New look IT Service Desk emails

We have designed a new streamlined look for the automatic emails sent out by the IT Service Desk. Several of you said you missed our emails as they didn’t stand out as anything important, or they weren’t laid out well so you couldn’t find the information you wanted easily.

The following screenshots show the new emails which will be coming shortly.

New ticket

Here is an example of the email you will get when you log a call.Screenshot of new ticket email

Ticket update

Here is an example of an email telling you about an update to your ticket. If you want or need to reply to the message, you can do this by clicking the “Track my ticket” button, which takes you straight to that particular ticket:

Screenshot of update ticket emailTicket completed

Finally, this is the ticket completed email, with a meaningful reason for closure (usually job completed). If you want to re-open the ticket or have comments to make, clicking the “Track my ticket” button takes you back to that particular ticket on the Self Service Portal.Screenshot of ticket complete email

Further information and contact

You can use the IT Self Service Portal to look up your ticket, add information and give us feedback, and we’ve highlighted this in the new emails with a “track my order” style button. We hope this will make it easier for you (and us) to provide you with an efficient service.

We welcome your feedback about the new email design, and would also like to hear from you if you have any suggestions about improving them. Please contact me via the Feedback section on the IT Self Service Portal, or you can email me directly.

Jubilee holiday closure: 2nd and 3rd June

The IT Service Desk is closed on Thursday 2nd and Friday 3rd June 2022 for the Jubilee holiday.

TheQueen's Platinum Jubilee logo IT Service Desk will close at 6pm on Wednesday 1st June, and will reopen at 8am on Monday 6th June. This means there will be no telephone service (6262) or ticket processing between these dates.

The IT counter in the library will be open as normal 11am to 5pm Saturday 4th and Sunday 5th June.

Greenlands IT Service will be closed on Thursday 2nd and Friday 3rd June, and will be open Saturday 4th and Sunday 5th as normal.

Please visit reading.ac.uk/dts for details of our weekend opening hours.

 

World Password Day May 5th – Update your password!

World password day logo

World Password Day takes place on Thursday May 5. It was set up in 2013 as a day set aside for people to update and strengthen their passwords.

The average person has over 100 different passwords for various apps, websites, and online services. In practice most of us re-use the same handful of passwords, and ignore prompts to “update your password” until we are forced to do something. Unfortunately, there are an increasing number of people who will take advantage of this. 

What is the risk?

Password protection is one of the most important things you can do to safeguard your personal, professional, and sensitive data. Without a strong password, you risk:

  • Giving hackers easy access to your most sensitive accounts
  • Breaches to multiple accounts that share the same or similar passwords
  • Attacks by keystroke loggers who steal common login credentials
  • Loss of data through shared (and easily stolen) passwords

How do I make my passwords stronger?

Strong and secure passwords are crucial, especially now that most of our work is done online. Even if you have strong passwords, they need changing regularly as they may have been exposed in a data breach. The strongest passwords are:

  • At least 12 characters long
  • A mix of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers and special symbols
  • Not based on your username or other personal information
  • Unique to each account

Our Password page has some more guidance for creating a stronger password.

Further information and reading

As well as the Password page, DTS have several pages dedicated to Cyber Security, https://www.reading.ac.uk/digital-technology-services/cyber-security

For more general information about keeping yourself safe online, have a look at the National Cyber Security Centre website.

Hybrid meetings – how DTS can help you

As people return to campus, we are getting lots of questions about hybrid meetings. As there are no specific hybrid meeting rooms on campus (although some departments have set up their own), you may find yourself trying to arrange a hybrid meeting using only your own equipment, or the technology in a teaching space.

This article explains how DTS can help you with practical support and loan equipment, and also what is available to purchase on XMA to help transform your meeting experience.

Hybrid meetings work best where you have equal remote and onsite participants. It could be best that all attendees join the meeting either remotely or in person so that everyone has the same experience and are more likely to participate equally. If this isn’t possible, then here are a few ideas to equalize the experience:

One person meeting in a shared office

  • Inform the people around you when you have a meeting
  • Use noise cancelling headphones which will a) signal to those around you that you are busy or on a call, and b) cut down on background noise.
  • Mute yourself if not speaking

If you end up with several meetings in a shared office, make sure you are all using headphones.

Meeting in a shared office (2-3 people)

  • Find a space to sit together so you can share one display/camera if possible
  • Use a USB/Bluetooth speaker to avoid issues with echo, feedback and lag (attach speaker to one device, keep the others on mute)
  • If someone has a webcam, attach it to the laptop or monitor

Meeting space or room (4 or more)

If you have several people in the same meeting, consider using a meeting room or even a classroom. These will have a monitor display on the wall which will improve the experience.

  • Connect a laptop to the monitor (you will need an adapter for a Surface) and turn it to face the room to use it as the camera/speaker
  • A laptop camera can only capture two or three people. A separate webcam has a wider field of view.
  • You may need to move chairs so that everyone is captured on camera (classrooms are set up for one person in front of several attendees)
  • Share the meeting to the screen so that everyone can still be seen.

Using AV and smartboards: https://www.reading.ac.uk/digital-technology-services/facilities-index/av-and-smartboards-in-university-teaching-rooms

How to use a classroom tech table: https://blogs.reading.ac.uk/teaching-learning-facilities/user-guides/

How technology can help

Noise cancelling headphones

High-quality headsets using a noise-cancelling microphone will reduce background noise, allowing your caller to hear your voice more clearly. Many people use these to concentrate as well, and they can help indicate to others that you are on a call or busy.

Examples with good stock levels on XMA:
Jabra Evolve 20 UC Stereo https://he.xma.co.uk/Product?pid=4999-829-209
Sennheiser SC 165 USB Headset Head-band Black https://he.xma.co.uk/Product?pid=508317

Speakers

Using a USB or Bluetooth conference speaker can be helpful when a small group of people gather in one room for a hybrid meeting with remote participants. All in-room participants can share a single speaker connected to just one of the laptops to eliminate the feedback from using multiple mics and speakers.

There are several available on the XMA Hub, for example the NeoXeo SPK 140 Bluetooth speaker: https://he.xma.co.uk/Product?pid=X130B13006 

Video cameras

There are limitations with a laptop camera as it is only set up to show one person. An additional webcam will have a better picture and show a wider view of the room, for example the Microsoft LifeCam HD-3000 Webcam (https://he.xma.co.uk/Product?pid=T3H-00012), some also have microphone/speaker built in.

If you have a lot of video meetings with several people, you may want to get a portable video camera, such as the Logitech ConferenceCam Connect which is suitable for up to 6 participants in one space. DTS have a few of these we can loan you for one off meetings, or you can buy your own from XMA. https://he.xma.co.uk/Product?pid=960-001034

Support from DTS

Did you know that DTS can provide you with technical support for hybrid and live events? There are three types of event that we offer support for:

  • Virtual Live Events and Meetings – Teams (remote support)
  • Video Conferencing (remote support)
  • Hybrid Live Events (present in room whilst streaming online, excludes teaching)

A technician will help set up and prepare for the live event or meeting and will be on call via Teams Chat for any problems during the event (this service is free for up to three hours, but must be booked in advance).

In addition to this, we also offer AV equipment/demo training and equipment loans.

You can request any of these services by completing a short form on the IT Self Service Portal:

Support for Audio Visual Equipment and Events: https://uor.topdesk.net/tas/public/ssp/content/detail/service?unid=3578b7fc528041f491b77026185fe538

General guidance

Although the tools we are using to communicate may have changed, office etiquette hasn’t. Working in open plan offices and hot desks means it is even more important to respect and be mindful of your colleagues. You may need to agree rules about whether meetings are allowed in shared space, for example, or all share calendars to find out who else is attending the same meeting so you can arrange a room. *This will be covered by the “Ways of Working” strategy group.

Further reading

Logitech guides to video meetings: https://www.logitech.com/en-gb/video-collaboration/resources/think-tank/articles/setting-up-video-meeting-space/introduction.html

Microsoft article on hybrid meetings: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/research/project/the-new-future-of-work/articles/hybrid-meetings-guide/

TEL guides for using Teams for online teaching sessions (also applicable to hybrid meetings): https://sites.reading.ac.uk/tel-support/microsoft-teams-meeting-help-index/

About holding hybrid meetings (includes diagrams of possible set ups): https://u3asites.org.uk/code/u3asite.php?site=1144&page=0

LinkedIn Training courses: Hybrid meetings (linkedin.com)

Digital Skills for Staff

Image of someone using a laptop touchpadOne of the long term aims of DTS is to raise digital confidence across the University, by providing expert IT training to help plug skill gaps or explore functionality in our standard Microsoft applications and other key areas. We have created a suite of UoRLearn Courses using professional LinkedIn Learning content, delivered in bite-size, easy to navigate video tutorials.

Go at your own pace, try exercises for consolidation and incorporate new techniques and tips into your day-to-day work using Microsoft applications including Outlook, Teams, Excel and PowerPoint, from beginner to advanced. Increase your knowledge of applications such as Matlab, EndNote and NVivo, or expand your digital savvy around Digital Security and Digital Productivity.

For more information, please refer to the Digital Skills for Staff webpage.

 

Viva Learning now in Microsoft Teams

Viva Learning can now be found within student and staff Microsoft Teams.

 

Viva Learning creates a central hub for learning in Teams where people can share, recommend, and learn from content libraries across an organization to empower teams and individuals to make learning a natural part of their day. This includes access to content libraries from LinkedIn Learning, Microsoft Learn, Microsoft 365 Training, and third-party content providers and learning management systems.

 

Guidance on getting started with Viva Learning and other how to documentation can be found here.

 

 

 

Antivirus Change: Sophos to Microsoft Defender ATP

Digital Technology Services will be moving from Sophos antivirus protection to Microsoft Defender ATP from this month.

Microsoft Defender ATP will be automatically installed on your device and Sophos automatically uninstalled, all new devices and updated devices will no longer have Sophos installed as standard.

We have compiled some FAQs below, please check these before contacting the IT Service Desk.

 

 

How long will it take to uninstall Sophos Endpoint Agent from my device?

Sophos will be uninstalled automatically from your device. The time required to uninstall Sophos Endpoint Agent will vary depending on the capabilities of your device’s hardware, as well as the software programs that are installed on your device.

How do I confirm Microsoft Defender ATP is running on my device?

In Windows 10, the Windows Security Center ‘White Shield’ icon should be present in the system tray showing that Windows Defender is running.

 

How do I confirm Sophos Endpoint Agent has been removed from my device?

Check the system tray, located in the lower right-hand corner of your screen. If Sophos Endpoint Agent has been removed, then the blue Sophos shield shown below will not be present.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can also open Add or Remove Programs on your device and browse the list of installed programs to confirm that it has been removed.

You may see Sophos and Windows Security both installed on your device at the same time, this is fine and will be the case until Sophos is removed. At this point, Windows Security will take over.

What about Mac or Linux?

This information is currently for Windows only. Work is being undertaken for Mac and Linux and updates will follow.

How does Microsoft Defender ATP differ from Windows Defender?

Microsoft Defender ATP is actually two products in one. It includes Windows Defender, Microsoft’s antivirus solution that is included with recent versions of the Windows operating system. It also includes ATP, which is a cloud-based enterprise security solution that builds on Defender’s antivirus features and enhances its capabilities for managed computers.

Microsoft Defender ATP also provides antivirus services to macOS-based Apple devices when deployed with our installation package. Computers that are transitioned to Microsoft Defender ATP become centrally managed in order to take advantage of the features provided by this solution. The process of transitioning University-owned devices to Microsoft Defender ATP is not automatic, but it can be automated by Digital Technology Services.

Why do I see a yellow warning icon when I check my Windows Security settings?

Until the rollout is completed, the Microsoft Defender ATP icon may not always have a Green tick. A review of the non-AV features that represent many of these messages is currently in progress.

 

 

Personal devices: Check your settings

Eduroam: removal of TLS 1.1 protocol

 

What is TLS 1.1?

TLS is a method of encrypting data that “scrambles” data from one service to another, meaning any attempts to “read” it during the movement of the data are stopped.

Sometimes referred to as SSL,  TLS provides a means of keeping data safe, often used in financial systems but really anything that requires keeping secure. TLS 1.1 has been retired.

 

What’s happening?

In order to ensure the security of the University’s systems and services, we will be disabling the TLS 1.1 protocol on the eduroam Wi-Fi service on 31 August 2021. This change will affect any older devices that are not able to support TLS 1.2, including computers running Windows 7 and mobile devices running older versions of iOS and Android.

The TLS 1.1 protocol is not as secure as the newer TLS 1.2 and is no longer supported for connections to many services, including Microsoft’s Office 365. As Windows 7 is no longer supported by Microsoft since January 2020, security patches are no longer available, and we advise that anyone using Windows 7 upgrades to Windows 10.

For instructions on updating your settings, please see this helpful guide.

Information: 13 July – DTS retiring dfs.rdg.ac.uk – all shares to redirect to rdg-home.ad.rdg.ac.uk (rdg-home)

On Tuesday 13 July 2021 – DTS will be retiring dfs.rdg.ac.uk – all shares will now redirect to rdg-home.ad.rdg.ac.uk (rdg-home). Our Operations team is carrying out this work to consolidate our systems and remove a layer of complexity, making it easier and quicker for you to access support in the future.

 

This change will impact your use of collaborative, home, research and research-nfs drives if not updated, please check and update any saved or “favourited” paths.

 

What do I need to do?

 

  • Drive Mappings:
    • Any mapped drives will be updated on your behalf by DTS, any drives you have manually created will need to be changed now or replaced with Quick Access.

 

  • Quick Access:
    • Please check and update your Quick access drives as they may also be pointed at dfs.rdg.ac.uk not rdg-home.
    • We would recommend using Quick Access to save and access your drives, and you may find these easier and quicker to use. Instructions to do so can be found on our Self Service Portal.

 

Why are DTS making this change?

 

Retiring dfs.rdg.ac.uk allows our DTS teams to consolidate space in our Data Centre; reducing the amount of cooling and power required which will subsequently reduce our carbon footprint further. This change will also allow out teams to continue working to consolidate systems and eventually retire the Lyle Building Data Centre.

 

Further to this, dfs.rdg.ac.uk is a “standalone solution” hosted on legacy hardware, rdg-home provides a “distributed solution” – meaning that in the event of a systems failure, service can be maintained. Using rdg-home will also allow us to utilise the cloud when it is the best option, providing greater flexibility for DTS systems and services.

 

If you have any questions about how to map your drives, please check out our helpful guides in the Self Service Portal. Please contact the Service Desk if you have any issues.

Returning to Campus: Important PC and Laptop checks

Returning to Campus: PC and Laptop checks

 

Connection to University Networks

We are aware of a number of devices across campus that are at risk of login issues due to time logged off the University’s network.

This will apply to:

  • PCs on campus that have been switched off for more than 3 months
  • University laptops that have not connected to the VPN for more than 3 months, and have not accessed Eduroam for more than 3 months

 

This is part of the University’s IT policies and ensures the safety and security of our community. It is  important to routinely connect to the University’s VPN when working off campus to allow vital security updates and configurations to be made to your device.

If your device has not connected to the network within this timeframe, you may see the error message “There are no logon servers available” when you next access the network on campus, and a technician will need to visit to fix this. Please note on-campus PCs at London Road and Greenlands campuses have been manually updated by our User Support team.

 

Details and further information on how to arrange a technician visit, as well as an app that can detect if your University laptop is affected, can be found here.

 

Laptops purchased during the period March 2020 – present: DTS will contact you

If you have received a University laptop between March 2020 and now, delivered to your home address, this will need to be configured with our University image. This ensures you have the correct access to University systems and services, and also ensures important security patching can take place.

DTS will be in touch with you directly if this applies to you, you do not need to log a ticket.

 

Health checks are available

If you are aware that your device has not been connected to the network for a long period of time, or you have rescheduled/not run any updates as requested by the device, please contact our User Support technicians via dts@reading.ac.uk or our Self Service Portal to request our help.