the Associate Vice President for IT and CIO
Mitigating risk for UChicago IT data centers and end user devices: The IT Core Initiatives working group, representing an initiative to enhance service delivery throughout the University, has developed a new plan to help reduce institutional risk posed by distributed data center and end user device management. The risk mitigation plan will help secure institutional data while providing an enhanced level of service and support, and a more consistent experience across units and divisions. The plan, which consists of documented security guidelines for data centers, enhanced protection for end user devices, and new opportunities for savings through consolidation of effort across UChicago IT, will be delivered to the Audit Committee of the Board of Trustees at their November meeting. Execution of the plan will be dependent upon further feedback and direction by the committee and the board.
Developing University IT staff to better leverage cloud services: Over the summer, 60 University IT professionals were trained on the use of Amazon Web Services (AWS), which is the leading provider of cloud infrastructure. The University of Chicago is the third largest user of AWS, of the 49 higher-ed institutions utilizing the Internet2 AWS contract. The University is using AWS to host a growing collection of websites, including the University’s home page, as well as to support research and provide backup services for servers in campus data centers. Training was provided by Global Knowledge, and included two sessions of Architecting for AWS and one session of Developing on AWS. The goal of these initial training courses is to create a cohort of UChicago IT professionals who are aware of the capabilities in the cloud, and how those capabilities might be leveraged to provide new services to the campus. A third round of Architecting for AWS is being scheduled for November, and regular AWS lab hours on campus will begin in early 2018 for any member of the University community who is using or interested in learning about AWS.
NSF requirements and increased performance for the campus research network: For decades, computers have connected to and been addressable over networks using an Internet Protocol called IPv4, represented by a set of 12 digits separated by dots. But, as the number of computer devices that need IP addresses has grown exponentially, a new protocol has been needed. For a number of years, the United States government has been utilizing Internet Protocol v6 (IPv6), which not only remedies the shortfall of addresses available, but promotes improved network performance and greater security. Recently, the University of Chicago implemented IPv6 for use on the campus ScienceDMZ network to grant these same capabilities in support of research. Additionally, the availability of IPv6 in this environment allows researchers to compete for new grant opportunities where the National Science Foundation (NSF) and others are mandating its use–a growing trend.
University of Chicago Accident and Incident Reporting (UCAIR) is now accessible on the web: To improve on the University’s previous paper-based accident and reporting system, to be able to better capture close calls, near misses, or unsafe conditions, a web version of the University of Chicago Accident and Incident Reporting tool (UCAIR) system was launched in October. Mobile applications for both iOS and Android devices are also in beta testing. UCAIR is designed to provide easy access to accident and incident reporting to the University’s Environmental Health and Safety and Organizational Health and Safety offices which promptly investigate events so that corrective and preventive actions can take place. UCAIR facilitates communication by making accident and incident reporting accessible to anyone from anywhere, organizing all safety-related information in one place. Standardized reports are also generated and available, including root-cause investigation reports which track and analyze accidents and incidents to enhance workplace safety and employee productivity at the University.
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Updates from the Associate Vice President for IT and CIO – October 2017