We are pleased to announce a change we are making to Middlebury’s email and calendar service. After years of running these applications on our own infrastructure, we are moving them to the cloud—specifically to Microsoft’s Office 365 suite of services.
There are several benefits to this move:
- Stronger security. Microsoft is able to devote more resources to security than we ever could. As hackers become increasingly sophisticated, this has never been more important. Microsoft’s cloud-based services include an important second level of security that recognizes “trusted” devices, which can include mobile devices or a home computer. This means that even if someone learned your user name or password, they still would need a special code to access your account from a device other than your own. Middlebury users will not be compelled at the outset to use this service, though we think it will be attractive to many people and we will be encouraging and supporting its use going forward once the transition to Microsoft’s cloud-based email and calendar service is complete.
- Better and faster access. Putting data in the cloud will allow us to automatically synchronize data across devices and provide better and faster access regardless of your location.
- Increased storage. Microsoft’s scale allows it to provide greater storage capacity at less cost. This means we will be able to back up data on a nearly real-time basis. And you no longer will need to worry about size of your email archive.
We don’t anticipate any significant disruption in services when we make the change. If you use Outlook, the switch will happen overnight, and your mailbox and calendar will look exactly as they did the previous day once you restart your computer. In some cases, it has been necessary to replace your outlook profile, but if that is necessary, we’ll assist you. The webmail site is very similar to what you are using today, but there are slight differences consistent with a new version. For those employees who use an email client other than Outlook or webmail, we will provide instructions on how to adjust your account settings.
The process of transitioning mailboxes and calendars to the Microsoft cloud service will begin next week and continue through September, with faculty and students transitioned before the start of the semester and members of administrative departments scheduled by department in batches with advanced notice and on premise support. The schedule of moves is available here: http://go.middlebury.edu/cloud.
This fall we will begin a transition of content currently stored on Middfiles to the cloud. This change will bring with it many of the same benefits as those described above and in addition facilitate collaboration – allowing you to share your data with colleagues at Middlebury and elsewhere with ease. We’ll keep you posted as we get closer to that move.
We are excited to deliver these significant improvements to the services we provide to the community. Once complete, we are confident they will result in better service with a reduction in cost and risk. If you have any questions, please contact our helpdesk at email@example.com.
The Middlebury ITS Team
We’re investigating reports of an issue with authentication into Middlebury Google services. We will provide more information shortly.
This week’s update of the Drupal Monster Menus module changes most of the pop-out dialog windows from requiring the old “Thickbox” script to using something newer that works on more screen sizes. Thickbox is still used for image gallery pop-outs and the “click to enlarge” window on top-right images in Drupal news stories.
We tested this new functionality, along with our colleagues at other schools who use Monster Menus, in IE 11, Microsoft Edge, Chrome, Firefox, and Safari and corrected the few issues we found. As always, please report any issues through Web Helpdesk so we can work to address them.
* The change to media permissions described in the release notes was not applied to our sites.
Fixes and Tweaks
- The Drupal Gallery Thickbox pop-out window will no longer break for images that don’t have captions. Following that fix, we made another correct to get it working again for galleries containing images that do have captions.
ITS is pleased to announce that we are now licensed to provide currently employed faculty and staff with Microsoft Office, free of charge, for use on home computers. We have a new portal page where you can login and download Microsoft Office.
For more information and links to the MS Office download sites, visit http://go.middlebury.edu/getoffice. Follow the instructions to complete the download then install the Office products. If you have any problems, please contact the Helpdesk by creating a ticket http://go.middlebury.edu/whd.
We’ve added the Magic Liquidizer Responsive Table WordPress plugin, which you can enable to make tables on your WordPress site work on mobile devices. Just enable the plugin and set a maximum width in its settings.
Fixes and Tweaks
- The Canvas resource type is now in the list of resources that would show up on your Semester Dashboard and you’ll see links to your Canvas course sites there.
- Drupal image gallery pop-out windows will now work when the gallery is set to not show captions for the images.
- We clear an additional cache in Drupal when the homepage stories list is updated on the MIddlebury site to ensure that the content in the “waveform” receives the latest updates.
- We have added print styles to the Middlebury responsive Drupal theme.
- Added a one hour cache to the MIIS Around the World page to improve site performance.
ITS will implement a new “spam quarantine” feature on Friday, July 22, 2016. This change will help keep spam and phishing messages out of your mailbox, better protecting the Middlebury College community from phishing attacks and other email-borne threats. The new quarantine feature will change how you manage messages identified as spam by the mail system. Spam email will now be placed in a separate quarantine area, rather than being directed to your Junk Email folder.
Important: All messages in your quarantine area should be treated with special caution as they are most likely harmful to you and others! Do not click any links in these messages or release them to your Inbox unless you are absolutely sure that the message is legitimate. Be particularly suspicious of messages asking you to update your account, reset your password, expand your email storage quota, etc. Remember, any message that asks for your password or username is not to be trusted. For more information about how to protect yourself from phishing attacks, please see go/phish.
Messages identified as spam will be stored in the Spam Quarantine for 15 days. If you have received suspect messages, Microsoft will send you a daily “Spam Notification” email message. The messages are sent from firstname.lastname@example.org, once per day.
You can check your Spam Quarantine at any time by logging into go/quarantine (or directly via https://admin.protection.outlook.com/quarantine).
If you are missing a time-critical message, check your Junk E-Mail folder first, then check the Spam Quarantine, via go/quarantine.
For more details on managing the spam with the Spam Quarantine, as well as tips on how to use the the Blocked Senders/Safe Senders tools to allow or block specific email message senders, please visit go/spam.
To help raise awareness about community efforts to prevent significant security issues, Middlebury Information Security has launched a ‘Security Scout of the Month’ award.
This month Information Security would like to recognize Amy Dale who promptly and accurately responded to potential malware activity by unplugging her computer and reaching out to the Help Desk for immediate assistance.
When asked, Amy shared this advice about computer security, “My previous work experience, particularly at AOL, helped prepare me to be more alert and aware of scams. A previous manager always said, “when in doubt, leave it out.” In other words, when you’re the least bit hesitant, then don’t open/click/download, etc. “
This astute awareness and keen insight is why Amy is this month’s ‘Security Scout of the Month’.
We are excited to celebrate the hard work and security conscious efforts of our community. Please watch for the next ‘Security Scout of the Month’ and help us recognize these efforts.
If you would like to recognize an individual for their information security contributions or would like to raise an information security concern, please contact email@example.com.