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Network News

March 2021
Volume 18, Number 3

From the CIO

CIO Nelson Moe
CIO Nelson Moe

Marking one year of telework

It was nearly one year ago that we learned of COVID-19. The world watched and wondered: would the virus infiltrate the United States? What about Virginia?

In mid-March, many of us took home supplies, computers, extra monitors, thinking that we would likely return to the office in just a few weeks, once we flattened the curve and eradicated the virus. Weeks turned to months, and today we turn the page of our calendars to a new month – the one that marks a full year in a remote work environment.

From the virtual private network to vaccinations, VITA has worked hard to provide new technological capabilities across the enterprise during this unprecedented time. As COVID-19 vaccines have become available, we are now assisting with inventory and deployment initiatives. 

In addition to responding to needs related to the pandemic, VITA continues its work to enhance and improve the infrastructure and to move the data center to a new location (see infographic below regarding our progress). Our mission is to deliver sustainable and effective results to our customers through innovative, efficient and secure services -- and I would add, whether we are in the middle of a pandemic or not. We are committed to this mission, and working together with our customers and suppliers, we are marching forward to achieve it. Thank you and stay well.

 

Nelson

Redesigned VITA website delivers new look, ease of use, better accessibility 

We launched our new customer-focused website on Feb. 16, with optimized navigation, enhanced accessibility features and data-driven presentation of content, to help customers find what they need easier and faster. During the nearly yearlong research project, VITA’s in-house web and communications teams built the redesigned site through in-depth customer reviews, surveys and focus groups, as well as data analytics and search terms. The website homepage features a simplified, modular design, an enlarged, single menu and prominently-placed search bars. The responsive design easily translates across all platforms, whether customers are using a computer or a mobile device.  

Check out the newly redesigned site at vita.virginia.gov. 

See Chief Operating Officer Jon Ozovek's introduction to the site here

 

IT strategic planning for the 2022-2024 biennium update 

IT strategic planning season is quickly approaching. To assist with planning for this important activity, VITA would like to share a few important upcoming activities:  

  • March 10 – Agency information technology resource (AITR) meeting – VITA will provide pre-planning guidance for IT strategic plan (ITSP) development (including stakeholders who should participate) and preliminary information regarding the ITSP workshops in April.  
  • April – ITSP workshops will be conducted (dates to be determined). Each agency must attend one workshop. Attendance will be noted at each session. AITRs are required to attend a session. Additional agency representatives involved in IT strategic planning are welcome to attend as well. 
  • May 31 – Deadline for submitting agency IT strategic plans.  

If you have questions, please contact the IT investment management team.

 

Data center move progress 

With 2021’s data center move events now underway, it is a good time to take a moment to reflect on what we have accomplished thus far. Our achievements could not have been possible without the collaboration and cooperation of our agency partners and suppliers. We’re pleased to share a few facts and figures surrounding progress made in 2020, as well as a review of the original project objectives and current status as of Feb. 8. 

 

The 2021 annual technology plan is underway 

The annual technology plan (ATP) is designed to guide the Commonwealth to an innovative, efficient and secure information technology (IT) future. The ATP provides a rolling three-year projection of anticipated changes to the Commonwealth’s IT infrastructure and is a comprehensive and powerful tool for looking and planning ahead. The plan aggregates information from the Commonwealth IT strategic plan, the platform IT services strategy, agency inputs, refresh and currency plans, and detailed inputs from platform suppliers.  

AITRs were asked for their input for the 2021 ATP and in February, VITA held agency technology planning sessions to enable discussions about agency priorities for current and future technologies. The participation was tremendous - there were 46 agencies represented during these sessions. The work that we’re doing here is key to supporting all Commonwealth agencies.


Did you know? 
 

The knowledge base (KB) on the VITA service portal contains a variety of information and answers to questions about the tools and systems you use every day. KB articles are continually updated and contain steps and screenshots for things like activating a token, logging into the virtual private network (VPN), setting up Okta Google authentications and so much more. The “most viewed” option is a great way to locate the articles others are using and are likely great resources for you, too! 

 

Laptop and tablet battery swelling 

The VITA customer care center (VCCC) has seen an increase in incident tickets related to battery swelling in laptops and tablets. To mitigate the risk of battery swelling, you should: 

  1. Avoid keeping your device plugged in for extended periods of time. 
  2. Keep your device free from any obstructions, to include items that may block the device fan and ventilation ports. 
  3. If you are experiencing issues with battery swelling, submit a ticket to the VCCC

 

Save the date! Virtual security conference on June 24 

The Commonwealth Information Security Council is holding its seventh Information Security Conference virtually for 2021! The conference committee is busy preparing the agenda for the one-day event. There are still a few presenter spots available, please contact Maurice Coles if you are interested. Registration is slated to open in late March/early April.   

Learn more about this upcoming exciting conference

 

Training opportunities: New learning management system

The new IT infrastructure services platform (ITISP) learning management system (LMS) is live! The LMS allows agency personnel to:  

  • View a personalized training schedule, based on their role   
  • Register for classes   
  • Complete computer-based training (CBT)    

The LMS is available via the training widget on the VITA service portal homepage—providing easy access to training registration and CBT courses. We invite you to review knowledge base article KB0018324 to learn more.    

(Note: The ITISP LMS is not a replacement for the current DHRM enterprise LMS solution.)  

Available classes:  

  • Annual technology plan – March 5, 1 – 2:30 p.m. 
  • Change management – March 5, 10:30 a.m. – noon
  • Annual technology plan – March 8, 3 – 4:30 p.m.
  • Problem management – March 9, 9 – 10 a.m.
  • Annual technology plan – March 9, 9 – 10:30 a.m.
  • Reports and dashboards – March 10, 9 – 11 a.m.
  • Governance process – March 16, 1 – 2:30 p.m.
  • Solution design – March 23, 9 – 11 a.m.
  • Project management for suppliers – March 23, 1 – 3 p.m.

This is an exciting modernization for the training program designed to provide the best training options in a simple and easy tool. It does not replace any existing LMS; it does replace the previous system used to register for service portal and platform training classes.  If you have any questions, please contact the VCCC at 866-637-8482. 

 

Presenter view now available in Microsoft Teams 

Presenter view is now available to a presenter, privately, when sharing a PowerPoint file. The presenter can see the current slide, the slide notes and a thumbnail strip of all slides for easy navigation. If multiple users are presenting, each presenter can take control and easily get the presentation view without having to individually share the presentation from their Teams tray.   

Note: Presenter view is only available in meetings that open in a separate window. Enable the new meeting experience setting in the Teams desktop app setting to make this functionality available. 

 

Internet Explorer (IE) 11 error message on LTSB devices  

Are you a Windows 10 LTSB device user?* Have you been getting a flag ("not being supported") when trying to access certain websites? Here is why and what is being done to help you.  

Microsoft is pushing users to migrate away from IE 11 and move to their latest browser, Edge. For the approximately 26,000 users in the Commonwealth with a Windows 10 LTSB device, Edge is not included on your Windows operating system, which causes you to receive the error message on some sites. The error message does not stop users from accessing these sites, however; it displays a warning to users that the sites will no longer be supported by the IE 11 browser on your device.

  

What do you do about it?   

At this time, the end user has no action. VITA will soon kick off a project that will add Edge Chromium to the 26,000 Windows 10 LTSB devices while upgrading Windows 10 SAC systems to Edge Chromium. In the meantime, users should use Google Chrome or Firefox if they continue to experience issues.  

Read more about this topic here 

*How to determine which version you have: To find out which edition you're running, go to Windows Start > Settings > System Settings > About > Edition

 

New template provides agencies with increased requirements traceability and visibility to project timelines

As part of our increased focus and continued effort to make the request for solution (RFS) process simpler and more efficient, a new template for delivering proposals for agency RFSs and requests for estimate (RFEs) has been released. The new template was designed based on agency feedback. Now when an agency receives an RFS proposal, it will include:   

  • Improved identification of the resources needed to complete the project  
  • Increased requirements traceability 
  • Updated customer requirements section 
  • Visibility of project timeline  
  • An updated look with the new VITA logo and several new fields 

 

Microsoft offering free training for all COV employees   

As announced in last month’s Network News, all COV employees have access to free Microsoft-related training as part of the benefits from our Microsoft Unified Support agreement. Most all of the classes are on-demand and allow you to coordinate around your schedules. Included below is information on how to get access to the Microsoft learning services hub.   

The instructor-led webcasts are updated monthly and are technical briefings for specific products such as Office 365 and Azure. Users need to enroll before trying to register. Users can enroll by following these steps:

  1. Subject line of email should be:  “Registration for Services Hub” 
  2. Email Becky Sterner, Microsoft, at: becky.sterner@microsoft.com  
  3. Request to be enrolled into the system 

Once enrolled, users can register for them by following these steps:  

  1. Go to learning: https://serviceshub.microsoft.com/learning/  
  2. Scroll down to “Browse learning on Learning Campus” and choose “Discover More” under Webcasts  
  3. Choose your language  
  4. Choose which webcast you would like to attend 
  5. Click "Enroll Me"  

 

CyberStart America: last chance to register! 

This free program is now open and ends in March 2021. All Virginia students in grades 9-12 are invited to participate. There are just eight days left to register until the qualifying date of March 8!  

VITA and the Department of Education are partnered in the Commonwealth’s participation in CyberStart America - an innovative, online cybersecurity talent search and competition sponsored by the National Cyber Scholarship Foundation and SANS Institute. Virginia high school-aged students are encouraged to explore their aptitude for cybersecurity and computer science by participating in the program. Winning students can earn prizes and scholarships, as well as recognition for their schools.

The CyberStart America program is a series of 100% online challenges that allow students to act as cyber protection agents, to solve cybersecurity-related puzzles and explore related topics such as code breaking, programming, networking and digital forensics. The program is open to all, so activities can be part of assigned homework, an extracurricular club or completed on one’s own. Experience or knowledge in information technology or cybersecurity is not necessary to participate.

Complete details may be found at www.cyberstartamerica.org.

 

Information Security Tips

With the global pandemic comes the desire to stay updated with the most current information. However, it can be difficult for internet users to navigate this information and separate fact from fiction. Malicious activity comes through just about every communication channel: email, social media, text and phone messages, and of course, misleading and malicious websites. This month’s security tips give common examples of what you need to be on the lookout for in the months to come. 

Read Information Security Tips