Archive for the ‘eNewsletter’ Category.

IT Security at TCD in the news

During IT Security week (26-30 January 2015), we posted a news items to our wesite each day that offered tips and guidance on the latest IT Security developments.

To mark inerenational Data Protection Day on 28th January , there was an exciting panel discussion in the Synge Theatre – What does the internet say about you?  Held in conjunction with Information Compliance and the Science Gallery, this event was aimed at raising awareness and educating individuals on their rights and responsibilities with regard to collecting, storing and processing personal data.

In addition to the panel discussion, a giant QR code was projected onto the Nassau Street entrance to College.  Over 100 people scanned the code and were asked a sequence of questions requesting personal data ranging from name, gender, email address to more sensitive data such as date of birth, occupation and credit card details.

Without any idea of what their information would be used for or where it was going to end up, 90% of participants volunteered their name and gender while a shocking 27% of participants answered the request for details of medical conditions and their credit card number.  While this exercise was for deomonstrative purposes only, it could easily have had a more sinister agenda.  The moral of the story is to think before you click!

Read more about the QR code in the press here:

IS Services 
Annual Review 
2013-14

Our Annual Review brochure, 
designed in-house by 
IS Services, is an 
engaging view over the
work that IS Services 
delivered in the 
2013-14 Academic 
Year. In it you will 
find details of IT 
service improve-
ments delivered 
for staff and students, 
as well as a summary
of what we did to 
support teaching, 
learning, research, 
business and support
areas in College.   You can find a copy of the IS Services Annual Review 2013-14 (flash version) on our website.

Cloud Computing Policy

Cloud computing is a term used to describe IT offerings which can be purchased as a service and used across the internet. These services offer convenience and flexibility; however the processes involved in correctly procuring and evaluating cloud services can be complex and subject to legal, ethical and policy compliance requirements.

That is why to help meet the challenges of adopting this new technology IS Services have developed policy and guidelines to assist College in the selection and use of cloud services.  The guidelines include a checklist to be used by anyone considering a cloud computing service for all or part of their official College work.

The checklist addresses the following:
– Stakeholder and institutional requirements  – deals with the service and the implications of its use for the College.
– Vendor considerations – outlines issues to be considered in relation to the vendor offering the service.
– Data issues – deals with College data and the implications of its use, considers if the cloud solution justifies the risk of processing data offsite and the   possible costs of security audits.  For sensitive data a College hosted system may offer cost savings in the long term.
– Payments details
– Support arrangements
– Exit strategy – clarifies what happens when the cloud service ends.

So if you are already using, or are planning in the future to start using, a cloud computing solution then please review the Cloud Computing Policy and Guidelines.

Update: College Mobility project (February 2015)

Following on from the completion of the design stage, a public procurement tender was released to select a vendor to supply and build the new Wi-Fi network which will comprise about 2,000 high performance Wi-Fi access points and associated infrastructure. The successful vendor has been selected and the new build stage will commence subject to governance approval and contract.

What happens next …

The vendor will require a four week lead time, after which the central resilient core of the new network will be commissioned and installed.  

We will develop a build-out schedule for high priority areas, such as student residences without Wi-Fi, and the schedule will be made available to the relevant areas for approval.  

We will make all efforts possible to avoid disruption due to these works during the revision and examinations period.

Research Data 
Migration successfully 
completed

In December 2014, the HPRC team undertook an upgrade of the GPFS filesystem that is shared across several compute clusters.  The old hardware had been commissioned in 2008 and had recently suffered some failures, leaving the service highly at risk of losing research data.

Leveraging the College’s investment in Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), an additional 60 terabytes of storage was purchased and installed in the new VNX system. This storage was connected by fibre channel to the existing HPRC I/O servers to allow the migration of the data to occur.

One of the key features of GPFS is the ability to add and remove disks from the filesystem without interruption to service. Therefore the migration of the data could run in the background with no impact on users.

The upgrade was carried out as a three step process:
– Extend the filesystem by adding the new disks
– Migrate the data from the old to the new disks
– Remove the now empty old disks from the filesystem

It was agreed to undertake this large operation in the days before the Christmas holidays. Overnight between 22nd and 23rd December, approximately 11 terabytes  of data was migrated with no issues. Therefore, just before leaving for the holidays the migration of the remaining 25 terabytes of data was initiated. With a little remote babysitting over the holiday period the migration was completed without data loss or downtime.

Now all critical research data on the HPRC clusters is housed on new equipment with warranties and support contracts in place.  Overall the project saved College approximately €120k by saving on the purchase of a replacement standalone storage platform for the HPRC systems.

IT Security week 2015

During IT Security week (26- 30 January 2015), we posted a news item to our website each day that offered tips and guidance on the latest IT Security developments.

The week kicked off with an article on secure passwords.  For the second year in a row, ‘123456’ has topped the list of Worst Internet Passwords.  Why should this matter to you; your password is secure, right?  Your passwords protect your personal information and data.  Have a look at our article on the worst internet passwords and see if your passwords rank and what you can to do to create safe passwords.

Data Protection Day 2015
To mark international Data Protection Day on 28th January, there was an exciting panel discussion in the Synge Theatre – What does the internet say about you?

Held in conjunction with Information Compliance and the Science Gallery, this event was aimed at raising awareness and educating individuals on their rights and their responsibilities with regard to collecting, storing and processing personal information.  The event also focused on encouraging businesses and other organisations to understand their responsibilities by being open and honest about how they collect, use and share personal information.

Think before you click! 
An exercise in data protection
You may have noticed a giant QR code being projected onto the Nassau Street entrance to College? Over 100 people scanned the code and were asked a sequence of questions requesting personal data ranging from name, gender, email address to more sensitive data such as date of birth, occupation and credit card details.

Without any idea of what their information would be used for or where it was going to end up, 90% of participants volunteered their name and gender while a shocking 27% of participants answered the request for details of medical conditions and their credit card number.

While this exercise was for demonostrative purposes only, it could easily have had a more sinister agenda.  The moral of the story – think before you click!

Software in 
College Computer Rooms

IS Services are in process of releasing a new software management facility, called Application  Jukebox, in College computer and teaching rooms across campus.

This new facility will greatly improve the current service for requesting and distributing software on Windows PCs.  Software can be added and removed as required and will provide a means for more efficient software and license management.

At present, all College computer and teaching rooms have access to standard computer applications and software (Microsoft Office, Adobe Reader).  Independent to the standard software available in computer rooms, this new facility can assign ‘speciality’ applications to specific computers, rooms and/or students.  This will offer great flexibility to academic staff when booking and time-tabling computer teaching rooms.

As well, it can host multiple versions of the same application in the event that a later or former version is needed.

E-Governement awards for the Digital Repository of Ireland

IS Services wish to congratulate the Digital Repository of Ireland on their three E-Government awards for:

  • Open Source
  • Representing Ireland Overseas
  • Overall Winner

Winnters were annouched by An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, at an event in Dublin Castle on Thursday, 29th January 2015.

The technical delivery of Digital Repository of Ireland is managed by the High Performance Research Computing team in IS Services.

Whatsapp, Viber, Google Hangouts

We are pleased to announce that students can now use Whatsapp, Viber and Google Hangouts on the TCDconnect service.

Removal of Explicit Proxy

As part of a programme of continual service improvement activities, we have made a change that should make using internet applications on the College network more like your home broadband experience.

A few years ago, we introduced transparent proxy to the College network.  A transparent proxy means that you will no longer need different instructions to access each application you would like to use.  This means zero configuration.

Now you can use applications like Skype on the College network without the hassle of having to reconfigure your proxy settings.  From the 1st July, we will be removing the last of the explicit proxy settings on the College network and moving completely to transparent proxy.

We have identified some people who may still be using the old proxy settings and have emailed them with instructions on how to remove these old settings.  However, should you experience any issues with internet access on, or after, 1st July please contact the IS Services Helpdesk.