This Week in LIS - 18 November 2011

Weekly news and updates from Luther College Information Technology Services. To receive email updates, please sign up here.

Headline of the Week: 2011-2012 Staff Computer Rollout has Begun

LIS has begun meeting with administrative departments and scheduling computer upgrades. Conversations have been held with the following departments during the past couple of weeks:

  • Dean’s Office
  • College Ministries
  • Human Resources
  • Center for Global Learning
  • Regents Center
  • Diversity Center
  • Student Life & Wellness

Conversations will also be held this year with:

  • Administrative Services
  • Book Shop
  • Career Center
  • Residence Life

Beginning with the 2010-11 academic year, staff computer upgrades are now on a staggered 3-year cycle. The departments are divided in thirds, and every year one third of all staff computers are refreshed. This new cycle is manageable for most needs and maximizes our hardware investments.

The new and upgraded systems will automatically be loaded with the standard software that we provide to offices on campus. This includes Microsoft Office 2010/2011, OpenOffice, Firefox and Chrome web browsers, Adobe Reader, Citrix, Media Players (Quicktime, Windows Media Player) and various utilities for managing computer files.

Windows computers will have Windows 7 operating system and Mac computers will have Snow Leopard installed.

For more information on the Staff Computer Refresh, visit

LIS Blog Highlights from the Week

The following articles are sampled from those available on the LIS Blog:

Notes from LIS Council

LIS Council is the leadership team within LIS. Among the topics discussed this past week were:

LIS Council did not meet this week.

NITLE Opportunities

As a member of NITLE (National Institute for Technology and Liberal Education), Luther has the opportunity to participate in a wide variety of developmental and training programs intended for faculty, librarians, and information technologists. Events listed at the link below are currently open for registration by Luther participants. LIS Staff who are interested in participating in an event should speak with Diane Gossman. Faculty who are interested in participating should speak with Lori Stanley. Participation is contingent upon available funding and program acceptance.

A full list of events (sortable by registration deadline) is available at

Upcoming LIS Training, Instruction, and Professional Development Opportunities

Click on the event below for specific information and for a link to register. More information on training and development events is available.

Course Format Date Location Enrollment
"Half the Sky" Reading Group A Faculty Development Nov 21 2011 – 12:15pm 1:15pm Dahl Centennial Union – Borlaug Closed
"Half the Sky" Reading Group C Faculty Development Nov 21 2011 – 5:00pm 6:00pm Dahl Centennial Union – Borlaug Closed
New Faculty Teaching Group: Luther's January Term Faculty Development Nov 28 2011 – 12:15pm 1:15pm Dahl Centennial Union – Mott Open
New Faculty Teaching Group: Luther's January Term Faculty Development Nov 28 2011 – 1:30pm 2:30pm Dahl Centennial Union – Mott Open
Reason Web Training Workshop Nov 28 2011 – 2:00pm 4:00pm Olin 301 – Round Table Room Open
LIS Summer Faculty Workshop Brown Bag Workshop Dec 5 2011 – 12:00pm 1:30pm Dahl Centennial Union – Mott Open
LIS Summer Faculty Workshop Brown Bag Workshop Dec 6 2011 – 11:45am 1:15pm Dahl Centennial Union – Mott Open

Food for Thought: Identity Theft and Cloud Applications

Theft and loss of laptops is currently estimated to be more than 85,000 per year and rising dramatically 1. The incidence level is highest among research and education than in other industries 2. The recent report of Warren Country Community College exemplifies the problem of having confidential student data leaving campus on laptops — over 5,000 current and former students were in danger of experiencing identity theft with the college endangered by endless litigation. Encrypting or password protecting data on a laptop containing confidential information is little more than a minor hindrance to the “big business’ that has grown up around selling usable, confidential information on the open “identity market” 3. Microsoft’s much touted Windows 7 “Bitlocker” was cracked within months 4. Another view into just how easy it is to crack passwords and encryption is related in the story of a German man who cracked 160-bit SHA-1 Crypto (STRONG encryption) using an Amazon GPU he rented for $2.40 5.

Combine these facts with a common lack of knowledge on the part of employees that emailing documents containing confidential information is analogous to posting the information on a freeway billboard and we quickly uncover the timidly weak security inherrent in storing our documents on our personal computer and using desktop software like Microsoft Excel and Word.

Enter “Cloud Applications”, i.e., Google Docs, etc. Confidential information never leaves campus with the laptop, its secure in the cloud, yet accessible for all who have permission… from anywhere. Nothing need ever be emailed to a coworker, just shared in a secure environment that has never been broken. The only breach of security has occurred when users voluntarily remitted their passwords to “spear-fishing” scams. If you’re handling confidential information for the organization and keep copies on your laptop or emailing them to other users, don’t you think moving to Google docs is a really good idea?

1. The Billion Dollar Lost Laptop Study – 9/30/2010
2. ibid.
3. – 11/4/2011: Laptop containing private student information stolen at Warren County Community College
4. Lifehacker: How to Break Into a Windows PC… – 10/28/2011
5. Infosecurity: SHA-1 CRYPTO Protocol Cracked… – 11/18/2010

Thanks to Bob Puffer for this week’s submission.

This Week in LIS is published most Fridays by Diane Gossman, Chair of the LIS Council, on behalf of the LIS Council at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa. The Library and Information Services Council provides strategic leadership for information support to Luther College and its mission.

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