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School of Physics and Astronomy – computing
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Periodic update (2022 December)

News and other updates for Winter 2022.

This is an update on the summer notes.

College IT support – helpdesk §

The College is moving towards an adjusted model for support of ‘routine’ IT tasks. The definition of ‘routine’ is still somewhat vague, but it will include printers, laptop registrations, storage requests, and the like. There is now a COSE-wide helpdesk up and running, along with a significant increase in helpdesk staff (six new staff!), providing a single point of contact for these things. See https://www.gla.ac.uk/helpdesk. The broader plan is that the same helpdesk is used for all campus services, not just IT things.

At that page, you can use the search box to find the ‘COSE IT’ tile, where you can create a ticket/incident/request, which should be routed fairly promptly to the right person, and which will allow you (and IT staff) to keep track of the request's progress. That ‘should’ is still a little bit tentative right now, but should settle down in a couple of months.

The question of ‘research IT support’ (similarly still vague as a term, but roughly the complement of ‘routine’) is still open as part of the still-running COSE IT Review. We have a number of Opinions here.

Switching to MFA §

Everyone is now using MFA (Multi-factor Authentication) for access to email and some Office365 products. In the New Year, a larger number of services will be adjusted to require MFA, including the MyGlasgow Portal, Moodle, and the UofG Helpdesk, and possibly later the Campus VPN. There is no action for you to take, now or later, but you should not be surprised if the login interface to one or other of these changes at some point in the next few months.

This shouldn't increase the cadence of requests for you to authenticate. Indeed, it should decrease the number of times you have to authenticate, since using MFA to log in on one service should work for other services, when reached from the same device.

BYOD (that's Bring Your Own Device) §

Six months ago, I said:

Central IT plans to move towards more BYOD-style model for UG computing within 2–3 years; details are still (very) tentative, but at some changes to IT lab provision seem likely.

The University may adopt a ‘laptop-first’ policy for staff computing. That will include formally supporting macOS at campus level, for the first time. This, along with a developing campus interest in Cyber Essentials may imply some changes in the extent to which laptops are ‘managed’, in IT terms. We aim to stay at the ‘lightweight management’ end of this particular spectrum, but at least some culture change may be unavoidable.

The situation is still tentative, and we still anticipate that we will be able to stay at the lightweight end of any management spectra on offer.

We have a number of Opinions about this, too.


That's the ‘Network Investment Improvement Programme’ to its friends.

This is still on track to reach schools starting in Phase 5/2023+. This will result in new wiring and Eduroam++, and there is likely to be little network infrastructure change before then. When I've asked if we're near the front of the queue for (overdue!) infrastructure improvement, I have not yet been told that I'm wrong.

Still on track; I'm still being reassured about our place on the priority list.

Hybrid working kit §

We have limited supplies of some hybrid working kit, and can pass on anecdotal experience from others.

Links §

Any questions, phas-it@glasgow.ac.uk is hanging on the telephone, awaiting your call.