What's new in IT Services – June 2023

A lot’s been happening behind the scenes in IT recently. Here are just a few of the latest developments. 

We are thrilled to say that the work to move Banner to Microsoft Azure’s cloud service over the weekend of Thursday 15 to Monday 19 June was a success.  

Dan Simms, Chief Information Officer, said: “I couldn't be prouder of each and every one of [the team] for your hard work, dedication, and expertise in making this significant migration a triumph.” 

Moving Banner to Microsoft Azure marks a major milestone for our organisation, with several benefits, including: 

During the downtime, we were also able to upgrade the database Banner works from, and update the Banner software itself to the latest version.  

This achievement is a testament to the team’s technical prowess and adaptability in embracing new technologies, but could not have happened without an awful lot of hard work and collaboration – both within the team and between groups of colleagues in various departments around the University.  

There was also an all staff email on the topic, along with what to do if you encounter issues while using Banner in the coming days. 

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OneDrive policy update 

On Friday 9 June, Jenifer Sewel, University Secretary, wrote to all staff regarding a change to the University's policy regarding non-work and non-study usage of University-owned OneDrive systems

Usage of University OneDrives to store files that are not related to your work or study has been permitted to date. However, in order to meet our data protection obligations and mitigate potential regulatory and compliance risks, this practice is no longer appropriate. 

The email also outlined the continuation of our data quarantining process for Microsoft 365 (OneDrive and SharePoint) to help us meet our data protection obligations.    

Please ensure that you have made alternative arrangements for any non-work or non-study data stored on your University OneDrive before the quarantining process commences on Wednesday 5 July 2023.  

Taking this action will help to ensure that your data is not inadvertently quarantined during this process. 

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M and N drives, and Documentum 

Behind the scenes, we have been progressing with our discovery work ahead of the planned moves of Documentum, and data on the M and N drives, to the cloud.  

Given the size of the project, we’re making sure we take the time we need to ensure we’re being as thorough as possible. 

We’re just starting the initial phases of work to find out who has what stored on the M and N drives, and who needs access. 

This work will be in the background for now, but we plan to be in touch with the community as things progress. We anticipate there will be some bumps on the road but will work with you to see it through.  

Find out more about the current status of the project.   

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Change to email processing 

Between Friday 9 and Friday 23 June, we continued to make changes to the way we process emails to enhance security and deliver them more reliably.  

Previous updates have mentioned how we have moved email systems to the cloud – as part of this process, the old on-site email servers were kept on while we made sure everything functioned as expected.  

The final step of this move was to shut down and remove these old email servers from our internal network.  

These changes were made behind the scenes, with no visible changes or impact to users. No action was required outside the team, and emails didn't look different, but the work still represented a sizeable task for those involved, as well as a further step towards completing a vital modernisation of one of our core systems. 

The next phase involves the project team examining the systems we use to send email, rather than the infrastructure. If you use systems other than Outlook to send University email, please note that there are some changes to email processing that may impact you. If you are using one of these systems to send anything, it is critical to ensure that you send a test email before you need it. If it doesn’t work, please get in touch by logging a ticket on the IT website.

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Mailman lists retire 

As an additional piece of work on our email systems, at the start of June, Mailman lists were retired.  

The team migrated around 700 active mailing lists over to Microsoft 365 – if it was a list for internal use – or JISC lists – if it was a list containing collaborators outside of the university, or a mix of internal and external people. 

Given how old the Mailman system was, continuing to use it came with all sorts of potential security and reliability issues.  

It had served us well, but it was long overdue an update – this is another example of the department working hard to get the basics in place to build on for the future. 

If you need to create a new group or list: 

For more information about the distribution groups including joining or leaving a group, visit the IT FAQ page.  

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In brief:   

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