Tulane Technology Services leadership discuss what's to come in the year ahead for technology on campus.
Charlie McMahon - Chief Technology Officer
Jim Bradley - Assistant Vice President for Academic Computing
Hunter Ely, Head of Information Security
Allie Hopkins - Director, Network Operations and Support Center
Leo Tran, Assistant Vice President for Technology Infrastructure Services
Mary Walsh - Assistant Vice President for Software Application Services
Good morning. Thank you everyone for coming to Tech Day and our second annual Technology Services Roadmap. I'm Jim Bradley, the Assistant Vice President for IT and Academic Computing, and I would like to welcome you all here. We think this is an important part of our communications with our customers to tell you what's going on in Technology Services and what to look for in the next couple of years so that you don't get an email in six months that says some changes are coming and be surprised. So this will also be memorialized, so it will be put up on the web, just as last year’s was. And we'll get a transcript up and may even mail some Power Points out to some folks.
And so I know you're not here to listen to me so I am going to introduce Charlie McMahon, who is the Vice President for Information Technology and the Chief Technology Officer here. Charlie…
Thanks Jim. With that big booming Microphone, you know, it sounds like that wizard in the Wizard of Oz. If I had a curtain, I could do the line, "Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain."
Alright, so, I am going to try and give you very little of my time because I am the most boring of the folks that are going to be talking to you today, but there is one slide I want to spend a little bit of time on and that's this mission statement.
You know, I like mission statements that are succinct and this is one sentence, and the important parts to me are in the last "delivering technology solutions that support achieving institutional goals and objectives.” So you guys ought to think about that and internalize that a little bit and understand that. Because that's the key to getting the things that are important to you, the technology initiatives that are important to you to become reality. When, and this only happens about six or seven times a day, when someone comes up to me and says, "What I really need you to do this. Wouldn't it be great if we were able to do that." And I always come back to this mission statement in my advice. We've really got to align those requests with institutional goals and objectives. And the way we do that, and we partner with you, and all of my team partners with you to help make that a reality.
So how many Faculty do we have here? Oh bless you, bless you. And how many staff do we have? Yay, yay, good. And we do have some of our vendor partners here in the room, which we appreciate that. So when you have an initiative that is important to you and you come to us and say "This is something we'd like to do,” we help you through the process of vetting that through the, vetting that against the institutions' goals and priorities. So that it, literally you have to compete for every dollar with every other project that is out there for the institution, be it putting more volumes in the library, (I see our Dean of Libraries here, thank you very much,) you know it's not just simply competing against IT projects, you're competing against all of the priorities at the University. So for Faculty we typically help you go to your Department Chairs and your Deans and eventually in to the Provost's Office, and the Provost, again picking on faculty, the Provost and I both sit on the President's Cabinet. And if we can convince the Provost and you can convince me that this is a good idea, we take those ideas to the President's Cabinet. And, we compete for the limited pool of money that we have and try and get those priorities high enough on the priority list, that when we go draw a line on the paper and say everything above this gets funded and everything below this waits, that your project can get high enough on the list that it gets funded.
So, a simple mission statement but where it really comes home to each and every one of you is understanding what it means to align your needs for technology with the goal and objectives for the University. So I'm going to stop right here and I'll let you guys interrupt me anytime you want to but on this particular slide, this one is so important, does anybody have questions that they would like to ask about how, you know, how this really might manifest in their environment?
Going once, going twice, all right we're moving on.
I'm going to give a quick introduction of my group and we're going to do this basically showing how we are organized. We have a business office that supports all of the business activities that we have at computing services. Does anybody remember what our budget is? Twenty, twenty six, inclusive of the capital projects that we have. So we manage a lot of money. We have a lot of projects going on and we have a business office and a small group of people that try and keep us on track so we don't go broke. That's Pat Wilks who heads that department, who is not with us this morning. For campus IT and Academic Computing, Jim takes care of those things for us, and you can see here some of the key components of what Jim does. Enterprise applications is Mary, and you'll get to see her cheery face here in a few minutes talking to you. Infrastructure, Leo. So everything that we do runs on the back of Leo's operations. Security, Hunter Ely and you ought to pay attention to him. He has, he is the person that will help you understand how to keep your computing environment safe, how to protect your data. So you don't come to us one day and say, "Oh, something bad happened, can you recover my data? Can you help me get out of this pickle that I'm in?" He can keep you out of the pickle.
Okay, we're going to talk about accomplishments now and I'm not going to elaborate on any of these because each of these folks are going to get up and say a few words. But, we have some big projects that are going on with the infrastructure group. Big projects also with Campus IT and Academic Computing. These projects are going to resonate. These are projects that all of you will be affected by so Jim will have some information about that.
Security, we've made bug changes in security. So, for the first time when we hired Hunter, we have a security office that focuses on security. Prior to that it was part of Leo's responsibilities, and being able to focus on it exclusively has let us do a couple of things that we think are going to improve security for the entire campus. Mary, my goodness, the things that you got going are just, I don't know how she does it.
And the last thing I got down here is our Network Operations Center. Allie Hopkins, our newest member of my staff is going to be responsible for setting this up. She will say a few more words about this but I am so excited about this, to give us the visibility to understand what is going on in our network infrastructure, what's going on in our server environments, and react to that before you, as our customers, call us up and say "We've got a problem, what's going on?"
Do we have any folks out here that support technology in departments around campus? Yeah, we've got several. So you guys are going to want to get know Allie because as she sets up these monitoring tools, we can customize views into your environment. We can add things that are important to you, so that you have a tool set you can use that is complimentary to what we are doing, to monitor your network, monitor your servers, monitor the services that you have running on your servers, and also to get visibility to get what's going on in our larger infrastructure so that you can tell if there is a problem in your shop, whether that's originating in you shop or whether it's something we are doing to you so you know how to, so you know which chain to yank to get things fixed.
The other thing that is going to happen today and I'm not going to read these slides because these guys are going to go into detail, but we're going to show you the roadmap of the big projects that we have on tap for the coming year. These are things that are going to be elaborated on, big issues. The network upgrade and redesign is fundamental to get accomplished before we can do the last item the list, which is moving our telephone infrastructure into a voice over IP, cloud based, service. I see a former AT&T person in the audience, so you have some appreciation for what we do there, what's involved there.
Critical things going on to support research at our primate center. Encryption is again of importance to you if you've got data that needs to be protected in your environment. IPTV, A project that Jim has been working on. We firmly believe that for entertainment content, that for our students, and in reality for many of our faculty and staff, is moving out of the traditional cable TV delivery environment into an IP based environment. You're going to want to consume, our students want to consume. My grandchildren, I hate to admit I am that old, watch more entertainment content on their iPads, and iPods, and computers than they do on the TV, and our students are much the same way. So, Jim's piloting some work that will let us get out of the cable TV business and get into the internet content delivery business. And he'll talk a little bit more about that in a minute. Some more projects that Jim will elaborate on.
So I'm going to be true to my word and step away from the podium and let this team come up and drill a little deeper into these topics. I encourage you, even though I didn't give you much opportunity from me, interrupt these guys anytime you've got questions, anytime you want to elaborate or steer us maybe in a little different direction. We want to make sure you have an opportunity, and we will at the end, for all of you to interact with us, not just to receive the information we're putting out, but also to give us some input, some feedback, that lets us take that into consideration as we move through the coming year.
So Jim if you wouldn't mind coming up and I'll turn the podium over to you.
Thank you sir. Thank you Charlie. So let me start by telling you a little bit about my organization and as Charlie alluded to we are going to do a little bit deeper dive, and what I am responsible for are the faculty support functions.
We're very proud of the Faculty Technology Lab we just launched this semester, instruction and research computing, not from a high performance computing standpoint, my colleague and friend Leo takes care of that, but I do spend a lot of time at the primate research center and doing other research computing efforts.
Also the service desk. Allie my new colleague is going to take over the tier one part of that, and I'll maintain the onsite support and the tier three support. Vendor and internal partnerships and then web and communications, and sort of marketing type activities. So that's what I do.
I'd like to go back and hit some of the things we accomplished this last year since Charlie let us talk about our own stuff. So having said that, in the last year, probably one of the biggest things we did was the LMS tryout. So we looked at four different LMS vendors. And we did that with forty faculty and eight hundred students. At the end of the day we ended up making a very good deal with BlackBoard based on the input we received and a collaboration, I think a very deep collaboration with the Provost's Office. So that's sort of one of the biggest things we're happy about this year.
We also were able to get funding for classroom upgrades. We upgrade classrooms as often as we can but through Charlie's efforts we were able to get some additional funding, so we're working on that.
We've deployed a new tool called KACE, which allows us to do remote management of desktops. It's not fully deployed to everybody on campus yet but it is working across a number of labs.
Charlie McMahon: Jim, I'm going to ask you a question about KACE. If I'm providing IT support in a department, can I use the KACE tool to manage my environment?
Absolutely, and our goal was to build a hierarchy. Oh I'm sorry, so my colleague said I should repeat the question. So the question is can departmental IT units use KACE to manage the computers they are responsible for? And the answer is of course, that's the way we built it. We wanted to be able to be in a position where this tool could be used at any level hierarchically in the organization. And we've worked, I think, closely with several partners, including the library to have people in the mix to begin with.
Would you say a few things about the a key things an IT administrator might do with the KACE product?
Right. So KACE allows you to do inventory. For example you can know what's actually out there, what the state of the computer is. To be in a position where you can say well it's O-S-X version, or Windows version. Does it have anti-virus installed on it? Depending on the permissions and how you set it up, it allows you to push software out, and it allows you to push disk images out, so you can configure on the fly. The disk images we found are very heavy network soakers, so we don't try to do that during the day. But it is possible to image a lab, or something like that with this tool. So the idea was that we spend a lot of time walking around campus trying to get to a computer when all we're really going to do is something that can be done remotely, and the other key idea behind this is that we want to be able to share it. It wasn't just a tool we would use to manage the computers that people call us about.
As I said, we've opened a Faculty Technology Lab. Mike Griffith and David Robinson, and some of the other folks in our team, have cooked up a very good plan. We've got a strong partnership with the library to create a facility that faculty can use to incubate and figure out how to use new technologies, and also how to talk about, more pedagogically, how do you use technology in the classroom. We also got, CELT is deeply involved in this. We are trying to get other academic units in it. We view this as a showcase location to be able to build a partnership with our instructional research faculty to be able to let them use, sort of higher order technology in how they're teaching. Obviously, by now, everyone knows how to use power point and put a slide up on a screen, but there is a lot of other stuff coming down the pipe., there is a lot of other things you can do with technology. The one I keep talking about is gesture recognition, and we're not yet quite able to demo that yet. That's the ability to, if you've seen the movie Iron Man, where he walks into his lab and he starts waiving his hands around and screens start popping up and things start happening, that's gesture recognition. We probably won't build pop-up screens and suits in classrooms but we might want to be able to do student responses and do other things, and I couldn't even begin to conceptualize what our faculty will figure out what to do with that.
Jim, on that topic, don't you have a unique printer?
Oh yeah. We have a 3-D printer there too. That's sort of cutting edge coolness, and if you walk into the third floor library suite that the Dean of Libraries has graciously let us use, you'll see where they've started to do some facial stuff where you've got a 3-D image of a persons, of a photograph, starting to line the walls. We really haven't begun to figure out how we can use that, or what the best way to use that is, but again, if you don't have those tools here for faculty to put their hands on, and experiment with, how do they figure out how to use it? So that's the kind of work we like to do and we are very willing to locate and identify other technologies as they come up, because we want to be more cutting edge than what we are doing.
We're doing some number of communications improvements. We've worked on the web and it's not quite finished yet. You'll see that's one of our goals from this coming year, but there has been a significant amount of improvement in the Technology Services web presence. We're moving into a service oriented architecture versus a departmental architecture. You'll see there is a lot more help videos up. And we're trying to get to a point where it's got a very fresh and interactive presence. We really want people to come there to have discussions with us, not just go there, you know, as a repository of information. We also published two print newsletters. We've gone back to doing that. We put the last one in the Hullabaloo so everybody would get a copy of it. We feel like the goal is to put the information in front of the customer in the way that is most convenient for them. This session is another example of trying to improve communication and enhance it.
We have deployed the operations management system, we're calling it the Tulane Operations Management System, TOMS. It's built on Intrapoint and was used during the last hurricane to keep track of what was going on by multiple units, but it can be expanded to run the operations of a group. If you've got policy based, or procedural based, operational rules, you can put them into this system and track what's being done and everyone can see what's happening. Did everything that's suppose to happen on this shift occur? We are going to be working with the police department to operationalize many of their procedures in this system, and hopefully be able to take our next level of disaster contingency planning and business continuity planning past hurricanes, to other systems and issues that come up and be able to put them in this system, so we are very happy with that.
So the one that the students seem to be happiest about based on our last meeting with the students, is that we included HBO for free in the campus TV system in the dorms, and we're getting a lot of positive feedback, particularly from freshman because they think that's very nice. So that's sort of our accomplishments to talk about, so we did a lot more things than that.
I couldn't possibly capture what's been done by our enormously talented team, but let's talk a little bit about where we are going to go in the next year. One of the things that is new in my portfolio is strengthening our relationship with the Medical Schools. Similar to what we've done with the Primate Center, and working with them to develop an IT strategic plan. The goal is that we feel like we can bring a lot of value to the table and we want to be able to help them achieve their goals, consistent with what Charlie was talking about our mission statement. So I'm going to be much more involved in the Medical School, which means I'll probably be Downtown as much as I am anywhere else.
Another thing we're working on, as a result of that LMS tryout that we did, we're now working much more closely with BlackBoard and building a stronger partnership. We are going to upgrade to BlackBoard 9.1 probably around Christmas time. There are faculty now who are using it. We put them essentially into the same test bed we used during the LMS trial. And so if you're a faculty member and you are interested in using BlackBoard 9.1, that can happen pretty much as soon as you want to. Just drop me an email and we'll get you set up. But the goal here is to have more than just a vendor we buy things from, to have a partner whose looking at our needs, and the needs of the institution, and helping us move our institution forward while we're talking back to them about how they can be better. And we've found in the last two years, that that relationship has gotten much stronger and BlackBoard has been much more willing to work with us and be interested in what we are doing. So we're spending quite a bit of time on BlackBoard.
Web services is sort of one of the big goals of this year. We're talking about a number of things. We're working on upgrading the CMS. We've engaged our partners in Public Relations and we're piloting a couple of tools to look at them. The current tool we have is dated, and the tools we're looking at have built-in analytics and deep surveying capabilities, modern social media connectivity. We think we'll get to a point where we have a technical recommendation and then we'll bring it back to Public Relations and hope that they sign off, and hopefully we will be able to get to a much better tool for everybody who does web development.
Jim, Do you have any timeline for that?
Okay, so the question was, “Do I have a timeline for that?”
We're piloting two solutions right now. Our goal is to have a decision about which one want to recommend by the break, by Christmas break. We may be able to do that faster, we actually think we can do it in two to four weeks but I am being Scotty and hedging my bets a little bit. If we get it up and running early in the spring, then I would expect that.
So the audience is too young to catch that reference.
Okay. There was a line in Star Trek at one point where they caught Scotty multiplying all of his estimates by a factor of four. It's the under promise and over perform strategy. So realistically if our, if we do a full CMS conversion we would hope to have something up to test in the early spring, with a conversion probably in the spring-summer intercession. At the same time, we hope to complete the new design of the Technology Services website because there's features and functions in the new CMSs we'll want to take advantage of, and at the same time we're working collaboratively to try and refresh and update the University's web presence.
Our team and a team, when I say our team I mean the folks who work for me, some of Mary's folks, and some of the folks in Public Relations, are meeting regularly and talking about what do we need to do. Again we'll have new features and functionality which ever way we go and our hope is to take advantage of those relatively quickly.
Can you let us know what products you are evaluating?
I can. Ken, Omni-what?
OmniUpdate is one of them and the other is the Adobe, Gina what is its name?
CQ5. So, we, I think the Law Center is using Omni? Business school, I'm sorry, I didn't mean to give you a heart attack there. And, we went and looked at the Adobe tool out in California. It’s got a lot of bells and whistles. So we're hopeful that, you know, of course there is funding in this equation, we really feel like this is a great moment to improve what we can do on the web. I think that the PR group is equally interested in doing that.
In addition to that, working with Mary's team we are working on version 2 of the Tulane mobile app. We have a lot of other things that we want to put in it. There is continuous feedback from the students about what they would like to see, and, hopefully we'll have that out within this year.
And then completing the TOMS deployment, the Tulane Operations Management System. We want to be in a position where if you're a department and you want to take advantage of that tool kit, it’s documented, it’s available, we can teach you how to use it and you can get up and running on it if you want to use it. Its very powerful and its very customizable, and the vendor is working with us very closely to change things. We essentially had them rewrite their front end for Tulane. I think that it dramatically improved the usability of it. So we've helped them by showing them by showing them how to really do it the best possible way from a usability standpoint, and it’s helped us because we were able to do something that I think really helped our institution. We're going to continue to deploy KACE this year as part of enhancing our systems that we support.
We're working on the email migration. I think that we're down to the last couple hundred accounts. This is one of those efforts that has been tightly integrated with Leo's group. We've had to work with our colleagues who run departmental IT groups. Because a lot of… One of things you find out about email is that everyone has customized it slightly different for their own needs. And its sort of their go to, everyday, all day application, so its much more sensitive than you would think when you think about we're changing a server. It's really how everyone manages their work day. So in a lot of cases, in some of the departments its been user by user, walk down the hall.
We're about to deploy, in fact we're deploying today the Box deal that we did with Internet2. This is also in conjunction my colleague Leo Tran. Customers can now use Box with a Tulane username and password signing on through Tulane credentials. That'll allow you to access internet-based file storage. Now the only caveat to that is that it is not HIPPA compliant yet. Internet2 is working very hard to get them to sign the agreement that allows us to deploy to medical school. But you can go to this url and sign up for a box account and use that on your computer today if you are faculty or staff. What that will let you do is it lets you have a folder on your computer that syncs to the cloud and can sync to any other computer and most mobile devices as well. It supports many of the major OSs that run on phones including iOS5 and Android, and I think it supports, I don't remember the other ones but I think it supports Windows. So you know the nice thing about that is a file on your computer at work is also available on your computer at home, and its also available on your phone if you need it, or your pad.
Yes you can you can take a document and share it out sending a URL or you can send a folder out share that. We're still wrestling with quotas and what they should be and things like that, but we bought a lot of disk space and we expected to be able to manage that.
Can you collaborate across research institutions?
I’ve been able to.
We do a lot of work with Internet2. A lot of the projects we work on are using shared box folders now. So it's very helpful you want to. Oh yeah, so we're going to be replacing Greenspace. This will take its place and I think you'll find it's faster more efficient and more convenient for you.
What about Greenspace for students?
Our intent is to turn that off so when we’re talking about students; I know you’re a grad student at your needs may be different, and we have not worked out the equation for what we're going to do for grad students, but the idea was is that Greenspace is sort of an older technology and this is the way we need to go. So obviously won't leave the grad students in a lurch. I don't know how many…
Oh yeah. Thank you for pointing that out. I’m so focused on box I forgot about Skydrive. So as part of Office365 you get twenty five gig of free storage in a Microsoft Skydrive. So it isn't just as though we hadn’t thought about students… I was taking what you said and think how are we doing students in box?
Then as Charlie correctly pointed out that we are doing that in Microsoft. So the last piece is that about a year ago Leo made active directory, a unified active directory structure ready…
I’m sorry, do you have a question?
I think that we're giving 5G out now.
That was very generous of us.
So it’s 25G.
Obviously I missed a meeting.
Sometime in the spring,we have a contract through March 1st.
So if we have HIPPA done and everything done then Greenspace will probably fade into history at that point. If we don't we will have to keep it open for the Medical School until we can get the HIPPA stuff dealt with. So as I was saying my friend Leo got active directory, unified Tulane active directory up and running for us about a year ago. But just like the mail system we had to sort of go desktop by desktop in the process of converting everybody over to a unified Tulane active directory. That will provide a number of benefits including your ability to go to pretty much any computer and get the same environment.
Alright, another big initiative is we've been working very closely with the Technology Connection, and if you noticed but they are now on the first floor of this building, and technology services employees are in there to do repair intake and deliver support. So we've been talking about creating a unified storefront for a while; that has come to fruition through our partnership with Rob Haley's organization. We're also talking about extending that service level, we're not sure how we're going to do it, but being able to extend these services to Downtown and to Primate. Even if it would be the ability to order something and have it be there the next day. I don't know if we’re going to be able to manage product in multiple locations. We think we can probably have twenty four-hour turnarounds. Certainly at major we want to be in a position that there are people at each location able to help you with... so for example if the iPhone 5 went on sale there was an AT&T table at Primate taking orders. So, you know, we're working on how to do that for each campus and to present a unified front where you get essentially can buy something and get it configured and walk out with a complete product. If you have a problem you can comeback; you don’t have to guess whether it's a repair problem or you need a part, you’re in the place where you can get everything that you need. And I think that it’s been a very positive thing. It is sort of a testament to the willingness for two groups to work together.
Working with our colleague Mary... we're working on the animal record system at Primate Center, where our goal is to get the conversion to the next level of database to fifty percent. Last year we reported that we had migrated off of old hardware into a modern technology environment; we're trying to get into a modern software environment. We think we will be able to make some very good strides on that this year. With that I'll stop talking about let my colleague Mary talk.
Hi, my name is Mary Walsh and my team supports the corporate applications for the university along with the student system and the Gibson portal for self-service.
Last year I shared with you a few projects that we were focused on. We had an upgrade to the TAMS system; the TAMS is the Tulane Accounting Management System, and we went from version 11 to 12, which sounds pretty easy but actually is a significant upgrade that included a lot of moving parts. So I’m happy to say that we brought that successfully to closure in October 2012, and we’re moving forward; we’re in production and moving forward.
2011, you're right, it says 2012. So it was last October 2011.
The other project that I shared with you last year was the Tulane electronic research administration. This is actually the Kuali Coeus software, the community-ware for research. It’s very focused on the research community, and this is the pre-award effort to interact with granting institutions. So what we were focused on was the institutional proposals and that module we were able to get into production February 2012, really 2012. And that is in production now and I’m happy to say we have over six hundred proposals that are being supported by this software. Now Kuali Coeus has several other modules that we’re very focused on and will be, Oh I’m sorry, yes Pat.
Are there any plans for putting in legacy proposals in to the system or just moving forward?
Just moving forward, and actually, the legacy system is still current, is still operational, but we have to make a cutover at some point. So going forward, we just made the upgrade from version three to version five which effectively opens up several additional modules for us, and that is listed right there: Conflict of Interest, Sub Awards, Report Tracking, IRB and IACUC. So that's what we will be focused on going forward.
Can you tell us what IRB and IACUC mean?
IRB is when we have any testing on human subjects, and IACUC I believe is animal subjects. Germaine is here with us today who’s working on that project. Is that right?
So it will also keep us in compliance. The other project I shared with you last year was our HCM project; that’s our Human Capital Management. So backing up just a little bit, we have Oracle Financials as our solution for all of our financials for the University. So that’s General Ledger, Accounts Payable, Purchasing, Grants Management. Human Capital Management, which is effectively payroll/HR will open up additional modules within the same suite of software. So one of the benefits of moving to HCM will be having all of our financial data in one relational database which I think will give us a lot more functionality from a technical point of view. So as we shift to Human Capital Management of course that will include HR, and payroll, labor distribution, benefits, but it will also provide a very expansive self-service module and I think that will be helpful. We have a few pieces in place right now with the legacy system but this will give us a significant boost in self-service for all employees, and it will also include workflow so managers and employees can interact through this self-service. At the same time we are also implementing, so this is a simultaneous effort of implementing the Kronos timekeeping solution.
As you probably know we have an instantiation of Kronos right now, it’s for selected departments, I think only four or five departments, so this will be an enterprise wide effort to install Kronos as our time keeping effort. So this will give us an opportunity to step away from the paper effort for timekeeping, and all employees will have, whether it’s a web punch or clock depending on location, we will automate our timekeeping process. This will be implemented along with HCM.
Okay, shifting topics. The animal records system, which Jim mentioned earlier, we are really very much in the incipient stages of this effort. There is a legacy system in place right now that supports the Primate Center, the research at the Primate Center on the North Shore, but this is going to be a very new effort. And again, we are very much in the early stages; we are just in the planning and design stage, but what we plan to do is to rewrite the entire system, and this system does a lot. In addition to the research support it also does the administrative functions, but this will give us an opportunity to integrate much more modern technology; the current system has been in place a long time. So we're taking this opportunity to take advantage of more modern technology. Now this effort is again very, very new so I anticipate that at our next meeting, next year I’ll have much more information to share with you.
So shifting again to another project I want to share with you today, this project actually is in the home stretch right now. I’m shifting topics to our student system, and as you know Gibson is our self-service for the student system, and we were just getting ready to roll out a new schedule of classes for the students.
We are pretty excited about this; actually we have a table over in the ballroom that is demonstrating the new schedule of classes. We are adding a lot more functionality to this schedule of classes. So just to back up a little bit, over the last year we have been very focused on usability for Banner, sort of streamlining processes, making things a little bit easier to interact with the student system. So for this new planner that will be rolling out for the spring registration we're going to provide functionality to allow multiple planners for students, so as they begin their registration process they can develop multiple planners. We are resurrecting the conditional drop/add that we had in our past life but when we shifted to Banner we lost that functionality; we are adding that back in, and probably the most functional portion of this is the ability to register for classes directly from the planner; you won’t have to shift systems. So I wanted to give you a little peak at this and actually we have some hands on demoing or testing over in the ballroom. If you look up at the right-hand corner of that you can see that we allow people to, it’s a drop down. So there are multiple planners available, the search engine is still in place. As students choose different classes we provide as much information as possible: date, location, but also availability. And the planner is still there, sort of a very visual demonstration of the dates and times of classes. But also if you look up at the very tippy top right-hand corner there is a button for login. So now we are allowing students to provide their credentials to the system and effectively login to the system for the students, and they’ll be able to register directly. Previously they sort of had to move from one system to another. So this will be a little bit more streamlined for the students, and we've gotten very good feedback about this. We have been working very closely with the Registrars Office and working with students, we are reaching out to the advising center, so we are trying to get as much feedback as possible. In the month of October we are going to be very focused on making sure we are interacting with students, fully testing it.
We will have a little table downstairs in the LBC and also in Bruff, and making sure that we watch the students navigate it to make sure if we need any tweaks, but we are very confident that we will have this in place for Spring registration which starts November 5th.
Mary what is conditional add/drop?
What that allows a student is to hold their place in one class while searching for another class. Right now if you want to switch classes you have to drop one class and add the other one if it is the same time period. This really comes up a lot with lectures and labs if students want to shift around different labs. This will actually hold their place in a class until they’re sure they have a place in an alternate class. Previously, our students are very, very savy, so they would over register for classes. That caused some difficulties. Now they can shift around more easily and it will also help the University in keeping track of classes. When they over registered it was hard to determine what classes were needed. Does that make sense? Okay. So our team, who I was hoping they would be here, I guess they are over at our little booth in the ballroom right now, they have been working very hard on this and they’re using a very nice tool kit to develop this. So going forward we are going to continue to work with the Registrars Office and also the Advising Center to add even more functionality. There are a lot of ideas out there so we are going to jump on it.
Well that's all I have today. I’m very happy to answer questions, and if it’s not today please feel free to give me a call.
My name is Leo Tran and I'm taking care of the Technology Infrastructure at Tulane. A lot of my friends ask me what I do at Tulane, what is infrastructure? Like Charlie spoke of earlier, everything is running on my team’s network. Basically we provide the network; we provide the vehicle for service, for Mary’s service and for Jim’s service, from the service side to the client. We also take care of our Internet connections including wireless and everything else you see around here. Let me talk a little bit about what we did last year.
Last year we deployed IPv6. Do any of you know what IPv6 is? We are, right now running IPv4, and our university has about 65,000 and basically we are running out of them. Every one of you I believe has an iPhone, an iPad, a cell phone that is using an IP address. You also have computers, and in the future we will be using voiceover IP which means that your phone will use an IP address. So the IP4 space is running out. So last year what we did was we deployed IPv6 for Tulane. The amount of IP addresses is more than the amount of stars in the sky. So we have enough IP addresses for you now. We also prepared the network so we can support the IPTV that Charlie and Jim talked about earlier.
We also moved many departmental servers into our datacenter. We also moved a lot of the library servers and file share to our datacenter. We are going to move the Riley center into our datacenter also. We are moving the camera server also to our datacenter.
One of the projects we will do this fiscal year is to rewire the dorms. Some of dorm we have, some of the cable in the dorm right now is very old. It was installed in 1995 up to about 1999. It’s a cat 5 cable. It can only deliver about 100 megabit. So what we will do is replace it with a cat 6 so you can have a 1-gig connection from your desktop. And if we have IPTV in the dorm you would be able serve high definition content for you.
We are also trying to re-architect our network, the wireless network for more availability. There are many pockets in this LBC right here that we don’t have wireless. We have a mechanism now, we have a device that can go around and check for wireless radio frequency. So we will install more wireless points when we need them.
We will complete the ten-gig fiber ring. You know what we do right now is that every building we have on campus, uptown campus, we have twelve strands of fiber coming in, and then those twelve strands come out to two cores. So if something happens to one core the other core will pick it up. Availability is very important to us in the network so we are trying to get that done. And we have a 10-gig connection between downtown and uptown campuses right now, and on last Saturday we also turned on the 10-gig connection between Tidewater and our datacenter.
Right now we are using psync to change your password. It’s very hard to use so what we do is we’re upgrading our Identity Management System. It will allow you to do self-service password reset through your phone, through your iPad. It’s like in the bank, when you try to change your password you will get a text message with a code, and you can use that code to enter into the portal and you can change your password that way
Like Jim talked earlier, we’re trying to complete the unified active directory that we started. It’s a lot between the two groups. We have to do a lot of things in the background for Jim’s groups to go out and configure the client.
We also expand the ADFS and Shibboleth environment. Do you know what is a Shibboleth? Anybody knows? So basically what we do… A lot of universities are using Shibboleth including Inernet 2 and Educause. If you go to Stanford right now and you want to use their wireless you can log into their wireless using the Tulane credentials. If you go to Educause you can log into Educause using Tulane credentials. That is what Shibboloth and ADFS are doing that for us. We provide identity and the other university is providing the service. So we collaborate with other universities and especially in government- govermnet.gov if you have any research grants you can log in using Tulane credential to get into government .gov, grant.gov actually.
Right now our disaster recovery is in Jackson and we have a little bit of a problem replicating data because distance is more than 250 miles so we are working on moving our data center, I mean our disaster recovery to closer to home. We are thinking about a place within the LONI range so we can have a 10-gig connection between the disaster recovery place and the data center.
We are almost complete the Office 365 conversions and any of you in here still using the old email system. Everybody has 25-gig right now. Our email system before we have 300-meg mailbox for faculty and staff and 100-meg mailbox for students. I told my staff a 100 meg mailbox can only contain about 25 pictures, right now. Each picture is about 4 or 5-meg, so 100-meg is not enough. So what we did is we moved everybody, most everybody, like this morning we still have about 365 people who are still using WaveMail and we trying to move everyone by the end of this month, which is by Friday, by Monday.
Like Charlie talked earlier about Tulane telephone service we trying to move your phone into the voice over ip instead of the traditional copper line so right now if you move your office we have to have a person come in an rewire your phone. With voice over IP you don’t have to do that, all you have to do is move your phone. We also, the telecom department will become, I believe in the future will be a lot of the people in telecom will do networking. So that’ why we talk about redesign the telecom department is expanding the network serves to include telecom.
And that’s all I have. Any questions?
Very good question- redundancy link. University Square right now has a direct path to our core. About 2 months ago we installed 48 strands of fiber from telecom building here to Uptown Square. We also keep the Metro Ethernet for Uptown Square so yes there is redundancy link. We also have a direct link, from Uptown Square we also have direct link to the telephone from the local connections so from Uptown Square you have multiple redundancy routes.
It will automatically switch over?
Yes, and that’s fairly new; it’s only been in place for 2 months. The link from Uptown Square to campus, in place for 2 months. The link between our president’s house to campus only happened one day before Isaac got here so basically… One of the news that Charlie shared with me was that during the hurricane Tulane was the only university around here that had Internet connection. Everybody else was down.
And #2 Audubon where our president is, have direct connection to our core so that Internet connection is up all the time.
I will say that those of you at Uptown Square, you’re on the same fiber path as Scott’s house on Audubon so we pay attention to you.
Any more questions? Thank you. Allie…
I’m Allie Hopkins and I’m the director of the new Network Operations and while I am the new kid on the block I learned very early on that I was going to have to be on top of my game to keep up with the great staff that you currently have with Technology Services. So today I want to talk a little bit about what I am doing here how I fit in with this crew, and what’s going to keep me busy every day while I’m here.
My first order of business is to design and build out the network operations center. For those of you who are not immersed in technology like we are, a network operations center, or we call a NOC, is in charge of a few different things. Primarily we are going to be responsible for monitoring the network, watching the traffic, watching trends to make sure that we catch anomalies before you experience any outage on the network.
We will also be charged with monitoring the systems that run all the different applications that we use on a day-to-day basis. My team will be doing a whole lot of root cause analysis to make this a success. So if you sit down and actually map out what it takes when you type in Gibson.tulane.edu what it looks like to actually deliver that content and that login prompt to your monitor you would be amazed at all the moving parts to make that happen. So if there’s a problem that’s not so glaring, not so obvious it becomes a little bit of searching for a needle in a haystack to find out what that is. Right not we’re not equipped to find that very easily and my team is going to sort of bridge all the individual departments that we currently have at Tulane to help them find that, to see if it’s just even down to your port, a bad cable, all the way up to, is it the switch that is going faulty, is it on the sever side, are we having a hardware problem in the data center, is it on the application side, did somebody put a bad piece of code that they didn’t realize was going to have this trickle-down effect that now you can’t log in and you’re not seeing the right tab and you’re not being able to log in to things you should be able to log in. All of these things are going to be brought down into a single pane so that my team can relieve the stress of the individual teams, they can focus more on developing the applications, on enhancing the wireless network, and leave it up to my team to keep an eye on things and keep it running smooth. So that’s what we’ll be doing.
And how to do we get there? I got a lot of work to do, this is the new NOC, right, so we don’t even have the place built up. We’re going to be using state of the art technologies, which will include a really really nice video wall which is essentially just a collection of various displays bridged together to make one big nice, you can just envision a movie with NASA and you see those cool screens and people sitting here with headsets that’s exactly what we’re going to be creating here. It’s going to be a real nice sophisticated collection of tools to make all of this happen and tie everything together.
The most important and probably the most difficult part of my job is probably going to be staffing this operations center. I need just the right personnel, just the right collection of bright enthusiastic curious folks if you happen to know anybody, I’ll be hiring. I’m gonna need about 6 of them. Send them my way. It’s gonna be an exciting time. This is a brand new thing so you get to be in the very front of something new and exciting for Tulane.
When is this going to happen? The plan is to have this kick off by mid summer next year, end of fiscal, essentially and I will continue to give you updates throughout the year, all the different ways that we currently communicate with you you’ll see little trickles of information I will keep you updated. Alright any questions? Was that brief enough?
So, I’ll keep my presentation fairly brief, I just want to go over what we’ve done the last year, where we are now and where we’re going with security.
My job is sort of twofold. One I spend a fair bit of time arguing and debating with Charlie’s direct reports on is this project secure, are we doing it right, and we always come to some consensus on that and that stuff is deep in the nuts and bolts of what do so it’s of no real interest for this presentation. But the other side of that I do is around awareness, around security training, security reviews, incident response, all the sort of traditional things that a security group would do.
And as Charlie said right at the very beginning, before I was here it was some part of Leo’s time but he had so many other things that he was doing that it was very difficult for him to dedicate the amount of time it takes and going back to Allie. I’m very excited about this Network Operations Center because there’s things that I want to do around log management, and sort of digging into the root cause of things that we don’t have time to do that her team will be able to supplement my team on so I’m very excited about the Network Operations Center.
I want to talk about 8 things that are of interest to me, or 7 big topics and then a bucket of other. What we’ve done with antivirus, what we’ve done with antiphishing, and I’ve, our group, has worked very closely with Leo’s group. The move to WaveMail alone eliminated 90% or more of our phishing so that was a huge deal for us. Security awareness training, security reviews, our encryption status and our plan going forward, what we’re doing with network scanning, this is something that will slide in nicely with that Allie’s doing, our firewall, I’m just going to touch on the firewall a little bit because in the past we’ve had multiple firewalls across our network that made figuring out some things very difficult because traffic would traverse several firewalls from one end to another and it was very difficult to figure out what was going on. We’ve collapsed that down into one big one that can do lots and lots of traditional firewall stuff as well as intrusion detection, intrusion prevention, and I’m working closely with Leo’s team on that as well and then some other issues some things that we’ve traditionally done and things that I want to look forward to.
So in antivirus, before I got here antivirus was managed within Leo’s group. I asked to take that over and we built a new server specifically for antivirus and we really tweaked the policy and we’ve worked with the community on getting that policy as tight as possible while allowing people to still do the work they need to do. That alone has reduced our risk footprint a fair bit. We’ve been using EPO to actually find outbreaks before they happen. We’ve actually stopped a couple already and that’s just in the last 6 months so I’m real proud of that. One of the things that the EPO which is McAfee’s antivirus management product can do is mobile device management and that’s sort of the next step. I’m still struggling with how we get there because we’ve got iPhones we’ve got androids we’ve got, well we’re giving away a Nexus tablet today we’ve got all these things iPads, ipod touches how do we manage those in some way so that we’re not ruining the experience for the user.
One of the things managers always talk about is bring your own device. Universities have been doing this for years. People bring their own device and they put them on our network. How do we balance the management of those devices with the risks they bring? So that’s something that I’ve been working on as well.
On the antiphishing side I talked about this a little bit last year we were still very new at it but we’ve gotten better at it. What we do when somebody sends out a phishing alert when they let us know, security at Tulane.edu if you want to know what email address). When they let us know, we take that URL, and we put it into a routing list that sends it to a web server that we control. So if you’re on our campus you will see a web site come up that says you clicked on a phishing link and we provide some education at that moment. So that’s something that we’ve gotten very good at something that we’ve gotten the process really shortened on so the minute we find out about those we can route them within moments and that’s helped a fair bit. We’re also working with some other information sharing groups on finding known bad actors on the Internet. We route them the same sort of way we just put them in a black hole so if you click on a link or you try to go to a website with links that a known bad actor a botnet commanded control infrastructure that goes to nowhere and that eliminates a lot of the risk even if people are clicking on bad links within our network.
Security awareness is something we’ve worked a lot on. We’ve gone on several road shows with various departments and this is something we’ll do for anybody- we’ll stand in front of your group and give you all the security awareness materials you can handle. We have a wiki linked off of our website with all kinds of security related documentation we always point back to that. As part of our awareness we have bought a product called securing the human which again if you ask us about it we’ll get your department set up and we’ll help you out. Anybody that’s done it if you want to tell everybody else how awesome it is I’d appreciate it. It’s a multi module online, if you’ve used the Blackboard system it’s similar, it uses another LMS, but it’s a video with some questions behind it. Everything from how to secure Facebook all the way up to how do you secure your mobile device how to you look for bad web sites all that kind of stuff. It’s about 19 modules all the way up to and including FERPA and HIPAA info for those that are interested in that sort of stuff.
(question from audience)
The question was is everybody required to take that.
No. That’s the short answer. I don’t know how we go about working on that but it is something we provide to anyone that asks and it’s something that we will provide to everyone as quickly as possible.
Security reviews. The idea behind security reviews and I mentioned this as something I wanted to do last year and something that we’ve gotten better at and we’ve tightened the process over several security reviews that we’ve done. The idea here is that we can walk into a department, we can look at every computer, we can run scans of your network, we can build a report that says we think you can do these things better. We can provide tools to help you do these things better, and we can provide training for your staff. Security reviews, for us are very involved. I think our longest one was almost 2 months just trying to compile everything and put it together. For us it’s a lot of work but the value is there. We’ve done several over the last 12 months and we’ve gotten better at doing them and we’re about 2 months out right now on the waiting list but if anybody wants to sign up their department we will gladly do it as quickly as we can. I find that this is the greatest value we bring right to your doorstep because it’s a lot of good information and that changes as technology changes and the like. Again, it’s a free service that we’ll provide on demand so please come ask.
Encryption. This time last year we had just gotten going with encryption and we were amateurs. We were getting better at it but it was a difficult thing to learn how we were going to support that how we were going to keep the people at the School of Medicine working without disrupting their flow. The big thing that we’ve learned is that now we’ve gone through a major upgrade that happened in the spring and since then we’ve gotten a whole lot better at it. The software has gotten better the support has gotten better from that side, and we’ve gotten faster at fixing those problems when they crop up. We have hundreds of computer that are being protected in the School of Medicine and we’re in the process of starting to Uptown, the departments Uptown that are interested, well we’ve got a couple that we’d really like to encrypt and then departments after that are interested in learning about encryption and having us come out this is something we’d roll into a security review if you were to do something like that. I put this slide in there because I wanted to really let everybody know that over our entire rime of encryption we’ve had several big problems and those problem resulted from older equipment or misconfigurations or whatever but the important thing here is that we’ve had 100% data retention. We haven’t lost a single drive yet and we’ve been very fortunate we’ve gotten very good at restoring those drives. So I wanted to point that out. People get nervous about encrypting a laptop because they are afraid their data will be lost forever, but we’ve been very very good at restoring that stuff. Out of several hundred computers that we have we have 10-12 unlocks per week and that’s a quick call to us and it’s taken care of in minutes and one to two recoveries which actually require us to take the computer in and give it back those are usually within a day.
When I got here Leo’s team had bought a network scanning solution that was limited to, to what 500 IPs? So for us that was great for doing things like Stephen Gordon’s always needing PCI compliance scans. We could do these little network scans on specific machines but we couldn’t get sort of a network health view. This last fiscal year we upgraded our licensing so now we can scan nearly our entire network and we’re working on a plan right now to scan that network at least quarterly, so that we can understand where the big problems are. The first couple scans are going to take a long time.
As far as PCI compliance goes, specifically, there’s a lot of granting agencies, NIH in particular, that requires a data management plan and part of that data management plan is they want a base level scan of the infrastructure that you’re going to use for that grant and we do that stuff as well. The idea is that the first couple scans are going to take us a while because none of the problems have been surfaced before so we’re going to be surfacing a whole bunch of stuff. Once we get past that first pass the idea is to move to whole network scans quarterly with the long-term plan of doing it monthly as I’ve done in the past.
I won’t talk about the firewall too much other than it’s a great upgrade as far as the security of the network. We now run all of the firewall requests through our office so any departments out there that they have servers that they prop up for various things those firewall requests have to come through us for vetting and then Leo’s team for actioning. Before that was a much more difficult path but now that we have this great new firewall as part of the new network it’s a much simpler and faster process.
Our big project this fall is to move all of our administrative account provisioning off of paper. Right now if you need a TAMS administrative account you have to fill out a piece of paper and it has to come across a couple of desks and get signed and then filed away. I inherited that and it’s been a good use of time but as we move in the HCM project I think that it makes sense that we need to start moving all these things into an electronic process for auditing for speed. I’m hoping to have that started this fall and done by hopefully this spring and really what you guys will see is any time you request an administrative account, just go online, fill it out, and we act on it.
Mobility management, I touched on that. That’s the idea of protecting our mobile devices, our phones, or ipads, I’m wrestling with that a little bit but that’s something I’m hoping to have some more news on and a plan very soon.
DMCA this is one of those things we’ve always done. Any time copyright complaints come in we have to do something with those. We’re still processing those and we’re taking a couple more behind the scenes steps to reduce those.
And of course we do instant response anytime there’s an issue going on we respond to it and I can’t really talk about what we do with those because those were all kind of on a case by case basis but that is just one of the other things that our office does. And with that I’m done. I’ll give it back to Charlie and open up for questions.
First of all I apologize to everyone we’re taking a little longer than I intended. Let’s do it this way. The ones of you that need to go are free to leave anybody that has questions you can ask them or you can grab one of my people individually and buttonhole them. Thank you for your time and your interest.
Technology Services, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118 -- TSNOC: 504-862-8888 -- firstname.lastname@example.org