Wednesday, 14 October 2020 16:54

How USQ IT supported remote workers during pandemic

By

Earlier this year, University of Southern Queensland ICT services director of client services Naomi Lutvey saw the writing on the wall: the COVID-19 pandemic could lead to the campus being closed.

Rather than waiting for that to happen, Lutvey and her colleagues began to prepare for the eventuality, for example by setting up VPNs.

This effort revealed a particular problem. The IT fleet management system in use at USQ required users to be on-campus or remotely connected via a VPN. But since most of the applications were web-based, there was no particular reason why users would VPN into the university network, and that meant there was a good chance that systems would not be updated promptly.

USQ had been using Ivanti Service Manager (ISM) since 2017, so she decided to investigate Ivanti Endpoint Manager (EPM).

A trial was arranged, and "it worked," she said.

So an EPM server was set up. ISM was used to identify staff that were likely to be working remotely and what equipment they would take, and then to obtain their supervisors' approval.

Then EPM the agent was installed on all computers while they were still on campus.

Working with Fusion5 and Ivanti, USQ was able to ensure that the entire fleet would remain patched.

"It was pretty quick," Lutvey observed. The project was completed in just two weeks, and then 1600 employees went remote.

Most staff are now back on campus, and things have moved on. USQ has adopted Ivanti's Neurons self-healing, self-securing and self-service system. 5837 systems were connected to Neurons at the time iTWire spoke to Lutvey, including those in lecture theatres and student labs. An important feature in the university context is that Neurons allows updates to be applied without forcing immediate reboots, which can be very disruptive if systems are being used for research purposes.

ISM isn't just used for IT at USQ. Providing a good digital experience is a given in higher education, she said, so a lot of work had been done to develop knowledge bases, workflows, and so on.

But the pandemic made its importance very clear in situations where the usual face-to-face conversations were no longer possible.

"COVID gave it that boost to get people on board," and its use spread to functions including human resources and safety. IT material now accounts for just 30% or so of the total.

Other departments "love it," Lutvey said, as it is a simple way to provide information. IT provides training to other parts of the university so they can add and maintain their own content. Responsibility for forms and workflows remains with IT as "we want to make sure we have a consistent approach."

"We haven't had any pushback (from departments)," she added. Practically every administration department uses ISM, along with some academics.

The project is ongoing, with plans to install the remaining parts of Ivanti's suite and to integrate it with other products such as Splunk.

The IT budget and headcount aren't growing, so there's a need to be smarter and use more automation, said Lutvey. Neurons' ability to spot problems and take corrective action before they become an issue is an example of this.


Please join our community here and become a VIP.

Subscribe to ITWIRE UPDATE Newsletter here
JOIN our iTWireTV our YouTube Community here
BACK TO LATEST NEWS here

PROMOTE YOUR WEBINAR ON ITWIRE

It's all about Webinars.

Marketing budgets are now focused on Webinars combined with Lead Generation.

If you wish to promote a Webinar we recommend at least a 3 to 4 week campaign prior to your event.

The iTWire campaign will include extensive adverts on our News Site itwire.com and prominent Newsletter promotion https://itwire.com/itwire-update.html and Promotional News & Editorial. Plus a video interview of the key speaker on iTWire TV https://www.youtube.com/c/iTWireTV/videos which will be used in Promotional Posts on the iTWire Home Page.

Now we are coming out of Lockdown iTWire will be focussed to assisting with your webinatrs and campaigns and assassistance via part payments and extended terms, a Webinar Business Booster Pack and other supportive programs. We can also create your adverts and written content plus coordinate your video interview.

We look forward to discussing your campaign goals with you. Please click the button below.

MORE INFO HERE!

INTRODUCING ITWIRE TV

iTWire TV offers a unique value to the Tech Sector by providing a range of video interviews, news, views and reviews, and also provides the opportunity for vendors to promote your company and your marketing messages.

We work with you to develop the message and conduct the interview or product review in a safe and collaborative way. Unlike other Tech YouTube channels, we create a story around your message and post that on the homepage of ITWire, linking to your message.

In addition, your interview post message can be displayed in up to 7 different post displays on our the iTWire.com site to drive traffic and readers to your video content and downloads. This can be a significant Lead Generation opportunity for your business.

We also provide 3 videos in one recording/sitting if you require so that you have a series of videos to promote to your customers. Your sales team can add your emails to sales collateral and to the footer of their sales and marketing emails.

See the latest in Tech News, Views, Interviews, Reviews, Product Promos and Events. Plus funny videos from our readers and customers.

SEE WHAT'S ON ITWIRE TV NOW!

BACK TO HOME PAGE
Stephen Withers

Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences and a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies.

Share News tips for the iTWire Journalists? Your tip will be anonymous

VENDOR NEWS