract potential students.
- Campus-specific branding permits continuity in existing marketing and recruitment efforts.
- Campus help desks are prepared to answer technical questions that may arise from users.
This first phase of the portal project was largely focused on enabling students to discover and access courses. Future phases will include enhancements based on staff, faculty and student feedback and industry best practices to make learning through the portal easier and more convenient. Student reviews of the portal to date have been enthusiastic, and those surveyed are excited to have access to this tool. In the near future, we will be working with campus representatives on strategies for implementation and utilization of the portal and ways to make this innovative resource even more useful for students.
Dr. Springer Speaks about Big Data Challenges
Dr. Gordon Springer recently spoke with InformationWeek to explain the "big data" process and its challenges. His interview with InformationWeek, a magazine reaching more than 440,000 business technology professionals, highlighted Appistry, a new strategic partner of the UM Bioinformatics Consortium (UMBC).
Appistry, a St. Louis-based company, has partnered with UMBC to use their software to improve the extended processing time required to analyze the approximately 5–6 terabytes of data generated by the University of Missouri's DNA Core Facility high-throughput sequencer. This campus-based service, located in the Bond Life Science Building, provides sequencing support to many of the life science researchers on campus. Through the DNA Core facility, a single data-generating experiment can take 4–10 days to process. During that period, UMBC receives data but cannot process or analyze it until the entire multi-terabyte dataset is received.
"The software that we are using improves the ability to run data analyses in parallel, which has not been done previously," explained Dr. Springer. "We're taking advantage of an increased number of cores and processors that we can bring to bear collectively on a single problem. In our case, we can get up to 192 processors working on the problem simultaneously and reduce our normal processing time for a set of data from about 20–24 hours down to about 1 3/4 hours — about a 14-fold improvement in processing time." A similar analysis pipeline used at the Washington University in St. Louis Genome Center demonstrated speed improvements of about 30 hours to about 5–6 hours.
IT Training Now Offers Courses to the Public
As budgets tighten and job duties expand, employees need to learn the software skills necessary to accomplish their new assignments. IT Training is the answer to limited professional enrichment dollars. Even in tight-budget times, employees want to learn and grow. IT Training's professional instructors and small class sizes offer a more personal, hands-on learning experience than a conference, are full of great information, and require minimal travel.
In order to help local agencies, offices and individuals during the economic crisis, the University of Missouri now offers its IT Training courses to the public. IT Training offers half-day classes on a variety of IT topics, including Microsoft Office productivity, the Adobe Creative Suite, Web design and programming, and movie and animation production. IT Training courses are free to members of the University community in attendance, but cost $89 per course for members of the public.
In today's economy, you must spend your limited resources wisely. IT Training is the answer to motivate your employees to get more done and stretch your budget! More details are available, or you can view the course calendar and register online.
English Department Revamps Website with Help from ADN
The Division of IT's Applications Development Network (ADN) collaborated with Mizzou's Department of English on their website redesign. The teams joined forces to improve the site user experience and provide an easy way for English Department faculty and staff to maintain the site.
"Our main go-to group was previously the College of Arts and Science Computing Support, but they weren't able to help with the added functionality. That's when we were referred to ADN," explains Department of English Associate Chair Noah Heringman. "Our faculty and staff can now sign in to the web page and easily update the content and pages for which they are responsible."
The ADN group provides free consultation, small-scale application development, hosting and maintenance assistance for MU faculty, staff and students to directly impact students or support teaching, learning and research.
Heringman contacted the ADN group in 2011. The Department of English and ADN "came together and laid out the steps to work with our research assistant, Sarah Zurhellen, who performed the development and maintenance."
"We didn't build the Department of English a new website," says ADN programmer and analyst James "Gates" Richardson. "ADN paired up with the current web resource in the Department of English to help them design the website they needed with new functionality."
Heringman praises ADN as a great team. "They have different approaches and are extremely helpful. They are an excellent resource in an environment where more departments are developing more and more needs."
Access MU Computing Sites Without Leaving Home
You don't have to buy expensive software or leave your own home to complete your MU homework. Just log into Software Anywhere and use the online academic software! All you need is a computer, your pawprint, password and a campus network connection. If you aren't on campus, you'll also need to download a free virtual private network (VPN) application.
An MU Graduate student told us: "I think Software Anywhere is awesome. I live and work in Jefferson City and Software Anywhere makes it feasible for me to take classes at MU. I have used SPSS and Stata via Software Anywhere for my coursework. Many thanks for providing this technology."
Best of all, Software Anywhere is available at no charge, 24 hours a day! Take a moment to try it out today.
Access IT Training From Your Smartphone
During a recent site upgrade, training.missouri.edu incorporated a mobile-friendly version of the course-registration system. Mary DeFroy, assistant manager of Applications and Training, says, "We released a mobile version to better serve users visiting the site via a browser on mobile devices, such as Android, Win7, iPhone and Blackberry."
Mobile device users now have quicker access to view the course calendar and enroll in upcoming courses. The "My Courses" option lets users view courses that they are currently enrolled in or have previously completed.
The smoother access lets users check course locations while on the go. Joleen Pfefer, DoIT Manager of Customer Service and Support, explains: "People sometimes end up in the wrong classroom or location. Some call the help desk to find out the location when they realize they are at the wrong lab, and some go back to their office to find out. Finding out while on the way is a great feature."
The mobile-friendly site now recognizes if a user is on a supported smartphone and, if appropriate, directs the user to the mobile content. If a user visits from a laptop or desktop computer, only the full version of the website is displayed.
ADN Helps Disability Services Become More Accessible
February 3, 2012 — MU Disability Services has partnered with Division of IT Applications Development Network to provide a simple online application accessible to students requiring exam accommodations related to a disability.
Barbara Hammer, Director for Disability Services, explains that "in order for students with disabilities to have the same equal opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge, they may need accommodations such as more time for an exam, quiet space to test with minimal distractions or someone to read or scribe for them or use assistive technology." Students self-identified with Disability Services can request accommodations, but "in the past, students had to take paper copies to professors, professors had to complete it and the students had to return it. Too often we had problems getting all the information we needed."
James Richardson, a developer for ADN, explains, "we worked to design an application that best suited the needs of all users involved. We appreciate help received from Student Information Services to integrate the application. Beta testers helped tremendously in testing the application and suggesting new functionality, such as the ability to see upcoming exam schedules for two weeks."
The online exam accommodation form is saving the primary users — students and faculty — time by allowing digital collaboration and communication among primary users while compiling reports and details for Disability Services. Hammer explains, "It is making a significant difference in how much paper we're going through and making us much more efficient. This is the first semester this has been available campuswide, and we are refining our internal processes. We expect to see a significant time savings in the coming semesters."
ADN has created a digital dashboard, allowing faculty and students to easily see the status of any given request and centrally communicate. The application has numerous reporting features that automate Disability Services processes, leaving more time to focus on the students.
Richardson states that the implementation "went really well, everyone worked well together and we received constructive feedback during the entire design and implementation process. We look forward to receiving feedback from Disability Services to determine what functionality can be incorporated into future phases."
An estimated 600 MU students have begun using the new request process, released earlier this semester. Although just a few weeks into the term, faculty and students have already noticed the improvement.
Lawrence D. Ries, PhD, Associate Chair of Statistics, says, "My initial impression of the online system is that it is fantastic and a huge improvement!" Sophomore Colleen Whitlow explains, "I have been registered with the Office of Disabilities for two years. I just wanted to thank you for the new online system for exam accommodations. I have always had a huge difficulty getting around to all my teachers and their office hours at the beginning of the semesters and this new system has been wonderful. It is so much less stressful and I can't tell you how grateful I am to have the new system."
Hammer concludes, "We've been absolutely thrilled to work with the Applications Development Network. It's been tremendous improvement and we appreciate their work."
Faculty and Staff Needed to Can Spam
Have you been receiving more junk email lately? By reporting spam incidents, you can help the Division of IT block suspected messages. If you receive spam email, direct it to email@example.com as an attachment to a new mail message. DoIT and Microsoft can then assess the sender details and work together to block future annoying, productivity-stealing messages.
Spam is an abuse of electronic messaging. These unsolicited bulk messages deliver viruses, waste user resources, sell things or annoy the recipient. Organizations such as the University of Missouri are dependent on spam filters, such as Microsoft CloudMark, to block these emails before they reach individual mailboxes.
Jason Lockwood, Division of IT Email Team manager, recommends reporting all spam in a timely fashion. "We want to get our eyes on that traffic as soon as possible. We track spam and use our reporting as an opportunity to provide feedback to Microsoft on CloudMark, their spam remediation application."
Confused about the difference between between spam and phishing? Phishing is an attempt to acquire sensitive information, such as account access, by masquerading as a trustworthy entity. Faculty and staff members receiving phishing messages should attach the message to a new email and send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Don't know which email address to send to? Use email@example.com. We will monitor the mailbox to sort any phishing attempts from spam and take appropriate action.
For more information on the difference between spam and phishing, visit DoIT's spam, junk email and phishing scams page.
Facebook and Twitter Profiles Will Help Students Connect with Division of IT
January 20, 2012 — Students are encouraged to take a social media moment to friend or follow DoIT's profiles on Facebook and Twitter.
"We've used social media to connect to students in a way they prefer to communicate. Social media helps us understand their needs and refine our service offerings," explained DoIT spokesperson Terry Robb. "We are actively looking at other tools and plan to develop a comprehensive strategy."
The Division of IT encourages students to use these connections to receive information about IT services that may affect them during the academic year and breaks alike. Robb continued, "This is an excellent opportunity to convey information about new and improved services, (rare) outages and announcements to boost general awareness without students having to check email or visit our website."