The Office of Information Systems (OIS) continues to make improvements in several areas to help reduce the impact of cyber-attacks against Arkansas Tech University (ATU). Some of these improvements are listed below.
Installation of Updated Palo Alto Firewall Hardware
Network Services completed the installation of new Palo Alto firewall hardware in early January 2019. This hardware replaced ATU’s older Palo Alto firewall and will continue to provide increased security, reliability, reduced downtime, and improvements to remote access options.
In our continuing efforts to improve the security, threat prevention, and management of ATU’s information technology and campus network, OIS implemented Palo Alto Traps Advanced Endpoint Protection (Traps). Traps stops threats on the endpoint and coordinates enforcement with cloud and network security to prevent successful cyber attacks. Support Services is currently in the process of installing Traps on targeted desktops across campus and expects to complete it in the next few weeks.
Microsoft Office 365 Advanced Threat Protection
OIS recently implemented Microsoft Office 365 Advanced Threat Protection (ATP). ATP is a cloud-based email filtering service that helps protect the university against unknown malware and viruses by providing robust zero-day protection and includes features to safeguard from malicious links in real time. ATP has rich reporting and URL trace capabilities that give OIS insight into the kind of attacks happening in the origination.
Upcoming VPN Changes
With the installation of the new firewall hardware, ATU now has increased options for secure remote VPN access. OIS will be working on a new VPN policy to provide required remote connection options for off-site workers while maintaining network security. In addition, new versions of the GlobalProtect VPN client with an-easier-to-use and updated design will be available for OS X and Windows. Support for Android, iOS, and Linux devices will be coming soon as well. Look for additional announcements concerning this soon.
Future ResNet and Wireless Planning
As part of our efforts to make the wireless and on-campus residence network experience as good as possible, Network Services is researching ways to improve how students, staff, and faculty connect to these networks. This includes making it easier to register devices as well as re-evaluating the requirements and benefits of utilizing the SafeConnect policy key installer.
Virtual Reality Kiosk
In January 2019, Melinda Rhynes, Director and Practicum Coordinator of the Medical Assisting Program reached out to the Technology Center to coordinate a virtual reality (VR) demonstration. On January 30th of 2019, she and her Medical Assistant class took turns trying different VR applications.
- The Body VR – It is a tour inside a human cell. Users are transported to different parts of the cell while a narrator explains their function and makeup.
- Medical Holodeck – Users can load in models of the human body along with real scans and observe them in 3D.
- ShareCare – This was a favorite of the Medical Assistant class. Models of body parts can be loaded into the program. They can then be set to be affected by different conditions or diseases at varying stages.
- Nanome – Nanome allows users to interact, manipulate, and experiment with molecular structures.
On Jan 31st, 2019, OIS began holding weekly workshops to present information and training on various topics of ATU’s many technological resources. These workshops are held in the Ross Pendergraft Library (RPL) Room 331 on Thursdays from 2:30 PM – 3:30 PM. Past topics included Blackboard Learn Ultra Base Navigation, Adobe Creative Cloud, and Phishing Email Prevention (see the articles below for more information on these).
Future topics include Cisco Unified Communications on Feb 21st presented by Jason Salmans of Network Services, and All about The Campus Support Center and Support Portal on Feb 28th presented by Lance Byrum of the Campus Support Center.
If you have any ideas or suggestions for more information that you would like to see in future workshops, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and it will get forwarded onto the appropriate OIS staff members.
Alex Manly, Director of Technology Learning Resources, presented information and training on Blackboard Learn (BbLearn) on Jan 31st, 2019. He introduced the recent update to Ultra Base Navigation and the changes that it brought about to the Learning Management System. Faculty can find a recording of this workshop in the Blackboard Resources for Faculty course on BbLearn.
Adobe Creative Cloud
Joe Keating, Technical Support Administrator, held a workshop on the Adobe Creative Cloud site license on February 7, 2019. He presented what applications and services were included in the upcoming site license release and who would be authorized to use a license. He also suggested recommendations for installation. For more information, please visit the following two knowledge base articles on the OIS website:
Chris Moss, Information Security Officer, provided a workshop on phishing email on February 14, 2019. He suggested various ways to recognize and report phishing email.
Jaimes Krutz joined OIS Campus Support Center as a Computer Operator on October 1, 2018. On February 1, 2019, he moved into a Computer Support Technician position. Jaimes is currently living in Conway, and his family owns the Big Cuppa coffee shop in Morrilton.
Richard Velazquez, who was previously the Network Services Network Analyst, has accepted the Network Engineer position as of February 1st, 2019. Network Services is in the process of re-hiring the Network Analyst position.
Jonathan Collins exited our Instructional Technology Services team on January 2, 2019 to join the Office of Facilities Management as the new Energy Manager for ATU. OIS wishes Jonathan well in his new role.
Jake Whitten, former Network Services Network Engineer, accepted another opportunity outside ATU. Jake was a valuable member of the Networked Systems team and OIS wishes him all the best going forward.