Archive for February 2013

Windows 8 Pro support in College offices and labs

IS Services have completed initial testing of Windows 8 Pro and can confirm its compatibility with the College Network and a range of core  IT systems for those connected to the College network in offices and labs, or to the staff wireless network.   However it should be noted that there are a number of  services which are not currently available on Windows 8 including:

  • College VPN service
  • CheckPoint data encryption service
  • External access to SharePoint

Therefore Windows 7 Professional, which can support the  above list of services, remains the recommended Windows operating system for  College staff and will continue to be provided on all new Dell PCs and  Laptops.  We are waiting for the release of Windows 8 compatible versions  of VPN and Disk Encryption systems from the manufacturers.

IS Service can provide College staff with the installation  media for Windows 8 Pro on request. Installation must be carried out by the  user, with support available from IS Services limited to College network  connectivity and other configuration steps outlined on the IS Services website.

VPN solution now available for staff using Mac OS 10.8

IS Services are pleased to announce that a solution is now available for staff using Mac OS 10.8 who wish to make use of the College VPN service.  The College Virtual Private Network (VPN) service  allows College staff to make a secure, encrypted connection to the TCD College  network from a remote location, such as from home or abroad. A VPN connection  ensures the same level of network security and management policies established  on the College network are maintained when a member of staff is working from  various remote locations.

For further details on the service and how to apply for it please see our VPN web page.

IS Services satisfaction survey 2013

Please check your TCD email account for details of this year’s IS Services satisfaction survey, which has been developed with oversight from the School of Computer Science and Statistics.

This feedback from this survey will allow us to gain an understanding of what is of greatest importance to staff and students in relation to the IT services provided in College and will feed directly into our continuous service improvement plans.

Participants in the survey will remain anonymous but those who complete the survey can add themselves to a draw to win an iPad.

Green IT – What we’re doing & what you can do

It’s College Green Week and so we’d like to let you know how IS Services is committed to helping College meet its aims under the Sustainable Development Policy.  See our Green IT page for some information on what we’re doing to help meet these goals, and what part you can play too. For broader information on College’s environmental initiatives as a whole, you may also find the information on College’s Green Pages of interest.

Service Improvement Activity

During the year, IS Services has been working on continuous improvement across the services we offer to College.  The objectives of this initiative are to achieve higher levels of user satisfaction while also reducing levels of support activity.

We select the services for improvement using the following information sources: monthly Helpdesk statistics (what staff and students have been contacting us about at the Helpdesk), feedback from the IS Services User Group, and analysis of the data in the ISS 2012 satisfaction surveys.

Here are just a few items of continuous improvements completed to date:

  • modification to the wireless infrastructure to increase network traffic throughout;
  • roll-out of additional wireless access points to areas with no coverage or over-subscribed zones;
  • reduced connection complexity to TCDconnect Wi-Fi;
  • new single password management page and removal of 6 month password expiry for students;
  • modification to network security rules to provide greater access to external resources;
  • roll-out of wireless mobile device connectivity pilot.

The ISS Satisfaction Survey for 2013 will be advertised in the coming weeks and so we would strongly recommend you take part. Your views and comments will be heard and will be used directly in establishing the continuous improvement developments for the year ahead.


Mobility and Wi-Fi Update

As part of our continuous service improvement, IS Services has been expanding and enchancing Wi-Fi services in College. Here is the latest:

  • deployed Wi-Fi in Early Printed Books and Manuscripts Reading Room;
  • new pop-up TCDconnect support clinics in the Arts Building offering first-come, first-served assistance;
  • high density Wi-Fi in the Burke lecture theatre, Buttery Food Court & Cafe;
  • a reduction of the age-out policy to 40-days on the TCDconnect service;
  • adopted support for Windows 8 devices on TCDconnect.

Since the launch of the mobile device pilot, 4,749 mobile devices have bene connected, which includes 3,863 iOS devices by students, 47 Android devices by postgraduates, and 839 iOS and Android devices by staff.
Work is currently being carried out to expand the capacity of the TCDconnect system to allow support for Android devices.

Major service outages in January

As you might already be aware, College experienced a loss of data network connectivity and access to core data network services on Monday, 7th January, and a staff email outage on Wednesday, 16th Janaury. During incidents such as these, it is the priority of IS Services to restore normal service as quickly as possible or find a suitable workaround for those who rely on services.
IS Services restored data network services to major College areas within an hour of the first report of disruption.  Services were fully restored to all areas of College by 7am on the following morning, Tuesday, 8th Janaury. The root cause was identified as a failure within the network core routing and switching hardware.  ISS replaced the relevant hardware component on Thursday, 14th February.
On the morning of 16th Janaury, there was an unanticipated outage during a routine software update of the Staff email server. Services were fully restored within four hours of the first report of disruption and final remedial work was completed on Sunday, 10th February.
We apologise for any inconvenience caused as a result of these outages. During incidents such as these, our focus is on identifying root causes and restoring services with as little disruption as possible. We have established a ‘major incident’ management process within IS Services whereby the restoration of service is efficiently managed and the findings of a review of events feed intour continous improvement regime.

Compu b have been appointed as preferred supplier of Apple products

A College-wide tender was run by the Procurement Office with the assistance of IS Services in search of a preferred supplier of Apple products (Macs and iPads) for College.  We are pleased to announce that Compu b have been appointed.  Please see the Procurement Office website for details.

Need help connecting to TCDconnect? We can help.

During the month of February, IS Services are hosting TCDconnect clinics in the Arts Building on a trial basis. These clinics are on a first-come-first-serve basis and cannot be booked online.  Here are the details:

What:      TCDconnect Clinics
Where:    in the Arts Building, in the lower concourse, past the coffee dock
When:     Tuesdays 11-1pm & Thursdays 3-5pm

IT Security Week Review

IS Services and the College IT Security Officer hosted IT Security week at the end of January.  It was an initiative designed to raise IT Security awareness and provide clear up-to-date information for students and staff.

Each day that week a news item was posted to the ISS website which covered practical tips for protecting and securing mobile devices, computers and files.  Topics covered were:

We set up booths in both the Arts Block and the Hamilton to talk with students and staff and provide an opportunity to meet the College IT Security Officer, Sara McAneney, and student representatives from the student computing societies DUCSS and NETSOC.  We asked them what they thought of IT Security week and here’s what they had to say:

What did you think overall of the week?

(Sara McAneney, IT Security Officer)   The purpose of the week was to generally raise profile of IT Security as an issue that staff and students need to be aware of in their day-to-day computing activity. Judging from the feedback that I received from staff members who have been in touch and students who I met during the week I am confident that we have achieved this. Staff were interested in creating and storing secure passwords and students were interested in encryption and security for their phones and tablet devices.

(Ben Doyle, DUCSS)   We reached a lot of people who were interested in learning about securing their devices and information, but didn’t necessarily know how to go about doing that.  We were busy on the stands and there was a good turnout for the talk, I was very impressed by the number of students who weren’t just interested in the free chocolate or entering the prize draw and had specific questions about how they could go about being safer online, or protecting their laptops/phones/tablets. It was great to see that a lot of the student body actually care about their personal data.

Benefits of an event like this?

(SMcA)  The main aim and benefit is to promote awareness of IT Security as an issue that affects everyone especially in the current era of BYOD and cloud computing. Hopefully staff and students will be more likely to know that resources exist on the IS Services website and through the Helpdesk to assist them with any queries over the rest of the academic year.

Other thoughts?

(SMcA)  It was a great experience to get out and meet College users and hear their thoughts on IS Services and the type of IT issues that concern them.

(BD)  Overall I think the week was a big success and IS Services did a great job; I think we should go on building from this success as well as repeating what we did this year. The involvement with the Computer Science and Networking societies was a great idea, and I know both are keen to get even more involved in this next year.