Moving from Locker.SMU to Box

Earlier this year, Box was implemented as the new file storage and sharing application for SMU.  It is the replacement solution for Locker which is scheduled to be decommissioned later this summer.  Locker.SMU currently supports three main environments:  bstore (Bulk storage), Org Space (Organizational Data) and Users.  Each of these environments has unique requirements and, therefore, the migration steps are slightly different.  At this time, the migration of the data stored in bstore is complete.

Box Storage Structure and Permissions

Box handles permissions differently from Locker which eliminates the possibility of easily reproducing the current data structure in the new Box environment.  File permissions are granted at a folder level, which means any files contained within that folder inherit the same permissions.  Locker allowed for individual files within a folder to have unique permissions assigned.  As we move to Box, files containing unique permissions will have to be contained within their own folder.

To assist with the transition to this new permission structure, OIT will offer training focused only on sharing files in Box.  Additional information and links to other training videos are posted on the Box Service page.

Locker changes to Read-Only mode

On April 11, OIT will modify the permissions on Locker (both user and Org Space) to allow read-only access.  Individuals and departments will still be able to access any content currently stored in the application.  However, no new files or changes to existing files will be available.

During this transition time, you are encouraged to do one of the following if you need to share new content or modify existing content:

  1. Utilize your individual Box space
  2. Request a folder within the Departmental Box space for your organizational files. A form is available on help.smu.edu to facilitate this request.

 

Migrating Files for Organizational Spaces

The migration of organization data will be a little more difficult due to the number of files and unique permissions.   Main directories have been created in Box for group storage similar to the structure that exists in locker today.  Where possible, a data manager has been identified for each area.  Beginning April 11, the files in OrgSpace will be copied from Locker and placed in the main directory for each area.  Only the data manager will have access to the files in the main directory.  A report will be provided to each data manager which outlines the permissions assigned to each file as it currently is configured within Locker.  The data manager will then create the appropriate folders and assign the permissions to either the departmental groups or individuals as needed.  This process may take a few days to complete.  During that transition, individuals can contact their designated data manager to have a file moved or a new collaborative folder created if needed.  These requests should be made using the appropriate form on help.smu.edu as it will automatically route to the correct data owner for a quick resolution.

Locker to Box TimelinePlease note, files will be organized and permissions assigned at the folder levels.  If files contained within a folder had unique permissions, these may be lost during the migration process.  If you know of any sensitive files that might be adversely impacted, please consider moving those to a separate folder now to ensure the permissions remain the way you intended.

Migrating Files for Individuals (User space)

Once Locker is in read-only mode, a process will be initiated to copy all files from the locker user folder and deposit them in the Box folder for that individual.  All files will remain in their various folders but individual file permissions will be removed.  Individuals can then login to their Box account and setup collaboration folders and permissions as needed.  Any file that was previously shared with either read or read/write permissions will have to be addressed and communicated with the appropriate recipient.  The data migration for user files is scheduled to occur the week of April 25.

Locker to Box TimelineWe anticipate the migration process requiring approximately 3 weeks to complete.  We know that there will be some inconveniences during the transition time as files are moved and permissions reassigned.  We will do everything we can to move quickly and respond to all requests.  We look forward to completing this migration and decommissioning the Locker service shortly thereafter.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact the IT Help Desk at 214-768-4357.

Classroom Technology Upgrades

Classroom Technology is a critical piece of the academic environment.  Over the past year, the AV team has upgraded approximately 50 classrooms primarily during the breaks in between terms.  The team is preparing to upgrade approximately 60 classrooms this summer!

Each room is slightly different and therefore has different AV needs.  However, with each design, the AV team is working on a standard configuration to help faculty transition from room to room more easily.  In addition, we are working on implementing a remote control solution that will allow the help desk to reset equipment or toggle the source buttons to resolve classroom issues. This will allow the faculty member to resume teaching quickly rather than waiting for a consultant to arrive in the classroom.

Since classrooms are used heavily all year round, scheduling the upgrades is rather challenging.  We are still working with the various schools to finalize the list of rooms and the date for each upgrade.  The following is a general list of buildings to be targeted this summer:

  • Hyer Hall: All classrooms
  • Fondren Science: All classrooms
  • Prothro: All classrooms excluding the Great Hall
  • Cox: 3 classrooms
  • Engineering: several classrooms
  • Law: several classrooms

The complete list and schedule will be posted in early May.

Microsoft ending support for older browsers

Microsoft EdgeMicrosoft will soon stop supporting older versions of Internet Explorer and will only continue to support Internet Explorer (IE) 11 and their new Edge web browser.

In fact, you may begin receiving prompts to upgrade your version of IE from Microsoft. This raises a common question regarding browser compatibility issues with the various applications and tools we use on a daily basis.

What browsers are available?

Microsoft Internet Explorer/Edge, Firefox and Chrome are the most popular browsers.  It is recommended that you have at least two if not all three of these browsers installed on your computer.

Should I upgrade my browser when prompted?

Yes!  The vendors provide upgrades to the browser software on a regular basis. Most of these upgrades include critical security patches to ensure the safety of your browsing sessions.  Failing to install the latest version makes your system vulnerable.

What do I do if my web applications aren’t working?

When vendors develop the upgrades, they are not able to test their upgrades with every application on the market.  Unfortunately, it is not unusual for a website or web application to “break” with a particular update.  Thus, it is beneficial to know a few troubleshooting steps when you encounter issues with an application:

  1. Clear the browser cache and relaunch the browser completely
    Sometimes, the temporary files behind the scenes cause issues.  Clearing the browser cache and restarting the browser completely often fixes application issues.
  2. Try a different browser
    If one browser isn’t working right with your application, try launching that application in a different browser.  Believe it or not, the applications may function a little differently in each browser.
  3. Use the browser compatibility option in Internet Explorer
    Because application developers are not always able to integrate new changes in the browser code quickly, browsers have several tools built in to fix compatibility issues.  It is often helpful to know how to activate these tools if you really want to continue using a specific browser.  For example– in Internet Explorer, click the gear icon and select Compatibility View Settings.

For additional troubleshooting tips for each browser, click on the appropriate links below

  1. Firefox: support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/troubleshoot-and-diagnose-firefox-problems
  2. Chrome: support.google.com/chrome/troubleshooter/6273575?hl=en
  3. Internet Explorer: windows.microsoft.com/en-US/internet-explorer/internet-explorer-help

Where do I go for help?

Over the past 6 months, there have been a large number of changes as we transitioned to Shared Services. Although we are still modifying and improving processes, the main contact channels will remain intact.  This ensures you always know how to get help when you need it.

Classroom Emergency Support

  • Please dial 214-768-8888 to access the classroom support line.
  • Faculty in Cox can continue to use the help button on the podiums in the classrooms.

Classrooms in Lyle:

  • For Computer or Network issues in the classroom, contact 214-768-8888.
  • For assistance with AV and recording equipment, please contact the Lyle Distance Education Help Desk at 214-768-1260 or email dehelp@lyle.smu.edu.
    Lyle Help Desk Hours: Monday – Friday 8:30AM-5:00PM
    Control Rooms: Monday – Thursday 11:00AM-9:45PM and Saturday 8:00AM-12:30PM

Reporting issues or requests for assistance

The IT Help Desk is now fully staffed (see We are excited to announce the new Help Desk team!) and last month, we began offering full-time Help Desk support coverage 7 days a week. To ensure that all reported issues are being addressed quickly, support requests will be first handled/reviewed by the IT Help Desk rather than being distributed immediately to the local IT Resources.

All requests for assistance (outside of the classroom emergencies) should be made through one of our contact channels listed below.  The Help Desk will either respond to the issue directly or route the issue to the appropriate personnel for resolution.  Since many of the responsibilities of our IT personnel changed with the move to Shared Services, this process will ensure an efficient and timely response to your request by the appropriate personnel.

 Hours:

Monday through Friday: 8:00AM-8:00 PM
(classroom support line opens at 7:45am)
Saturday: 9:00AM-5:00PM
Sunday: 12:00pm-6:00pm

Contact Information

Email: help@smu.edu
Phone: 214-768-4357
Ticket System: help.smu.edu
In Person: Hughes Trigg Student Center

After hours emergency

Call the help desk number at 214-768-4357 and activate the emergency pager line.  This notifies the help desk consultant on call as well as the Director of Customer Service.

Additional Information

Printing issues/requests:  email imagenet@smu.edu

IT Purchases (Hardware and Software only): techsales@smu.edu

The Cox IT Desk: The Cox IT Desk will continue to serve the Cox community for checking out equipment and general assistance.  They are open Monday- Thursday from 7:30am- 9:30pm, Friday 7:30am-5:00pm, and Saturday from 7:30am-3:30pm.

As with any transition, some modifications may be needed.  We promise to address issues as quickly as possible.  Your feedback on requests for assistance is greatly appreciated can easily be done by replying to the ticket survey. You are also welcome to contact Help Desk Manger Lauren Nelson or the Director of Customer Service, Rachel Mulry, with any feedback.

Service Desk Quarterly Reports

Since a majority of the help requests are captured within our help desk ticketing system, we have access to a large amount of data regarding the types of issues or requests being made on a regular basis. Although the ticket metrics do not provide a comprehensive picture of the work being done by IT, it does provide some valuable information about trends, typical response times and areas for improvement.

A few weeks ago, a report was sent to each of the schools capturing some general information and metrics gleaned from the ticket system as well as key highlights from the shared services transition.  The metrics presented can serve simply as a baseline for understanding service levels.  After producing the initial report, we’ve identified several processes where we need to report in much more detail to capture the actual service level.  So adjustments are being made so the data will be more meaningful to the campus community.

For example, a single account request may involve up to 14 different sub-tickets before it is complete.  The response time in the reports capture the average time to resolve an account issue but does not take into account how many subtickets are involved!  So in future reports, I hope to illustrate how long it takes for each subgroup to process their portion or how long it takes for access to each system.

The first reports are now available for the SMU Community. It is our goal to share our progress as we implement and improve this shared services model.  This report will be published on a quarterly basis. To access the report, visit www.smu.edu/OIT/AboutUs/SharedServices.