Welcome Back, Faculty and Staff!

It’s hard to believe summer is nearly over and a new academic year is here.

Here’s the latest news for new and current faculty and staff.

WebEx vs. Skype: Is There a Difference?

With both WebEx Cloud and Skype for Business available to ECU users, how do you pick the right online meeting solution? Both tools share collaboration tools, audio and video options, scheduling through Outlook and a Meet Now feature.

However, there are also differences that make the choice clear depending on your requirements. Here’s how you can decide which is the best tool for your meeting.

Skype

Skype is part of the Office 365 download and is available to students, faculty and staff. It is currently ECU’s standard for instant messaging and desktop sharing. It is used to determine another user’s “presence” through Outlook – not available (red), green (available), yellow (away from the computer).

Skype is an excellent choice for desktop sharing and is approved to discuss FERPA information – while holding online office hours, for example. But, Skype is NOT approved for HIPAA discussion. See these security considerations.

WebEx Cloud

WebEx is currently only available to faculty and staff. Users have a personal online meeting room where the URL never changes (ecu.webex.com/join/your-pirateID). WebEx is browser-based and works well with either a Mac or a Windows computer as well as iOS, Windows and Android mobile. WebEx is also approved for both HIPAA and FERPA.

So, both Skype for Business and WebEx are excellent choices for your online meetings, with some situations favoring one tool over another. Still not sure? Visit the video and web conferencing website for more information.

REDCap’s New Informational Website

REDCap (Research Electronic Data Capture) is a secure, HIPAA compliant, web-based application used for building and managing online surveys and databases. All data is secure within ECU’s IT infrastructure.

Over the summer, the ITCS Multimedia & Technology (MTS) team made significant updates to the REDCap website by adding new user guides, frequently asked questions, security information and other resources to assist researchers in using this powerful tool.

New users must meet all prerequisites and approvals before creating an account. See the REDCap online research survey website for details.

OneDrive vs. Piratedrive: Which is Best?

ECU provides two storage solutions for your course work, research and other documents. Read on for the specifics of each.

Piratedrive

All ECU users have a 125GB Piratedrive network storage folder on ECU servers. Piratedrive is approved for sensitive ECU information – good for research data or personal documents. Your folder is named the same as your PirateID and is always available when on campus as a network connection named, Piratedrive (U:). Piratedrive can also be accessed through Pirate Port. See the Piratedrive website for more information.

OneDrive

OneDrive is a feature of your ECU Office 365 subscription. This 1TB cloud storage folder is housed in the cloud and is approved to store your FERPA data and academic schoolwork, etc. OneDrive is NOT approved for storage of sensitive information. OneDrive is different from Piratedrive in that you can share, edit and collaborate online – a good idea to use when you are working with others! You can also sync documents from your mobile or computer to your OneDrive folder. Everything you need in one place and available from anywhere. See the OneDrive website to learn more.

Don’t Forget Your Software!

Windows 10 Operating System

Over the next few weeks, ITCS is making the Windows 10 OS available to staff as a download upgrade for a nominal fee. This OS is available to those with either a PC or Apple computer. We will release more information and download links when available.

Office 365 Subscription Includes FIVE Downloads

Don’t forget that your ECU Office 365 subscription comes with FIVE downloads for Office 2016. It doesn’t matter whether you own a Mac or PC, there is a download available for each platform.

See the Office 365 features page for more apps, links to Microsoft support and Lynda.com video instruction for Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook.

Ransomware: Few Sightings at ECU

Over the last few months, ITCS has implemented multiple security tools to protect devices connected to our network. And it’s paid off; the number of ECU computers infected with ransomware during recent attacks has been low.

However, you can add even more of a protective layer around your information by following these simple steps:

  1. Do not store ECU data on your computer. See the OneDrive vs. Piratedrive article above.
  2. Create and manage a backup for data that is stored on your system. If your ECU computer becomes infected with ransomware, the hard drive will be wiped, and we will be unable to recover your data (unless there’s a backup).
  3. Do not open suspicious emails or attachments.
  4. Do not click the links in a suspicious email.
  5. Keep your operating system and other software up to date.
  6. Remove outdated plugins in your web browsers.
  7. Have one user account for everyday use like web surfing and one user account with a separate password for administrative duties like installing software, etc.

While not foolproof, these simple steps can go a long way toward keeping your data safe from hackers. However, if you find that your computer has been compromised, turn off your computer immediately and call the IT Help Desk at 252.328.9866 | 800.340.7081.

Accessible Email Announcements

Email announcements help us spread the word to the ECU community on all sorts of important topics: department events and seminars, office openings and closings, HR-related information and much more.

By designing email announcements in multiple formats and using ECU’s accessibility guides, you allow those of your audience using screen readers and keyboard-only access to understand your message. These tips are a good start:

  • Structure content using headings
  • Provide sufficient contrast between the background and text
  • Provide alternative text for images
  • Use meaningful link text
  • Use a descriptive subject line

Visit the Accessible email guidelines website to learn more. ITCS also offers a training class specifically for those who write email announcements (registration in Cornerstone).

Technology Links for Faculty and Staff

For an overview of our service catalog, visit the ITCS home page. We also have a page created specifically for new faculty and staff, but those who have been here awhile may also find something new!

Macs and Windows Vulnerable to Ransomware

Infected ECU computers will be wiped

Unless you’ve been stranded on a desert island for the last few weeks, you know that ransomware is a global threat affecting vulnerable Windows and Mac computers. Yes, even the Macintosh OS can be infected by this insidious malware that locks your system, encrypts your data and infects the network to which you are connected. While this threat may seem scary and overwhelming, there are ways to circumvent being a victim. Read on to get started.

How Does Ransomware Work?

The user clicks on a malicious link or document that triggers the ransomware code. If the computer’s software is unpatched and unprotected, the worm finds its way in and looks for files to encrypt. After encrypting your files, it then moves on to the network to find other Mac or Windows targets.

If the ransomware cannot encrypt anything or access the network, it can go dormant until triggered.

Even if you pay the ransom, and the files are decrypted, the thieves may have left a way to reinfect your system at a later date in order to extort more money from you.

What Happens if Your ECU Computer Becomes Infected?

If your ECU computer becomes infected with ransomware, ITCS cannot recover your data. The hard drive will be wiped and all data will be lost.

How Can You Protect Yourself?

Following these tips for your ECU or personal computer will go a long way toward protecting your system from ransomware.

  1. Do not store ECU data on your computer.
  2. Create and manage a backup for data that is stored on the system.
  3. Do not open spam emails or emails from unknown senders.
  4. Do not download or open attachments from suspicious emails.
  5. Do not click links in suspicious emails.
  6. Keep your operating system up to date.
  7. Keep Symantec EndPoint Protection up to date. It is also available for your personal computer from the ECU Download Center.
  8. Turn off administrative privileges on your computer account. Use a separate account with higher level privileges if needed.
  9. Remove outdated plugins in your web browsers.

While not completely fool-proof, these actions go a long way toward keeping your data safe from hackers.

Need more help or have questions? Contact the IT Help Desk at 252.328.9866 | 800.340.7081.

ITCS Information Security Launches Online Training for Faculty and Staff

ITCS Information Security launched its Employee Best Practices in Information Security awareness training earlier today through an auto-generated Cornerstone email from InfoSec@ecu.edu. This launch was first announced in the February 2, ECU Official memo from Chief Information Security Officer, Jack McCoy, and explained that all faculty and staff have been automatically enrolled in the training and that subsequent announcements would notify users when the training became available.

There has been some concern expressed regarding the legitimacy and formatting of this morning’s message, and we apologize for any confusion this message may have caused.

Additionally, we include browser recommendations and a four-step login process here for those who may have never accessed Cornerstone or had difficulty loading the training module earlier due to a browser incompatibility.

Get Started with Cornerstone

Open the appropriate browser for your operating system, then follow these four steps to log in to Cornerstone.

  • Windows: Internet Explorer
  • Mac: Firefox
  1. Navigate to http://www.ecu.edu/itcs/cornerstone/.
  2. Click the Faculty/Staff Login button. The ECU login page opens.
  3. Type in your PirateID and passphrase and press Sign In. Your Cornerstone dashboard opens.
  4. From the My Training section, click the Launch button beside the Employee Best Practices in Information Security title.

If, at any time, assistance is required, users should call the IT Help Desk at 252.328.9866 | 800.340.7081.