2012 IT survey results and answers

table from 2012 IT survey

ITS ran a campus-wide survey about the IT environment first in summer 2010, and again in fall 2011. You can read our analysis of the results of those surveys in the College of Engineering in the Essentials newsletter (2010 survey) and the article about the 2011 survey.

In 2010 82 people responded to the survey of a possible 216 faculty and staff in the college. Most of the time, most people were satisfied with the services. In 2011, 73 people responded to the survey, and again most people were happy most of the time with IT services. In 2012, 64 people took the survey, which ITS made shorter than previous versions. People are still generally satisfied, but it is in the written comments that we learn the most. Here are some comments from the 2012 survey.

Timing of password expiration.

I would like to see my password expiration schedule be consistent between engineering and HawkID.

This is simple. Set or re-set your engineering account password and your HawkID password on the same day so that they will both expire in 365 days.    

Door access

It would be nice to have changes to door access faster than only once a day, and it would be best if we could have someone at the building have the ability to control the access as well as CSS.

Although the standard process for doing access control door changes only runs once per day, if you have an emergency situation you can contact the ECS main office to request a manual change. We are talking with ITS and Key and Access Services regarding automating access control changes.

More control over desktop

I want more control over what is on my desktop. For example, software updates will put shortcut icons on my desktop that I have to ask an administrator to delete.

Unfortunately MS Windows does not provide this function. The unwanted desktop shortcuts are forcibly placed there by many applications during the installation. We try to remove them when we package the application for deployment, but every now and then we miss one.  If you contact the Engineering Help Desk at 319-335-5055, we can remove the icon.

Software Support
I want more application software support. Most of the times, a new software is installed or current version is updated; but there is no communication on what the new software does and how it can be used; how does it help in my research or teaching. For example, recently Microsoft Lync software appeared on my machine.

ECS runs more than 100 different software programs on our servers. Most are installed at the request of a department or faculty who wants to use the program for class. ECS ensures that the software runs in the computing environment, but we rely on faculty to be the experts on using the software. The manuals for the software we support can be found on the companies’ web sites. There are many productivity tools like MS Lync that are deployed as part of the operating system load.  Many of these tools and other software is expertly explained in Lynda.com.

Remote Access

I want easier access to my office computer desk top from my home computer. Currently, I have to log-in two times to access my office computer…I still have not been able to get into my system remotely since the change was made in how to log in. I can get Hawkmail and get into self-service but I am not able to remote log into my work computer from home, I had to go back to using a zip drive.

When the University blocked remote access via direct connections, using remote desktop became a 2-step process: 1. Connect to a VPN that makes your computer appear to be on campus; 2. Start remote desktop and login to the specific computer. The requirement of starting the VPN was a response to many computer attacks. Unfortunately security requires more complexity. There is no way to return to the simpler method of accessing your computer via remote desktop.

If you have trouble using remote desktop, please talk to the Engineering Help Desk, 319-335-5055, for assistance.

An alternative to remote desktop is the VDI. VDI uses a local “view” client rather than remote desktop, so you do not need to use the VPN. Use the VDI if you need access only to your home directory and the standard software load. It will load your profile but you will not have access to any local storage on your office computer. This is one more reason that you should store all of your data on your network home drive. The VDI uses special graphics transmission protocols that make it able to run graphics programs remotely, a function not available when you use remote desktop.

Web-based email

One user opined that email should be web-based like Gmail or Hotmail so that all the mail boxes can be accessed from any web-browser. If you have a HawkMail account, you can read that email in a browser  and if you are reading email on the engineering server, use Webmail.

VPN Problems

My VPN times out or does not work when trying to access network file storage from off campus. It makes working from home very difficult.

Are you trying to use the VPN when the Engineering Help Desk, 319-335-5055, is open (8am-9pm M-Th; 8am-5pm F; 2-9pm Sunday)? If so, please call them for help. You can have an active VPN session for 12 hours. Perhaps Network Connect has not been installed.  Also you could use the VDI service. See the Remote Access answer above.

January 2013