IT Community Announcement for Spring 2021

GC Community:
Please take note of these important announcements regarding new or improved IT services and resources:

  • IT now offers live chat during regular business hours to communicate with IT Support Services staff and get quick answers to simple questions. This service is now available thru the IT Website. In addition, you can also chat with representatives from the following departments regarding their services, processes and procedures:
  • IT recently completed improvements to our 5th avenue building telephone and voicemail systems. During this pandemic, we all have to rely on these systems especially while working from home. This work enhances collaboration by setting the foundation for unified communications services, reduces enterprise risk by retiring aging, out of service equipment, and enables us to offer new features and functionality to our users.
  • A new IT virtual assistant or AI ChatBot is now available in beta (testing) to streamline our interactions with active students. This new service will provide visitors with helpful answers to common IT questions and will offer links to helpful documentation when a technician is unavailable. To access the bot, visit any IT webpage during non-working hours.
  • Adobe retired Flash Player in December of 2020, after 20 years of service. Flash has been replaced by more modern and secure solutions such as HTML5.  As such, IT undertook a project to remove all versions of Flash Player from Microsoft Windows-based devices.
  • Multi-factor authentication (MFA) was completed for all student Office365 e-mail accounts. MFA adds a second layer of security to a user's e-mail accounts by requiring two factors to verify identity. These factors include something you know – your username and password, and something you possess – a smartphone app or verification code delivered via SMS text. Office 365 MFA will significantly reduce fraud and identity theft among Graduate Center students.
  • Microsoft Teams combines modern online meeting technology with persistent chat, file storage, and collaboration. The full functionality of Teams is available to faculty and staff, but anyone you invite can join a Teams meeting. To get started, log in to Microsoft Teams from your web browser or download the Teams app onto your laptop and/or phone from Microsoft using your CUNYFirst login credentials. Training resources are also available online [cuny.edu].
  • Remote access (VPN) enables GC administrative staff to access restricted University resources from off-campus through a secured Internet connection. VPN access is provided upon request to faculty and staff. Most GC and cloud resources do not require connecting to the VPN. If you need to access resources that require connecting to VPN, please get approval from your department head and have them e-mail IT Services
  • We launched a new Student Tech Fee webpage that provides clear answers to commonly asked questions by students, faculty, and staff; offers a new request form for STF funded projects; and delivers anticipated transparency to the approved collection of STF projects for the current fiscal year. The Student Tech Fee Committee approved funding for several resources for this fiscal year that includes the continued support for library databases and subscriptions, routine replacement of student computers (PCs/Macs), support for student printing consumables, and support for disability access technology.
  • We implemented AnyDesk, a new tool used to assist our users remotely. This tool allows IT technicians to troubleshoot once the end-user permits us to connect to their Windows or Mac computer over the internet.
  • IT implemented Virtual Dropoff Services (VDS) using our SharePoint infrastructure that helps the community securely upload sensitive electronic documents to the following offices:
    • Financial Aid
    • Human Resources
    • NYSHIP
    • Student Disability Services
  • We continue to loan a limited supply of laptops and hotspots for students, faculty, and staff who are in critical need of these devices to complete their work remotely. Laptops are limited and loaned on a first-come, first-served basis when devices become available.
  • The City University of New York has secured Zoom for Education licensing to allow students, faculty, and staff to host or participate in online Zoom meetings by telephone, mobile devices, or computers. All active CUNY students, faculty, and staff can go to https://cuny.zoom.us and enter their CUNY Login credentials [cunyithelp.cuny.edu] to access Zoom. Documentation and training resources are available on the CUNY IT Help site [cunyithelp.cuny.edu].
  • Adobe Creative Cloud licenses are limited named licenses for faculty, staff, and students.  Active faculty, staff, and students that need access to these limited licenses submit a request for consideration every semester as licenses are given on a first-come, first-served basis based on work or coursework.
  • IT helped transformed the One-Stop exercise by virtualizing it 100% and creating a new document repository for incoming students in our existing SharePoint environment.
  • We assisted in the Phased rollout of HR Assist, the new time and leave program for the GC.
  • All Mac desktop computers for students and employees have now been upgraded to Mojave and Catalina (hardware permitting), and all Windows desktop computers were upgraded to MS Windows 10 build 2004
  • IT Services Stats for the calendar year 2020:
    • 14,617 - IT work orders resolved
    • 1,676 - LiveChat support tickets resolved
    • 697 - Calls received
    • 626 - Total IT Media Services setups and Webinar support tickets resolved
    • 193 - Total CUNYFirst CRM cases resolved
  • IT is kicking-off our bi-annual IT Assessments this month, which give members of the GC Community an opportunity to personally meet with an IT staff member to share any IT-related issues/matters, make hardware and/or software requests and seek assistance with automating specific business processes. Heads of programs, departments and centers, and institutes will receive an invitation soon.
  • Lastly, CUNY students, faculty, and staff are increasingly receiving e-mails appearing to be from legitimate sources, which are fraudulent and clever methods to trick you into disclosing personal information for criminal intent. This is a friendly reminder to remain vigilant regarding phishing attempts.  Please stay up to date by taking note of IT alerts posted on the IT website.
  • Your cooperation is always appreciated as we continue to streamline operations, reduce overhead, and prune costs due to continued budget reductions. Additional cost-cutting measures will be pursued as opportunities arise and shared with those constituencies at the GC which may be impacted.
Remember, even though you are working remotely, you are not alone. If you need help, contact IT Services, and a technician will gladly assist you. I am honored to be surrounded by a friendly and hardworking group of individuals as we aim to make 2021 another successful year. No matter how difficult and challenging our work has been, I am proud of how much we have learned this past year and of where we are headed next. 

Information Technology
itservices@gc.cuny.edu
it.cuny.edu
 

Submitted on: FEB 16, 2021

Category: IT - Announcement