Author: Will Schuett

New IT Service Catalog

We’re excited to introduce our new Service Catalog, which organizes IT services in one location for you to find and request IT help. The new Service Catalog is an extension of our new system for tracking and resolving your requests and is available alongside our existing Knowledge Base.

In the Service Catalog, you can perform keyword searches and “favorite” frequent request forms. After submitting a request, you can communicate with an IT staff member and see your request’s status updates. It will also suggest related Knowledge Base articles if a self-help option is available while you search for a service.

As we transition to our new system, be aware of the following changes:

Active service requests will still be in the old system

As we transition to the new request system, any current, open requests you have will still be visible and active in the old system.  If you use our current system to track your requests, you can continue to do so, but you’ll need to update any saved links or browser favorites from servicedesk.mtu.edu to servicedesk.it.mtu.edu.  New requests for IT help as of January 6 will be available and can be viewed and interacted with in the new Service Catalog.

Emails have a new look

Email replies sent from the new system will have a different look. The new email notifications will have text wrapped with a gold border. 

Feedback

So that we can continue to improve our service, we currently ask for your feedback in the last email associated with your request. In our new system, we’ll ask for your feedback in a separate email you’ll receive the day after we’ve resolved your request.

If you have any questions about the new Service Catalog, we can help. Contact us at it-help@mtu.edu, or call 7-1111.

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VCash Login Screen

Starting Friday, December 6, you will see a new VCASH login screen that resembles Windows 10. The navigation bar at the bottom of the screen will also appear similar to Windows 10. 

Old Login Screen and start menu/taskbar:

Old login screenOld menu

New Login Screen and start menu/taskbar:
New login screen

These changes are from an upgrade to your VCASH server. No changes are being made to the VCASH home screen or the links on the page.

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Get Smart! Mitigating Risks in Connected Devices

Connected devices shown in house with person standing next to the datacenter

Smart/IoT devices may be the panacea for consumer convenience. Do you want to know and change the temperature of your house or even your fridge remotely? There’s an app for that. Such devices also raise extreme privacy concerns about the data collected about you. Devices can track or discern details about your life based on usage and interaction. And that data could potentially be aggregated with data coming from other smart devices, painting a fairly robust and accurate profile of you and your life. My fitness-tracking device serves as my wake-up alarm. Not only does it track the time that I set for the alarm, it also tracks my interaction when I shut it off. Maybe your coffee maker tracks when you start the brew (mine doesn’t because I’m Coffee Old School). My car tracks what time I start it, how far I drive it, and the GPS location where I park it. These data points are provided to me as the consumer but are also presumably stored by the device provider. It’s only 9:00 a.m. and my smart world already has collected or observed several key privacy factoids about me. And where data exist, risk to data exposure also exists.

Devices geared toward consumers will continue to push convenience over privacy, and consumers will continue to call for greater connectivity and convenience. That means more connected devices and ongoing evolution for more information, interaction, integration, and automation. It’s no longer a question of whether your home devices should be connected. Instead, we need to proactively assess the risks of such connectivity. When those risks are greater than our threshold risk tolerance, we need to take steps to minimize those risks.

Take the following steps to protect yourself when you start using a new device:

  • When you bring home a new consumer device, check to see if it’s transmitting. Ask whether you need that device to be connected. What are the advantages of having your fridge broadcast the whereabouts of your cheese? Is the potential to activate remote maintenance with the device provider important to you? Do you want to interact with that device remotely? Then by all means, keep that connection. If you don’t need the maintenance options or to monitor or interact with the device remotely, turn off the device’s connectivity.
  • Periodically scan your networks to make sure you know and manage what’s online. If you want devices to be connected, be proactive. Find out how they connect; how devices are patched; what the default security settings are; and what data are collected and how/when/where the data are transmitted. Protect your home wireless network(s) with strong password management, active maintenance practices, and vigilance.
  • Use the same cybersecurity hygiene on your smart devices that you use on your computer. While it may be revolutionary that your car is now essentially a computer on wheels, it’s still just a computer. You don’t have to become a cybersecurity expert, but you may want to find a few trusted sources of security advice for consumers.

It’s time to get smart about your devices, manage them appropriately, and reap the rewards of their convenience.

word cloud of connected information

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