03 Dec 2019
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!
11 Oct 2018
Microsoft Teams will be rolling out to FIS customers in the near future. Before the program is installed, we thought it was worth revisiting the articles that were posted on the website this summer about Teams. The information listed in this article goes over what Teams is, how to access it, how to create a team, the various channel spaces within a team, managing your team, and the apps within Teams.
What is Teams
Microsoft’s training demonstrations describe Teams as “A hub for teamwork that provides people with a single place to communicate and collaborate with others.” It was created and designed with the express purpose of having everything customers need to perform their job function from a single application. Listed below are many of the features of Teams:
- Seamlessly integrates with Outlook
- Access OneDrive without opening a new window
- Access all of your OneNote folders
- Collaborate in real time with Office Suite files (Excel, Word, PowerPoint)
- Communicate in real time with colleagues
- Streamline workflow by using a staff notebook
- Links to other cloud storage
We will be getting into more detail of Teams features, but that list gives you a pretty basic idea of all its capable of doing. As a result of all those functions, it can be overwhelming when viewing and using it for the first time. Let’s start with possibly the most important and easiest part. How to access it.
How to Access Teams
It can be accessed by going to portal.office.com, logging in with your Pitt credentials, and clicking on the Teams icon. This will open up Teams in a browser tab. A desktop version is also available. It can be installed on the machine once the browser-based version of Teams is open by clicking on the “Get app” icon located in the bottom left-hand corner. Once it is installed, the next step towards effectively using it is creating a team.
How to Create a Team
To create a team, select the “Teams” icon located on the left-hand side and click “Join or create a team” at the bottom. Click “Create a team” and choose between Classes, PLCs, Staff Members, and Anyone. The teams you are more than likely going to want to choose are either PLCs or Staff Members. PLCs should be chosen when colleagues need to work with other colleagues. Staff Members should be created by an admin or supervisor for employees that work for them. Enter the name of your team, an optional description, and choose whether the team is public or private. Private means only team owners can add members whereas public means anyone in your organization can join. The last step is to add people to your team and make them either members or owners. At this point, the team you created will appear within the Teams section with a channel titled “General” appearing underneath the name of the team you created. Channels are a way to organize the team you just created. For example, if you are working on a project that involves multiple tasks, you can create various channels associated with the specific tasks of the project. To add a channel to a team, click the ellipses icon directly to the right of the team you created and select “Add Channel.” Enter the channel name and an optional description.
There are three different channel spaces contained within the team you created. The spaces are conversations, files, and notebook. They are accessed by clicking on the team you created and selecting a channel (for example, General). Once on the channel, the spaces are at the top of the screen. The channel space we are going to start with is conversations because it is more than likely what you will use the most.
Mainly, conversations allows you to live chat with other members of your teams. If you want to address someone specifically with the teams conversations channel, type the @ symbol and a list of the various members of your team will appear. Simply select their name and type in your message. Everyone will be able to see the message but the person you specifically addressed it to will get a notification. If you wanted to address your team members in a more formal way, you can use the formatting option. The formatting option lets you add a subject to your message, change font options like color and size, and mark the message as important. This would be useful for creating an announcement to your team. You can also create announcements and mark them as important. A few other less important but fun options conversations provides is the ability to add stickers, add GIFs, and create memes. Lastly, conversations contains a “Meet Now” icon. Meet now works like a skype meeting. You can record the meetings and save transcripts.
The second channel space we are going to discuss is files. Files is pretty self-explanatory. It lets you create or upload documents. If you are creating a document, it will open in the online version of the program you are using which doesn’t have all of the features of the locally installed versions. However, the online versions are more than suitable to use when creating basic word documents, excel spreadsheets, and powerpoint presentations. Once the document is created or uploaded, it is stored in the files channel space. At this point, you can open it in SharePoint and a site will be created.
Notebook usage varies based on the team you created. Since part one of this series advised that the team you are most likely going to want to choose is PLCs, the notebook usage example will be PLCs. The PLC Notebook is essentially a digital three-ring binder that works in conjunction with OneNote. OneNote within Teams functions as if the program was installed locally on your computer. You are able to create sections which look like tabs in a binder and pages within those sections. This feature could be very helpful when dealing with large projects that involve multiple meetings. Each meeting could have its own section and the various things discussed can have their own pages.
Meetings is a clickable icon that is located in the sidebar on the left-hand side of Teams. It allows you to schedule, edit, join, accept, decline and cancel meetings as well as view your Outlook calendar on a day to day basis. The meeting invites you send will come into an invitee’s Outlook inbox. So it works in conjunction with Outlook. To create a meeting, click the “Schedule a meeting” icon at the bottom of the page. At this point, you will be able to enter the title, location, start time, end time, and details of the meetings. To invite someone to the meeting, start typing their name in the “Invite Someone” field and they will appear in the drop-down below. Once the meeting starts the interface is very similar to Skype for Business. In fact, Teams Meetings will eventually be taking the place for Skype for Business. Also, you are able to record your meetings in Teams.
Managing your team
Managing your team provides you with a wide variety of options such as: adding members, changing members role permissions, adding channels, adding a team picture, changing guest role permissions, etc. To manage your team, click on the ellipses icon next to the team you created and select “Manage team” from the available drop-down options. This is where you can add members and change their permissions. To add a member, click the “Add member” icon on the top right-hand side of the page, type in their name and click “Add”. The other options manage teams provides is channels, settings, and apps. Channels allows you to add channels and settings provides you with multiple options mainly involving permissions. Apps will be discussed below.
Apps displays a list of programs that you have integrated with Teams. A default set of applications is listed that is entirely organization based but you are able to add apps. To add apps, click the “Go to store” icon located in the top right-hand corner of the page and select from a very large list of programs. Apps can also be added as tabs to your team channels. To add an app as a tab, go to the team channel you created (in previous parts of this series the channel is General) and click the “+” icon at the top of the page. A list of apps will appear. Select the app you want to add. At this point, it will let you name the tab and add any appropriate content.
Polly is a bot that allows you to create polls. It can be downloaded through apps and integrated into Teams as its own tab. You can view the various polls you created, view poll results, and see who created polls once Polly is its own tab on the team channel you created. To create a poll, go to the conversations tab on the team channel you created. Once there, click in the “Start a new conversation. Type @ to mention someone” field. Enter @Polly and type in your question and poll options. For example, “Do you like Microsoft Teams? Yes, No” and hit enter. Polly will then create the poll for you. Keep in mind Polly cannot have more than five options as of right now.
Chat functions in much the same way as Skype for Business. It allows you to directly chat with members of your team. The member of your team who you are chatting with is the only person who is able to see what is being discussed. Chat also gives you the option to audio and video call. This option is located in the top right-hand corner of the chat you are within.
Activity keeps track of what’s going on within Teams. Each new or unchecked activity will be highlighted in bold. When you click on an activity, you will be directly taken to the section of Teams that it occurred in. Activity also contains a filter option. Filter allows you to sort by unread, mentions, replies, following, likes, missed call, voicemail, and apps.
T-bot is located within the chat location. It provides answers to questions about using Teams.
Search is just like it sounds. It will allow you to search for anything that was mentioned within Teams. It is located at the top of the application at all times.
For more information or to schedule an in-person consultation about Teams, please submit a help ticket through the FIS portal.
30 Aug 2018
We are pleased to announce that Amani Hill has accepted the Support Analyst position in FIS Technical Services, effective August 27, 2018. Her responsibilities include analyzing and troubleshooting technical support requests, user documentation creation, customer training, and ITIL process management.
Amani recently graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a Bachelor’s Degree in Information Science while simultaneously working. Additionally, she has an extensive background in customer service. Her experience and knowledge will make her a valuable asset to Customer Support. Amani will be located in 1900 Cathedral of Learning and will report to Carrie Armstrong.
Amani was born in the capital of Missouri, Jefferson City, but she currently lives east of Pittsburgh with her fiance, Brennan, and Chihuahua, Aladdin. In her spare time, she enjoys reading and watching anime. Her favorite restaurant is Smoke BBQ Taqueria in Lawrenceville. If she could meeting anyone, Amani would like to meet Rob Zombie.
Please join me in welcoming Amani to FIS and the Technical Services team!
27 Mar 2018
As part of moving to the digital workplace, FIS has invested in desktop virtualization. Virtualization of our workplace assists with increased productivity, agility, and responsiveness. It also extends the life cycle of the desktop and provides the flexibility to adjust resources to each desktop on demand.
Introducing FIS Go: FIS has recently completed upgrading our virtual desktop infrastructure powered by VMWare Horizon View. This upgrade increases capacity, optimizes performance, and improves reliability for all customers who use a virtual computer. FIS Go also helps to enable business continuity by minimizing downtime and improving accessibility.
The FIS Go Web Interface: All FIS customers who utilize a virtual desktop with FIS Go now can access their desktop at home. FIS Go is our Desktop from Anywhere solution. It’s a secure portal that allows you to log into FIS Go from any web browser with an internet connection, both on or off campus, with no additional software required. This means you can get to your desktop and other resources just as if you were in the office.
- If you’re working from home, use FIS Go web interface to connect to your work desktop from your home computer.
- If you are using a conference room computer and need to quickly access your files, you can use the FIS Go website.
- If the power goes out in your office, you can relocate and continue to work with all necessary access.
To connect, simply go to https://go.fis.pitt.edu and log in with your Pitt user credentials.
12 Mar 2018
Officially kicking off in September 2017, Technical Services has been working to complete the migration of our FIS active directory to the University-wide active directory. We are happy to announce this migration has been successfully completed on time! This has been a monumental undertaking, and we would like to thank you all for your cooperation and patience during this time.
- Joining the centralized active directory allows for better-integrated security and use of a single sign-on (Fewer passwords to remember!)
- Increased integration with the University community will streamline implementations and collaboration with other University departments, schools, and units
- 48 business services located on over 300 servers were migrated, and many were improved during the transition to include upgraded hardware and software
Thank you for your support!
Below are linked the most read articles from our customers. Check them out and see if they can be of any use to you.
18 Dec 2017
Full technical and functional assistance for all systems, hardware, and software supported by FIS will end at 5:00 PM on Thursday, December 21, 2017 and resume at 8:00 AM on Tuesday, January 2, 2018. As in prior years, only emergency technical and functional support will be available during the Winter Recess and will not include such things as development work, web updates, equipment moves and installations, loaner equipment requests, application configuration, software deployments, training, or new account creations.
To receive timely service, it is important to follow the instructions below to initiate a request for service. Please do not call, leave a voice-mail message, or e-mail a FIS staff member directly to initiate a request for service. All requests will be responded to during the hours listed below according to the levels outlined in the Service Level Agreement. When requesting service, it is important to provide a telephone number where you can be reached during the support hours.
|Date||Hours of Operation|
|Friday, December 22||Closed|
|Monday, December 25||Closed|
|Tuesday, December 26||9:00 AM – 3:00 PM|
|Wednesday, December 27||9:00 AM – 3:00 PM|
|Thursday, December 28||9:00 AM – 3:00 PM|
|Friday, December 29||9:00 AM – 3:00 PM|
|Monday, January 1||Closed|
|Tuesday, January 2||Resume full operations at 8AM|
To initiate an FIS request for service, use the following methods:
During Operating Hours
Outside Operating Hours
|FIS Support Portal
Submit a ticket for all requests
|FIS Emergency Support Hotline
Dial 412-624-FIS1 (3471)
|FIS After Hours Critical Support Hotline
Dial (866) PITT-FIS
*Please call this hotline if the portal is unavailable or there is a critical issue that needs attention immediately.
**Please call this hotline outside of operating hours for issues that severely impact immediate productivity.
To initiate a PRISM request, use the following methods:
|Submit a Help Ticket||Dial 412-624-HELP (4357)|
Happy Holidays from FIS!
22 May 2017
The new Printing Services website contains new information about products and services. Printing Services is also launching a new digital storefront that can be accessed from their site. If you would like to see their new offerings or take look at the new website, click here.
02 Feb 2017
Over the past few weeks, many of us have begun to use Duo Mobile, the new Multi-Factor secure login solution now offered by Pitt through CSSD. This new solution comes highly recommended by Pitt’s information security team. FIS strongly encourages the implementation of this solution and some of our supported departments have mandated its use. We would like to take a moment to answer some frequent questions and concerns that are brought up on Multi-Factor authentication.
What is Multi-Factor Authentication?
Simply put, Multi-Factor Authentication is a method for securing access to computer system which requires users to present different types of evidence to verify who they are before accessing the system. There are three common methods, or factors, used to authenticate ones identity. These are:
Something You Know
This factor includes usernames and password. If you know the proper username and password combination you are granted access to the system.
Something You Have
This factor includes keys and tokens. If you possess the right key you can unlock the door. If you have the correct token you are allowed in the room.
Something You Are
This factor typically includes biometric data such as fingerprints, voice recognition, and retina scans. Once very costly, this factor is now common. Many models of smart phones, laptop, and tablets can now recognize faces and scan fingerprints.
In order to implement Multi-Factor authentication, a method from at least two of these categories must be used. Allowing access after scanning a fingerprint and using voice recognition would not be multi-factor becomes both are from the “something you are” category. Likewise, simply having two passwords would not be multi-factor as both passwords would fall under “something you know”. However, if you first scanned in your fingerprint and then entered a password in order to gain access to a system, you would be using Multi-Factor authentication.
Why is Multi-Factor Authentication Being Implemented at Pitt?
Traditionally, your Pitt account has been protected by a single factor, Something You Know, which is your username and password. While this does provide some level of protection which gets better the more complex your password is, it is susceptible to a social engineering attack which is growing in popularity – Phishing. We have all received suspicious emails informing us that we must change our password immediately or verify some setting with a link that bring us to a fake page asking us to enter our credentials. The hackers are hoping that a few people they attack will enter their credentials, which can then be used to access the Pitt system when the hackers decide to do so.
Duo-Mobile, the new Multi-Factor solution that Pitt has implemented, adds a second factor, Something You Have. This is done by connecting a specific phone number to the account. When the username and password is entered for that account a notification (either a call or an application notice) is sent to a specific phone number. In order to log in, the user must possess the phone associated with that phone number. Even if the hackers know the phone number it does them no good if they do not possess the physical phone. The owner of the phone and account will be notified as soon as any unauthorized access is attempted as well. Then the password can then be immediately changed, making the Something You Know factor secure once again.
Due to the increasing popularity of Phishing and other Social Engineering attacks targeting usernames and passwords, the University has concluded that implementing Multi-Factor Authentication is not only prudent, but necessary. An account with Multi-Factor Authentication applied is exponentially more secure than one without.
How Do I Set Up Multi-Factor Authentication and How Does It Work?
Computing Services and Systems Development provides an excellent set of instructions on how to set up Multi-Factor Authentication for your account which can be found at by clicking this link. As always, FIS Customer Support would be happy to assist with setup and any issues that may arise while using the Duo Mobile Multi-Factor Authentication solution. We can be contacted at 4-FIS1 or via ticket submission at the FIS Support Portal.
Once you have Duo Mobile Multi-Factor Authentication set up it will add an additional action to the login process each time you access a secure service with Pitt’s Single Sign On solution. After putting in your username and password you will either receive a notification on your smartphone or tablet via the Duo Mobile application or an automated phone call from the Duo Mobile service. The application will give you a button to press to approve the log on and the automated phone call will prompt you to press 1 on your phone to approve the log on. Once Due Mobile receives approval via application or phone call your login will complete. Using the mobile application adds 5 to 10 seconds to the login process while using the phone option typically adds about 15 to 20 seconds.
Duo Mobile supports the option to add a secondary authentication device and we strongly recommend that a secondary device be set up. This means that if a smartphone is lost or left at home for the day a second option is available from the authentication screen, such as your desk phone number. You can simple click a button and Duo Mobile with authenticate via your secondary device.
29 Sep 2016
The digital workplace is designed to empower employees, reduce total cost of ownership, and improve security. This increasing reliability, value, flexibility, and agility to the University. FIS Technical Services has invested in bringing about the digital workplace to the University through embracing cloud, mobility, and virtualization. Over the past year, Technical Services has undertaken the following initiatives to bring us closer to the digital workplace:
- VMWare Horizon View: FIS implemented Horizon View hosted virtual desktops as a replacement to the traditional desktop for more than 100 computers. Horizon View extends the replacement life cycle of the desktop. It also enables access to the desktop from almost any endpoint, including mobile hardware and the web, while securely running the desktop from the University Data Center. Finally, it enables flexibility to adjust resources to each desktop on-demand which will decrease downtime.
- SharePoint Online and Office 365: FIS Technical Services started the process to migrate from our SharePoint 2010 on-premise sites to the University Enterprise SharePoint Online service with One Drive for Business hosted by Microsoft. FIS has worked to provide guidance, governance, and a data migration plan for this cloud offering. By using hosted cloud-based services, staff will have increased storage, enables access to their content from almost any endpoint including mobile and web, and reduced IT management.