IT News

Curative Analysis: ‘Own IT’ for August 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 for all faculty and staff. Modern Authentication, when combined with MFA, provides an additional level of security.  In July, 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.

Firewall:  An issue was discovered with non-persistent desktops in the VCAT environment after making a firewall hardware change to migrate from the Juniper internal firewall to a Palo Alto internal firewall.  IT rebooted all VCAT infrastructure servers to restore the service and has delayed replacement of the exiting Juniper internal firewall until the issue is resolved.

Banner:  Clients were unable to see My Grades, My Schedule, and My Account summary in myWCU after the July Banner update by the UNC-System Office.  IT staff worked with the UNC-SO to restart the student APIs, and add an item to the standard UNC-SO script for future Banner updates.

Digital Signage:  In July, an issue caused several digital signage players across campus to fail when logging in.  Investigation found that the generic account used for digital signage players had expired.  IT staff migrated the digital signage account to service account status and restarted the individual signage players to resolve the issue.

Equitrac:  A recent Microsoft update to Windows removed the Equitrac client from several Windows 7 and Window 10 computers.  The update affected approximately 150 out of the 2,500 WCU-owned Windows computers.  IT is currently in the process of evaluating our current Managed Print Service and is scheduled to begin a pilot of the updated Managed Print Service in September 2018.

Banner Report Portal:  Three separate issues occurred in July when trying to access various reports in the Banner Report Portal.  Investigation showed that the SQL server was running on an ‘iSCSI network’ instead of the Data Center network.  An update has been scheduled to update the SQL server to use the Data Center network.

VCAT:  VCAT clients began receiving a pop-up alert when logging into the IT Staff Pool due to a certificate issue.  IT staff redeployed the certificate and proactively updated the certificate on all pools to prevent the error from occurring in other virtual pools.

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 attaching an audio cable in the interim.

SecureShare:  During the July Data Center outage, the size quota for \\wcu.edu\secureshare was reduced from 64Gb to 4Gb in an effort to reclaim storage space.  This change resulted in an issue where some folders on the share were not replicating and some files were missing or incorrect.  A large backlog of files had built-up.  IT staff increased the size quota back to 64Gb and added additional monitoring to alert if the issue recurs.

August 2018
Global Problems: (Total 10)

Applicant Account Creation:  1
Azure AD:  1
Banner Report Portal:  1
Network Connectivity:  1
PAW Print:  1
VCAT:  5

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.