Computing Services

The department behind IT services at the University of Bath

Strategic Systems Team away day, April 2017

  ,

📥  Computing Services

It can be difficult to decide when the best time for an away day is but we felt it was a great opportunity for us.  We are a new team, I’m a new manager and new staff have joined our team recently. We make up the Strategic Systems team and we look after our IT systems in Accommodation, Hospitality & Estates, Finance and HR & Payroll.

With the decision made to take up this chance, we gathered in the large rehearsal room in the Edge and Amanda Wylie (Head of Staff Development) asked us to depict our team dynamic in the form of interpretive dance.

Not really – that’s for next time (are you with me, team?).

Instead, Amanda engaged us in a more gentle way, with a series of questions to ask each other. It emerged that Eddie had met the Pope, Chris keeps a collection of caterpillars, and my most inspiring place is the Jewish Museum in Berlin.

ICS psychometric scheme

Amanda then described the ICS psychometric scheme – a very simple colour related way to analyse our preferred ways to interact with the world, with work, and how this can affect the way we work together. We were then asked to put ourselves into groups according to what colour we felt we were. A big group of blue, which is not that surprising for a bunch of systems developers.  For those not initiated into this, I will summarise blue people in the following way:

·         we like bullet points.

We did have a couple of yellows (more likely to prefer interpretive dance) and one very much between to declare one way.

It is interesting I think to reflect on the differences between us regarding our ‘secondary’ colours. Though dyed in the wool blue (nothing to do with the Tories I hasten to add) I also have a lot of yellow.  This means I can be a bit more easy-going and spontaneous than some ‘blue’ people, but also a bit chaotic and disorganised. Others in the team have green tinges – more aware of us as a community and the needs of others. Those of us with a bit of red also can get frustrated by delays and too much agonising over details.

We also did a couple of exercises using a rope and blind-folds. Entirely about how a group works together, you understand.

Towards the end we were asked to discuss what is working well and what is not, what the team need from me as a manager and what I need from them, what we appreciate and what we need more and less of from each other. Some useful points came out of this. I think there were a lot of positive feelings expressed and some useful pointers regarding improvements and development.

Thank you for the day, to my team and to our customers

There has been less time to reflect than perhaps we hoped for.  Fixing the issues that resulted from weekend work has been more important and we thank our customers for their understanding during this time.  However, the overall feeling was very positive and we feel we know each other better and are more at ease.  I feel proud of all of us and grateful to my team for their positive spirit and willingness to fully participate in this workshop. Amanda facilitated this wonderfully, and I hope to do something similar in a few months or so.

 

Guidance on protection against ransomware

  ,

📥  Security

Due to the ransomware attacks on the NHS and many other organisations as reported in the world media, we have provided some guidance to protect your personal devices (including ones you have at home) against similar attacks. If you have a University-owned device then please contact us for advice.

Windows XP
We recommend that you obtain the latest version of Windows as Microsoft no longer support this. However, they have provided an emergency update to protect your device against this particular attack.

If you are not able to obtain the latest version of Windows, then you need to run Windows update to ensure your system is up to date.

Ensure that you have antivirus software installed and that it is up to date. If you do not have antivirus software installed then we recommend Sophos which is offered to staff and students for free.

Windows 7/8/10
Run Windows update to ensure your system is up to date.

Ensure that you have antivirus software installed and that it is up to date. If you do not have antivirus software installed then we recommend Sophos which is offered to staff and students for free.

macOS
If possible, ensure you have upgraded to the latest macOS. 

If you are running Bootcamp, this will need to be updated too.

Check and run Mac software updates. 

Ensure that you have antivirus software installed and that it is up to date. If you do not have antivirus software installed then we recommend Sophos which is offered to staff and students for free.

Linux
Update your system to the latest version. 

If you are running a virtual machine this will need to be updated too.

Ensure that you have antivirus software installed and that it is up to date. If you do not have antivirus software installed then we recommend Sophos which is offered to staff and students for free.

iOS
Update your system to the latest version.

Ensure that you have antivirus software installed and that it is up to date. If you do not have antivirus software installed then we recommend Sophos.

Android
Update your phone to the latest software version. See your phone manufacturer’s website to find out how to do this.

Ensure that you have antivirus software installed and that it is up to date. If you do not have antivirus software installed then we recommend Sophos.

Further information and advice
Please feel free to contact us should you need any further information and advice about this issue.

We strongly advise you to back up your files on a regular basis.

 

 

Update: WannaCrypt Ransomware

  

📥  Security

This is an update about the WannaCrypt Ransomware virus that we blogged about earlier. We have discovered several new variants of the WannaCrypt Ransomware virus. Please be aware that we are doing everything we can to keep the University community safe and protected.

If you are in any doubt, the best way to contact us is at http://go.bath.ac.uk/it-help-form. If your enquiry is urgent then you can contact us on x3434. You can also visit the Service Desk in person on level 2 of the Library.

We will be providing a series of self help guides later on today.

Microsoft have provided guidance surrounding this at https://blogs.technet.microsoft.com/msrc/2017/05/12/customer-guidance-for-wannacrypt-attacks/

 

 

WannaCrypt Ransomware - please be vigilant

  ,

📥  Computing Services, Security

You will be aware of the news reports of ransomware attacks on the NHS and many other institutions around the world.  Ransomware attacks are mainly launched via email and are a major threat to our data.

To protect against these, the University of Bath relies on a layered approach to protect our systems with regular patching, anti-virus, firewall protection and mail filtering.  Updates to protect University systems against the vulnerability exploited in the latest attacks were tested and released to our systems and signature updates for the current attack were made available from our vendors.  Support teams are working to check that all updates have been deployed successfully and ensure that our systems are fully protected.

Ransomware does need someone to open the booby-trapped attachments so everyone should take care with emails containing attachments or links. An email may look genuine but can be spoofed. You should ask yourself:

  • Am I expecting an email from this organisation?
  • Have I actually purchased or used the service being referred to?
  • Am I confident that the attachment is safe?

Even if you choose to open the attachment:

  • Never tick/check enable macros on attachments, unless you explicitly need to and trust the sender. If in doubt contact Computing Services.
  • Don’t run a program if you don’t know where it has come from and haven’t chosen to install it yourself.

If you are in any doubt, the best way to contact us is at http://go.bath.ac.uk/it-help-form. If your enquiry is urgent then you can contact us on x3434.

Personal and home computers need to be protected as much as University systems, so make sure you run system updates and check your anti-virus is up to date the next time you use your computer. For more information see the article on the malware from Microsoft.

We also offer advice on dealing with fake and phishing emails on our website.

Sulis Minerva Day - from a male perspective?

  , ,

📥  Uncategorized

Sulis Minerva Day logo

Today was Sulis Minerva Day at the University of Bath and it was spectacular. From the Vice-Chancellor's welcome and introduction, keynote lectures from inspiring leaders (who happen to be female), lively panel discussion (including men and women) and insightful and challenging questions from the audience, I'm left with my head reeling from a myriad of thoughts and ideas on the challenges - and what can I do to play my (small) part in effecting the change.

In her introduction, Professor Dame Glynis Breakwell rattled off a long list of engineers and scientists who were not appreciated or recognised for their achievements, because they were female in a world where males were almost universally the only ones recognised. She concluded with the challenge that it's not only about giving women the opportunity, but that society needs to focus efforts on women's impact, recognition and visibility.

Louise Kingham (is there a better bio?) asserted that women are disproportionately affected by climate change and that seeking solutions without women is like having one hand tied behind your back. She highlighted the excellent work of POWERful WOMEN, which "showcases women in the energy sector", Solar Sister, which "eradicates energy poverty by empowering women with economic opportunity", and the Women Barefoot Solar Engineers, who supply "their communities with clean, low-cost household lighting from solar energy".

Professor Dame Linda Partridge showed us the science behind Ageing Healthily, that women invariably hold the records for longevity, and that dietary restriction (stop eating so much) and exercise (at least do some!) are the key to living longer, but that it is very difficult to get people to change. Depressingly (in my opinion), her conclusions were that we need to develop safe anti-ageing drugs since 'people will swallow anything' - I'd like to hope that we can all play our part to make it a societal norm to eat less and exercise more.

I'm a long-time follower (on Twitter, not a stalker) of Professor Dame Athene Donald, and it was my great pleasure to have a few minutes this morning to introduce myself to her. She was awarded an honorary degree today from the University, and followed this with her keynote lecture, "Do I look like a physicist?" She delivered, with great eloquence, her career history where it was evident she wasn't only a physicist but was claimed by the audience as a materials scientist, a plant scientist and a chemist!

For me though, the take-home message of her talk was, "If you get a chance for media training, take it - you never know when a microphone will be stuck under in your face."

The panel discussion, "Pioneers & Pathways: Shaping the future in STEM", was chaired by Professor Carole Mundell and the panel comprised: Dawn Bonfield, Simon Cooper, Dr Patrick Goymer, Dr Emily Grossman, and Professor Melanie Welham. In a wide-ranging discussion the overriding theme for me was how to encourage and inspire women into science - and how much of the problem is due to teachers, parents and society discouraging girls at an early age, overtly or as a result of unconscious bias?

One of the questions from the audience asked, "If we get more women into roles this will negatively affect (mediocre) men - is that OK?" To which the panel unanimously agreed but remember there's a huge skills shortage and we need to ensure that we act in a non-threatening manner. The Chair noted that there's a web tool (this one: http://www.tomforth.co.uk/genderbias/) that checks for gender bias in references. Have a go and see if your references are gender-biased (unconsciously, of course).

The panel also discussed topics relating to flexible working, and whether getting more women into (leadership) roles requires men to play their part by taking up parental leave, part-time and job share opportunities. It made me wonder: if "diverse teams deliver the best decisions", perhaps we need to get more leadership roles to be appointed as job shares, so the role itself is a diverse position?

Off to check on the gender diversity in my own department, Computing Services. Well, tomorrow - after all, need to keep up the work-life balance, get more exercise and eat less...

 

Wiki now available

  ,

📥  Computing Services

Further to the issue experienced over the last few days with the Wiki, we are pleased to announce that the Wiki is now available again.

The downtime was caused by hardware failures that happened as a result of moving storage to the new datacentre. We have managed to restore the Wiki data from a backup taken in the early hours of Friday 21 April 2017. Unfortunately this does mean that any changes that have been made to Wiki pages and spaces after 12:20am on Friday 21 April have not been restored.

We would like to apologise for the inconvenience caused due to the downtime and related issues and we would like to thank you for your patience over the last few days.

If you do have any issues with the Wiki that have not been mentioned here then please contact Digital Marketing and Communications at web-support@bath.ac.uk

 

Phishing email with invoice details in subject line, April 2017

📥  Computing Services

We are getting reports of a phishing email that has been sent to students and staff at the University. If you receive this email please be aware that it is fake. Please ignore it and delete it.

If you have clicked on the link you can visit the Service Desk on Level 2 of the Library, or log a help ticket for further advice.

Example of the phishing e-mail is below:

From: Name of person at Bath (name@bath.ac.uk) [mailto:daniel.weber@raben-group.com]
Sent: 12 April 2017 11:19
To: Name of recipient <name at @bath.ac.uk>
Subject: Invoice 0000455 from A Name (name@bath.ac.uk)

You have received an invoice from A Name (name@bath.ac.uk) for £2,077.07. To view, print or download a JS copy of your invoice, click the link below:

http://link removed/

Best regards, A Name
(name@bath.ac.uk)

Our guide on what to do if you receive a phishing email

You can read our guide to phishing emails.

 

Open event for staff to visit IT training suite, 6 West, Friday 5 May 2017

  ,

📥  Computing Services, IT Literacy

Come and visit the new IT Training suite in 6 West, Friday 5 May 2017.  We are holding an open event for staff between 1pm and 3pm and invite you to join us. The new rooms are bright and modern and have the advantage of two different layouts, collaborative and classroom.

Come and meet the team, have a look around and find out about the services we offer.  They include:

  • Frequent tutor-led and self-paced courses in commonly used applications like Word, Excel, MindGenius and Endnote and University systems such as Agresso and Business Objects.
  • Bespoke training solutions that will fit the needs of your team.
  • IT trainers with a huge amount of knowledge that you can tap into by logging a query at go.bath.ac.uk/it-help-form.
  • One room is set up with Windows 10 so you can give it a try.
  • Contemporary, high-tech training rooms that staff at the University can book through us.

Tea, coffee and biscuits will be available.

There is no need to book, we look forward to seeing you, Friday 5 May 2017, any time between 1pm and 3pm.

 

 

 

Windows 10 is ready for launch.....

  ,

📥  Software Delivery

Staff at the University can use our form to register interest in having Windows 10 installed on their work PC.

Why do I want Windows 10?

Based on the Anniversary update of Windows 10, the University deployment includes: great new enhancements to the Start Menu, a better way to organise the apps you're working with using Task View & Virtual Desktops, the Action Centre and Microsoft’s new modern, secure web browser, Microsoft Edge. We’re also bundling in the latest edition of Microsoft Office 2016.

Freedom to do more – with the new Software Center included as standard, you have the freedom to install apps you need and to schedule Windows updates for when you aren’t in the office.

  • It’s all about speed – Windows 10 has a much faster boot up time
  • Security is key – Windows 10 has improved security features across the whole system
  • Microsoft Office 2016 – use the latest version of Office to complete your tasks
  • Cutting edge - a sleek and modern design, Windows 10 is a cutting edge OS.

Training and Support

You can book onto our Windows 10 self-paced training course. These run from May.  Alternatively, you can download the manual from Moodle and work through at your own pace.

The Microsoft Windows 10 Getting Started index runs you through features Windows 10 has to offer complete with handy videos.

Key things to note

  • Before your upgrade you’ll need to make sure any files on the C drive are backed up to a safe place not on your PC.
  • The installation process from start to finish should take approximately one hour, so please allow time for that. You might wish to request an upgrade appointment with your IT Supporter near the end of the day.