IT bulletin, November 2013

Welcome to the November 2013 edition of the IT bulletin. To ensure you are informed about the next edition join the mailing list it-update@bristol.ac.uk. You can subscribe by visiting the subscription request page in Sympa.

In this edition:

Top items

Other items

Regular items


Update on the IT Services' Action Plandiagram

Work is continuing on the implementation and development of the IT Action Plan to deliver improvements under three key themes:

  • Setting the Direction is concerned with the development of a new IT strategy and governance structures.
  • Developing the Service focuses on actions to enhance the delivery of general IT support services across the University.
  • Supporting Education and Research outlines the actions specifically to improve alignment with and support for the University’s core activities. 

The Action Plan focuses a number of cycles. We will set out what we will do in the current cycle and what we anticipate will be done in the next cycle. The advantage of this approach is that we do not need to try to plan all activities in detail at the start, but can adapt and modify the plan as progress is made. Each cycle will be of four months duration. 

Further information and to access the latest copy of the Action Plan

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Changes to the mailing list service and legacy webmail

From 28 November the Sympa mailing list admin site will only be accessible from the University network. Staff working off-site who need to access the site will need to use the remote desktop or the University VPN service.

Please see the news item for details.

In the next two months we will be removing the legacy webmail service, commonly known as ‘Squirrelmail’. IT Services will be carrying out a phased removal:

  • Monday, 9 December 2013 - departmental mailstores (Social Medicine, Geography, ILRT, CSe).
  • Monday, 16 December, 2013 - Staff mailstore
  • Thursday, 30 January, 2014 - Student mailstore and Computer Science mailstore 

Further details are available on the news item.

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Email Reputation Managementemail sign

In order to reduce the possibility of legitimate emails from University addresses being flagged as “spam” (both within the University and outside) and to discourage spammers from making their emails look like they come from accounts here, the Email Team are looking into solutions that will allow us to indicate which emails have come from a recognised source.

As a first step we need to identify what these sources are - so that we can investigate which (if any) of the possible solutions they support.

Please contact new-email@bristol.ac.uk if you are:

  • using an external service to send emails from @bristol.ac.uk or @my.bristol.ac.uk addresses (e.g. you have contracted a 3rd party to send bulk emails to students, conference attendees, etc.).
  • running an internal service that sends emails directly to the outside world (but not via the servers smtp-srv.bris.ac.uk, smtp-auth.bris.ac.uk, or mail-relay.bris.ac.uk).
  • planning to set up either of the above.  

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New Research Data Service Launched

The University has recently invested in a pilot Research Data Service to provide assistance in all aspects of research data management. The service offers training and support on data management issues, including:

  • Creation of Data Management Plans (now a requirement for all RCUK funded bids)
  • Safe storage of research data during the life of a project through the University’s Research Storage Data Facility (RDSF)
  • Collaborative data sharing facilities for working with external partners
  • A dedicated research data repository for making your data openly available

Please visit: http://data.bris.ac.uk/ or contact the team at data-bris@bristol.ac.uk if you would like any more information.

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Update on Student Printing Servicephotocopier

Students can now send documents to print from any open access computer and collect them from any large printer/photocopier in the Computer Centre 24 hour room or Arts and Social Sciences Library using the new ‘Print Release’ system, which is being piloted in those locations.

Documents sent to the new Print Release queues don't print immediately but can be 'released' from printers within 12 hour by logging into them using UCards or usernames and passwords.

Students can collect printouts from any printer on the student printing system, allowing then to pick up their printing on the way to class or simply to avoid busy or out-of-order devices

Confidential documents will only be released when the student is present, so fewer documents will be picked up by others or lost. It is also anticipated that paper waste will be reduced. Initial feedback has been very positive about this convenient new way of printing and we intend to introduce this feature to the student printing system across the University in December.

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IT coursesstaff and students around a computer

Upcoming IT courses for staff are available via the new course booking system OnCourse. In addition, there is a wide range of learning materials available on the IT Services' web pages. If you can't find the learning opportunity you are looking for, please tell us. If you are a manager seeking extra IT induction or performance support for new or existing staff, we'd be happy to talk though the options with you and may be able to provide additional help. In the first instance please forward your feedback and requests through the IT Service Desk

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self service forms IT Self-Service Forms

IT Services provides a number of self-service forms for requests and orders. They have been developed to help guide staff through the process and help capture all relevant information.  The forms are integrated into the Service Desk system to help speed up the process.

For a full list of forms visit: https://servicedesk.bristol.ac.uk/tas/public/xfg

 

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Software Deployment Schedule

To effectively manage the implementation of software upgrades and installation on University computers we schedule work to take place on specific upgrade days.

 The aim is that all computers should have the same version of software. Providing a consistent software version across the University allows for better management and support. Alternative versions will only be supported where absolutely necessary. Please contact the IT Service Desk if you have any concerns about a particular upgrade. 

Typically installations will only occur if the product or related products are not in use. Leaving your computer to go to sleep rather than shutting it down overnight, ideally logged off or with no applications open, will facilitate a swift upgrade of the software.

For details of software deployment please visit: https://www.bris.ac.uk/software/management/release-management.html

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Laptop encryption

laptop with padlock

The University needs to ensure that all University-owned laptops are properly secured.

All staff with University laptops must check that their laptop is encrypted. If it is not, or if they are unsure, they should arrange a suitable time for IT Services to check and encrypt the laptop.

A simple process has been put in place for staff to check if their laptop is encrypted and to book a time to have this done.

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Mass spamming event

The National Cyber Crime Unit are warning organisations that  a mass email spamming event is ongoing. As a result of this activity people are receiving emails that appear to be from banks and other financial institutions in an effort to capture peoples personal information.  Please be extra vigilant.

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Senate House Study Centresenate house study centre

A new study facility is now available, the Senate House Study Centre opened on 4 November with wireless throughout, open access computers and printer/photocopiers. The Student Laptop and Mobile Clinic will be located there later this term.

 

 

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Google Drive now available in MyBristol

A new channel has recently been added to MyBristol. Staff can now quickly see and access their Google Drive documents. The channel is located under the Google Apps tab. A link to Google Drive has also been added to the mobile view of MyBristol under the Favourites heading.  To access the mobile view simply visit MyBristol - www.bristol.ac.uk/mybristol - on your smartphone web browser. 

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Upcoming maintenanceServer maintenance

Please see the news item and list of locations for more details. 

  • Implementation of new high availability storage for servers in November and December 2013

As part of the setting up of a new Storage Area Network (SAN), work is taking place to connect servers to the new system in November and December. As each server is connected a number of services will be unavailable. Select the dates below to see a list of affected services:

Details can also be found via the IT news item

  • Database upgrade affecting SITS and other services on 9 December between 7-10am 

Details of affected services on the news item.

  • SITS software upgrade, midday on Friday 13 December to 10am on Monday 16 December

Details of affected services on the news item.

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News and contacting IT ServicesNewspapers

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New Google+ page for IT Services

In addition to our Facebook and Twitter accounts IT Services has recently launched a Google+ page to allow students and staff to get access to updates and information on IT activity.  Add it to your cirlces today!

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