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October 2021
McMaster Connectivity Newsletter

For the IT community, by the IT community.

McMaster IT News
MFA required on all Microsoft 365 services

McMaster will be requiring Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) on Microsoft 365 services for all students, faculty members and staff, beginning in the winter semester. This is a Higher Education IT Security best practice and has full support from McMaster's senior leaders, including the Provost, VP Operations and Finance, and Provost Council. 

However, there’s no need to wait! You can start today! McMaster students, faculty members and staff can sign up for and use MFA right now.

Read more
GetMFA is your chance to win prizes!

National Cyber Security Awareness Month is not over yet! Participate in the GetMFA campaign and sign up for multi-factor authentication, and you'll be entered into a draw to win some cool prizes, like Apple AirPods, a Bose wireless speaker and more! Contest ends October 31st. Winners will be announced in November!

Take the quiz
Women in IT Security panel: video recording available

As part of McMaster's National Cyber Security Awareness Month festivities, the Office of the AVP and CTO hosted the Women in IT Security panel on October 19th. Higher ed IT leaders from Humber College, CanSSOC and McMaster IT came together to discuss a wide variety of topics unique to women working in the IT security field.

Watch panel
IT Spotlight: cyber people and tech at McMaster

October is an exciting month for IT security professionals and enthusiast alike — it’s National Cyber Security Awareness Month! IT Security is a year-round responsibility and a priority of the McMaster IT Strategic Plan. Given its importance in the Higher Ed landscape, October’s IT Spotlight will explore the people and tech that help keep McMaster’s online environment secure.

Read here
Can you beat our phishing awareness course?

Think you're actually good at spotting phishing? Phishing attempts have come a long way from princes and lost family members. Learn the top tactics hackers use to try and steal your login information. Take the course on Avenue to Learn!

A2L phishing course

CTO reflections: Cyber security, a team effort

For National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM) efforts, AVP & CTO Gayleen Gray reflects on the team effort involved in strengthening our cyber security posture this past year and moving forward.

Read more
University-wide web accessibility comes to McMaster!

In keeping with current legislation and web accessibility best practices, McMaster is undertaking a university-wide AODO Web Accessibility Roadmap initiative.

A project team has been formed to oversee the roll out the Web Accessibility Roadmap and will be developing opportunities to also gather feedback on the activities outlined in the endorsed Web Accessibility Roadmap, including info sessions. This is a vitally important series of activities, and we appreciate your support and dedication as the roadmap evolves and unfolds. Read more in the project SharePoint.

Read more
Windows decommissioning earlier versions of Outlook for desktop

Starting November 1, 2021, Windows is saying goodbye to earlier versions of Outlook for desktop. Users on older versions will no longer be able to send or receive emails. Microsoft will be initiating this change, so make sure you're up to date on the latest version!

Not sure what version you're on or how to upgrade? Check below for those answers.

More details
Windows 11 compatibility testing

Microsoft has released a new operating system, Windows 11, on Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2021. As with any new operating system release, some software applications or services may not install or work correctly with Windows 11 until new versions of those packages become available.

University Technology Services (UTS) is testing Windows 11 to determine its compatibility with university-provided software and services. UTS recommends that students, faculty members and staff delay upgrading to or installing Windows 11 until this testing has been completed. Further communications will be provided when Windows 11 becomes a supported operating system, which is anticipated to be by early 2022.

For further questions, please contact UTS or your local IT department.

New features to watch for: Jira and Confluence

Check out these new features for the best online experience. 

Jira SD upgrade in November (v4.13) includes new features for:

  • Customers
  • Service Desk Teams (Agents)
    • Bulk action in queues
    • Sort Queue by Heading
    • No Scrolling Needed to View Next Page
    • Prefix and Suffix searching
  • Project Administrators
    • A new look for the Users and roles page within project settings

Confluence upgrade in November brings new features, such as:

  • You can now choose from 49 different table cell colours
  • Accessibility improvements
  • Increased label limit for Page Properties Report macro, from 20 to 60
Note: If you have attachments locked for editing, the attachment will be automatically unlocked during the upgrade and you will receive an email notification. It is your responsibility to lock the attachment again if needed. The system will not do this for you.
NEW! Microsoft 365 and Zoom features and updates
See a demo above of the Office 365 Hub for the McMaster Community.

Microsoft Teams Breakout rooms just got better! Save time and plan ahead by setting up Breakout Rooms in advance of a meeting. And assign other users within a meeting to help set up and run Breakout Rooms.

Whiteboard has new updates! Check out the new look and feel, updated features, templates, flow charts, reactions and more engaging ways to collaborate!

A new intro to Zoom Basics and Breakout Rooms is available to the McMaster community. More how-tos and step-by-step guides for Zoom and Microsoft 365 are available on the Discover SharePoint site (head to the "Learn" tab).

The Bookings app can easily schedule meetings, so check out how to use this great tool. Check out the Getting Started guide for Bookings.

SAVE THE DATE: McMaster IT Virtual Holiday Social 

Mark your calendars, McMaster IT! Bring your favourite cozy drink and join IT colleagues in conversation and fun activities on November 24, 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Microsoft Teams. 

Listen in! Virtual hallway chat with Gayleen and Anna DiFilippo
Watch here!

Listen in as Gayleen chats with Sr. Technical Support Analyst Anna DiFilippo as they discuss Anna's career path at McMaster, telecommunications, family, secret beaches, vacation plans and throw back to the summer.

If you're missing the delightful run-ins and impromptu conversations on campus and want to chat with Gayleen, please reach out to Tanya Reid at to set up a Virtual Hallway Chat.

Catch up on previous Hallway Chats.
Happy Halloween, McMaster IT!

We hope you have a spooktacular and treat-filled Halloween! 

Items of interest

ACCESS Tech: IT Collection, Reuse and Donation

Donate your used tech to a Hamiltonian in need! ACCESS Tech is a collaboration among sustainability students, Facility Services, Empowerment Squared and University Technology Services to collect, reuse and donate used technology to the community. Laptops, mobile devices, keyboards, mouses (mice?) and lots more are needed! It's not too late to donate -- refer to the website for more information and send any questions to Check below to find out how you can make a difference.

More details

Top 30 Edtech leaders transforming education: Gayleen Gray

Keeping up with technological change is hard in the best of circumstances. And the past 18 months have kept IT professionals and leaders on the tips of their toes as educational institutions faced rapidly changing environments. 

Gayleen Gray, AVP & CTO, has been recognized as an edtech leader transforming education by Engati. Read more and check out other inspiring leaders to follow.

Read here

NERCOMP Annual Conference

The NERCOMP Annual Conference, taking place March 14-16, 2022, brings together higher education library and IT professionals from across the Northeast to build up expertise around issues they care about the most. Want to submit a presentation proposal? The upcoming conference covers a variety of key topics you can speak to and that are built around three key themes of resiliencetransformation and the common good. Presentation proposals are due November 1st.

Submit here

Have a story you want to share with the IT Community? Email Peter McDonald at to feature an article!

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