Notice of major IT infrastructure work

Widespread disruption to services whilst we upgrade the firewalls

We're building the foundations for better IT, beginning with the upgrade of our site firewalls. This is a major piece of our network infrastructure and these works will cause a brief but widespread outage to all internet and cloud based University services which are protected by these firewalls.

In order to minimise the disruption as much as possible, we are proposing to do the work outside core office hours and during one of our agreed maintenance windows. The majority of the work will be done throughout the early hours of Tuesday, 17 December, between 3.30am and 5.30am. During these hours, there will be short but widespread outage to the majority of University services. Once the network is restored we will test all affected services to check everything is working, and aim to have completed these tests by 8.00am.

Why are we carrying out this work now?

The firewalls are the single most critical component in the provision of connectivity between the University and the internet including all our external sites as well as access to all our cloud based services. 

The software platform of our existing firewalls is no longer supported, which means no more security fixes will be released for them. Unless we replace our firewalls, this will present a significant risk to the University in terms of capability and security vulnerability.  

What are the benefits of replacing the firewalls? 

Our supplier (Fortinet) is an industry leader for next generation firewalls. Our new platform will provide students and staff with a faster, more responsive service which will enable us to take advantage of increased internet speeds and capabilities.

Upgrading the firewalls will provide us with a resillient platform that will greatly enhance our security capabilities over the next 5 years providing students and staff with peace of mind.

Which services will be affected?

All University services which rely on internet connectivity via our network will be unavailable for a short time whilst the work is carried out. This will include any cloud hosted services which are accessed off campus and require a University login

Some of the core business services that will be impaced will include but are not limited to:

 
 UOB Campus  Available 
 Service on-campus off-campus
 Remote Access (VPN) Yes  No
 Email for staff  Yes - limited  No
 Email for students (Office365)  No  No
 Office 365  No  No
 Skype for Business (staff)  Yes - limited  No
 IT Service Portal  No  No
 UoB website/intranet  Yes  No
 my.bham portal  Yes  No
 Internet  Yes  No
 Core Systems  No  No
 Student Records Systems (BIRMS etc)  Yes  No
 Student systems (Canvas, Alma etc)  No  No
File stores Yes No

Further information

To help staff learn more about the upgrade and how it may potentially affect their services we are running Firewall Upgrade Information Sessions. These are drop in sessions so staff don't need to RSVP. There will be an opportunity to ask questions. 

 
 Date Time  Place 
Monday 2 December 2.00 - 3.00pm Old Gym LG09
Thursday 5 December 2.00 - 3.00pm Old Gym LG06

 

 

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