Cell Phone Justification
During the past Spring semester, all faculty and staff with an SMU provided cell phone or data card were required to complete a justification process for tax compliance. This process will take place annually for all cellular devices paid for by SMU. In addition to the annual process, the justification form will be required for all new subscribers as well as anytime a phone is transferred to another individual that did not previously have an SMU provided phone.
The process utilizes Inside.SMU to manage the workflow. Employees are asked to complete the initial form which consists of four basic questions. Once submitted, the employee’s supervisor is asked to review and approve the form. Then the form routes to the Financial Officer for final approval. Effective immediately, new phone orders will not be placed until the justification process is completed. The next annual justification process for all devices will be launched in February.
In conjunction with the justification process, the SMU cellular policies have been updated. These are currently in the final review process and will be published in the next few weeks. The new policies outline a department’s and individual’s responsibilities throughout the lifecycle of the device (ordering, billing, terminations, reporting lost phones etc). To support the new policies, several processes have been developed and additional information has been posted on the Inside.SMU site.
Recent Changes to the VPN Client
On October 21, a change was made to the SMU VPN service. The new configuration modifies the traffic flow when a computer is connected to the SMU VPN client. Traffic to SMU resources will flow through the VPN appliance to the SMU network space. Traffic to external sites and local resources (such as home printers) will be handled by the home network rather than going through the VPN appliance. This change was applied to all faculty, staff and students with the exception of individuals affiliated with the Law School. These individuals were exempt due to licensing of various legal subscriptions.
If you have Microsoft Forefront installed on your computer, you may be prompted to review a change each time you connect to the AnyConnect client. That is expected behavior. Review the prompt and permit the modification of the hostfile. If you have any questions, please contact the Help Desk.
Technology Fund Allocation
During the month of October, an announcement was made regarding a change to the management of the Technology Fund. This fund was designed to help maintain and refresh technology across campus including computers, software, infrastructure and classroom equipment. In the past, the fund was distributed to the various schools and departments to apply towards technology purchases throughout the year. In order to provide more equitable and efficient use of the fund, OIT was asked to assume full responsibility for the funding allocation.
The fund will continue to be applied towards campus wide software license agreements, security and network infrastructure and special infrastructure initiatives. A larger portion was allocated to upgrade instructional technology in the various classrooms across campus. The desktop portion was reduced slightly and an eligibility requirement established. All of these changes and the new procedures are outlined on the Tech Fund Allocation website.
The Financial Officers and technology liaisons in each area were provided a computer inventory. They are currently reviewing that inventory to ensure that it is accurate and to provide the necessary function designation used to determine eligibility. Once those lists are returned, OIT will produce the final report of all machines eligible for funding reimbursement. These funds will be reimbursed to the department once the eligible machine (or an older machine) is returned to OIT for recycling. Typically the report of eligible machines will be produced in January, for budget planning for the next fiscal year.
A classroom inventory is currently being compiled by the various schools. Once that inventory is produced, the classrooms most in need of an upgrade will be identified. That list along with an upgrade schedule will be published on the Tech Fund website.
The new methodology is designed to offer the following:
- Better pricing on computers as bulk purchase discounts can be negotiated
- Quicker installation process as upgrades will be scheduled throughout the entire year (rather than occurring in the span of three months)
- Updated equipment in the classrooms as older technology is removed and standards are implemented
- Updated computer environment for student use in labs and libraries
- Better utilization of funds for software license agreements
- and more
For more information, visit the Tech Fund Website.