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Information Technology Update - 01/28/04

Technology Security

Infrastructure: guidelines, polices, standards, and practices

  • An IT Infrastructure workgroup, comprised of technology professionals from UMMS, UPI, CITS, SOM as well as other schools and departments, is meeting weekly to discuss and develop common infrastructure and security guidelines. These shared guidelines and policies have a special emphasis on computer security. Network standards and e-mail and anti-virus guidelines have been developed, patch management (computer and server) guidelines are in process of being developed, and other infrastructure guidelines such as, remote access and disaster management will follow. Please visit the security web page for more information about our security approach, guidelines and policies, and the latest security vulnerabilities and threats: http://www.umaryland.edu/cits/security/index.html

Electronic Communications

  • New e-mail system for students, faculty, and staff went "live" on January 2, 2004 (replaces UMNet e-mail system). It offers students faster access to a contemporary system with improved features and functionality. It will also address and resolve e-mail security, which UMnet lacked.
  • Symantec anti-virus server is "doing its job" by catching and cleaning viruses from e-mail messages. Over 50,000 e-mail messages containing the Novarg/MyDoom virus "worm" have been detected and cleaned since January 27, 2004.
  • Recently written computer programs have reduced the amount of SPAM e-mail messages received by UMB computers. To further reduce SPAM, new software and appliances have been purchased and are in the process of being configured and tested.

Administrative Systems

  • Working with Records and Registration, Financial Aid and the Schools, CITS will be adding more student self-help functionality to the Student System (SURFS) web pages. Students will be allowed to change their own emergency contact information; permanent mailing, business, and campus mailing addresses; as well as specific non-UMB e-mail address. Students will also be able to view their Financial Aid status and accept all or part of their offered awards via SURFS. In addition students will be able to view messages that may pertain to, and offer assistance in, satisfying any outstanding requirements on their Financial Aid records.
  • The implementation of Web Admissions module for the School of Nursing will "go live" in early February, with the Graduate School "going live" shortly thereafter.
  • The research data warehouse (ORD system) and its new web-based access are available to view research data and perform key-word searches of the database.
  • A plan for completing critical HRMS/payroll tasks has been prepared. The plan includes a prioritization of tasks, assigned resources, and timelines.
  • The development of the eUMB financials and grants system is underway. The Executive Scope document has been completed. The project implementation plan is being finalized. The financials/grants system will introduce new technology, improve services by integrating and simplifying business processes, and enhance decision making by providing comprehensive, accurate and timely financial and grants information.

Off-campus Access to On-Campus Information Resources

  • Virtual Private Networks (VPN)
    • A secure remote access solution, which allows faculty and staff and other UMB users access to confidential information from a remote location. The data are encrypted when they are transmitted via VPN technology.
  • Pursuing solutions for Internet services and remote access to UMB systems with communications vendors, e.g., AT&T, Verizon, Avaya.

Directory Services: Identity Management, Sign-On, Portal

  • Currently building an identity management database that will be an up-to-date authoritative identity repository for people, organizational units, roles, groups, and other attributes.
  • Implementing a directory service solution that would address authentication and authorization issues for the purpose of gaining access to multiple applications (initially eUMB HR/payroll, then financials and grants) through the use of one userid and password.
  • Implementing a portal that will give users simple, quick, secure access to needed information and services (initially eUMB HR/payroll, then financials and grants).

Service Delivery

  • The help desks (CITS, SOM, UPI, UMMS and school IT support operations) are communicating, coordinating and collaborating to improve service delivery to computer users.
  • Over the last four weeks, the CITS help desk logged over 1000 support cases, with the greatest number attributed to the new e-mail system and the discontinuation of the modem pool.
  • An enterprise-wide on-line training software solution has been identified (SkillSoft). USM institutions are collaborating on the purchase of this software, which provides over 600 courses online. Course content is available for technology professionals as well as campus users of technology.

Technology for e-Teaching and Learning

  • The infrastructure is now in place for using the web and video-conferencing technologies for collaborating with UMB colleagues, or with colleagues at other schools in teaching on-line classes, holding on-line meetings, and making presentations to multiple locations via the Internet.
  • An e-learning committee meets monthly to discuss and share solutions for enhancing e-learning environments at UMB. Bi-monthly workshops and presentations are being held to promote the use of electronic learning environments, and to share and demonstrate to faculty the uses of the web, Blackboard, etc.

Web development

  • Completed and announced the UMB Intranets: Student, Faculty, Staff, Executives
    • A web page that provides links to school, university, and external information resources that pertain to and are of interest to each of these constituency groups
    • See Intranet at: www.umaryland.edu/intranet or click on "Intranet" on the bottom right side of the UMB Home Page.
  • Put the Content Management Software (Site Executive) in production.
    • Software that makes it much easier to update content on web pages.

IT Policies

  • The work of the IT Infrastructure and Security group (identified under IT Security) is developing guidelines which will be submitted for approval as policies.
  • Campus enterprise IT policies can be found at: www.umaryland.edu/cits/policies

Mobile, Wireless

  • UMB is using the Wireless Security Policy and Standards when installing wireless networks and devices, e.g.,
    • HS/HSL SOM; SOD; SOP
  • The wireless radios in the HS/HSL network were upgraded to 802.11g, which allows connection speeds up to 54Mbps.

Internet2

  • Internet2 education and demonstration sessions are being provided upon request.
  • The Baltimore Education Research Network (BERNet) is now fully operational
    • A point of connection to Internet2 and networkMaryland in Baltimore City. The BERNet consortium includes, Johns Hopkins, Morgan State, SAILOR libraries, City of Baltimore, State of Maryland.
    • Benefits include: Increased research and educational activity through the use of Internet2 and networkMaryland. Enhanced economic development through the use of the high-speed network connection in Baltimore City, in conjunction with the developing UMB Technology Park. Expanded educational opportunities and information resources to K-12 and other educational organizations in Baltimore.

Telephony

  • New, contemporary telecommunication solutions for the UMB campus are being explored with communications vendors.

Other important activities

  • A UMB report of technology effectiveness and efficiency was completed in January, 2004.
  • An open Forum for UMB IT professionals is being planned, and will most likely be held in spring, 2004.
  • A technology Forum for the UMB community, hosted by IT organizations and professionals, is being planned and will most likely be held in fall, 2004.