News

An IT Voyage

Roman Paszewski, an Information Services and Technology (IST) Deskside Support Analyst on Ashton Wong’s Deskside Support Team, feels that he is working on a great team and for “one of the best supervisors” he has ever had. Roman provides day-to-day IT support to his campus clients, and has recently been focussing on several larger projects: the university-wide Windows XP end-of-life project and the upgrading of FGSR’s anti-virus system. He has also been involved with IT consolidation efforts, helping to integrate new faculties into the IST model of support. The more challenging his work is, the more Roman enjoys it. But whether his assignments are routine or complex, Roman is always “trying to achieve good customer relations so that you are well known to the customer and the customer can trust you.”

Roman grew up in Gdansk, Poland before immigrating to Canada in 1993. He had “always had a mind for physics and science” and a great interest in computers, but it was not until he came to Edmonton and attended NAIT that he “was able to afford [his] first computer and get that [IT] voyage started.” After Roman completed NAIT’s Network Engineering Technology program, he worked in a variety of networking and help desk environments—including a 3-year work hiatus in Poland. When he returned to Edmonton, he completed a Network Analyst accelerated program through the Academy of Learning.

Roman first came to work at the university as a contract network analyst. He found working on campus enjoyable, with the staff at the university being “very friendly and full of positive energy toward making the university a better educational facility.” In fact, he liked working here so much that he applied to work for IST, and has been contributing to the positive energy he so admired since November 2013.

OpenSSL Heartbleed Vulnerability

Secure as of April 10, 2014

As you know, a major internet-wide bug called Heartbleed was recently discovered.

As of April 10, 2014, Information Services and Technologies (IST) has updated all the affected servers and renewed the SSL certificates to ensure your data is safe. We highly recommend you change your CCID password through the University of Alberta secure password reset utility.

 

What is this vulnerability?

heartbleedThis vulnerability is due to a software bug present in some versions of encryption software used by many websites and services on the Internet. It allows a third party to retrieve data stored in the memory of a server that is using the vulnerable software. The data retrieved may contain passwords and other sensitive information.

Does it affect me?

  • Please note that this is a vulnerability and is not malware or a virus.
  • Your personal computers cannot become infected directly from this vulnerability.
  • Your personal information stored on a vulnerable site could be compromised if an attacker has taken advantage of the vulnerability on that site.
  • IST is currently working to identify and patch all campus systems that are affected by this issue. We have already patched our critical systems (including access to UWS and email) and our investigation into systems continues.
  • Bear Tracks and PeopleSoft are not affected by this vulnerability.

How can I get more information?

If you are standard home/student/staff computer user:

If you are IT staff on campus:

If you are an individual interested in the technical details:

A Customer Service Perspective

IT Support Analyst Justin Stuhlmiller is in his element when working in client support. As one of IST’s dedicated Help Desk technicians, he is responsible for working directly with U of A students, staff and faculty via telephone, chat, email and in person to assist with software sales, password reset, wireless connectivity problems and other computer issues as they arise. Justin and his colleagues are the face of IST for much of the university community, and thus play an important role in building relationships with clients and ensuring they get the help they need.

Justin didn’t always expect to work in such a technical role. In fact, Justin graduated from the University of Alberta several years ago with a degree in Classics and history—subjects that could be considered at the opposite end of the spectrum from IT and computers. After school, Justin found his groove in retail, first at American Apparel, and then at the Apple Store.

Although Justin still pursues his interest in Classics as a hobby, continuing to collect and read ancient texts in his spare time, he has developed an unexpected talent for IT. Building on his technical knowledge and expertise gained at Apple, Justin is now lending his customer service expertise and outgoing personality to IST’s Help Desk. Stationed at the first line of service for IST clients, he finds his desk job stimulating, and feels as though he has finally found an environment where his people-pleasing attitude can really shine. “I like people,” he says, “I like going out. I like meeting people. I like building relationships. All that fun stuff.”

An Unexpected Path

Although Coleman Rooksby had always been interested in computers, he chose to pursue a degree in history rather than follow the lead of his many friends who went into IT. Coleman began his studies at the University of Alberta in 2003, and eventually joined the military as an infantry officer. During his time with the Canadian Forces, Coleman continued his studies and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in History in 2009.

Computers and IT, however, remained “a constant” in Coleman’s life, and that interest brought him to Information Services and Technology (IST) last August. As one of the six Computer Operators in IST’s Operations Data Centre, Coleman works days and mostly nights keeping an eye on much of the university’s IT operations. The Data Centre has “ a number of monitoring programs” that keep Coleman and the other operators aware of the temperatures and connectivity of the university’s IT infrastructure and “if something goes wrong, we’re the first people to know about it and we get in contact with the people who can fix it.”

Coleman has only been with IST for six months, but he enjoys being part of its great Data Centre team. When he began his degree in History here at the university, he had not thought that he would be working on campus in such a different field. However, as Coleman has experienced, “life has a way of sending you on paths you never expected.”

Cultura Animi—“Cultivation of the Mind”

Having spent most of his working life in the consulting world with PricewaterhouseCoopers and Deloitte, Praveen Avala is accustomed to the often hectic pace and demands of project management. Now, as a Senior Project Management Lead for Information Services and Technology (IST), Praveen is managing multiple IT and Business Transformation projects that have university-wide impact. Some of his projects include enabling IST’s Project Management Office with best-practice tools, templates, processes and procedures, establishing the Learning Assessment Centre (LAC), standardizing HR processes across faculties and departments, and substituting physical HR forms with electronic forms. Although Praveen and the other members of the Project Management Office have “a lot to do on our plate,” he finds the work very rewarding and satisfying.

Praveen’s education includes a Bachelor of Technology, an MBA and Project Management Professional (PMP) certification. His 12 years as a senior technology consultant, “mostly in technology consulting, business transformation, business processes improvement and engineering,” have prepared him well for his current role in IST. Before joining IST, Praveen worked for the Office of Advancement, which gave him a good understanding of the University of Alberta and its culture. He is very happy to be working at IST and greatly admires the IST team and its leadership.

Prior to coming to the university—and Canada—Praveen lived and worked in many countries, including the United States, Thailand, India, China and New Zealand. Such broad cultural experience gave him “a new perspective in dealing with different kinds of people [as] different people come with different backgrounds, different mindsets, so when you understand their culture and behaviour, you tend to respect it and it becomes much easier to interact with them.” What a great attitude to bring to his work with IST and the university!