Pitt IT

Vice Chancellor and Chief Information Officer Mark Henderson is pleased to announce that the University’s Computing Services & Systems Development and Financial Information Systems groups are combining their talents and services to form one IT organization: Pitt Information Technology. This alignment is a significant first step in implementing a new IT Vision and Strategy to support the strategic goals of the University.

In the coming weeks, a transition team comprising staff members from FIS and CSSD will come together to help shape the transition. The consolidated organization will provide more unified and coordinated IT and enable improved delivery of services and support through simplification, efficiency gains, and enhanced effectiveness.

CSSD’s nearly 250 full-time staff and 150 students manage Pitt’s central IT functions and services. Their work includes networking, telecommunications, application development, information security, computing operations, end-user support and other technology-related areas across the University.

FIS’s team of 50 employees, led by Associate Vice Chancellor Monte Ciotto, supports the University’s enterprise resource planning system, PRISM, which includes general ledger, research accounting, human resources, and payroll. FIS also provides technical services and support to University business partners, including Business and Auxiliary Services, Facilities Management, Internal Audit and the Office of the Chief Financial Officer.

Congratulations to Allan “Stu” Stewart for being selected as the Pittsburgh 2019-2020 HDI Best Service and Support Technician award recipient! This prestigious award is given to a desktop support professional in the Pittsburgh area who is well-rounded in technical aptitude, team orientation, and customer service skills. The recipient has a positive attitude and enthusiasm and is committed to sharing their knowledge and problem-solving techniques with peers.
Stu will now move on to the HDI Best Service and Support Technician regional competition. Congratulations Allan and good luck in the next round of the competition!



We are pleased to announce that James Van Poolen has been promoted from Support Analyst to Systems Administrator.  Over the past five years, James has been delivering outstanding technical support to our business partners as a member of our support team.  In fact, his support was so incredible that James was named the 2017 National HDI Analyst of the Year.  James recently received his Bachelor of Science in Information Science from the University of Pittsburgh.  In his new role, James will be responsible for the systems administration of our desktop, client virtualization, cloud-based, and mobility technologies.

James was born in Berwyn, Illinois and is the first of four siblings.  He is married to Christy Van Poolen, linguist extraordinaire, who recently obtained a master’s in Linguistics from Pitt.  James enjoys playing the guitar, drawing, and reading.  The last book he read is “The Name of the Wind” by Patrick Rothfuss.  His dream job is quite unique.  If he could do anything aside from helping our business partners,  it would be making barrels for whiskey out of white oak somewhere in the recesses of Canada.  James would also really like to meet Bob Dylan.

Please join us in congratulating James on his promotion!

28 Oct 2019

Cybersecurity Tips

In honor of October being National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, here are a few tips from the National Cyber Security Alliance.

1. Keep a Clean Machine

Having the latest security software, web browser, and operating system is the best defense against viruses, malware, and other online threats. Mobile phones and tablets need regular updating, too.

2. Share with Care

Think before posting about yourself and others online. Consider what a post reveals, who might see it, and how it could be perceived now and in the future.

3. Treat Personal Information Like Valuables

Information about you, such as your purchase history or location, has value––just like money. Be thoughtful about who gets that information and how it’s collected through apps and websites. Don’t reveal personal or financial information in an email, and do not respond to email solicitations for this information. This includes following links sent in email.

cyber security

4. Lock Down Your Login

Always enable the strongest authentication tools available, such as biometrics, security keys, or a unique one-time code through an app on your mobile device. Your usernames and passphrases are not enough to protect key accounts like email, banking, and social media.

5. Back It Up

Data can be lost in several types of incidents, including computer malfunctions, theft, viruses, spyware, accidental deletion and natural disasters. So it makes sense to back up your files regularly. Protect your valuable work, music, photos, and other digital information by making an electronic copy and storing it safely.

6. Secure Your Wi-Fi Router

Set a strong passphrase (at least 12 characters long) for your Wi-Fi network. Focus on positive sentences or phrases that you like to think about and are easy to remember (for example, “I love country music”). Name your network in a way that doesn’t let people know it’s your house.

It begins with an email looking innocently enough. You click on the link believing it is from a colleague or perhaps from your IT administrators. You are then taken to a site asking for your email address and password. This seems ordinary. After all, it seems like all websites these days require login information. What comes next is anything but ordinary. Your information has been stolen and is being used against both your organization and yourself.

These attacks are becoming more prevalent and sophisticated. So much so that October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month. Now in its 16th year, it is hosted every October by the Department of Homeland Security and the National Cyber Security Alliance. According to fbi.gov, multiple agencies, including the FBI, collaborate to raise awareness about cybersecurity and stress the collective importance and effort to stop cyber intrusions, online thefts, and scams.

Pitt and FIS are no different. We go to great strides to protect the university’s financial information and educate our users on security awareness. Take, for example, the annual security awareness training videos that all connected computer users take as well as CSSD’s fake phishing attempts.

The security awareness training must be completed by all users who log into a FIS machine. It is a series of interactive videos that will test your knowledge of various subjects at the end of the video. After completing the training, you can print a certificate validating that you completed the training. Security awareness training needs to be completed annually. However, every subsequent training is a refresher course and is less robust than the initial training. While this may seem a bit excessive, the numerous attacks that have occurred over the past few years at many corporations most definitely prove otherwise.

Those attacks and the information obtained as a result of them are the reason CSSD sends out fake phishing emails. The latest phishing attempt was an email sent from “Message Center admin@webaccess-alert.com” and was titled Incoming Emails Rejected. The message was simple enough. It contained your email address, an understandable explanation of why the emails were rejected, and a link to retrieve the emails. These are some of the most damaging and common attacks.

With all of that in mind, here are some cyber safety tips the FBI highly recommends.

  • Examine the email address and URLs in all correspondence. Scammers often mimic a legitimate site or email address by using a slight variation in spelling.
  • If an unsolicited text message or email asks you to update, check, or verify your account information, do not follow the link provided or call the phone numbers in the message. Go to the company’s website to log into your account or call the phone number on the official website to see if something does, in fact, need your attention.
  • Do not open any attachments unless you are expecting the file, document, or invoice and have verified the sender’s email address.
  • Carefully scrutinize all electronic requests for a payment or transfer of funds.
  • Be extra suspicious of any message that urges immediate action.
  • Confirm requests for wire transfers or payment in person or over the phone as part of a two-factor authentication process. Do not verify these requests using the phone number listed in the request for payment.

If you have questions, feel free to submit a ticket through the FIS Service Portal.

We are pleased to announce that Nick Contis has joined FIS technical services from the University’s Facilities Management department, effective August 5th. Nick will be joining our Applications team as a Business Analyst. His responsibilities will include application development, code review and third-party system support.

Nick obtained both a Bachelor’s and Masters of Information Sciences from Pitt. He has spent the last 23 years technically supporting and developing applications and databases for Pitt’s Facilities Management department. Nick’s experience and knowledge will make him a valuable asset to our Applications department. Nick will be located in 1900 Cathedral of Learning and will report to Carol Zielinski.

Nick was born near Washington, PA. He currently lives in Whitehall with his wife, Karalyn, and their dog and two cats. He is an avid traveler who greatly enjoys dining out at various establishments during his travels. His favorite restaurants across the US that he has encountered thus far are In-N-Out Burger (West Coast), Molly’s Cupcakes (Chicago), 50’s Prime Time Cafe (Walt Disney World), The Cheesecake Factory (various cites throughout the US), Top of the World (Stratosphere Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas), The Buffet (Bellagio Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas), and Yokoso (Waterfront, Pittsburgh) for Tuesday Sushi Tsunami. Aside from traveling and dining, Nick also really enjoys photography, cooking, and baking.

Please join me in welcoming Nick to FIS and the Technical Services team!

We are pleased to announce that Justin Eidenmiller has joined FIS Technical Services from the University’s Facilities Management department, effective August 5th. Justin will be joining our Operations team as a Support Analyst. His responsibilities include analyzing and troubleshooting technical support requests, user documentation creation, customer training, and ITIL process management.

Justin graduated from DCI Technical Institute and is currently working on obtaining a Bachelor’s degree in Information Science while simultaneously working. Additionally, he spent the last three years technically supporting Pitt’s Facilities Management department. His experience and knowledge will make him a valuable asset to our Operations department. Justin will be located in 1900 Cathedral of Learning and will report to Carrie Armstrong.

Justin was born in Ellwood City, PA which is located about an hour north of Pittsburgh. He currently lives in Millvale, PA with his fiance, Jocelyn. In his spare time, Justin enjoys biking and is really involved in photography. Feel free to check out his excellent work at his website. His favorite restaurant is a hot dog shop located in his hometown called Red Hot. If he could do anything other than technical support, Justin would like to be a pilot.

Please join me in welcoming Justin to FIS and the Technical Services team!

We are pleased to announce that Barry Limppo has accepted a full time Senior Systems Administrator position in FIS Technical Services effective July 29th. His primary responsibilities include systems administration of our desktop, client virtualization, cloud-based, and mobility technologies.

Over the past year, Barry has worked as a temporary contractor for FIS. The experience and knowledge gained during his tenure as a contractor has already made him a valuable asset to the Operations group. Barry will be located in 1900 Cathedral of Learning and will report to Anthony Digregorio.

Barry is another Pittsburgh transplant. He was born in Hollywood, Florida but moved to the Harrisburg area when he was two years old. He moved to Pittsburgh after meeting his wife, Jennifer, about six years ago. The two of them have a five year old son named Mason.

Barry really enjoys spending time with his family, attending concerts, travelling, and working on various projects around his house such as woodworking. Another one of his many life enjoyments is reading to his son before bedtime. If he could work anywhere other than FIS, he would love to be the owner/operator of a brew pub.

Please join me in welcoming Barry to FIS!

We are pleased to announce that Martin Brule has accepted the Operations Engineer position in FIS Technical Services, effective June 24th, 2019. His primary responsibilities include but are not limited to systems administration of our client virtualization, cloud-based, and mobility technologies.

Martin graduated from Pennsylvania College of Technology with a Bachelor of Science degree in Data Communications and Networking. For the past several months, Martin has worked for FIS as a temporary contractor. His experience and knowledge will make him a valuable asset to the Operations group. Martin will be located in 1900 Cathedral of Learning and will report to Anthony Digregorio.

Martin recently moved from the home of the Little League World Series, Williamsport, Pennsylvania. He is currently living in Beechview, PA with his significant other, Janelle, their daughter, Emma, and their four cats (Ninja, Pause, Matu, and Fau). In his spare time, Martin enjoys playing music such as guitar, bass and some drums. He also enjoys outdoor activities like fishing, camping, biking, and inline skating.

Please join me in welcoming Martin to FIS and the Technical Services team!

We are pleased to announce that Jacob Preston has accepted the Senior Application
Developer position in FIS Technical Services, effective October 15th, 2018. His responsibilities will include custom application development, code reviews, and third-party system support.

Jacob graduated from CCAC.  He has 10 years of experience as a Software Developer and has previously worked for Fi360 as a Senior Programmer Analyst/Team Lead.  His knowledge and experience will make him a valuable asset to the Application Development team.  Jacob will be located in 1900 Cathedral of Learning and will report to Rich Welsh.

Jacob was born in Grove City, Pennsylvania.  He is married and has two boys, Rand (3) and Remy (16 months).  His wife’s name is Renata.  They also have two cats, Loki and Leona.  Jacob enjoys various forms of gaming such as board, computers, puzzles, and pinball.  He also enjoys outdoor activities like fishing and hiking.  His favorite cartoon character is Fry from the animated comedy Futurama.  If Jacob wasn’t working at FIS and could have any job, he would like to be running a small shop on an island in the tropics.

Please join us in welcoming Jacob to the Technical Services team!

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