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Recent IT incidents across the University

01 Nov 2022

A message from PJ Hemmaway, Director of IT

As you are undoubtedly aware, a number of IT issues, especially during October, have resulted in staff and students experiencing problems using services such as Wi-Fi, My Manchester, Blackboard, GlobalProtect VPN, Library resources, business applications, mailing lists, printers and many others.

We know that this has caused disruption to lectures, research, work, access to online services, and other learning and research activities. As Director of IT, I would firstly like to apologise for this ongoing disruption and acknowledge the impact this is having on your ability to work, teach and study.

I also want to explain these recent issues and to let you know how we communicate about IT incidents, to help you to stay informed.

IT incidents

We have been seeing errors with equipment in our data centres and have been working with our vendor to resolve them. During this time, we have had to make several changes to work towards fixing these issues and, because these changes affect key equipment in our data centres, most of our IT services have been temporarily disrupted as a result. Normally we would communicate disruptive changes with as much notice as possible, however the nature of the work has meant that we have had to carry it out quickly to reduce the risk of the problems getting worse.

I’m sorry to say that the over-riding issues are not yet fully resolved, and there will need to be some planned network downtime once we have identified a lasting fix with our vendor.

Keeping you informed

When work is planned which may cause disruption, we aim to communicate this with sufficient notice, to allow our colleagues and students to plan accordingly. For example, in the case where routine maintenance means that there may be interruption to campus-wide network connectivity, we would aim for communications to start two weeks in advance, unless the situation is more urgent. Announcements about major University-wide work like this are usually posted on StaffNet, the all-staff eUpdate newsletter, Student News, the weekly student newsletter, the IT Services website IT Planned Work mailing list and multiple messages on the IT Services Twitter account.

Depending on the level of impact, there may also be local communications sent to contacts in specific University buildings for cascade, emails direct to residents in Halls, or updates shared on local (faculty or school based) news channels.

We invite all colleagues and students to follow us on Twitter or sign up for the IT Planned Work mailing list to be informed of major work in advance.

When there is an unexpected major IT incident, we communicate this as quickly as we can through the IT Services Twitter account, IT Services website, StaffNet News and Student News. If you notice an IT issue, we advise you to check Twitter or the IT Services website, and if there is no announcement, then contact the IT Support Centre directly; preferably via the 24/7 phone line on 0161 306 5544, to report it.

I’m truly sorry for the disruption and frustration that I know the recent issues have caused. Both I, and my wider IT Services colleagues will continue to work hard on addressing these problems until they are completely resolved.

A separate but similar message has also been shared with our students.

Thank you for your patience and best wishes.

PJ Hemmaway

Director of IT