Day to day activities

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UPDATE: The services affected yesterday are now running as normal and are no longer considered ‘at risk’.

We will continue to monitor the services and are now working with the supplier to work on avoiding this issue in the future.

We will provide a review of the incident after meeting with the supplier of the storage that caused the problem. This will include further detail on the cause as well as how we will avoid it in the future.


UPDATE: All services are now be back up and running but are considered ‘at risk’.

This means the problem has been resolved but there is a still a small chance that the services could go back down.

We are continuing to work with the supplier tonight to find a solution to avoiding this problem in the future.

We predict the services stay running, however, as a precaution, you can save or download work from OneDrive for Business or store your work locally on your computer.

We will have a further update tomorrow morning to confirm the services are still running normally.


We are currently experiencing a problem with our online storage that is affecting the following IT services.

The services affected are:

  • Websites
  • Collaborative shares
  • Mailman lists

We are working with the supplier of the storage and are both treating this as a priority.

We will update with more information as soon as possible. Apologies for any inconvenience caused.

We have identified the root cause of the network issue to a bug that was only recently identified by our supplier. We have put in place mitigating measures following advice from our supplier until a patch is produced.

We would like to reassure everyone that the network is now operating normally.

We will review the incident internally and we have a meeting with the supplier later today to discuss the recent issues we have experience with their hardware.

Once again please accept our apologies for the inconvenience this incident has caused.


Services remain up and running but we are still investigating the root cause of the issue with the hardware that caused the problem.

We are currently working with the supplier and manufacturer of the hardware to investigate the cause.


Following on from our earlier message we will attempt to stabilise the network at 11:15 today. This should have no impact but there is a very slim chance that we may lose connectivity to the network.

We advise if possible to have a local copy of any work you need for this afternoon e.g. presentation material.


We have experienced a hardware failure to a part of our network. Although we have recovered some services we are still running at risk and cannot guarantee these services will remain available.

We are working with our suppliers to resolve the issue.

Please bear with us as we work to stabilise the network service. Once again we apologies for the inconvenience this has caused.

Overnight, the supplier has put in a fix and we are not currently seeing the underlining problems with Silver Storage and Unix home directories. However due recent stability issue we will be monitoring the system very closely.

We know of 10 users who are still having log in problems and will be contacting them individually.

This issue is only affecting logins to the Unix Research systems.

Please let us know if are having log in problems contact the IT Service Desk.


We are receiving reports of Unix home directories and Silver Research Data Storage having issues, causing people being unable to login to Academic Computing services.

The supplier of the service has identified that their problem is being caused by authentication issues. They are currently working on a fix and we will pass on any information as we get it.

We have already organised a meeting with the supplier based upon the previous issues, and this current issue will also be raised.

IT and the supplier will be working on this as a priority tonight and will provide an update tomorrow morning.

Apologies for any inconvenience caused.

UPDATE:

After a morning of stability we can confirm that the issues we have experienced with the unix home directories and silver storage have been resolved. Some users have experienced problems with the unix home exports towindows and mac, but these have been fixed as well.

In the short term, we will we will do a full health check of our file servers with the supplier. This is expected to take place next week.

In the long term, we will be reviewing the current data storage strategy and looking into more reliable and robust options.

By the end of this week we will have a review meeting of this incident, after which we will send out more technical information.

Thank you all for your patience and apologies again for the disruption.


The intermittent issues affecting Unix home directories and Silver Storage are still ongoing. We are still investigating the problem with the supplier who has made fixing this problem their priority.

All Academic Computing (ACT) services are affected by this.

The issues stems from the Operating System (AOS) causing a system crash (specifically a crash on the ‘server cluster nodes).

This is not directly related to file server activity, however the frequency of the system crashes does seem to be related to the general workload. It was not so frequent or affecting so many of the nodes over the weekend as it is today, as the amount of work was lighter over the weekend.

To help decrease the load on the file server we have disabled access to the Unix home directories from Windows. This will also include disabling access to the personal and group web page files as well as to some research volumes from windows.

We do not have a timeline for the fix yet but check this blog and the IT Status Page for further updates

Apologies again for the disruption, we are doing our best to resolve this as soon as possible.

We are currently experiencing an issue affecting ‘Silver’ storage, including Unix home directories and affecting most of the Academic Computing (ACT) services.

This is being investigated as a priority.

You can follow the status of the service on the IT Status page as well as this blog.

Apologies for any inconvenience caused.

IT

This morning there was a major network issue that caused lack of access to the internet and online University services.

The disruption lasted 75 minutes before we were able to identify what was wrong and fix the issue.

Services are now all back up and running as usual.

We are now working on identifying why this issue happened and will provide an update as soon as we are able to.

Apologies for any disruption this has caused.

UPDATE: We have now fixed the problem for a majority of people. If you are still unable to connect, then:

  1. Restart your device (this fixes the problem in a lot of cases)
  2. If that does not work then; go to wifi.reading.ac.uk and follow the instructions on connecting to eduroam.*

If neither of the above solutions work then please contact the IT Service Desk using the IT Self Service Portal or calling x6262.

*If you have no internet connection in order to connect to wifi.reading.ac.uk, then follow the instructions below to connect:

On your device, select ‘UoR-Setup’ and connect using the password ‘ConnectMe’. This gives you the ability to access wifi.reading.ac.uk but no other websites.


UPDATE: We have now identified the cause of the problem and are currently implementing a solution. We will have a further update later this morning.

The Service Desk is currently experiencing a high number of calls regarding this issue. If you want to report the problem then please consider using the IT Self Service Portal.


We have had multiple reports of people being unable to connect to eduroam this morning. This is not affecting everyone and there are separate reports of people being able to connect as usual to eduroam.

We have identified the problem and the IT department is currently working on a fix. The Critical Incident team will meet for a second time at 10 am, when will have a further update.

Apologies for any inconvenience caused.

IT

As colleagues maybe aware there have been a few articles on prominent websites indicating that the University sector is particularly at risk from cyber-attacks:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-47805451

https://www.jisc.ac.uk/news/universities-high-value-data-can-be-obtained-by-hackers-in-under-two-hours-04-apr-2019

Firstly, IT would like to clarify that Reading has not taken part in any ethical hacking exercise. The BBC article suggested that all Universities had but Jisc have since clarified that it was only Universities who currently consume that service and with their prior knowledge and agreement.

IT would also like to take this opportunity to reassure colleagues that although the threat is ever present we are taking an increasingly robust stance on cyber security. A few examples of this are:

  • We block about 85% of e-mail being sent to University of Reading, the messages being blocked comprise of spam, phishing, extortion e-mails.
  • As part of the IT Security Project we have taken steps to reduce the threat and impact of compromise, such as removing administrative rights on PCs and improving our process for updating PCs and servers.
  • We provide staff with information on how to be aware and stay safe online: http://www.reading.ac.uk/internal/its/cybersecurity/cybersecurity.aspx and in addition to this IT has signed up to a simulated phishing and awareness training service. This will help IT evaluate how staff currently react to phishing e-mails and to identify areas where we can make improvements.
  • Cyber Essentials certification has been achieved for the Henley Business School and for the Agricultural & Food Investigation Team (AFIT) in Agriculture. Cyber Essentials is a recognised cyber security qualification backed by the government to help organisations protect themselves against common online threats.

The article is helpful in that it raises awareness of the challenges that face the sector and reinforce the need for investments in our security. Whilst we cannot protect against everything, we believe that the iterative improvements we are making are working towards that ultimate goal but a lot more still needs doing.

If you have any particular areas of concern then these can be raised through the IT Service Desk or through your IT Business Partner.

UPDATE:

Please be advised that we have now fully restored all affected services. Network drive storage is now fully resilient and no longer considered to be at risk.

Thank you for your patience as we worked to resolve this incident.


UPDATE:

We have now identified and resolved the issue. All services are now back up and running. However, Network Drives, roaming profiles and logging into computer labs is still considered ‘at risk’.

The issue was caused by an unexpected issue when performing an essential upgrade. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.


We are currently experiencing a technical issue affecting some of our core services.

Services currently affected are:

  • Apps Anywhere
  • Network Drives (N drives, Collabs shares)
  • Roaming profiles
  • Students logging into computer labs

We are aware of the inconvenience this may be causing you and are treating this with the upmost urgency.

As soon as we ascertain more details, will post further information on the extent of the incident, services affected and estimated resolution time.

Please accept our apologies for the disruption this has caused.

The MyId site will be offline from 6pm on the 26th March until 5pm on the 29th March for an essential upgrade.  The upgrade will improve the user interface and provide the base for additional functionality going forward.  All MyId services will be affected during this time.

This means:

  • No new employee or student user accounts can be created during the upgrade period. However, new starters added to Trent or RISIS during the down-time will receive their accounts after the upgrade is complete.
  • Outstanding requests submitted through MyID must be approved before 6 o’clock on the 26th March. This includes requests for new external user accounts, as well as account extensions for staff, external contractors and students. Any requests that have not been approved by this time will need to be resubmitted after the upgrade. However, the MyID team will contact you if you are effected.
  • The underlying format of all dates on the MyId forms has changed, which means that if the default date and location format on your computer is not set to English (United Kingdom) the dates will display and be processed in an American mm/dd/yyyy format.  The IT Service Desk will be able to assist with correcting this if required.

The user interface you use when on MyId has been improved, allowing Managers and Approvers easier access to relevant information and making it easier to navigate.

If you are responsible for account creation and believe you may have new staff starting during the last week in March, then please consider this upgrade work when dealing with their user accounts.

New User guides will be available on the IT Knowledge base after the upgrade which explain the changes in more detail. If you have any questions about this update please contact the IT Service Desk on reading.ac.uk/it, or call ext. 6262.

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