As we close this historic semester at San José State University, I want to thank each and every one of you for coming together to support each other and our community. I know that for many of you, the online resources you’ve been relying on to work, teach, and research for the past two months were entirely new. We all face uncertainty as we look not just into summer, but into fall as well. That’s why I want to take a moment to share and provide clarity on the technology initiatives we have implemented and will be implementing in the next couple of months to support you as we prepare for the “New Normal,” whatever it may bring.
Accelerating & Extending Strategy
For the last three years, SJSU IT’s strategy has been to enhance the mobility and agility of our university, including enabling remote learning and remote working. To continue our strategy, we’re looking to accelerate many of the programs that were in the pipeline, providing even more support for the New Normal and, more importantly, creating a realized modern digital campus.
We’re moving projects up the priority list that will help maintain safe practices once a gradual return to campus is possible. We are working on developing a queue management system that will let people get in line virtually, ping them when it’s their turn at the window, and let them step back in line. We’re also looking into virtual event platforms for all the things Zoom and Hangouts Meet just can’t do — things like job fairs, onboarding, and commencement.
Another example of acceleration is how we’re ramping up our collaboration with other departments across campus. SJSU IT recently completed Phase I with University Personnel to digitize the process for managing and storing PAF. UP can now consolidate many existing documents into a single PAF document and enable review by chairs, admins, and individual faculty online. This will eliminate rows of documents in filing cabinets that would need to be hand-carried to reviewers across campus. Most importantly, the entire process can now be done anywhere, on or off campus.
In the past few years, SJSU IT has digitized over 65% of the university’s business processes online. Our goal is to be close to 100% within the next three years. If you have more ideas for digitization, please reach out to SJSU IT at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Enhancing Security and Privacy
Security and privacy have always been a top priority. Maintaining our security and privacy standards while faculty, staff, and students are operating from locations across the country (and internationally), on home devices and home networks, presents new challenges.
We’ve opened up the option for SJSU students to opt into Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) through Duo. Making Duo required for all SJSU faculty and staff immediately raised the security profile of our university and added convenience by extending password renewals from six months to two years. In January 2020, SJSU was the target of a concentrated phishing attack, with over 1,600 phishing emails detected. Because of Duo, there were no incidents on our campus. Our data also shows that 630 logins from this attack were denied access through Duo. We know that turning on Duo for students will have just as profound of an impact. We’re encouraging students to sign up by going to this page.
For the 600-plus folks using the VPN to connect to campus, we will be sending out another email soon detailing new measures to enhance VPN security even more.
The shelter-in-place order is changing so much about where, when, and how we work, learn, and research. Just because you aren’t on campus doesn’t mean we can’t be there to help. We’re building customer service models that will enable us to support your home devices and home networks. We also want to be available when you need us, so we’re exploring options beyond our normal support hours to provide 24/7 desktop and virtual classroom support.
If you have any questions about Zoom security settings, you can always call the support desk for real-time help with Zoom. If you’re looking for some extra peace of mind, sign up for our new Personalized Zoom Security Check-up. Our SJSU IT service staff will work with you one-on-one remotely to ensure all your Zoom security settings are correctly set. Once you sign up, we’ll reach out to you to set up a specific time.
We’ve updated our SJSU Zoom Security Checklist website so you can quickly check your security settings. Here are just some of the key tips:
- DO keep meeting passwords on.
- DO use automatically-generated meeting IDs.
- DO keep meeting links private if your meeting is private.
- DO control who you distribute classroom meeting join links to.
- DO verify your Google Calendar sharing settings.
- DO set your meeting to mute new people on entry if you’re running a large class or meeting.
- DO enable registration if you’re running a public meeting or event.
- DO enable the waiting room if you’re running a public event or a large class.
- DO use your waiting room to welcome attendees if you have enabled it.
- DO disable annotation in your meeting.
- DO consider locking your meeting or class after everyone has joined.
- DO become familiar with the security options on the toolbar.
- DO use the “On hold” and “Remove” features when necessary
- DON’T use your Zoom Personal Meeting ID (PMI)
- DON’T host alone if you’re running a large meeting or class.
- DON’T enable Screen Sharing unless necessary
I’m sure you’ve all seen some of the SJSU IT communications about Zoom from the past two months. Enabling remote modalities means making sure the tools and online resources you’re using are secure as well. You may have seen that Zoom has upgraded to 5.02 and included a slew of additional security features. SJSU IT will be requiring this latest version for all SJSU-connected devices to take advantage of Zoom’s newer security encryption. SJSU IT will also be expanding Zoom’s security even further. We’re going to be turning on the option for Zoom meetings to require SJSU authentication through single sign-on. This feature will be implemented after finals have been completed.
Thank you all for your patience as the entire university tries to move forward in a way that provides some stability. We’ll be sure to keep you up to date on what’s happening over the summer. Lastly, I want to take a moment to thank all of my colleagues in SJSU IT, all the IT staff across campus, and the multiple SJSU IT consultation boards who have helped shepherd the transition to remote modalities.
I hope you all stay safe and stay healthy.