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IT Connect

Information technology tools and resources at the UW

20171020 Managed Workstation Newsletter (October 2017)

What’s new?

Customer survey – In the next month, Managed Workstation will send out a survey for feedback on our service. We are looking for ways to improve our service and would like to know what experiences you have had with our team.

Keeping current – Microsoft continues to march forward with its product support lifecycle, and we continue to innovate to provide great management capabilities. We keep you current with Windows and Office with a minimum of hassle. Ideally, you don’t need to keep track of what version you are running and whether it is supported or insecure. If you do like to know those details, we’ve updated our OS lifecycle support document to better reflect what can be supported. Here are a few key upcoming dates:

  • Windows 10 1607 will no longer be supported in 3/2018.
  • Windows 7 SP1 will no longer be supported in 5/2018.

We’ll automatically upgrade any managed workstation still running an unsupported version to the current baseline Windows OS. Alternatively, you can control when an upgrade happens by using an icon on your desktop to upgrade. We recommend starting any such upgrade at the end of the day.

Security improvements – Security improvements don’t get a lot of attention because often they silently protect you, but every once in awhile it’s worth calling them out.

New FY18 Rates and service boundary changes –

 

The Managed Workstation service boundaries have changed. We still provide the same core capabilities, but we are providing a few more things under the monthly workstation rate.

Requesting help streamlined – A new document outlines how to get help, and includes links to a variety of forms for common requests. These forms collect the minimum information needed to fulfill your request, so save everyone time.

Spotlights

Chris Fairfield 

What does a day in your life at work look like? My day consists of helping Managed Workstation customers with their computer issues and needs. Most days I work from my desk, but frequently I’ll need to head out across campus to help people in-person.

What particular skills or talents are most essential to be effective in your job? The two main skills required to be effective in my job are communication and problem solving. The former is how we get the information we need to utilize the latter, and problem solving is the largest part of our job.

What do you like about working at the University of Washington? I like working for a large, diverse organization that offers plenty of opportunities for growth and advancement—both personally and professionally.

What are some of your hobbies? I’m currently running a couple of Dungeons and Dragons campaigns. I also enjoy film-making and escape rooms

What is a quote or saying you live by? “This above all, to thine own self be true.”

What is your favorite TV show? It’s impossible to pick just one, but let’s go with the criminally underrated Crazy Ex-Girlfriend

What are some of your favorite foods? The biscuits at Morsel. Sushi. A good Chicago Dog.

Staffing Changes –  Tobin Wood’s last day with Managed Workstation was in September 2017.

Rebecca Galloway’s last day with Managed Workstation was in October 2017.

We are sad to see them move on. We will attempt to replace these invaluable staff, and in the meantime we appreciate your understanding as we try to do the same amount of work with fewer people.

Computers moving between domains – We recently moved all MWS workstations from NEBULA2 to the NETID domain. Our original plan didn’t work out, with several unforeseeable complications due to configuration drift in managed workstations. We are extremely grateful for your partnership in getting workstations migrated to the NETID domain. This work reduces the overall cost of providing the service and enables us to leverage improvements that are funded centrally.

Manage Workstation Training Room – The training room has recently undergone an equipment refresh. In addition to the equipment refresh the training room will be available to any UW department, and the rate is $60 per hour.  You can learn more about the training room changes at https://itconnect.uw.edu/wares/mws/training-room/

What’s next

Our objectives for the next six months include:

  • Password Manager: We have purchased LastPass Enterprise licensing for Managed Workstation users. Using this software can improve your password management practices. We’ll share more when we’re ready to roll it out.
    Note: email communication to every user will be part of the implementation.
  • Local administrator management: Our approach to local administrator privilege management will shift to leverage the Group’s Service to provide:
    • A single place to determine local administrator privs for managed workstations
    • More transparency
    • Self-service delegation; you’ll be able to add local admins
  • Windows File Services: We’ll update the server providing these services, transitioning to an offering that can handle confidential data with the ability to encrypt data at-rest by default.
  • Hiring new staff to fill our existing large gap in staffing. This includes a computer specialist and a software engineer.

Trends

You can review key metrics since the last newsletter.

Your Feedback

Supporting your needs for Managed Workstation capabilities is our priority, so we welcome feedback on how we can make the Managed Workstation service more valuable to you. The mws-announce and mws-discuss mailing lists are good sources of information. We recommend that each customer have at least one individual join the mws-announce mailing list.

You can voice your support for future objectives to help us rank priorities, ask for things that aren’t yet on our radar, or simply contact us via help@uw.edu.