IT Improvement Plan makes major strides
Board, President pleased with security measures, infrastructure modernization
January 25, 2010
By Sean O'Malley
Ohio University has made major progress toward its IT goals of improving security, modernizing infrastructure and offering improved services at a lower cost, said Chief Information Officer Brice Bible in a recent presentation to the President and the Board of Trustees.
20 Point Plan Implemented
Ohio University has implemented all of the original security recommendations in its 20 point plan for IT improvement. Highlights include:
- Perimeter and data center firewalls installed with additional department-specific firewalls as needed
- Network-based intrusion monitoring/prevention in place
- IT risk assessment completed
- Data classification standards in place (awaiting policy approval)
- Active Directory in place on all campuses with 8000 workstations already joined
- Social Security Number usage has been minimized - SSNs now used only for required business functions
Server Consolidation/IT Realignment moves forward
In response to the President's 2009 directive, OIT and the colleges have begun moving server systems that provide utility or "commodity" services under central control. Commodity services are essentially generic and do not require specialized intervention or customization for individual departments. Such services include:
- Active Directory and DNS
- Web servers
- E-mail servers
- File servers
Individual planning units have been asked to survey their inventories and identify which servers provide these services. According to Bible, over 90 percent of the university's commodity systems have been identified. President McDavis has asked that all such systems be moved under central control by June 30, 2010. Departmental personnel whose primary responsibilities revolve around management of such severs also will be transferred to OIT.
"This is an aggressive schedule, but everyone is pulling together to make this successful," said Bible. Both the president and members of the Board had high praise for the project. "I just want to applaud not only Brice Bible and his staff, but also the others who have come together," McDavis said. “We take this seriously.”
December was a busy month for the Rufus Initiative, with successful contract negotiations in Identity Management (IdM) and Constituent Relationship Management (CRM). OHIO signed contracts with IBM/Wolcott and Campus Management Corporation (CMC) respectively for the two services. Final negotiations are also underway for the university portal. Wolcott is on site already, and CMC representatives are expected at the end of the month.
The overall project is staying within its budget but does face time challenges due to procurement and resource allocation delays for IdM and CRM, according to Bible. Conversion of data from the old SIS and configuration of the new PeopleSoft Campus Solutions system both are slightly ahead of schedule, while CRM and IdM will need to make up some ground to keep the July debut of the PeopleSoft admissions module on schedule.
Major improvements from the Rufus Initiative will include:
- A new university portal
- Replacing INFORMS SIS, various "shadow" systems, and Sigma SAM with PeopleSoft Campus Solutions
- Moving from tape backup and limited disaster recovery capabilities to virtual backups (VTL) and full "hot" disaster recovery
- Replacing the third-party hosted CollegeNET, the Recruitment Plus products, and several other recruiting-related software packages with the Talisma CRM package
- Retirement of the IBM 3070 mainframe
- Replacement of various ad-hoc "batch" processes that sync SIS data to other applications with SOA-based integrations
- Replacement of a homegrown identity management system with IBM's Tivoli product
The NextGen Network upgrade is slightly ahead of schedule and on budget, with all core fiber optic links installed and seven building upgrades completed, including:
The project also is currently deploying a Virtual Private Network (VPN) solution for employees who need secure, off campus access to network services like file shares and mapped network drives.