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Updates to Colleagues

Updates to Colleagues

Issues with University IT Systems - update from the Vice-Chancellor

17:00 Friday 11 September

Dear colleagues,

Apologies for sending two communications in one day but these are important and urgent issues for us all.

I wanted to update you on our recent IT issues before we head into the weekend. 

Firstly, while the majority of our services can be accessed by colleagues and students as normal or via the workarounds that have been put in place, we are aware of a small number of staff who have lost all access to email and associated services.

We do understand how frustrating this is but please be assured that NUIT colleagues, working with your managers, will contact you as soon as possible to help.

From the outset we were acutely aware of the challenges we faced in terms of communicating to all colleagues during this time.

Please remember that all communications related to this incident – including the staff emails - are hosted on the NUIT external site so they are available to anyone.

We have also been pointing colleagues and students to this site via social media but please can I ask for your help in reaching out to any colleagues unable to access email and update them on what is happening or direct them to the online FAQs.

Overall, we are making progress with the technical work to assess the full extent of what has happened and to restore full service. As we have said from the start, this is going to take some time to fix and we may have further unexpected disruption to services in the next few weeks.

  • We have already registered over 1,000 students in the Faculty of Medical Sciences and we look forward to welcoming all other students as planned from 28th September.
  • The vast majority of colleagues have IT and email access and are able to do their normal job. For those experiencing problems with access, we will contact you as soon as possible to help fix your access issues.
  • Zoom and Teams are working well and our meetings and communications are working normally.
  • We have communicated with all students with instructions on how to register, and with information on smartcards and access to accommodation.
  • Canvas, our new VLE, is working.
  • The Philip Robinson Library is open for “Click and Collect” and the Marjorie Robinson Library Rooms are open for pre-booked study space. The service for both of these is working normally.
  • Exam boards will be meeting next week as planned and we are confident that they will have all the information they need to assess resits etc.
  • Our student payment gateway is working and we are guiding self-funding students to correctly access the service.
  • In terms of financial operations, purchase orders are being issued, bills and expense claims are being paid, student payments were made on time in September and tuition fees and other payments are being collected.
  • In terms of People Services, our recruitment system is working and we are able to handle the vast majority of colleague queries. We are accelerating some of our processes so we can be confident that you will all be paid on time.
  • Research proposals are being costed using workaround processes and costing templates
  • Student services are available as normal for remote access and we are progressing plans for the reopening of campus-based facilities
  • Business Warehouse is working and we can produce management information on relevant activities.

The technical review of all our IT systems is complex and will take time to complete thoroughly. However, from the work we have done so far, we have not yet found any evidence of any exfiltration of personal data as a result of this cyber incident.

I recognise that we still have more work to do.  Timetabling is a key priority and we are finding workarounds for this in the coming days.

We also need to address operational issues with some of our door locks and will send you an update on building access early next week.

Finally, I have been really heartened by the creative and flexible approach being taken by colleagues across the University to address these areas. I know how many of you are stepping forward and offering to work through weekends and evenings to help get all our services ready for our students returning at the end of the month.  Thank you, for all your hard work.

With all my best wishes

Professor Chris Day, Vice-Chancellor and President