SJSU IT Fall 2020 Newsletter

Dear Campus Colleagues,

As this Fall semester is coming to an end, I want to share some of our technology progress on our digital transformation, which we started in 2017. As always, none of these accomplishments would have been possible without partnership across the university, including our SJSU IT staff and distributed IT colleagues across the entire campus. We’re able to enhance telework, online teaching, and remote learning, laying the further groundwork for a successful Fall start. Everything you’re going to read about will help not just now but also into goal 5 of SJSU’s Transformation 2030 Strategic Plan

We’ve also updated our SJSU IT Services Guide for Faculty. This handy guide goes over many of our commonly used services, providing a brief explanation of what each service is and why you may want to use it . For more information please click on the button below.  

SJSU IT Resource Guide

Customer Satisfaction Continues to Rise 

Providing excellent service and support for our entire campus community has always been a primary goal for SJSU IT. In October 2019, we began using operational analytics to gain insights into our customer satisfaction scores and identify areas of opportunity for improvement. From October 2019 to August 2020, we saw a significant increase in SJSU IT Satisfaction. On a five-point scale, we went from 4.33 to 4.67. 

This trend continued despite substantial upheaval across the campus community from the pandemic, fire, and we continued to see solid satisfaction scores through summer. I would like to recognize Robert Mena, Sharon Watkins, Alfred Eclipse, and their entire front desk team, including many of our students.

For the second half of 2020, we are continuing to improve our level of service to our university with new capabilities:

No Cost Antivirus Software

SJSU IT is excited to offer Sophos Home Premium at no cost to all of our students, faculty, and staff. This is the same level of protection of AI-enabled software that we use on campus to protect SJSU from malware, ransomware, and other threats. Now you can use it on your home PC. Simply enter your @sjsu.edu email address and protect up to 10 home PCs or Macs—this offer is just one part of San Jose State University’s Transformation 2030, Goal 5: Renew and Rebuild. For more information please click on the button below.

Sophos Home Premium

Personalized Checkup Service

Our personalized Zoom checkup service was a success in Spring, so we’re expanding on it to include your entire setup. We have created a complete personalized checkup for students, faculty, and staff to help optimize their whole computer setup for online. A Service Desk technician will connect one-on-one to help folks optimize their work- and learn-from-home configurations to ensure a secure and stable environment. We’re able to offer this service thanks to the efforts of Ravi Pisupati, Jason Ferguson, Shai Silberman, Mario Rivas, and Sharon Watkins in our support team. Please contact the SJSU IT Desktop Support at 408-924-1530 or itservicedesk@sjsu.edu to schedule your appointment. For more information please click on the button below.

Checkup Service

Home Support

We’re making the telework experience better for our faculty and staff by extending our campus service and support to your home. Because so many people are working on their home computers, we’re extending our SJSU IT Service Desk to support personal home devices and home networks. We’re here to help, even if you aren’t on campus and aren’t on your work computer. 

I want to thank Jason Ferguson, Shai Silberman, and the network services team for their leadership and work on this. I also want to thank the desktop support team Sharon Watkins, Alfred Eclipse and, Roberto Mena, for their hard work. These two teams came together and stepped up to create a plan for making this happen.  For Home Support, please contact the SJSU IT Service by clicking on the button below. 

Home Support

Accelerated and Elevated Support for Fall 2020

Teaching and learning need to happen reliably and on time, especially when they’re online. That’s why SJSU IT put together a rapid response team, developed an aggressive triage model, and extended support coverage. Back-end engineers now respond to emergency tickets within five minutes and front-end customer service staff have a target closure time of 10 minutes for teaching-related issues. 

This was a team effort, with Jason Ferguson, Bruce Gardner, Sharon Watkins, and Darlene Bargas organizing the front-end and Leon Nguyen, Joel Johnson, Shai Silberman, James Anderson, Atul Pala, and Mitesh Kini doing the back-end support with senior engineers being on standby until 10 PM. We also expanded support hours. We want to make sure that our faculty, students, and staff know we’re here for them. The SJSU IT Service Desk will continue to be open these hours through the end of the semester: 

Mon-Thu 7:00 am-10:00 pm
Fri 7:00 am-6:00 pm
Sat-Sun 9:00 am-5:00 pm

Equipment Loaning Service

The following are readily available through the SJSU IT equipment loaning service today: 

  • Laptops
  • Webcams
  • Headsets
  • Tripods
  • Chromebooks
  • Microphones
  • Keyboards & Mice
  • Monitors
  • Laptop Stands
  • Other Items

Thank you to Bruce Gardner, Jason Ferguson, Vicky Van Leer, Sharon Watkins, Brent Jones, Susan Huang, Jewel Rodeo, Joseph Chou, and our entire IMS Team (Darlene Bargas, Devona Williams, Trevor Wylie, Daniela Zopiyatle, John Hanley, Cameron Myers, Fred Asuncion, Rod Maciel, Andy Yeung, Frank De Fanti, Phil Braverman, Danny Vo, Bruce Kelbert) who put in a lot of work to get this ready for Fall. This group deserves our applause. 

If you checked out equipment and still need it for the Spring, please fill out the survey we sent you or tell us here. This brief survey estimates the return volume for our currently checked out equipment. Please help us by filling out the survey if you intend to continue using the borrowed equipment. 

You can view our inventory, request equipment, and get more information at http://sjsu.edu/equipmentcheckout. Because of the high demand for laptops, we’re asking folks to email classroom-support@sjsu.edu or call us at (408)-924-2888 to set up an appointment.  For more information please click on the button below. 

Equipment Loaning Service

WiFi Improvements for Fall

A large part of our work has been ensuring quality WiFi access, both for those on-campus and for those who are working, learning, and teaching remotely. We are committed to ensuring that any on-campus courses will have the high-quality WiFi necessary for teaching and learning. 

WiFi Sensors

In collaboration with Student Affairs and Academic Affairs, we identified 46 classrooms currently hosting on-campus classes. We enhanced those classrooms with synchronous and hybrid instruction tools, including network monitoring, to ensure reliable uptime. This new technology will enable us to be much more proactive when network issues arise and help keep our campus experience positive. 

South Campus WiFi

We also want to make sure that more spaces are activated for use. Because not everyone has a stable, reliable internet connection at home, we installed access points at South Campus Park ‘n’ Ride. If you need a safe space to work with a good connection, you can do that from the comfort of your car. I want to be sure to thank Nick Cappelloni and Steve McAulay, who worked on this for us.  

WiFi 6

We’ve upgraded several buildings in critical locations across campus to new WiFi 6 access points. The new WiFi 6 standard will give the university a better user experience for years to come, thanks to more reliable wireless connections and better speeds. This progress comes thanks to Marco Rodriguez, Tino Cruz, and Steve McAuley. We have plans to deploy WiFi 6 campus-wide but have temporarily put those plans on hold to focus on our COVID-19 response and funding shortfall. The following facilities were identified as those in highest need and were upgraded using access points purchased before putting the project on hold:

  • Hugh Gillis Hall
  • Health Building
  • Industrial Studies
  • MacQuarrie Hall
  • Music Building
  • Science Building
  • Washington Square Hall 27
  • 210 N. 4th Street 

VPN & Zoom Capacity

Some students, faculty, and researchers utilize SJSU’s VPN to get work done. We massively expanded our number of available simultaneous VPN connections. I would like to thank Tam Vu and Sean Davis for their work. 

Likewise, we significantly expanded our licenses with some of our vendors, including Zoom. We wanted to be sure we were proactive in preventing capacity problems before they happened. For more information please click on the link below. 

Virtual Private Network

Queue Management System

We’ve implemented Qless, a queue management system, to allow individuals to virtually stand in line, get notifications when it’s their turn, and step back in line if they’re busy. Internally, this system will significantly help departments manage the flow of traffic. It also allows departments to collect the required information and the reason for the visit prior to the service, improving customer service. Leon Nguyen has been working with an outside contractor to make this happen in time for Fall. Our initial focus is on students and heavily student-facing departments, such as those in Student Affairs and the Bursar’s Office. Employee queues, such as University Personnel, will be added after student needs. Wave one groups included: 

  • Bursar’s Office
  • Financial Aid
  • Scholarships
  • Office of the Registrar
  • Undergrad Admissions
  • Enrollment Management
  • Housing
  • SJSU IT Service Desk

Virtual Print Services

Just because we’re all at home doesn’t mean we won’t still occasionally need a printer. Spartan Print Stations with Wepa are still an excellent option for anyone near the university. We worked with Wepa to extend our agreement to other locations for those students, faculty, and staff living further away, including City College San Francisco, UC Berkeley, Monterey Peninsula College, University of Redlands, and other universities across the country. I want to thank Atul Pala, Werner Goveya, and Keith Nowosielski for working with Wepa to arrange this for us.

MATLAB for Researchers

SJSU IT has secured campus-wide licenses to MATLAB, Simulink, and companion toolboxes for our researchers. All active SJSU users, including students, are covered by the campus-wide license and can install this software on their home or work computers. Simply go to the MATLAB Portal to download the software. Click “Sign in to get started” under the “Get MATLAB” section, log in using your SJSU account, and create or connect a MathWorks Account. Once you’ve created a MathWorks Account, you’ll be associated with the campus-wide MATLAB license and be able to download and activate the software on your personal computer or use MATLAB online from your browser. I want to thank Atul Pala and his team who helped with the MATLAB effort.  

The SJSU MATLAB Portal has a few helpful features. If you haven’t used MATLAB before or could use a refresher, there’s a 2-hour MATLAB Onramp tutorial available through our MATLAB Portal under “Learn to use MATLAB and Simulink.” If you have trouble installing MATLAB, go to the MATLAB Portal and click “Need Installation Help” to get support.   For more information please click on the button below.  

MATLAB

The SJSU MATLAB Portal has a few helpful features. If you haven’t used MATLAB before or could use a refresher, there’s a 2-hour MATLAB Onramp tutorial available through our MATLAB Portal under “Learn to use MATLAB and Simulink.” If you have trouble installing MATLAB, go to the MATLAB Portal and click “Need Installation Help” to get support. 

Thank You

This is likely not the Fall semester we all had in mind when 2020 began, and I want to thank all of you for the work you’ve done to support our students. Whether you’re a faculty member fully embracing Canvas for the first time or a staff member who’s finding new ways to get things done online, the latest tools and services SJSU IT has implemented will improve our working and teaching experience in 2020 and beyond. The online experience is now the university experience. 

If you have any questions, feedback, or suggestions, simply reply to this email and let me know. 

Best regards,
Bob Lim
Vice President of Information Technology
and CIO at San Jose State University

Cybersecurity Newsletter for Fall 2020

Dear SJSU Community,

With the transition to remote modalities, most of you are now learning, teaching, and working from home without the protections of SJSU’s fortified network. This coincides with an uptick in cybercriminal activity as malicious attackers look to prey upon our uncertainties and anxieties. We want to help by giving you the tools and resources to protect your digital life.

Security is very important for us. It’s one of our driving goals, as outlined in President Papazian’s Transformation 2030 strategic plan. We want to be the safest university in the country. And it’s even more important to us today as we look outside traditional answers to protect you off-campus.

Sophos
We’ve partnered with Sophos, our campus antivirus vendor, to secure Sophos Home Premium licenses for faculty, staff, and students. Sophos Home Premium is an industry-leading, AI-enabled antivirus tool with features like real-time antivirus monitoring, ransomware protection, privacy & identity protection, and more. Home Premium usually retails for $60, but you can use your @sjsu.edu email account to download and install it for free on up to 10 computers.

DOWNLOAD SOPHOS

Duo Multi-Factor Authentication
As of December 2019, all faculty and staff were required to have Duo Multi-Factor Authentication on their SJSU accounts. Adding an additional layer of security by requiring login confirmation from a mobile device has made their accounts much, much more secure. In April, we opened up this option for students who wanted to protect their accounts from malicious agents. Over the next year and a half, we’ll be gradually requiring students to enable Duo on their accounts. If you’re a student, we highly encourage you to sign up early and protect your account today. Plus, if you enroll in Duo, we’ll extend your password renewal timeline from 180 days to two years. You can learn more about Duo and how it works on our Duo for Students website.

GET DUO

LastPass
A strong password is the first line of defense for your account. We’ll be partnering with LastPass to provide premium password management software for all SJSU students, faculty, and staff. We all know that we should have different passwords for every account we have everywhere. Still, all those passwords can be hard to remember and continually coming up with new ones feels like an uphill battle. LastPass will suggest, store, and autofill extra-secure random combinations of numbers, letters, and symbols for all of your accounts. Because LastPass encrypts all of your passwords, it’s much more secure than keeping them on a notepad or Google Doc. We’ll follow up with you on where and how to add SJSU LastPass to your devices later this semester.

Constant Vigilance
The first, best, and most effective defense against malicious actors is always you. The SJSU IT Information Security team has resources, training, and help for you to become a more critical user. I encourage you to explore our website, sign up for a Zoom training, and try some of the available security tools.

SJSU IT INFOSEC WEBSITE

Thank You
I know that not everybody finds information security as exciting a topic as I do. So I want to thank our entire university, all the way from incoming frosh to President Papazian, for taking data safety so seriously. Together, we can make SJSU the safest campus in the country.

Regards,
Bob Lim
VP of Information Technology
and CIO at San Jose State University

Hien Huynh
Information Security Officer
SJSU IT

Cross-Pollination at SJSU IT

Dear colleagues:

One of the most frequent questions I get from SJSU IT employees is about development opportunities, and it’s a question I love hearing. It’s a great feeling to know that employees want to grow, excel, try new things, and be their best. To help each of you achieve your goals, we have created a new cross-pollination program to give you those development opportunities.

Cross-pollination exposes you to new skills and new ways of thinking by sharing knowledge with peers across SJSU IT. This is a chance for you to broaden your skillset and give yourself new avenues for growth. The program is focused on you and is intended to enhance your mobility, advancement, and personal growth opportunities. You’ll be paired up with an SJSU IT manager or staff member from outside of your department, who will help you learn specific skills and tasks related to their area of expertise. Participation in this program is entirely voluntary.

If you are interested in this program, you can start the process by talking with your manager. If you have any questions, please reach out to your manager and/or your departmental leader.

I want to thank Joseph Chou for his leadership in putting together this program working with University Personnel. I also want to thank Willie Simon in advance as she will coordinate this program moving forward.

If you have any questions about this program, please do not hesitate to reach out to me. My regular weekly office hours are Thursday from 2 to 4 PM via Zoom.

Best regards,
Bob-

The 2019 IT Sparta Awards

Hello, colleagues:

It’s important to celebrate the hard work, dedication, and the successes of our division. But it’s equally important to celebrate the people in our team that make this success possible.

Nominations for the 2020 IT Sparta Awards are open now. If you have a team or individual you would like to recognize please click here to fill out the form.

All 2019 IT Sparta Award WinnersThe IT Sparta Awards
The IT Sparta Awards are given to one team and one individual each year to recognize those staff members who serve our campus with distinction and work tirelessly behind the scenes to keep SJSU amazing. They bring out the best in each other through a collaborative spirit, a commitment to innovation, and everyday leadership. They provide consistent and exceptional service, whether working with students or building something with a campus department.

Every member of the IT Division has the opportunity to nominate employees through an open call. From there, I work with the IT Peer Consultation Group to choose the most outstanding project, program, team, or individual to win the award. The selection process is designed to raise our employees, increasing staff members’ visibility to work every day and get it done.

2019 IT Sparta Award Team WinnersTeam Winners
Last year’s Team Award was granted to the NextSteps App project Team, which includes Nolan Liu, Debashish Basak, Sean Davis, Steve Chang, An Nguyen, Lam Vu, Mona Hall, Elma Arredondo, Eric Matthews, Jane Wang, Kirk Nguyen, and Lor Vang.

The NextSteps App is an integral part of student orientation and the undergrad admissions process. It not only helps manage the orientation planning and registration process, it is also one of the first digital experiences that students encounter on campus. This team helped to define the App experience and make it a positive one!

The team is split into two groups. The Infrastructure Groups set up new virtual machines and OS software, networking, new databases, load balancer configurations, and all of the back-up work to make NextSteps run smoothly. The Application Group set up the software, including testing, Qualys web app security scans, system configurations (for IIS, PHP, FileMaker, file shares, etc.), upgrading to new software versions, and more.

Working with NextSteps represents a multi-department collaboration with many moving pieces operating under hard deadlines. Customer service, efficiency, and precision were all requirements for success.

2019 IT Sparta Award Individual WinnerIndividual Winner
Mario Rivas won the individual award last year because he consistently provides exceptional user support and customer service to an extensive range of users and technologies. He receives high praise and spectacular feedback from his customers and co-workers by going well beyond expectations and raises the bar for IT service levels. Mario has elevated the “can-do” attitude up to the “will-do” level.

He was a critical driving force behind numerous successful projects in 2019. He was instrumental in several different departments’ physical move, including Finance, HR, and our own SJSU IT folks from Clark 500 to Clark 140. For each of these moving projects, Mario exhibited careful advance planning, attention to detail, dedication to getting things done right, and quick responsiveness to issues. Because of his work, each of these moves were completed smoothly and efficiently, ensuring that customers experienced minimal disruption and downtime in the process.

Presidential Recognition
Plaques for both winners are now on display on the Computer Center’s Hall of Fame Wall. Please come by after when things settle down and take a look.

 

Best regards,
-Bob

Zoom Bombing at SJSU

Spartans,

With the start of a full semester spent teleworking and teleworking, I want to let you know about what we’re doing to prevent Zoom Bombing at SJSU. Zoom Bombing, the practice of “crashing” a zoom meeting or class, is something we’re taking very seriously. SJSU’s students deserve a safe virtual learning environment that fosters an open, interactive learning atmosphere.

Because this kind of action triggers serious repercussions in the traditional classroom setting, it will have similar repercussions in the virtual classroom. To some, Zoom Bombing may just seem like a prank, but it’s a malicious activity that disrupts the education environment. Unfortunately, Zoom Bombing is usually committed by individuals with authorized access to a session, rather than outside agents or someone sneaking in thanks to poorly configured security settings. We’ve enabled the option for Zoom hosts to require authentication for participants, a strong protection against potential Zoom Bombing.

ZOOM AUTHENTICATION

Should a student participate in an activity that substantially and materially disrupts the normal operations and infringes on the educational rights of the community, the University may issue any of the following sanctions that it believes are proportional to the behavior: restitution; educational and remedial sanctions; disciplinary probation; suspension; and/or expulsion. Any reported instance of Zoom Bombing will be thoroughly investigated, and we’ll use all available power to ensure we identify bad actors.

To all of the tens of thousands of students who have made the transition to online learning and to all the thousands of faculty who are now instructing remotely, we’d like to thank you for helping foster a community of support throughout our now virtual university.

If you have any questions about Zoom Bombing or about our disciplinary policy, don’t hesitate to reach out to us.

Thank you,

Alexandra D. Froehlich, M.A.
Director of Student Conduct & Ethical Development
Deputy Title IX Coordinator

Hien Huynh
Information Security Officer
SJSU IT