Pitt extending contract with Box for another year


Pitt plans to extend its contract with Box for an extra year to give Box users more time to learn the process of switching from this file storage method to the newly offered OneDrive — or to alternative storage of their own choosing, from Google Drive to Dropbox or Apple’s iCloud.

Pitt IT's Deputy Chief Information Officer Adam Hobaugh told the Senate Computing and Information Technology Committee on Feb. 8 that the contract would now last through August 2022.

“We believe that is the best path forward and creates the least disruption,” he said. The administration will still need to reduce Box usage from 2.8 to 2.3 petabytes of data, or by 17.8 percent, by August of this year. “We’re going to focus on (transferring) the administrative and less-complicated usage of Box first … which is most of the usage.”

His office plans to create a quick guide for Box users to learn the benefits of switching to OneDrive.

In other computer committee news

  • Meta Mesh, the nonprofit service aiming to beam free Wi-Fi from the Cathedral of Learning roof to selected communities where such a service is most needed in the Pittsburgh area, has selected antenna sites in New Kensington, Coraopolis and Homewood as its first targets, reported Jay Graham, enterprise architect in Pitt IT. Partnering with Pitt, Carnegie Mellon and other organizations, Metamesh already has a test antenna aimed at Pittsburgh’s Allentown neighborhood and plans to have 360 degrees of antennas on top of the Cathedral, offering download and upload speeds topping those commercially available from local internet providers at no cost to community members.

  • Since Pitt Worx, the University’s new suite of human resources software, went live Jan. 4, according to Dwight Helfrich, Pitt IT’s director of enterprise initiatives, “from a support perspective, most of our questions have been about timecards.” The department created “war rooms” in Zoom, he said, to handle the questions.

  • Committee member Alex Labrinidis, faculty in the School of Computing and Information, asked whether Pitt would be offering desktop computers to faculty, since they are generally cheaper and more powerful than laptops. Chief Information Officer Mark Henderson said that, although it is his department’s recommendation for most employees to use mobile technology, his department will support desktops. Over the past six months, he noted, Pitt IT had reduced in-house expenditures on devices by $600,000.

  • Henderson also introduced Ollie Green as the University’s new chief information security officer. Green began work at the beginning of February and is still in his early rounds of gathering information about Pitt’s needs, he said. He replaces Joel Garmon, who recently retired.

Marty Levine is a staff writer for the University Times. Reach him at martyl@pitt.edu or 412-758-4859.


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