Welcome Back, Spring 2017


January 6, 2017

The choice to work in higher education is not for the weary. Growing demands on what you do–teaching, research, administration, infrastructure or anything else–mean stable technology is a must. ITS resolve continues to help you meet these demands as you'll see in this semester's update!

Technology must empower

Technology must empower, not inhibit, people. Just a few years ago, UNC Charlotte faced several technological constraints: network file storage limits (ever tried to save a terabyte of research data?), an LMS that no longer fit instructional needs, unstable remote access and undetected security gaps, to name a few.

Today, innovative solutions have increased flexibility, access and choices in ways that were impossible before. Cloud-based services allow you to get work done anywhere, anytime, in collaborative ways. Wi-Fi infrastructure has greatly improved, providing stronger, more reliable connectivity (with more on its way!). Several automated workflows, such as Perceptive Content’s document digitization, have saved countless hours of time. Our campus now enjoys 24/7 support with Canvas and WebEx. And several new security measures are helping protect University–and personal–information.Take a look at the key IT projects page to learn more!

Also, as of this week, ITS has launched a new, redesigned website to improve your navigation and mobile experience. Please let us know what you think!

Empowering you through transparency

When it comes to innovation, improvements come with calculated costs and risks. This is why we continue to develop campus partnerships for different insights and context when choosing solutions. Several IT-related planning groups reflect this spirit including the Client Facing Technology Committee, Banner Functional Management Teams and the Information Assurance Committee.

An IT Governance Task Force was also created last fall in response to the IT Master Plan’s call to examine and reshape our current  IT Governance structure (initiative 7.1). Current research indicates transparency and user-centric practices are vital to IT Governance–I’m happy to share we’re headed in the right direction with several new initiatives including a new, more comprehensive Unified Service Catalog and a clearer project intake process. Expect to hear more about the Task Force’s recommendations in the coming months.

Empowering you with increased security

Cyber criminals are tenacious if nothing else. They find new ways to allude robust infrastructures and thrive on tricking people into sharing information.

Since my last update, several departments and over 600 more people have adopted Duo two-factor authorization. To date over 1,200 customers are using Duo. The cost of an extra step that adds a few seconds to your login process– similar to what banks and other institutions now require– offers an extra layer of security to sensitive data such as HR records and financial data. Even better, there’s a "remember me for 30 days" option which means you only have to take this extra step once a month!

Plans are also underway for the data on all new laptops to be encrypted; this will protect your information in case they're ever lost or stolen.

Also remember, the Information Security Compliance Office is here to help. They offer excellent educational programs including information security awareness training. I fully understand extra precautions can be minor inconveniences (especially the one day I left my cell phone at home), but these measures are important in a digital world. Cars need seat belts, doors need locks and your information in today’s cyber-world needs protection, too.

...Oh, and did I mention we’re adding Wi-Fi to Halton Arena and enhancing Wi-Fi outdoors? Learn about this and several other projects on our key projects page.

Wishing you a great 2017, 

Mike Carlin, Ph.D.
Vice Chancellor of Information Technology
Chief Information Officer

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