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Notes from December 9, 2003 ITPAC Meeting:

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    notes by Steve Lasley

    Streaming Audio from the meeting

    Steve Lasley presented the ICC recommendation on NetBIOS Filters at Remote Sites as an informational item. The continually shifting tradeoff between functionality and security was discussed with regards to Windows networking. A brief explanation of NetBIOS was given and the challenges of keeping this protocol internal to our widely distributed network throughout Florida were advanced. John Sawyer, the IFAS IT security expert, was there to answer any questions. John is doing an excellent job in keeping IFAS computer systems as safe as is practical.

    Steve Lasley presented the ICC recommendation on Removing gnv.ifas.ufl.edu Email Addresses and turned the floor over to Dan Cromer whose goal was to obtain approval by ITPAC to set a date by which this should occur. Dan discussed how this has been a long time in coming and how it will require prior notification of users so that any still using such addresses can remove them from websites, business cards and other contact source documents. Dan stated that removal of these addresses would reduce administrative overhead on our email servers. Jenny Brewer was consulted on the level of SPAM which enters our email systems via such addresses and reported that as much as 75% of such emails were non-work related. Dan mentioned that he would coordinate with UF listserv support to assure that any "@gnv.ifas.ufl.edu" addresses were converted to the equivalent new ""@ifas.ufl.edu" form to assist in this transition. The consensus of the ITPAC committee was that this should take place by 31 Jan 2003 and that Dan should draft a notice which would be approved by Joe Joyce and distributed by his office to this effect. A written ITPAC recommendation is now available.

    Steve Lasley presented the ICC recommendation on Handling SPAM at the Server Level as an informational item. Jenny Brewer was introduced as the IT support person who is handling the recently implemented anti-SPAM efforts. Jenny discussed the details of the current efforts, which have been well-documented by her at http://spam.ifas.ufl.edu. Jenny requested input on how strict our filtering should be and ITPAC members had various questions about how this process worked. Details on how strict we should be were deferred to the ICC at Chris Leopold's suggestion, inasmuchas such issues are often rather technical. Dan mentioned that other matters for future discussion here and with the ICC include the two week period for retension of SPAM and the possibility of changing the criteria for receiving SPAM reports from an opt-in to an opt-out model. It was noted that this effort will require continual monitoring and adjustment for it to be successful in removing the burden of SPAM that affects all our users and taxes our hardware resources. This effort is particularly difficult due to the fact that "false positives" often are literally a matter of opinion. Jenny is doing an excellent job is running this very important project.

    Steve Lasley presented the ICC recommendation on Dropping support for POP email access. Since the ICC passed its recommendation, Dan Cromer discovered that a number of our important users depended on POP access for checking email via their cell phones. Dan discussed how POP works and why we want to drop its use. He indicated that POP could be supported as long as necessary to support those users needing it for email access via cell phone (possibly via implementation of a separate POP server machine). ITPAC decided to support the ICC recommendation with exceptions to be made for users needing POP email for cell phone access. Details of how exactly this will be accomplished were left to IT in conjunction with the ICC. A written ITPAC recommendation is now available.

    Dan Cromer reported that an email was distributed to all unit heads stating the computer hardware and software requirements for the PeopleSoft applications that UF will be using. This is not a policy matter, but was presented as a point of information. All units should be aware of the needs in this regard as it affects budgeting and planning for the new calendar year.

    Dan Cromer spoke of IT's ongoing efforts in purchasing patch management software to assist IT in keeping IFAS computer systems up-to-date and as secure as practical. John Sawyer, who is directly involved in this effort, spoke to this as well.

    Responding to a question from Dale McPherson, Dan gave an update on the personnel status within IFAS IT LAN Systems. Mike Kanofsky and Tim Nance have left. We are still unsuccessful in replacing Mike in the important position of AD Lead, although some interviews have been held. We have been unsuccessful so-far in finding a suitable candidate that is amenable to our salary constraints. John Sawyer has replaced Tim's former security expert role, but Tim's latest role remains unfilled. Dwight Jesseman has taken Mike Kanofsky's former pre-AD Lead role and Jenny Brewer, while remaining the support person for the NE District, has been assisting on the anti-SPAM efforts.

    Jane Luzar reported on the status of the IFAS interactive videoconferencing initiative. UF will not allow IFAS to purchase its own concentrator bridge, deeming this a duplication of core services and UF is now in the driver's seat with regards to overall videoconferencing efforts. IFAS requires a bridge or bridge services in order to proceed with any implementation. In the meantime, IFAS is preparing another demonstration/test involving a broader range of representative prospective sites. The intension is to demonstrate its use not just for distance education but in support of other long-distance communication needs for extension and other programs. Jane expressed some concern for the level of IFAS input on various committees involved in videoconferencing implementation at the UF level. She expressed the need to ascertain that IFAS has representatives on each of these committees and Joe Joyce agreed to pursue that. Joe also stated that we will not pay the same or more for less service than is

    Jim Syvertsen asked for recommendations for the replacement of Larry Halsey and Vernon Parmenter as ITPAC members. The ITPAC membership page requires some modifications that will be coordinated with Joe Joyce through Jim Syvertsen. Jim also made clear his intension of stepping down from his role as ITPAC chair at the next meeting. Dan Cromer suggested going to the Faculty Advisory Committee for a recommendation. No firm decisions were made on replacements but Joe will be accepting suggestions and looking for candidates.

    Joe expressed his hope that people take steps to investigate the PeopleSoft services and prepare for this upcoming necessary move. It is his understanding that the PeopleSoft model fits the needs of IFAS better, perhaps, than some other organizations within UF, and he hopes this bodes well for a smooth transition for us.

    The next ITPAC meeting is planned for the last week of March in 2004.

last edited 10 December 2003 by Steve Lasley