Newsletter

February 2024

From the Office of the CIO

  • The most efficient way for you to receive assistance with any technical issue is to submit a helpdesk ticket. There are several benefits to using our ticketing system:
    • Helpdesk tickets allow our IT team to prioritize and address your concerns promptly.
    • The ticketing system helps us efficiently track and manage all reported issues, ensuring that nothing falls through the cracks.
    • The ticketing system enables clear communication, allowing you to provide specific details about the problem you’re experiencing, aiding our technicians in resolving issues faster.
  • Submitting a helpdesk ticket is easy.  Simply send an email to itservicedesk@unca.edu with as much information as you can.  There are technicians reviewing these emails during all business hours.  If they cannot help you with your issue, they will assign the request to the appropriate ITS team.   

    We appreciate your cooperation in using the helpdesk ticketing system, as it helps us maintain a high standard of support for the entire campus community. If you have any questions or need further assistance, feel free to reach out to itservicedesk@unca.edu.

    Announcements and Ongoing Work

  • Feeling like your operating system is due for an update? ITS will be working with Faculty and Staff to ensure their devices are all on supported OS versions. This includes updates to both Mac and Windows devices, so keep on eye on your email to see if we reach out to you to update your device. Most updates will take a short time and leave your data and settings intact.
  • ITS is testing Windows 11 and plans to begin deploying it with new computers as of CTRP24 in preparation for the Windows 10 EOL in October of next year. If you receive a new PC in Q2 or beyond this year, it will likely be on Windows 11. If you’re excited to give it a try but aren’t up for refresh this year, keep an eye on your email. We’ll be releasing an upgrade option around the end of the semester. Take a look at what to expect with Windows 11.

January 2024

From the Office of the CIO

  • Kicking off a new year is a great opportunity to remind yourself about the importance of maintaining strong cybersecurity practices:
    • Use strong, unique passwords for each account and avoid using easily guessable information.
    • Exercise caution with unexpected emails, especially those requesting sensitive information.
    • Verify the legitimacy of email senders before clicking on links or downloading attachments.
  • Cybersecurity is a shared responsibility, and our individual actions contribute to the overall security of UNC Asheville. If you come across any suspicious activity or have concerns about cybersecurity, please report it promptly to itservicedesk@unca.edu.

Announcements and Ongoing Work

  • Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) Classrooms Training
    • January 8, 10-11am RRO 217
    • January 9, 2-3pm RRO 217
    • If you are teaching in a BYOD room for the first time, or need a refresher, Alex Mitchell is offering two drop-in hands-on training sessions (bring your laptop!). If you can’t make those times, you can also request a 1:1 through sending an email to itservicedesk@unca.edu to schedule.
  • Technology Enhanced Active Learning (TEAL) Classrooms (KAR 033, ZAG 142)

December 2023

  • Getting a new phone?: Make sure you have multiple MFA tokens configured before getting rid of your old device! Review our new phone guide to save the hassle of losing your MFA token.
  • Infrastructure Upgrades: We are upgrading our aging network equipment. Major central upgrades will occur just before the winter break. We plan to upgrade the data center equipment during the MLK holiday in January. Upgrades to the switches in all the buildings on campus will happen during the spring semester. Dates are still in flux and we will share details as they become available. These upgrades will result in a faster, more reliable, and more secure network.
  • Farewell: ITS wishes Drew Ratliff all the best as he moves to the next chapter of his career. Drew has been a valued member of the ITS staff since 2019 and has been a tremendous resource on our Networking, Infrastructure, and Systems team. Drew’s last day with UNCA is December 1, 2023.
  • Classroom Support: ITS offers immediate support in classrooms between 8am and 5pm weekdays. To receive emergency support please call (don’t email) the Service Desk at 828-251-6445 and let them know that you need immediate support in a classroom. We can respond to the room in about 5 minutes. Response times to emailed requests may be much longer and are generally addressed between classes unless otherwise specified.
  • Phishing Reminder: While we are in the middle of the holiday season, the NIS team wants to remind you to always be cautious when you receive a phone call from a number you don’t recognize or a call you didn’t initiate. When this happens please be cautious about providing any personal information or university sensitive information. Phone Scams and Voice Phishing attacks tend to see a rise during this time of the year and we want to all be vigilant to protect our and UNCA’s information. 
    • Voice phishing attacks (also known as vishing attacks) are phone scams that start by voice, and then encourage users to go to a specific website and enter their usernames and passwords. Voice phishing attacks (also known as vishing attacks) are phone scams that start by voice, and then encourage users to go to a specific website and enter their usernames and passwords. Voice Phishing is a growing form of attack, with 83% of organizations reporting it as a threat.

November 2023

From the Office of the CIO

  • Tim Cook joins the Networking and Infrastructure Systems team as a Linux Administrator.  Tim and his wife (a Candler native) recently moved to the Asheville area. Tim brings a wealth of knowledge in system automation, containerization of processes, and cloud integrations and is very excited about how he might be able to leverage those skills in our environment. Tim is excited to learn more about the UNCA campus, our environmental initiatives, and all the opportunities to interact with the campus and be a part of this community.

Announcements and Ongoing Work

  • UNCA VPN access for Fac/Staff has now moved from Anyconnect to GlobalProtect. If you use VPN for work, please follow our online guide to install and use the GlobalProtect application.
  • Getting a new phone for the holidays? Don’t get rid of your old one until you read these MFA guides!
    • What happens when you get a new phone and try to access your classes and other UNC Asheville resources online? You’ll likely notice that your Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) app is missing something! ITS has you covered with our New Phone Guide.
    • Once you have your new phone added please add a second or even third MFA option. We suggest the browser extension, a text/call to your cell number, or even a hardware token like Yubikey! That way you’ll have 2 devices and 3 methods to login in case of emergency. Check out our guides below for step by step instructions on how to make this happen!
      Please reach out to the IT Service Desk with any questions!
      itservicedesk@unca.edu or 828-251-6445

October 2023

  • ITS has announced a new VPN client, GlobalProtect, for improved remote access services.  Software is available for faculty and staff on university managed computers through Windows Software Center and Mac Self-Service.  Our existing client, Cisco AnyConnect, is scheduled for retirement on November 1st. If needed, please confirm before this date to ensure you don’t experience any remote work interruptions.
  • ITS grieves the loss of Andy Johnson on September 27, 2023. Andy joined the UNCA ITS team as a Windows Systems Analyst in February and was a treasured coworker and friend. His kindness and generous spirit touched all who knew him.

September 2023

From the Office of the CIO

  • Welcome!
    • Cale Burrell joins the Enterprise Systems and Applications team in ITS as a transfer from the Registrar’s Office.  Cale has deep expertise in the Banner Student application and a wealth of technical skills to share with our team.
    • Hannah McCullough joins the Client Technology Support Team in ITS as a Client Support Technician.  She graduated from The Ohio State University with a degree in Computer Science and has most recently worked as a software developer before joining the ITS team
  • Farewell
    • Sam Cook is retiring from ITS after 24 years of service to UNCA.  We will miss his deep technical knowledge and his charming personality.
    • Tim Burns has accepted an opportunity to serve on the Information Security team at UNC Charlotte.  We wish Tim all the best and are excited to watch his career grow.
  • Welcome Cale and Hannah – we look forward to serving with you!  Fond farewell Sam and Tim – we will miss you both!
  • ITS will be announcing a new VPN client, GlobalProtect, for improved remote access services.  An announcement planned for mid-September will be sent to faculty and staff to transition to our new environment and software client.  We are currently working on the final details for release and have tested with roughly 75 employees with great success.

Announcements and Ongoing Work

  • ITS has a Knowledge Base with information about all things related to IT support which can be visited at KB.UNCA.EDU.  If you are having trouble with a classroom please visit the classroom specific subsection at https://kb.unca.edu/kb/labs-and-classroom.  
  • Congratulations on a successful beginning to Fall semester 2023! ITS received 1,170 tickets in August, which is just under 40 every day! Tremendous thanks to our Service Desk Supervisor Adam Adkins and our Service Desk student employees for guiding us through our technical glitches during semester start!

August 2023

From the Office of the CIO

  • The IT Service Desk should be your first point of contact for technical assistance. Contact the Service Desk by sending an email to itservicedesk@unca.edu or calling 828-251-6445. The IT Service Desk Self-Service Portal is also available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The Self-Service portal allows you to request assistance from ITS using a simple web form.

Announcements and Ongoing Work

  • The CTS team has completed the CTRP23 Faculty/Staff refresh, which replaced ~25% of the faculty/staff computers on campus. Tremendous thanks and congratulations to the CTS team and to participating departments for their cooperation!

July 2023

From the Office of the CIO

  • Did you know that you are a member of EDUCAUSE?  EDUCAUSE is a nonprofit association that supports those who lead, manage, deploy, and use information technology to advance higher education. As a member organization of EDUCAUSE, everyone at our institution has access to a vast collection of resources, including research, toolkits, publications, professional development opportunities, and analytics and benchmarking services that can help make your job easier.EDUCAUSE is also the largest community of higher education IT leaders and professionals, which offers you the chance to connect and collaborate with peers from institutions and organizations in the US and internationally.  Make sure you’re taking advantage of the EDUCAUSE membership benefits we enjoy!  Here are three quick ways to start taking advantage of our EDUCAUSE membership: 

June 2023

From the Office of the CIO

  • We are excited to announce that we are in the process of creating an ITS-related Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page for our public Knowledge Base. The goal of this FAQ page is to provide a resource for our users, addressing common questions and providing helpful information about Information Technology Services.
  • To ensure we cover the most relevant topics and provide useful information, we are seeking input from our community. Please send us your suggestions on topics you believe should be included in our ITS FAQ page.  Your input will help us create a valuable resource that addresses the needs of campus.  Please send your suggestions to ITServiceDesk@unca.edu.  We will review all suggestions and include them in our ITS FAQ page accordingly.
  • Thank you for your participation and for helping us make our ITS FAQ page a valuable and informative resource. We look forward to your input!

Announcements and Ongoing Work

May 2023

From the Office of the CIO

  • In an effort to minimize disruptions, ITS will begin performing maintenance activities on Sunday mornings since this is a time when fewer people are using campus technology resources. We will publish our planned outages on the ITS Maintenance Calendar. In addition, any system outage with a widespread impact will also be announced via email using our ITS Alerts (its_alerts@unca.edu) account. By standardizing our maintenance windows, we hope to ensure that faculty, staff, and students have access to the resources they need to learn and work effectively. If you have any questions, please contact the ITS service desk by sending an email to ITServiceDesk@unca.edu.

Announcements and Ongoing Work

  • We would like to thank you again for a successful MFA rollout, and we are excited about two changes to our password policy coming on May 8.
    • Your password will now expire every 12 months, instead of 90 days.
    • The minimum password length will increase from 8 to 12 characters next time you change your password.
  • We are in the process of scheduling and deploying our 2023 refresh computers. Say hi as CTS and ATS technicians work hard over the summer to deploy computers to eligible areas.

April 2023

From the Office of the CIO

Photo of Mary Culbertson, Interim CIO
Mary Culbertson, Interim CIO
  • The rollout of Multi-Factor Authentication was a success thanks to careful planning and testing by the Information Security and Client Technology Support teams.  We are especially grateful to our student Service Desk Technicians for fielding support questions quickly.

 

  • We are happy to congratulate Ray Michaels on his move to the Enterprise Systems Administrator position.  

Announcements and Ongoing Work

  • In an environment with combined educational & business needs and the expectation of mobility, there is a need to provide seamless, secure onboarding for users and enterprise equipment.  The concept behind Internet of Things (IoT) accomplishes this for UNCA along with aligning with our Azure, Identity management, and network segmentation strategies.  Students, in particular, will find this solution more personalized and easier to manage for devices used in their residence.  IT staff will find it easier to accommodate specialty projects and secured wireless connectivity for campus labs. The NIS team hopes to share more on this effort in the coming newsletters as we get closer to a full deployment!

 

  • Thank you to our CTRP23 departments for their help completing our 2023 lease order, and to Bridgitt for working with lessors and making sure our contracts are signed without a hitch.

 

  • Multi-Factor Authentication(MFA) has been implemented for all users across campus.Thank you for your patience as we understand this adds a step to your normal workflow.
    • Currently, MFA is only enabled for some applications. Over the next coming weeks, other applications will also be included.
    • Keep in mind our Knowledge Base articles to answer common questions.
    • One of the most important tips is to have more than one method of authentication. This will help if your primary method is not readily available. 
  • Passwords
    • To further align with best security practices passwords will be configured to require a minimum character limit of 12 which is an increase from the current 8. 
    • Passwords will also not be required to be changed as frequently. Research has shown that requiring frequent password changes increases bad password practices such as writing them down or reusing similar passwords.
  • Congratulations Bridgitt for securing a flexible, responsive and cheaper Adobe renewal. Increasing efficiency and reducing cost.

March 2023

From the Office of the CIO

Photo of Mary Culbertson, Interim CIO
Mary Culbertson, Interim CIO
  • Thank you, UNC Asheville Community, for your support and cooperation with our rollout of Multi-Factor Authentication(see the notes on MFA below).  This feature strengthens our cybersecurity posture and aligns our campus with a UNC Board of Governors security policy.

Announcements and Ongoing Work

  • Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) Rollout – ITS will be making some improvements this spring, starting March 8th, to how you log in to applications such as Email, OnePort, Moodle and more.
    • Key Dates
      • March 8th – the login page to access email will be changing to a similar experience that you see with Oneport and Moodle
      • March 15th – You will begin to be prompted to use AZURE MFA to login to Oneport and Moodle. If you have not registered by the 15th, you will be required to register the next time you log in.
      • March 22nd – You will begin to be prompted to use AZURE MFA to login to your email.
    • We encourage you to go ahead and begin registering now by following our KB article here. https://kb.unca.edu/kb/adding-and-managing-mfa-authentication-methods

  • We are working on a replacement for our phone contract. While the new contract will not affect end users immediately, it will cut UNCA’s monthly bill for phone service significantly, increase our ability to enhance our analog line services used for emergency phones like in elevators, and pave the way for our transition to moving to a cloud-based phone system in 2024/2025 academic year. This project has been a joint effort with multiple departments across UNCA working to both save the university money and align us with our strategic road map for evolving our IT services to be more fluid for the modern workforce and student experience.

 

  • We will be working with Faculty and Staff to make sure all endpoints (laptops and desktops) are updated to the latest OS releases available. E-mails will be sent directly to the owners of the devices that require updates with instructions.

February 2023

From the Office of the CIO

Photo of Mary Culbertson, Interim CIO
Mary Culbertson, Interim CIO
  • Andy Johnson, Windows Systems Analyst

    Please join the ITS staff in welcoming Andy Johnson to UNCA.  Andy is a Windows System Analyst on the Networking, Infrastructure and Systems team and comes to us from Johnson Price and Sprinkle where he performed similar functions.  Andy recently earned his brown belt in martial arts and enjoys video games and spending time with his wife and their two dogs, Leela and Bailey.

    • Most notably — Andy is a 2008 graduate of UNC Asheville

Announcements and Ongoing Work

  • Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) Rollout – How you login to your UNC Asheville email is changing! Your email will soon use the same login screen as many familiar applications, such as Oneport and Moodle, before bringing you to your Gmail inbox. This change will also include enrolling in Azure Multi-Factor Authentication which will greatly enhance security and allow you to go longer between password changes. Nothing will change until March 8th (Spring Break!) and more dates, details, and documentation will be in your inbox well before then. Want to be ahead of the curve? Try enrolling an MFA method or two. You won’t need it until March, but you’ll be extra prepared.

 

  • The Network, Infrastructure and Systems (NIS) team is refreshing our compute cluster which is the foundation of our virtual server environment. This refresh will replace hardware that is over ten years old, will provide a faster platform with increased capacity, and has a more environmentally friendly footprint reducing power and cooling cost. This cluster is used to run many of the servers that support educational applications as well as the business applications UNCA uses to keep the university running efficiently and safely.

 

  • The Enterprise Systems and Applications (ESA) team is developing training sessions to be offered on the following applications: Argos Reporting, Dynamic Forms, and Softdocs Etrieve.  With the exception of Banner, these are applications supported by ESA that are most used by our campus community.  Be on the lookout for more details.

 

  • The Academic Technology Support (ATS) team has updated 18 classrooms with modern technology.
    • 15 rooms changed to BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) design to simplify operation and management
    • 2 classrooms upgraded with TEAL (Technology Enabled Active Learning) technology to allow for new teaching and learning styles
    • RRO125 Lecture hall updated with better projection and compatibility with modern HDMI and USB-C devices

 

  • Finally, if you’ve made it this far, the Client Technology Support (CTS) team would like to introduce the new ITS Knowledge Base.
    • While it may look the same as always, the ITS knowledge base has been re-launched as a cloud-native service to improve reliability and security. Browse through our updated content and complete our Scavenger Hunt by the next Weekly Wag to be entered to win one of five $10 gift cards to Roasted Coffee!