President's Report Masthead
March 1, 2017

Information Technology Services activities

Infrastructure upgrades support campus growth

Campus core router upgrade

A yearlong effort was completed this quarter with a significant upgrade to our campus core. The project included the installation of three new routers and the move of over 80 fiber optic connections. These efforts, along with renegotiation with our commodity internet provider, upgraded institutional bandwidth to six gigabits per second for University end users.

New firewall hardware

In addition to the core router upgrade, the ITS networking team also completed the migration of internal firewalls to new firewall hardware. This new hardware will provide better throughput for all network users.

ShoreTel phone upgrade completed

A project executed in multiple phases over three years was completed this quarter to provide improved phone service including additional features and functionality for campus users. The ShoreTel VoIP campus project included installation of over 4,000 new phones across the University to replace a system that had been in operation for over 30 years. Following the path of the networking team, which replaced data switches in various campus buildings and complexes, the telecommunications team installed the hardware necessary for the new ShoreTel system. This project was originally scoped to take four years but was completed ahead of schedule. More information and how to use these features can be found on the telecommunications page on the ITS website.

Traka Key Management pilot

The Physical Security team within ITS launched a pilot project this quarter with Traka Key Management to test a system that will provide standardized and accountable key management processes across campus. This system integrates with our current door access system, Lenel, and provides the ability to physically secure keys in a central location within a building. At the completion of the pilot, stakeholders including Residential Life and Physical Facilities among others, will help to determine if this key management system meets campus needs.

Collaborating with University partners on various projects

Johnson City campus staffing

Working with a team that includes the vice president for operations and representatives from the University Libraries, the Center for Learning and Teaching, the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences and the Decker School of Nursing, ITS is leading discussions to determine the roles needed to staff technology support for the Health and Sciences Technology Innovation Park in Johnson City, as schools and staff move to that campus.

STEAM room

ITS staff and student staff were a part of a collaborative effort, along with Residential Life and Student Life, in the development of the STEAM room; a makerspace located in Appalachian Hall, Room G02. The STEAM room has four high-performance computers to support graphic design, resources and supplies for arts and crafts, several sewing machines, a kiln for ceramics and a station for soldering. The facility will have hours into the evening for students to come and use the resources and collaborate on projects. ITS staff and students associated with the Emerging Technology Studio are assisting with the support of the facility and advising on a staffing model for the space.

Faculty reporting rewrite

ITS reprioritized other projects to complete phase 1 of a two-phase project to update the tool used for Annual Faculty Reporting (AFR). All faculty are required to submit classes taught, articles written, conferences attended, etc. into this tool and updates were needed to make the tool compatible across modern browsers. Additionally, the tool was integrated into my.Binghamton.edu for easier access for faculty. Phase 2 will begin later this spring or early summer.

Commencement sign-up tool

At the end of last semester, ITS collaborated with the Commencement Office to create a tool to provide automated information surrounding a students’ progress to graduation. The Commencement widget is located in my.Binghamton.edu and, depending on a student’s progress toward a degree or the number of credits earned, automated messaging appears that prompts the submission of forms including application for degree, a petition to walk at Commencement and the Commencement participation form. Since the implementation of this tool, there has been a significant increase in graduation registration compared to 2016 numbers to date. At the end of January, 2,376 students were already signed up for graduation.

Moved to hosted environments

ITS staff worked with University Communications and Marketing to move the campus development web server and the main campus web server to a hosted web environment with Amazon Web Services (AWS). This move was made for increased reliability, performance and better backup and fallback in the event of an outage. ITS staff also assisted in the migration of the Center for Civic Engagement database over to AWS.

Relaunched the Information Security Council

The ITS Security Office initiated the relaunch of the Information Security Council this quarter. This committee is comprised of managers in key business functions and representatives of campus communities collaborating with the chief information security officer to maintain an effective, comprehensive information security program in accordance with state and federal law, international standards and standards of the University system.

Information Security Training Awareness launched

As a requirement of the new SUNY Information Security Policy, information security training has been made available to the Binghamton University community. This training, available via the University Center for Training and Development, is critically important as University systems, employees and students are often targets for activities such as sophisticated phishing attempts and identity theft. The University community must have an awareness to combat these types of threats. Risk exists at the lowest level, starting with anyone having a University email account.

Other completed projects include

:

• New workshops including Photoshop, Web Development, Arduino Development and 3-D Design
• ITS staff assisted with the Mountainview computer area relocation to Windham Hall
• Replaced 10 units of Science Library Macintosh hardware
• Replaced 110 units of Windows hardware in Bartle Information Commons
• Implemented Ellucian ILP Banner to Blackboard real-time interface
• Since transitioning to managed hosting for Blackboard services, myCourses has not had any service disruptions
• Upgraded Physical Facilities Maximo to integrate with Banner
• Continued work on Library system migrations and conversions
• IP address management, DHCP and DNS systems patched/upgraded.
o Ongoing security patches for our critical IP address and network naming systems.
• Upgraded firmware on all Wi-Fi controllers
• Network hardware moved to the Southern Tier Incubator in support of the moves of Small Business Development Center and Trade Adjustment Assistance Center.
• Specifications and purchase completed for upgraded network for Engineering and Science, Science 5, Recreation Center and all Information Commons/PODs
o The upgrade of 60 switches and 70 wireless access points
• “First Card Unlock” function implementation beginning campus-wide
o Enhances security when office is unlocked and area is unoccupied
• Completed two full tests of all campus panic alarms
o Ensures that campus panic alarms and buttons are in good working order
• T-Mobile cell tower upgrade process started
• Upgrade of the cable air pressure system in progress
o Protects underground copper phone cabling from water contamination
• Installed 50 percent of data/communications cabling for Cayuga residence hall renovation project
• New server cabinet installed in data center, server hardware migrations from old cabinet one begun
o This allows for easier and more reliable management of server hardware
o This also continues to prep our server infrastructure for the eventual upgrade of the main campus data center
• New humidifiers installed in data center
• Data center design consultant interviews completed
• 18,000 pounds of hardware sent to recycler

Organizational changes

In January, ITS staff held a retirement celebration to honor Norm Quinn, director of operations and infrastructure, for over 50 years of service to Binghamton University. Quinn held an important role at the University leading the networking and operations teams. Joe Roth, formerly the assistant director of network administration, is serving as the interim director of operations and infrastructure.