IT News

Curative Analysis: ‘Own IT’ for July 2018

The Curative Analysis team in IT is tasked with finding the causes of significant IT issues that affect campus. In this news update, we draw your attention to some of the problems being investigated or issues handled recently.

Phishing Attempts: Spring semester 2018 saw a 250% increase of phishing campaigns coming to WCU.  Several steps have been taken to provide a more secure environment for our users.  The first step was to turn on Multi-factor authentication (MFA) off-campus for all employee. MFA for student accounts will be turned on in Fall 2018.  Along with requiring MFA for off-campus, we turned on Modern Authentication on April 9, 2018. Modern Authentication, when combined with MFA, provides an additional level of security.  Over the past month, all WCU accounts have also been added to Avanan, a new email filtering tool which provides further protection against phishing attempts.

Shibboleth:  An ongoing issue is causing the login for Shibboleth applications to become unavailable at 3:00pm each workday.  There are about 10 applications that currently use Shibboleth for authentication, including https://jobs.wcu.edu/hr, Ramses and UNC-SO pages.  IT staff have created an automated job to restart the service each day.  The Division of IT plans to migrate the 10 applications from Shibboleth to ADFS authentication during the next year, beginning with Ramses and DataMart.

Office 365 Licensing:  At the beginning of the spring semester, Office 365 licensing was suspended for faculty and staff.  Temporary licensing was granted until our renewal date on July 1.  On June 22, all Office 365 licenses for all faculty, staff, and students were updated to the new A5 licensing model which adds additional features.

Digital Signage:  In June, an issue caused several digital signage players across campus to fail in launching the Navori QL application which allows us to create, manage, and play content on digital signage players.  Investigation found that the automated configuration manager malware detection had flagged the Navori QL Player application as potentially being malware. This was a false positive.  IT staff applied a patch from the vendor and performed restoration of content to resole the issue.

eduroam:  On July 2, some users began experiencing problems connecting to the eduroam wireless network.  Existing connections remained connected.  The cause of the issue was a change made to the campus firewall which resulted in a ‘split-brain’ state of the external firewall.  IT staff were able to correct the routing issue on the external fire wall and are working with the vendor, Palo Alto, to determine the cause.

ADFS Login:  On June 15, users began having login issues with several WCU pages, including blackboard.wcu.edu and jobs.wcu.edu/hr.  One of the authentication sources was not functioning correctly, causing login attempts to fail for various systems. The issue has been addressed, but we are still investigating the cause.

VCAT:  VCAT clients were unable to login to virtual desktops in the Employee pool.  Working with the vendor, IT staff determined the problem was related to a known issue with VMWare related to caching on the VCenter server.  A quarterly maintenance schedule has been setup to reboot the VCenter server and clear the cache on a monthly basis.

Sharelink:  An update to the firmware for Sharelink in conference rooms is causing an issue with Extron audio transmissions.  IT staff are working with the vendor to obtain an update.  As a workaround, we are rolling back to firmware version 2.0.2.5 and adjusting the digital audio gain or attach an audio cable in the interim.

SQL Server Services:  On July 5, several WCU services became inaccessible, including myWCU, email.wcu.edu, and PAWPrint.  While updating a storage cluster, a change in storage management resulted in the SQL Server services shutting down to prevent corruption to the databases.  IT staff removed the disks from Failover Cluster Management and updated Windows to manage the disks. Storage for the SQL servers was restored and services were restarted.

July 2018
Global Problems: (Total 20)
ADFS login portal:  1
Banner Report Portal:  2
Digital Signage:  1
Network Connectivity:  4
PAWPrint:  6
SecureShare:  1
Sharelink:  1
Shibboleth login portal:  1
SQL Server Services: 1
VCAT:  2

The Division of IT is committed to adopting a proactive, process-oriented approach to prevent problems before they arise. We will continue to keep you informed on our progress.