May 2019

0 Commentsby   |  06.14.19  |  Uncategorized

May 2019, By The Numbers

  • 145 end-user support requests resolved
  • 81 development and administration issues resolved
  • 9 major projects-in-progress
  • 2 major projects completed
    • Integration with Athletics compliance software
    • Banner Workflow Upgrade to version 8.7
  • 2 major projects requested
    • HR Engagement with Strata Information Group (SIG)
    • SFS Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) reporting
  • 99.96% average uptime
  • 5.0 Customer Satisfaction Average (out of 5) based on 43 surveys completed this month

New Systems Analyst

I am pleased to announce that IT’s very own Chance Woodlee has agreed to join Enterprise Applications as our newest Systems Analyst. Chance brings with him several years of ACU Tech Support experience and I’m certain he will prove to be a valuable member of our team.

Please join me in congratulating Chance and welcoming him to this new role.

Jeff Brawley
Director of Enterprise Applications

Check out the new G Suite Learning Center

The new G Suite Learning Center can now be found at

This completely redesigned site features 300+ guides and customer-friendly enhancements, including:

April 2019

0 Commentsby   |  05.15.19  |  Uncategorized

April 2019, By The Numbers

  • 118 end-user support requests resolved
  • 85 development and administration issues resolved
  • 8 projects-in-progress
  • 4 projects completed (Banner-Salesforce integration updates, Oracle database upgrades, PHP programming language updates, provide support for the Discoverer to Cognos transition)
  • 2 projects requested (Implement new Wildcat meal plans and SSO Integration with Athletics compliance software)
  • 99.95% average uptime

Computing Services has a new Director

I am pleased to announce that Jeff Brawley has agreed to serve as our new Director of Computing Services. Jeff has 24 years of IT experience spanning various roles. The last seven years have been in ACU IT as a Senior Systems Analyst.

In this role, Jeff will continue to develop relationships with individuals across campus to understand, anticipate, and prioritize the technological needs to ensure we are meeting the ever-changing demands. In addition, he will oversee our integration projects and the management of our enterprise applications.

Please join me in welcoming Jeff into this new role.

Jon Bruner
Executive Director
Information Technology

Department name change coming soon

We are in the process of changing our name from Computing Services to Enterprise Applications. We feel that this new name better represents our team’s focus and responsibilities to the University.

Google renaming Team Drives to ‘shared drives’

In the coming weeks, we will see “Team Drives” renamed to “shared drives” across Drive on the web, Android, and iOS. Those three platforms will see a new section titled “Shared drives” in the navigation drawer.

The iOS update is expected May 21st, while Android will begin on May 28th. Drive on the web will be updated in early June to reflect this change. Drive File Stream will see the rename beginning May 31st with version 31 in the navigation drawer.

For Google, this is “simply a name change” that will not change existing functionality. This rename is born out of end users telling Google that Team Drives are being used for “a lot more than sharing within teams.” The new scheme makes sense in the context of common conventions like ‘share calendars’ or ‘shared folder.’

This change will impact all users in the coming weeks.

March 2019

0 Commentsby   |  04.04.19  |  Uncategorized

March 2019, By The Numbers

  • 124 end-user support requests resolved
  • 104 development and administration issues resolved
  • 10 projects-in-progress
  • 2 projects completed (myACU portal upgrade and automated access controls for Banner)
  • 2 projects requested (CRM Advance and LinkedIn Learning)
  • 99.89% average uptime

Does your workspace ‘Spark Joy’?

Last month my family spent a weekend doing some spring cleaning. We rearranged bedrooms and cleared out clutter. My oldest daughter kept asking “does that spark joy?” This usually led to both laughter and debate. Marie Kondo is making many of us think twice about how much “stuff” we really need in our lives. Her show on Netflix is helping messy folks and pack rats tidy up using a unique approach: Choose to keep only things that “spark joy.” Hold each item and keep only those that make you happy.

At work, I think similar benefits can be gained with a tidy workspace. A cluttered desk and office can often be a distraction. I once heard that stacked up papers on your desk are just delayed decision-making. A previous coworker of mine once characterized his office as organized chaos. But it’s more than just the physical mess. We also need to focus on the digital stuff that accumulates — for example, the thousands of emails in your inbox or the multitude of icons that have grown wildly out of control on your desktop. When was the last time you cleaned off unused apps from your smartphone or archived old pc files that are just taking up space? I challenge you to set aside some time this month, look at your workspace and digital devices and ask yourself “does what I see spark joy?”

February 2019

0 Commentsby   |  03.07.19  |  Uncategorized

February 2019, By The Numbers

  • 131 end-user support requests resolved
  • 70 development and administration issues resolved
  • projects-in-progress
  • project completed (Xythos end-of-life:  Migrate functionality and data off of Xythos)
  • projects requested
  • 99.98% average uptime

Farewell to Hab Adkins

After 17 years of service at ACU Hab Adkins has accepted a position as the IT leader for Mueller, Inc., based in Ballinger. Hab has been a wonderful asset to ACU serving in many different capacities within IT.  Hab will be greatly missed here, but I speak for the whole team in wishing him all the best in his new endeavor!

Administrative Banner 9

We now have a single Banner 8 form in place, FZAKMNT, which should be addressed later this spring.  We are very close to completing this project that started in October 2016.

Google Security Checkup Tool

Google provides a Security Checkup tool to help you protect your Google Account by reviewing important settings. The tool will walk you step-by-step through a review of your settings as well as connected devices and third-party applications. You can use the following steps to access the tool:

  1. Click on your account photo in the top right-hand corner of Gmail.
  2. Click on the “Google Account” button.
  3. Click on the “Security” section on the left.
  4. Click on the “Get Started” link near the top of the page.
  5. Follow the step-by-step guide to review your settings, security events, and connected devices.

Take Control of Your Personal Info to Help Prevent Identity Theft

0 Commentsby   |  03.01.19  |  Security

Identity theft has become a fact of life during the past decade. If you are reading this, it is a safe bet that your data has been breached in at least one incident. Does that mean we are all helpless? Thankfully, no. There is a lot we can do to protect ourselves from identity theft and to make a recovery from cyber incidents quicker and less painful.

First, take control of your credit reports. Examine your own report at each of the “big three” bureaus. You get one free report from each credit bureau once per year. You can request them by going to Make sure there’s nothing inaccurate in those reports, and file for correction if needed. Then initiate a credit freeze at each of those plus two other smaller ones. Instructions can be found at Krebs on Security. To keep an eye on your credit report all year, space out your credit bureau requests by requesting a report from a different credit bureau every four months.

Next, practice good digital hygiene. Just as you lock your front door when you leave home and your car when you park it, make sure your digital world is secured. This means:

  1. Keep your operating system up to date. When OS updates are released, they fix errors in the code that could let the bad guys in.
  2. Do the same for the application software you use. Web browsers, plug-ins, email clients, office software, antivirus/antimalware, and every other type of software has flaws. When those flaws are fixed, you are in a race to install that fix before someone uses the flaw against you. The vast majority of hacks leverage vulnerabilities that have a fix already available.
  3. Engage your brain. Think before you click. Think before you disclose personal information in a web form or over the phone.
  4. Think before you share on social media sites. Some of those fun-to-share-with-your-friends quizzes and games ask questions that have a disturbing similarity to “security questions” that can be used to recover your account. Do you want the answers to your security questions to be published to the world?
  5. Use a password manager and keep a strong, unique password for every site or service you use. That way a breach on one site won’t open you up to fraud at other sites.
  6. Back. It. Up. What do you do if you are hit with a ransomware attack? (Or a run-of-the-mill disk failure?) If you have a recent off-line backup, your data are safe, and you can recover without even thinking about paying a ransom.
  7. Full disk encryption is your friend. If your device is stolen, it will be a lot harder for a thief to access your data, which means you can sleep at night.
  8. Check all your accounts statements regularly. Paperless statements are convenient in the digital age. But it is easy to forget to check infrequently used accounts such as a health savings account. Make a recurring calendar reminder to check every account for activity that you don’t recognize.
  9. Manage those old-style paper statements. Don’t just throw them in the trash or the recycle bin. Shred them with a cross-cut shredder. Or burn them. Or do both. Data stolen from a dumpster are just as useful as data stolen from a website.

If you’ve been a victim of identity theft:

  • Create an Identity Theft Report by filing a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission online (or call 1-877-438-4338).
  • Use the Identity Theft Report to file a police report. Make sure you keep a copy of the police report in a safe place.
  • Flag your credit reports by contacting the fraud departments of any one of the three major credit bureaus: Equifax (800-685-1111); TransUnion (888-909-8872); or Experian (888-397-3742).

(This content was provided by Educause.)

January 2019

0 Commentsby   |  02.13.19  |  Uncategorized

January 2019, By The Numbers

  • 173 end-user support requests resolved
  • 109 development and administration issues resolved (new January record)
  • projects-in-progress
  • projects completed (GZACOMM custom form migration, WordPress upgrade)
  • projects requested (Canvas orientation course enrollment, local development instance)
  • 99.99% average uptime

Administrative Banner 9

We completed the migration of one of our two remaining custom forms, GZACOMM (general comment form), to an Ellucian-delivered equivalent (SPACMNT).  We now have a single Banner 8 form in place, FZAKMNT, which should be addressed later this spring.  We are very close to completing this project that started in October 2016.

New Programmer Hired

We are excited to announce the hiring of a new Programmer/Analyst, Jeremiah McCutcheon, who started on January 7th.  Jeremiah is already immersed in multiple projects as we train and prepare him for success.

Use Social Media For Good

We have all heard about the evils of social media. Fortunately, there is another side to social media, and with a little savvy, you can harness its potential for good. You just need to make sure to steer clear of the pitfalls and work on safely curating a positive online presence. Here are a few easy steps to get you started.

How to Use Social Media for Good—Safely Creating a Positive Presence Online

0 Commentsby   |  02.02.19  |  Security

Our social networks tell a story about us. You want to make sure that the story your social media tells about you is a good one. As articulated in a blog from the Digital Marketing Institute: “Sharing online allows you to craft an online persona that reflects your personal values and professional skills. Even if you only use social media occasionally, the content you create, share or react to feeds into this public narrative. How you conduct yourself online is now just as important as your behavior offline.”

A positive online reputation is vital in today’s digital world. Like it or not, your information is out there. What you can do is help to control it and what it says about you.

Social media is so ingrained in our society that almost everyone is connected to it in some form. With every social media account you sign up for, every picture you share, and every post you make, you are sharing information about yourself with not only your friends and family but the entire digital world. How can you make sure your information and reputation stay safe online? Here are a few easy steps to get you started.

  • Keep it clean and positive. Be entirely sure about what you’re posting. Make sure to post content that you feel positively reflects you, your creativity, your values, and your skills. Remember that future employers may look at your social media accounts before hiring you. Questionable content can leave a bad impression; this can include pictures, videos, or even opinions that make you seem unprofessional or mean and may end up damaging your reputation.Always think before you post or share negative or inappropriate content. Use the 24-hour rule before posting, allowing yourself 24 hours before posting any content that may be questionable to give yourself time to reflect on whether it is a good idea.
  • Oversharing and geotagging. Never click and tell. It can seem like everyone posts personal information on social media all the time, including where they are and where they live. As noted on the site: “What many people don’t realize is that these seemingly random details are all criminals need to know to target you, your loved ones, and even your physical belongings—online and in the real world. Avoid posting names, phone numbers, addresses, school and work locations, and other sensitive information (whether it’s in the text or in the photo you took). Disable geotagging, which allows anyone to see where you are—and where you aren’t—at any given time.”If you really want to post that picture of your friends at brunch, consider following the concept of #latergram and post your content at a later time than when it actually happened. It is a win-win. You get to share your experience and at the same time still maintain the privacy of your location in real time.
  • Don’t rely on privacy settings. You have a private social media account so you can post anything you want? Nope. Privacy settings make it harder to see your full account, but it’s not impossible. Also, there is always the chance that one of the people with access to your private account could screenshot and share the content.Make sure to keep your social media apps up to date and check the privacy settings frequently. Under no circumstances should you rely on privacy settings to shield inappropriate content. If there is any question that the content is inappropriate, don’t post it.
  • Make sure you’re professional. Keep it classy! Every post is a reflection of you. Your social media accounts allow you to put your best foot forward or stumble if you aren’t careful. A positive social media presence can help create both personal and professional opportunities. Promote your personal brand or what you want people to think of you. And, your high school English teacher was correct—proper spelling and grammar are always a plus.
  • Control your content. Claim your identity on social media. Set up social media accounts and keep the profiles current. You don’t have to join every platform; a few key ones will do. You can also look into apps that will cross-post the content to all of your social media accounts, freeing up some of your valuable time. Use your accounts to engage professionally and personally in a positive way.Your social media accounts should tell the story of you that you want employers and others to see. Google your own name on a regular basis to make sure that that information out there is accurate. If you find incorrect information online, request that the website update it or take it down.

If you follow these few simple recommendations, you are on your way to safely building a positive online reputation. Using social media positively doesn’t mean you can’t have fun and use it to express yourself; however, you want to ensure that you’re okay with anyone seeing everything you post. Once you post something online, it’s out there forever.

(This content was provided by Educause.)

December 2018

0 Commentsby   |  01.04.19  |  Banner, Monthly Report, Security, Talisma

2018: A Year of Change

Here are some noteworthy statistics that tell a few of the stories of a remarkable year:

  • 1,668 end-user support requests resolved
  • 997 development and administration issues resolved
  • 20 projects requested
  • 32 projects completed
  • 13 new services and integrations added
  • 17 services and integrations removed
  • 99.94% average uptime (new yearly record)
  • 4th straight year of 99.9% or greater uptime average (that’s an average of 45 minutes of downtime or less a month!)
  • All modules have been upgraded to Banner 9 and most Banner 8 functionality removed
  • 2 conference presentations regarding our Banner 9 work
  • CRM change (we helped the Abilene graduate and undergraduate admissions teams move from Talisma to Slate CRM)
  • open programmer position (a new team member starts January 7th!)
  • Countless emails, phone calls, meetings, and sidewalk conversations regarding technology needs

December 2018, By The Numbers

  • 75 end-user support requests resolved
  • 61 development and administration issues resolved
  • 11 projects-in-progress
  • projects completed (Talisma end-of-life, migration of to Adobe Managed Services)
  • projects requested
  • 99.96% average uptime

Data Privacy in an Era of Compliance

January 28th is Data Privacy Day. Data privacy for individuals means reviewing privacy settings on social media, being mindful of entering data into websites, and taking ownership of one’s online identity. Data privacy for higher education institutions extends these principles to caring for other people’s data, from the collection, processing, sharing, and storing to destruction. Here are some tips to protect your information as well as the information, identity, and privacy of others.


Data Privacy in an Era of Compliance

0 Commentsby   |  01.02.19  |  Security

The internet is full of data about you. Whenever you play a game, shop, browse websites, or use any of numerous apps, your activity and some of your personal information may be collected and shared.  Similarly, the business of higher education requires us to collect, process, and store the digital information of others. Whenever we handle such information, we need to think about how we want our own information treated and treat other people’s data with the same care and respect.

Protect yourself by following these tips:

  • Know what you are sharing. Check the privacy settings on all of your social media accounts; some even include a wizard to walk you through the settings. Always be cautious about what you post publicly.
  • Guard your date of birth and telephone number. These are key pieces of information used for identity and account verification, and you should not share them publicly. If an online service or site asks you to share this critical information, consider whether it is important enough to warrant it.
  • Keep your work and personal presences separate. Your employer has the right to access your email account, so you should use an outside service for private emails. This also helps you ensure uninterrupted access to your private email and other services if you switch employers.

Protect the information, identity, and privacy of others by following these tips:

  • Know what resources are available at your institution. Colleges and universities might employ individuals with some of the following titles and responsibilities: compliance officer, who can help you navigate the laws and regulations that govern how your institution handles constituents’ personal data and what safeguards need to be implemented to ensure the data stay secure; data privacy officer, who can answer questions about how your institution protects the privacy of both your data and constituents’ data; and a(n) (chief) information security officer, who can answer questions about information security best practices and the technologies available to protect online identity and the personal data of constituents.
  • Know what policies are in place at your institution. A privacy policy governs how the institution collects, processes, stores, and deletes the personal data of constituents; a data classification policy governs how the institution organizes the data it interacts with and what rules are in place for processing it; and an information security policy articulates how the institution governs and prioritizes information security activities.
  • Keep constituents’ personal information confidential and limit access to the data.
  • Only use data for its intended purpose. If you need to use data for another reason, always check relevant resources and policies first for guidance.
  • Destroy or de-identify private information when you no longer need it.

(This content was provided by Educause.)

November 2018


0 Commentsby   |  12.10.18  |  Banner, Talisma

Out With the Old, In With the New

The end of 2018 will include farewells to multiple legacy services that are being retired:

  • Administrative Banner 8 – Our major project to upgrade Administrative Banner to version 9 will conclude soon, once two remaining custom forms are retired.  We are excited to complete this work, which began in Fall 2016.
  • Talisma – Earlier this year, the graduate and undergraduate admissions teams on the Abilene campus moved to Slate CRM, which introduced an improved and modern system for recruiting and admissions.  We officially retired the old CRM, Talisma, on December 10th.
  • Xythos – Those who use Xythos (aka Files, ACU Files, myACU Files, dropbox system) MUST take action before Thursday, December 20, 2018, to avoid losing data.  If you use Xythos, then please review these essential details.  Google Drive will serve as our primary enterprise file service moving forward.

November 2018, By The Numbers

  • 107 end-user support requests resolved
  • 75 development and administration issues resolved (new November record)
  • 10 projects-in-progress
  • project completed (InnoSoft Fusion for Student Recreation and Wellness Center)
  • projects requested
  • 99.98% average uptime

Securing New Devices in an IoT World

The Internet of Things (IoT) continues to expand as more of our “things”—in our homes, our cars, and our pockets or purses—include chips, tags, or sensors that are ready to connect to the digital world. There is no denying that new devices are fun, but while there are more opportunities to interact with people, share information, and stay connected, we also need to be aware of the risks these things may introduce. Here are some tips to increase the security of your Internet-enabled devices.