CIS Staff Technology Blog

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The New Microsoft Teams

Microsoft has released a new update to its Microsoft Teams platform that came into effect October 5, 2023, but all Windows and Mac users will be automatically shifted to the new version in January 2024. All information is derived from Microsoft Support, which you can view in Microsoft's article: Switch to the new Microsoft Teams

 

The new Microsoft Teams is for both Mac and Windows, and comes with many new features that we will briefly cover in this blog post:

How to Switch:

To use the new Microsoft Teams app on your window's device, there should be a toggle at the top left corner of your menu bar.

This will prompt a pop up window. Select Get it now. The new teams will begin installing. The Microsoft Teams app will reboot to open the new Microsoft Teams.

Alternatively, if you do not see a toggle at the top left corner of your menu bar, you may select the following link to download the new teams directly from the Microsoft webpage.

Link to download: Download Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams Toggle

Microsoft Teams Update Toggle

What's New:

You can now view your status in the Microsoft Teams icon in your taskbar.

 Microsoft Teams was rebuilt for performance, operating quicker and much simpler than the previous teams. The new format allows for enhanced functionality while using less battery and memory of your device.

The new update downloads and installs faster, allowing for an increased ease of access for joining meetings and responding to messages. It also requires less memory and disk usage, increasing the efficiency of your device.

The New Microsoft Teams Look:

How to add Another Account

The new Microsoft Teams allows for multi-account support, meaning you will be able to add another account to your Microsoft Teams App.

To add a new account, select your profile picture at the top right of the application window. Then, select Add another account.

Adding another account to your Microsoft Teams desktop app will allow you to get notifications for both accounts, in real time.

You will be able to participate in different chats, calls, and meeting without having to manually switch between accounts.

You will also be able to set your status for each account individually.

Other Microsoft Teams-related Updates

View what else is new by following the link: Microsoft What's New in Teams.

Also, linked below is the starting video in Microsoft Teams Youtube Playlist covering Microsoft Teams:

How Microsoft Teams Used to Look:

CIS Service Changes
 Table of Contents

Seattle Pacific University’s budget challenges have had a widespread impact across the institution, including causing changes to the Computer and information Systems (CIS) department. Like many departments, these changes have necessitated both position eliminations and significant cuts to operational budget lines. The challenge given to us was to identify activities that we could discontinue to reduce budget, as opposed to our historic practice of trying to do more with less. CIS made several hard choices about which services to keep and which to eliminate with the knowledge that any change will have a direct impact on the campus community we serve. However, many impacts, such as file backups and cybersecurity protections, may go unnoticed.

CIS HelpDesk Operations

Helpdesk walk-in hours will be limited to 10am-4pm on weekdays. The helpdesk will no longer provide evening and weekend support. We also expect the current longer than historical response times on work requests to be the new normal.  

Reason for the Change

There are three key drivers for this change: headcount reductions; the transition from salaried to hourly staff, and minimum wage increases without budget enhancements for several years have decreased student employee labor hours.

 Click to see impact on student labor...

The rising Seattle minimum wage combined with budget reductions are significantly impacting student labor used to staff the helpdesk and provide support to campus.  See the 10yr trend below on student labor hours supported by CIS's budget.

YearStudent Worker Labor Hours% Change
FY1513,085
FY1614,94914%
FY1713,286-11%
FY1812,138-9%
FY1913,1288%
FY2013,1110%
FY2110,245-22%
FY2210,132-1%
FY239,568-6%
FY245,389-44%

Centralized PC Purchasing Changes

CIS is changing the way computers are funded and refreshed to better steward limited resources. The Centralized PC Purchasing Policy has been updated to reflect these changes. This shift will mean the following:

  • One PC / Knowledge Worker - CIS will provide one standard PC (Windows or Mac) to each employee classified as a knowledge worker.  CIS will cover the up-front expense and a permanent budget transfer is no longer required.
  • Second Devices - With very limited exceptions, all employees with more than one computer will be reduced down to a single device.
  • Shared Computers - All shared computers (student / adjunct workstations, kiosks, etc.) will be reviewed for business need. Devices without a clearly explained need will be eliminated. Funding of shared computers by business units will not change. See the Centralized PC Purchasing Policy for details.
  • Equipment Refresh Cycle - Equipment refresh cycle goals, under 5 years, have been increased by 1 year.  
  • Equipment Stewardship - All equipment will be "stewarded" by CIS.  When positions become vacant, computers will be returned to CIS to be rebuilt and re-issued when a position is filled.
  • Eliminated Equipment Budget - Funds stewarded by CIS to maintain/replace any eliminated equipment has already been returned to the institution to reduce the deficit.  
Reason for the Change

The Centralized PC Purchasing budget has been significantly reduced to reduce overall institutional operating expense. The change necessitates a realignment of existing equipment investments and downsizing the numbers of computers on campus to fit within SPU's budget and support labor capacity. Returning equipment to CIS during employee transitions simplifies inventory and asset tracking processes, improves device security, ensures better use of resources, and sets new employees up for success with a freshly refurbished device.  

Printer Program Changes

The fleet of Multi-Function-Printers (MFPs) will be reduced from 85 printers to 50 printers across campus. The locations eliminated were determined based on usage, distance to the next closest MFP, and accessibility. This change also necessitates the removal of sending print jobs directly to a printer. Secure Print will be the only option to print to the University MFPs.  

Reason for the Change

Budget for the Centralized Printing program has been significantly reduced and requires downsizing of the MFP fleet. The shift to Secure Print significantly reduces complexity, support expense, and reduces the risk of printing sensitive information to publicly accessible printers.

Additional Service Reductions and Changes

AV Equipment Checkout

Audio/visual equipment for checkout from the CIS Helpdesk has been eliminated. CIS will develop a list of local vendors that rent equipment to support events.

AV Event Support

AV technology support for online and in-person events has been eliminated. CIS will develop a list of local contractors you may hire to provide these services.

Matthew File Shares

The current hardware platform past its end-of-life and will not be replaced.  CIS will work with departments to transition their files to Document Libraries in Office 365 over the course of the '23-'24 Academic Year. 

If you've been waiting for a good time to review, re-organize, or remove old content from Matthew, now is a great time since it'll expedite the migration process once we get started.

Reach out to cis-bst@spu.edu if you'd be interested in moving your department's files early in the process and we meet to start things moving.

Tableau for Data Reporting

The University's Tableau license for ongoing maintenance has been canceled. CIS will continue to operate the Tableau server in a locked-down fashion for some time, but expect most departments to slowly transition reports and dashboards to Power BI.

Project Management

The IT Project Manager position and project management services offered by CIS have been eliminated.  CIS will continue to partner in the review of technology projects, but project management will now be done by the requesting department's leadership or professional services staff provided by technology vendors.


Winter 2023 Announcements

Happy New Year!  We hope you all had a good holiday season and a smooth start to Winter.  As you know, we're already off and running in the new term, but there are still some changes we want you to know about. Keep reading to hear more about new staff and services available to you as well as other changes that can help you save time.

Topics


New Director of Technology Support Services - Karen Park

Please join me in congratulating Karen Park as she assumes the mantle of Director of Technology Support Services. Karen rejoined CIS in March after 5 years serving in Educational Technology and Media (ETM). She’s been an employee of SPU for over 15 years after as staff in CIS and ETM, as well as being a CIS student employee before graduation. We are very excited to have a person with her passion for education and her wealth of knowledge and experience leading the team.

If you haven't already, drop her a line to welcome her into her new role!

Azure Multi-Factor Authentication

At this point, all SPU accounts are now protected by Azure Multi-Factor Authentication. Thank you all so much for your part in helping keep our accounts and data systems secure!

With the last accounts migrated during the Winter Break, we are ready to enable some new security features that will increase security and save you time if you use the Authenticator App to authenticate.

How to Login in Fewer Steps

A new feature that you can enable on your account is to sign in without your password. Instead, your device lock code or biometric lock act as the 2nd factor to your authentication rather than your password. After you enable this feature, all you'll need to do to login is type your username and authenticate on the app.

  1. Follow these instructions for setting up Phone Sign-in: Enable Phone Sign-in
  2. Then, the next time you login to a campus service, click the "Use an App instead" link on the login page after entering your username.

Combating MFA Spam

With the increasing use of MFA, we're seeing new techniques by malicious actors to bypass MFA and gain access to your account. The most common is MFA Spam. To combat this, we are enabling a feature that will display a two-digit numeric code on the device you're trying to log in on, and you must enter that code in the Authenticator App to login. Additionally, it will provide the location information of where the request is coming from. These features help to ensure that you are authenticating a real login session that you requested and someone else hasn't compromised your password and is trying to log in elsewhere.

Remote Lab Access for Students

We are excited to announce the launch of Remote Labs for students! During fall quarter we launched a pilot remote computer lab, which allowed students to access specialized SPU Academic Software on a Windows computer from their personal devices. If you are a student that would like remote access to the specialized software SPU has, or if you have students in your class or program who would benefit from it, please consider sharing our Remote Computer Lab Access instructions.  Students can connect from a Windows or Apple PC's as well as Chromebooks, iOS and Android devices too.

Please also note that Remote Computer Lab Access replaces AppStream and AppStream will be deprecated this quarter.

Microsoft PowerBI

Have you heard about the power of visualizing your data? Microsoft now includes its Business Intelligence platform application with the licenses all SPU Faculty, Staff and Students have. PowerBI is a great way to transition from Excel to a more visual, powerful business intelligence and data analytics tool. Create graphs, metrics, analyze multiple data sources together, and more using PowerBI. Get started by clicking on the PowerBI application in Office, choosing an Excel document to import, and selecting a graph type. Further your data analysis skills by learning the platform for free directly from Microsoft. Ask your Data Manager, Supervisor, or visit the Power BI page in SPU's Service Catalog for more details or help getting started.

SPU Docs to move to OneDrive

Due to aging hardware and rising costs to manage and replace it, we're making plans to move all employees' SPU Documents to OneDrive and are looking for pilot users.  If you're interested in participating, please reach out to the CIS HelpDesk.

2022 MISO Survey Results

CIS posted the CIS 2022 MISO Survey Results back in November.  We wanted to thank you again for your candid feedback that is helping shape our future direction and how we provide services to campus.  

Staffing Challenges and Response Times

The MISO survey clearly communicated your number one concern is customer service and response times.  We're doing what we can with the resources we have on hand.  CIS is currently operating with 33% of staff positions vacant.  The Technology Support Services area covering the classrooms and HelpDesk is currently 50% vacant.  Many of these positions have been open and posted for over a year.  We appreciate your continued patience as we work to hire, but we would also love your help in recruiting new members to team CIS!

Referral Bonus

CIS offers a $1,000 referral bonus to any SPU employee if we hire their referral and the new hire retains for at least 6 months.  To date four individuals have earned referral bonuses! Thank you!



You can champion Cybersecurity Awareness Month by practicing and sharing the information we share this month with your friends and family.  Each October, we try to raise awareness about digital security and empower everyone to protect their personal data from digital forms of crime.

Now in its 19th year, Cybersecurity Awareness Month continues to build momentum and impact.  It is co-led by the National Cybersecurity Alliance and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency (CISA).

This year’s theme is: See Yourself In Cyber – because while cybersecurity may seem like a complex subject, ultimately, it’s really all about people.

Upcoming Topics


Topics

Multifactor Authentication Everywhere

Whether it's as a part of your SPU account or your bank account, Multi-factor Authentication (MFA) is here to stay. While it's not a silver bullet against all cybersecurity threats (and we still need to be on the watch for "phishy" behavior), it's a simple measure that should be enabled anywhere it is available.

Multi-factor Authentication is a process by which you use a second "factor" to login to an online account, in addition to the username and password you already know. This second factor is most often "something you have", and can be a device with a registered application, a phone number to receive calls or texts, or a dedicated security token that generates an authentication code.

SPU is finishing up its migration of all "@spu.edu" accounts to MFA this Fall using Azure MFA (if you haven't enrolled already, do so now!). This means that all logins used to access SPU systems will be afforded this protection and our accounts and systems will be more secure. Importantly, this will also help prevent bad actors from using a compromised account to bombard campus inboxes with phishing or scamming attempts.

Do your part and set up MFA both here at SPU and anywhere else you have the option of doing so!

Getting set up with a Password Manager

Last week we talked about the importance of using Multi-factor Authentication Everywhere and how it can help protect you against cybersecurity threats.  This week we’re focused on your password and how you can protect yourself by setting up a Password Manager!

Most people tend to use easy to remember passwords, but those are also easily guessed and are thus weak to cyber-attacks.  If you use the same password for your email, bank, social media, and healthcare accounts, an identity thief who found your login info on the dark web would be able to access all kinds of sensitive information with a single username and password.

What are the Benefits of a Password Manager?

Individuals and businesses may find password managers useful in several circumstances:

  • They can generate secure passwords for you.
    Many password managers will prompt you with an automatically generated secure password whenever you create a new account through an app or website. These passwords tend to be long blends of letters, numbers, and special characters. If you opt to use a suggested password, the manager will automatically store it for you.
  • They can save time. While keeping all your login information safe is certainly a plus, a password manager can also store and auto-fill information like your address, phone number, and credit card. Online shopping just got a lot easier!
  • They protect your identity. If a criminal can guess one of your passwords, they’ll try to access more of your accounts by trying that same password in other commonly used websites. But if you’re using unique passwords, they may not be able to gain access to your other accounts. While a password manager isn’t foolproof, it does provide an extra layer of security.
  • They can let you know about phishing sites. Phishing and spear phishing websites are scams that spoof legitimate websites. While they may look like the real deal, their goal is to steal your login information and commit fraud. A password manager can offer protection from phishing sites because each username and password is tied to a specific URL. Even if you visit a phishing site, your login information won’t autofill because the URL doesn’t match the one saved in the password manager. This might give you pause before you enter your personal information and keep a criminal from stealing your personal information.

Apart from using a service or app to manage your login information, other steps that you can take to keep your information safe include not reusing passwords and creating strong, unique passwords for each website or application you log into.

What password manager should I adopt?

There are many password managers to choose from, how do I pick a good one? Checking reviews from reputable sources, like Wired or CNET will help you identify a password manager that will meet your needs.  Some commonly used Password Managers are: 1Password, Bitwarden, LastPass, and many others.

Additional Resources

Looking for more information about how password managers work?  Check out the following resources.

Colby, C., Hodge, R., Tomascheck, A., October 2022. Best password manager to use for 2022. https://www.cnet.com/tech/services-and-software/best-password-manager/. Retrieved October, 2022.

Gilbertson, S. August 2022.  The best password managers to secure your digital life. Wired. https://www.wired.com/story/best-password-managers/. Retrieved on October, 2022.

National Cybersecurity Alliance. May 2022. Online safety + Privacy basics: Passwords. https://staysafeonline.org/online-safety-privacy-basics/passwords-securing-accounts/. Retrieved October 2022.

National Cybersecurity Alliance. September 2022. Online safety + Privacy basics: Password managers. https://staysafeonline.org/online-safety-privacy-basics/password-managers/. Retrieved October 2022.

Identifying Malicious Emails

If you’ve been following along with our weekly Cybersecurity Awareness posts, by now you have MFA enabled on your accounts and a password manager set up to store all your passwords. Those tools help to secure your account, but malicious actors have other ways to steal data or defraud users.

Since the start of October, Microsoft has flagged 125,766 emails sent to SPU addresses as either phishing attempts, fraud, or malware. Can you distinguish between the different types?

  • Phishing emails attempt to steal your account credentials.
  • Fraud emails attempt to steal money from you. These can be emails such as:
    • Requests gift cards that will be “paid back right away”
    • Help wanted postings that require you to send money before they can hire you
  • Malware emails contain attachments that install malicious programs on your system when opened.

The large majority of attempts like those mentioned above are automatically blocked by safeguards CIS has implemented in SPU’s systems. But for those that make it through, here are some steps you can take to protect yourself:

  1. Take a few seconds to reread and review the email (answering yes to any of the following questions increases the chances the email is a phishing attempt).
    1. Is the offer too good to be true?
    2. Is the sender asking you to send them personal information and/or money?
    3. Is the language urgent or threatening permanent loss of access?
    4. Is the greeting generic or ambiguous?
    5. Is the request in the email a strange business request, especially from that particular sender?
  2. Confirm the sender of the email.
    1. Hover over the display name of the email to review the address from which it was sent. Does the address match the supposed sender of the email?
    2. Beware of email addresses that are very similar looking to valid addresses such as: pavpal.com vs paypal.com or anazon.com vs amazon.com
  3. Never click links in suspicious emails.
    1. Never use a link in the email to contact the sender. Call them using contact information on their website instead, to confirm whether or not the emailed request is valid.
  4. Don’t open attachments from non-trusted senders.
    1. Opening attachments risks installing malware on your computer. Once installed, the malware can quickly propagate out to other areas of our network and infect the entire system.
  5. Contact CIS if you still have questions.
    1. If you receive an email that passes all of the above checks but still seems suspect to you, contact CIS (help@spu.edu) and ask us to review it. We have additional tools and resources we can use to attempt to confirm its validity.

Managing your Software

In our last installment for Cybersecurity Awareness, we’re focusing on software updates.  Often, when we think about software updates, we think about our computer and our phone, but there’s more to updates than just those devices. 

The key things to remember about software updates are:

  • Update often
    New patches come out on a regular basis and there will be new vulnerabilities. The longer you wait, the more vulnerable you and your data are to bad actors.
  • Automate it whenever possible
    With the number of devices and applications out there that we each use, it can be hard to keep track of updates. This is where automation comes into play.  Sometimes, your devices and applications can keep themselves updated, taking some of the burden off you to remember to do this.
  • Replace or upgrade unsupported software and hardware
    Hardware and/or software that is no longer supported and receiving updates can be problematic because there won’t be patches to protect the system and your information from new attacks and vulnerabilities. Where possible, upgrade or stop connecting the older devices to the internet to keep yourself and your data safe.
  • Every device that connects to the internet should be updated.
    This includes your home router, smart devices used at home like security cameras and doorbells, Bluetooth deadbolt setups, car software, TV’s and more! If your system is online, we recommend keeping up with the updates!

We’re at the end of Cybersecurity Awareness month, but we hope by sharing these resources with you, that you will have the tools and information necessary to make informed decisions when using the Internet.


SPU Moves to Azure MFA

As part of our ongoing efforts to better protect campus and reduce administrative costs, CIS has licensed Microsoft's Azure Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) for all current Duo 2FA users and all Students at a lower cost than our current Employee-only coverage through Duo.

Extending this service to campus is both a best practice and will greatly reduce the number of compromised SPU student accounts, consequently decreasing the number of phishing emails sent to others from within the SPU community.

Topics

Migration Timeline

  • Pilot (Jan-Apr): CIS staff and several dozen pilot-users from around campus have already migrated to Azure MFA and have been using it to login to campus systems since as early as January 2022.
  • Current User Opt-in (April 18): Starting today all current Duo Users are eligible to migrate to Azure MFA at a time convenient to them.

Instructions on how to enroll can be found here: Enrolling In Azure MFA.

  • Current User Migration Deadlines (April 25-May 27): Starting next week all users that have not yet migrated will begin to be placed in a phased migration cohort. Each cohort will have two weeks to migrate before being required to do so. As soon as you are placed in a cohort you will begin to see a notification reminding you of your deadline for migrating each time you log in to an online SPU system.
  • Current & Incoming Students (Summer/Fall 2022): Migration of the general student body will begin as an opt-in process around the start of Summer Quarter (for all current and incoming students) and we aim to conclude setup of all students in the weeks following the start of Fall Quarter. Many current students will already have this protection by virtue of being a Student Employee.
  • Alumni and other populations (Summer/Fall 2022): Migration of other accounts to Azure MFA will take place during Summer and Fall, with all accounts being migrated prior to the end of 2022.

Azure Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)

Multi-factor authentication has been in use at SPU since 2018 and adds the requirement of having "something you have" (e.g.: a registered phone), in addition to "something you know" (e.g.: SPU username and password) in order to login to your SPU account. This added layer of protection ensures that even if an account credential is compromised, a malicious actor cannot gain access to your SPU account without both authentication factors, and your access to sensitive student data as well as any personal data is safeguarded. Since rolling this service out to campus employees, we've had zero compromised accounts among those users.

Azure MFA is the MFA service offered by Microsoft and is part of our ongoing campus license to Microsoft 365 online services. By tying our MFA provider in with our campus licensing, we are able to provide this protection to all campus user accounts and reduce the number of systems SPU uses.

The primary authentication method recommended is the Authenticator App available on Android and Apple devices. This simple app allows you easily authenticate a login by pushing a notification to your device each time you log in to an SPU service from a new device or internet browser.

Podium Retirement

Effective this morning, the "podium" login account has been retired from use at SPU. This was an account primarily used by external and conference guests to present content on SPU-managed devices, but some employees have used it for non-sensitive tasks on SPU-managed devices as well. With the advent of Azure MFA, use of this account (in conjunction with accessing SPU services) could result in a security hole for that user's account. As such, this account needs to be officially retired. If you are aware of any user that previously used this account, please let them know that they will need to login with their SPU credential on all campus systems. If you are working with an external group that needs access to an SPU-managed workstation, please contact the CIS HelpDesk for assistance.