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ICT ready to enable business continuity

Thursday, March 26th, 2020

During the last two weeks the IT environment at SU pulled out all stops to prepare a virtual study and work environment.

Since the announcement of lock-down regulations by the President on 23d March, the possible work scenarios are now much more limited. The restriction of movement and staying at home, will effectively terminate 99% of all traditional work or study activities on campus, and will now be done online, from home.

This scenario has specific implications for all IT services and applications. Our goal is to enable all ICT-based services and applications to staff and students working from home, with the same richness and quality that existed before.

The preparation covered multiple domains, some of which we can control, and others where we depend on collaboration of service providers and national negotiations in this regard. The preparation of all computing facilities on campus for remote access will be finalised over this coming weekend, after the scheduled maintenance work is completed.

The ICT serviced desk (ICT Partner Portal) is currently inundated by support requests like access to applications and platforms. The support agents and system engineers are doing their utmost to serve everybody as soon as possible, and we appreciate the patience of our users.

I’m confident that SU will overcome the short-term challenges, and that the ICT ecosystem will enable business continuity off-campus. We’re almost there!

Attie Juyn (Senior Director: ICT)

Effective virtual collaboration sessions​

Wednesday, March 25th, 2020

When establishing the expectations for remote working, ensure all team leaders and practitioners understand how to communicate and collaborate effectively when working remotely

Principles

  • Be on time, finish on time
  • Ensure that all voices are heard
  • Align on purpose, have a clear agenda
  • Exaggerate your voice, pronunciation and pitch to come better across

Framework​​

  • Include dial-in details on all meeting invites Including relevant MS teams, Skype or Zoom details on all invites is a small act that goes a long way, ensuring virtual workers are always included.
  • Give everyone an equal opportunity to share their voice Meeting leaders should use purposeful breaks so that everyone has an opportunity to contribute. If you’re a participant, use the raise hand feature if you can’t find a break in the conversation. Make use of the chat function to pose questions and add comments without disrupting the current flow of conversation.
  • Turn on your camera Turn on your video wherever possible and be camera ready. This helps all participants get the most out of virtual meetings. 
  • Take your call somewhere quiet Find a quiet space to participate. Open plan environments are saturated with background noise—make sure you use a professional headset.
  • Be on the call 2-3 minutes prior, or 5 if you are hosting Join virtual calls 2-3 mins early to ensure an on time start. If you are the host aim for 10 minutes prior to ensure everything is working correctly. 
  • Time your meetings and keep them short Not all meetings need to be 45 –60 minutes long. Aim for short concise meetings that run efficiently—stick to an agreed agenda. 
  • Use digital collaboration tools If one or more members in the meeting are attending virtually, consider using digital collaboration tools such as an in-built whiteboard.
  • Include meeting agendas/provide everything needed In the event that screen sharing does not work ensure others have copies of the file prior to the call (at the very least the facilitator). Upload any presentations beforehand to avoid technical obstacles.
  • Use the mute button Use the mute button to prevent transmitting background noise when you’re not speaking.

IT support during COVID

Monday, March 23rd, 2020

In line with SU communication regarding the operational needs and our staff’s well-being Information Technology also must limit the exposure and levels of infection of our IT Support staff.  Until further notice the following logistics are applicable to ensure the continuation of IT support to the University community:

ICT Partner Portal

For any support, please log a call on the ICT Partner Portal. In case of requests to work from home, please note that a request type for the remote access has been created which you can select on the entry page. A reference number will be emailed to you and a technician will be in contact. Please do not send an email to help@sun.ac.za.

Remote Assistance

Technicians assigned a request will contact the user and support will be provided remotely. 

No deliveries or collections

Until further notice desktops, laptops or mobile devices will not be collected or delivered. Technicians will contact the end-user telephonically and arrange for pickup or delivery of their devices from the demarcated areas at the IT HUB.

No support available at end-user residence

For end-users already working from home only remote assistance for support will be provided. No IT Technicians will be called out for support

McAfee upgrade

Thursday, March 12th, 2020

As we all know, McAfee has been the product of choice with regards to Virus Protection on campus computers. New and improved products are released regularly, and we need to keep up with the change to remain protected against virus attacks.

We are currently in the process of upgrading our McAfee environment to McAfee Endpoint Security.

What is it?

McAfee Endpoint Security is a modern, integrated, extensible security solution that protects servers, computer systems, laptops, and tablets against known and unknown threats. These threats include malware, suspicious communications, unsafe websites, and downloaded files. It replaces several legacy McAfee products that were deployed as point products (VirusScan Enterprise and others) with a single-agent architecture and integrated advanced defences like machine learning analysis, containment, and endpoint detection and response (EDR).

How is it different from VirusScan Enterprise?

McAfee Endpoint Security outperforms VirusScan Enterprise, giving you a 25% higher protection rate.

How will the upgrade affect my computer?

During the upgrade process, your computer will become a little slower, but this is just temporary.

Any questions? Have a look at the FAQs.

Reactivate your network access before 1 April

Thursday, February 20th, 2020

Network access for staff will expire at the end of March unless you reactivate your username.

We suggest that you reactivate yours as soon as possible to ensure uninterrupted access to IT services (internet, email, SUN-e-HR etc.). Keep in mind that the cost centre manager still has to approve your request before your username is reactivated; allow sufficient time for this to be done to avoid disruption of your service.

You will receive an email from helpinfo@sun.ac.za indicating that your username (“engagement”) will expire soon. Three notifications will be sent before the end of March. Alternatively, you can go directly to the reactivation page.

Once logged into the reactivation page, you can select the services you want to reactivate.  You are encouraged to read the ECP (Electronic Communication Policy) before reactivating.

Choose the services (network / email usernames and internet usernames) you want to register for (see images below).

 

 

Make sure you select the correct costpoints and if you’re unsure ask your cost centre manager. Click Accept and Reactivate.

 You will receive a notification stating that your request has been submitted, as well as a confirmation email. 

The webpage will indicate that it will be activated as soon as it has been approved by the cost centre manager. When the cost centre manager approves the reactivation request access will be extended to the end of March next year.

If you have completed these steps successfully and still receive emails from helpinfo@sun.ac.za urging you to reactivate, please go back to the reactivation page and make sure the appropriate boxes are checked: Your Network / Email usernames Your Internet usernames

 If you are still not able to reactivate, please raise a request at servicedesk.sun.ac.za

 

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