OIT Help Desk – New Phone System – Wednesday, July 19

On Wednesday, July 19, 2017, the OIT Help Desk will be switching to a new phone system. When calling the Help Desk at 848-445-HELP (4357) you will hear a new automated voice and new menu options.
 
This new system will allow us to better serve the community with improved comprehensive menu options and enhanced capabilities such as scheduling a call back during periods of high call volume.
 
We welcome your feedback!  Please call in at 848-445-HELP (4357) or email help@oit.rutgers.edu with any questions, comments, or concerns.

Mainframe Upgrade – Sunday, August 6, 2017 from 7:30 AM to 12 PM

Members of the Rutgers Community,

The Office of Information Technology (OIT) will be upgrading our mainframe Operating System (OS) on Sunday, August 6, 2017, from 7:30 AM to 12:00 PM. This is required to keep pace with IT advances, maintain an appropriate security posture, and provide reliable, stable and effective IT services.

OIT is committed to improving the quality and reliability of IT services. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

The services listed below will be unavailable on Sunday, August 6, 2017, from 7:30 AM to 12:00 PM.

Student Systems:

  • CARS
  • Cash Register
  • Citizenship Data
  • Course History Database
  • Course Scheduling System
  • DCO – Warning System
  • Degree Certification
  • EOF Update
  • FAMS – Financial Aid
  • Financial Holds
  • Fraternity Sorority Update
  • Instant Enrollment Verification
  • NJAS Undergraduate Admissions
  • PAC Change
  • Parking System
  • Personal Info
  • Registration/Scheduling
  • Room Scheduling
  • Rosters Electronic Grade Change
  • SHOTS
  • SRDB Default Screens
  • SRDB Graduate Admissions
  • Student Financial Services
  • Term Bill
  • Web Registration

If you have any questions or concerns regarding this maintenance please contact:

Thank you,

Bill Lansbury

University Director
OIT, Enterprise Infrastructure

Rutgers Connect: Advanced Threat Protection Deployment

As part of our commitment to provide better and more secure email to our community, OIT will soon deploy a new layer of email security for Rutgers Connect.   This product is named Office 365 Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) and acts as a second layer of protection for attachments and links included in email messages. This product has been in use and tested for the past two months by all the members of the Office of Information Technology as well as a number of IT professionals from other departments.

Starting on Monday, July 10th, 2017, all Rutgers Connect accounts will be covered by ATP technology, which adds two additional features to the existing layers of spam and malware filtering.

First, each attachment never seen before by Rutgers Connect is thoroughly checked for any possible malware components. The current malware and virus scanners analyze incoming attachments for known malware signatures. ATP adds a “zero day” protection against new and unknown threats; it captures the unknown attachment in a virtual environment and executes and interacts with its components just as a user might. This is done not only for all executables but also for Office files and all other file types likely to contain harmful macros, scripts, and other types of possible harmful data. For most users, this interaction will be transparent, although some messages may be delayed for a few seconds or minutes.  All attachments never before seen by Rutgers Connect will be scanned, including those attached to external and internal email messages. If ATP detects a malicious attachment, it will remove the attachment and deliver the email with a note regarding the removed attachment.

The second component of ATP will scan and follow all web addresses (URLs) arriving from outside Rutgers Connect for known malicious content, including both malware and phishing sites.  Additionally, all URLs will be wrapped in a redirecting layer. This will be the most visible change for most users. The benefit of this feature is that a phishing campaign or link containing harmful content that does not get identified at the time of delivery but gets marked as malicious at a later time can still be blocked if a user clicks on it in the future.  HTML-formatted mail hides the redirecting layer, but links viewed in plain text mail, or in HTML mail read in a text-only client, will be rewritten to link first to a safelinks.protection.outlook.com address and will likely be longer than the original URL. Non-harmful links will act normally when clicked on, while links identified as harmful will redirect the user to a warning page.

This second feature only applies, at this time, to messages sent from outside Rutgers Connect, although at some point in the future it may also apply to URLs contained in messages originating from inside Rutgers Connect. Also, particular links may be completely excluded from this feature, eliminating the link wrapping and rewrite for selected URLs.

The protections afforded by ATP also extends to Office 2016 ProPlus desktop applications. Harmful links found in Office documents will be protected by the same webpage-scanning and link-blocking technologies described above, adding a layer of protection to the desktop environment. In addition, if an attachment is found to be harmful, its signature is added to the regular antivirus scans of data stored in OneDrive for Business and SharePoint site hosted by Rutgers Connect.

While we recognize that some users may find the re-written URLs somewhat confusing, the technology behind ATP is a significant state of the art layer of protection that should greatly enhance the security of our users and systems.

Rutgers Connect Features: Mentions, Templates, & Forms

Built on the feature-rich Office 365 platform, Rutgers Connect offers a wide variety of tools to increase productivity and streamline user experience. This article will discuss three of these tools – Mentions, Templates, and Forms – and detail the ways in which they can assist with day-to-day tasks.


Mentions

With a constant influx of email from colleagues, departmental mailing lists, University newsletters, automated notifications, and more, it’s easy for a message to go unnoticed for some time as its recipient reads through his or her inbox. Often this is perfectly fine; not everything needs to be attended to immediately. Other times, however, this is not the case, and an individual needs to be made aware of something as soon as possible. Office 365 provides a handy tool to ensure that happens: Mentions.

When composing an email, users can highlight the message for a specific individual. This marks it in the recipient’s inbox on OWA (Outlook Web App, located at connect.rutgers.edu) with a colorful, eye-catching @ symbol and lets him or her know that it requires prompt attention. An example of what such a message would look like is shown below.

Image of three emails, one of which contains a Mention, showing the visual contrast between messages without Mentions and messages including Mentions; the latter is marked with an @ symbol on the right-hand side.

Although emails containing Mentions are not marked with an @ symbol in the desktop application for certain operating systems, such as Windows 7, they still stand out in another way: they can be filtered for in the Mentioned user’s inbox. This also works in OWA. The images below demonstrate this filtering in the desktop client and OWA.

The screenshot of Outlook 2016 shows how an email containing a Mention is sorted into its own filtered folder titled "Mentions", but not marked with an @ symbol. "All" and "Unread" are also displayed as filtered folders, and there are options to search and sort messages within the folder.Screenshot of OWA demonstrating an email with a Mention sorted into its own filtered folder and marked with an @ symbol. The applied filter, titled "Mentions", is displayed in the top right corner.

To use Mentions, the sender must include the recipient’s name in the format “@FirstName LastName” (without quotation marks) and then choose the appropriate person from the drop-down list of University affiliates with that name. It is important to note that Mentions are only available for use in OWA and Outlook 2016; older versions of Outlook do not support this feature.

For more information, please see Microsoft’s article on Mentions.


Email Templates

Some types of emails may be sent very frequently; a department administrator might routinely request access to some service for each new employee every time one is onboarded, or a manager might regularly ask their direct reports for status updates on projects. It often seems that the same words are being rewritten every time, which can grow tiresome very quickly. But Office 365 provides a solution: email templates.

Users can create templates for the various types of emails they send frequently, and then use them as shortcuts in the future. Examples of the template interfaces in OWA and in Outlook 2016 are shown below; the icons which lead to them in each client are highlighted.

A screenshot of the email composition window in Outlook 2016. There is a selection of templates available for use on the right, one of which has been selected and used to compose the message. In the ribbon towards the top of the window, the "Office Add-ins" icon is surrounded by a blue rectangle to make it more noticeable. Screenshot of an email which was composed in OWA using an email template. A selection of templates and an option to add additional templates is displayed on the right, and the body of the message matches one of the template options with only slight edits (topic of the message and suggested date for completion). On the bottom right, the icon which opens the templates menu is surrounded by a square to make it more noticeable.


Forms

Microsoft Forms is a component of Office 365 which allows users to create, share, and respond to (as the name suggests) forms. It’s well-suited for a variety of purposes; a professor could give her students a quiz, a department hosting a luncheon could send out a form with menu options and a yes/no plus-one question, a group which presented at a conference could ask attendees for feedback, or administrators of some particular service could run customer satisfaction surveys.

Several types of questions are supported: multiple-choice, text/free-response, rating, and date. Form creators can place restrictions on responses, such as requiring a positive number as an answer to a free-response question, which ensures valid responses (for example, if asking how many party members a reservation is for, neither “0” nor “Smith” should be accepted). In the case of quizzes, multiple-choice questions can be auto-graded while other types of questions must wait for review by the form creator.

The designer menu for an example form is shown below.
 The interface for editing questions on a quiz in Microsoft Forms is displayed. One free-response question and two multiple-choice questions are displayed; the second multiple-choice question is being edited. All questions are marked as required and show the per-question point values. The multiple-choice questions indicate the correct answer with a check mark to the right of the answer. There is an option at the bottom to add additional questions. A tab at the top allows users to switch to viewing responses.

Creators have a variety of options to choose from when sharing their forms. One method of sharing is “share to collaborate”, allowing others to edit the form and view responses; another is “share as a template”, allowing others to create their own version of the form and make changes to the design but not to examine submissions for this particular instance of the form. The most common way is “share to collect responses”, which grants no administrative privileges but allows users to see the form and submit responses. This type of sharing can be limited to individuals within Rutgers or open to anyone with a link to the form. (Technically, “share to collaborate” can also be made open to anyone with the link, but this is not recommended.)

Once the form is shared and responses are gathered, creators and collaborators can view them in summary as well as in detail. Below is an example of the first viewing option, which provides statistics about each question rather than individuals and their responses.

An example of the interface for viewing responses on Microsoft Forms is displayed. The screenshot shows the number of responses (5), the average score on the assessment (3/4), the status of the assignment (active), and statistical breakdowns of the responses for each question (both in a table and in a pie chart). There are options to review answers, post scores, and open the response data in Microsoft Excel. A tab at the top allows users to switch to viewing questions.

More detailed results are available in several forms. The full list of responses matched with the corresponding participants, submission times, and more is visible through the “Open in Excel” option. “Review answers” allows for viewing responses by participant rather than by question, and “Details” next to each question displays individual responses only for that question, as displayed below.

There is a table showing a breakdown of the five responses for this question. A column for names of participants is present, but the names have been partially obscured. There are also columns displaying the ID of the response, the content of each person's response, and an indicator of correctness or wrongness in the form of a green check mark or a red x.

The Forms portal is accessible from Rutgers Connect through the Office 365 App Launcher (the “waffle” in the top left corner) or directly at forms.office.com. Users interested in learning more may wish to visit the Microsoft website and read What is Microsoft Forms?, which explains how to get started using the various features of Forms.


Author: Rae Clarke

Stay tuned for upcoming articles discussing additional Office 365 features! If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions regarding the Rutgers Connect article series, please write to help@oit.rutgers.edu.

Rutgers Connect Features: OneDrive for Business 

This article is an introduction to OneDrive for Business, a key component of the Office 365 suite of services which provides secure storage and backs a broad set of features such as Office Online.


The Technology behind OneDrive for Business

OneDrive for Business is a different product than the consumer-grade OneDrive. As it is built on top of the SharePoint Online technology, it benefits from the more advanced intranet-targeted features available in SharePoint.

Each file stored in OneDrive for Business is automatically under version control; whenever a user uploads a new version of the same file in the same location, the previous file is archived. Previous versions can be retrieved, and information about each version’s upload time and editor are available for review.

All files and folders stored in OneDrive for Business can be shared with any other University members using Rutgers Connect with various levels of permissions, including read-only, read/write, etc. Files and folders can also be shared with external users, such as students not using Office 365 or users completely external to the university, but these external shares must be read-only and the recipient will need to authenticate when accessing the shared data. Anonymous sharing is not permitted. If more extensive collaboration is required with users external to Rutgers Connect, responsible parties should consider creating guest accounts for the external collaborators.

OneDrive for Business is covered by the HIPAA Business Associate Agreement signed by Microsoft as well as all other legal frameworks covered in our software agreement. For more details about these legal frameworks, please see our previous articles on Security and Trust . Please note that while OneDrive for Business is HIPAA-compliant, users handling sensitive information should continue to use any dedicated systems already in place and approved for such use.

Each Rutgers Connect user is allocated 1 TB of OneDrive for Business storage space. This storage is subject to a number of limitations; for example, there are maximum file name lengths and certain characters and file type extensions are prohibited. Additional information regarding syncing restrictions can be found here.

Please note that at this time this 1 TB storage allocation cannot be expanded. If users need additional storage, they can contact their local IT support or the OIT Help Desk for alternate arrangements.

Ownership of OneDrive for Business storage segments is not limited to individuals. Office 365 Groups can also have a OneDrive for Business storage allocation, which defaults to 100 GB but can be extended as needed upon request. OneDrive for Business storage in Office 365 Groups behaves exactly like its equivalent user storage; it can be shared, edited, or accessed in the same ways. However, it is owned by the group rather than any one individual who might retire or change employment assignments or responsibilities.

Like all Rutgers Connect components, data stored in OneDrive for Business is doubly encrypted at rest, benefiting from both disk-level encryption and file-level encryption. For more information about the Office 365 encryption and security mechanisms, please see our article, Rutgers Connect Security and Trust Part One: The Office 365 Platform Security.


Using OneDrive for Business

OneDrive for Business can be accessed and used directly via the web interface of Rutgers Connect, which allows users to upload, delete, and update files or share OneDrive for Business stored information with other users. This is the recommended method of interaction for most users.

OneDrive for Business can also be made available directly on a user’s desktop or laptop like a network file system through the use of the OneDrive for Business synchronization client.  Files synced in this manner are also available for offline use and will automatically re-sync to the Office 365 cloud services when connectivity is available. These files remain subject to the limitations mentioned earlier. Additionally, if a large number of files are synchronized, a significant amount of local storage may be used to cache the cloud-hosted data.

When using the latest versions of Microsoft Office associated with Rutgers Connect, collaborative editing of documents is also supported. In both desktop and web versions of the supported Office tools, users can collaboratively work on the same documents, see the changes being made as they happen, and chat with other editors currently accessing the file they are working on.

All OneDrive for Business data can also be accessed through the OneDrive mobile application available to all users enrolled in the Mobile Device Management component of Rutgers Connect. Rutgers Connect users may access their own data as well as data shared to them by other users on their mobile device; additionally, they may edit and modify this data if the mobile version of the appropriate software has been installed on their devices. For example, users may use the mobile version of Excel to edit a shared spreadsheet from anywhere in the world. Office applications for mobile devices are available to all faculty and staff users of Rutgers Connect as part of their Office 365 license.


OneDrive for Business Usage Recommendations

While the advanced features and generous storage allocation of OneDrive for Business might be attractive for all types of use, some particular aspects of its implementation make it not ideal for some uses.

Due to its double encryption and version control, OneDrive for Business is not suitable for storing data which is accessed or modified by other applications. For example, do not use OneDrive for Business to store email files that you plan to access live in Outlook or research data that is going to be directly accessed by statistical software. You can certainly store this type of data in OneDrive for Business for the purpose of backups, transfers, or archiving, but if you plan to use it in other applications you should first download it to local or network storage.

While it may be tempting to backup whole desktops or servers to OneDrive for Business, this use is also strongly discouraged due to the performance implications of encryption and version control. Additionally, while the number of files that can be stored is very large, full system backups may exceed those limits.

It is also advisable to use Office 365 Groups OneDrive for Business storage allocations for files or data that are used by multiple users or are business critical. Individual storage allocation is bound to the license of individual users and may become unavailable as users leave the university or change employment roles, whereas the storage allocations of Office 365 Groups can remain under the management of individual units or departments indefinitely.


Authors: Vladimir Gabrielescu, Elizabeth McMillion, Rae Clarke

If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions regarding the Rutgers Connect article series, please write to help@oit.rutgers.edu.


Update on Issues with WebReg and Other Services: Monday, June 5th, 2017, 2:30 P.M.

As of about 1:40 P.M. on Monday, June 5th, 2017, the Office of Information Technology has confirmed that the following services are available:
Schedule of Classes
OTB – Term Bill
Personal Info
Instant Verification
Issues with WebReg are still actively being worked on.  We apologize for the inconvenience.

Issues with WebReg, Schedule of Classes, and Other Services: Monday, June 5, 2017

As of the morning of Monday, June 5th, the following services are experiencing issues:
WebReg
Schedule of Classes
OTB – Term Bill
Personal Info
Instant Verification
The Office of Information Technology is working on a resolution as quickly as possible.  We apologize for the inconvenience.