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Keeping Up with Security
Technology, like the weather, can be unpredictable. In 2014, Information Services experienced this unpredictability in the form of five serious security exploits. Each event required staff to set aside project and maintenance work to fix the security flaws to help keep the university's data safe.
The most complicated of the five, a flaw called Heartbleed, required working with IT staff across campus to detect and patch at-risk systems and coordinate efforts to change passwords for every account at the University of Oregon—approximately 40,000 accounts total. In all, mitigating Heartbleed alone took nearly three months of coordinated effort.
In addition to Heartbleed, we mitigated the Shellshock, POODLE, Winshock, and Drupal SQL-injection vulnerabilities, making 2014 a very busy year on the security front.
Also in 2014, we hired Will Laney, the university's first Chief Information Security Officer. Laney is responsible for overseeing and coordinating programs to protect the university's informational and reputational assets and for communicating security-related best practices to campus.
Laney comes to Oregon from the University of Georgia, where he served as Associate Director of UGA's Office of Information Security. Previously he served as an IT auditor for University of Georgia and as an IT examiner for the Federal Reserve System.
Wireless Network Infrastructure Improvements
In fall 2012, the university experienced a series of widespread wireless network outages caused by outdated infrastructure. Information Services secured funding for a wireless stability improvement project, and in late 2013 we completed that work with great success: UO had zero widespread wireless stability issues in 2014.
We also made progress on coverage and capacity issues by building out the wireless networks in Knight Library and Deady Hall. These two buildings now serve as showcases for robust university wireless coverage.
By consolidating services when sensible, the university gains efficiency. Web hosting is one of several areas in which Information Services has encouraged centralization, in this case by offering two services to fit different needs.
UO Blogs, a WordPress-based web publishing service, had 4.2 million page views in 2014, a 68 percent increase over 2013. This service hosts websites for UO academic departments such as Creative Writing, Religious Studies, and Theatre Arts, plus over 9,000 sites for students, study groups, projects, and classes.
IS's Drupal Web Hosting service saw a six-fold increase in the number of websites hosted in 2014. This service delivers many of UO's mission-critical websites to the world: the UO home page, Admissions, Lundquist College of Business, School of Music and Dance, School of Architecture and Allied Arts, and the Graduate School.
Other hosted websites include the Office of International Affairs, Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, the Division of Student Life, Office of the Registrar, Center on Teaching & Learning, Academic Affairs. One of our latest additions, brand.uoregon.edu
, supports the university's newly launched brand campaign.
IT Service Management (ITSM)
This initiative, launched in 2013, aims to improve IS's service to campus. Since the launch, we have been working in four areas: Change Management, Incident Management, Service Catalog, and Service Desk.
Change Management, a process for improving internal coordination of planned maintenance work, rolled out in October 2014. During the one quarter it was in use that year, we worked through 497 change requests, resulting in reduced downtime due to maintenance and improved work coordination.
2014 also saw the implementation of an interim Incident Management process. This work has led to faster service restoration during unplanned service outages.
Our Technology Service Desk responded to 21,180 questions from customers, a 1.8 percent increase from 2013 and a 42.1 percent increase over 2012. The Tech Desk provides support to all UO students, faculty, and staff.
We continue to develop our Service Catalog, a listing of services we provide. A draft version has already been used to develop an IT service cost model.
We improved our support of the research mission of the university in 2014 by joining the InCommon Federation. This electronic membership eases access to Research.gov and other research resources by streamlining usernames and passwords. The university's membership in InCommon also encourages collaboration amongst researchers and scholars across institutions by providing tools and ways to share information.
The Campus Technology Council and Advisory Groups in 2014 evaluated 39 proposals generated by the IT advisory groups and determined which to submit to the UO's Strategic Initiatives Budget Process. This is the first time in recent history that IT governance has contributed to the strategic direction of the university.
Integrated Data and Reporting (IDR) is a data reporting service that vastly increases the university's ability to make data-driven decisions by putting accurate data in front of decision-makers in schools, colleges, and the administration.
IDR aims to make data reporting more efficient and accessible, to reduce data storage redundancy, and to integrate data storage and reporting into one comprehensive solution.
In 2014, IDR expanded the number of reports available to users by nearly 30 percent. The number of registered users increased by 84 percent.
Communications to the IT Community
Information Services does not stand alone as an island. Our ability to provide quality service to campus depends on coordinating work with our IT partners, and communication is key.
In 2014, we improved emergency notification procedures for contacting IT Directors. During e-mail outages, the campus IT Directors receive updates via Emergency Management's text message notification system.
Also, as noted in the IT Service Management section, Information Services in 2014 began using the first version of an incident response process to better coordinate work across teams, especially after-hours. This effort has resulted in faster restoration of services.
Our messaging to campus IT partners increased in volume by 75 percent in 2014, continuing the upward trend from 2013.