Pitt IT makes quick adjustments to meet new needs


Pitt IT has made several quick improvements and changes to head off potential problems — which may not be cropping up where you expect, says Brady Lutsko, communications and training manager for that office.

Sending most people off campus to work from home has actually lessened the burden on PittNet, says Lutsko, since most people are using their own WiFi systems. Many central pieces of software — MS Office, Courseweb and others — are now hosted in the cloud by third-party providers anyway. And local software, such as the financial programs Pitt uses, PRISM and certain research-centered programs, are just experiencing normal use.

But Pitt IT has now acquired a Zoom enterprise license, so that all students, faculty and staff can download and use it.

And several IT areas at Pitt have needed extra capacity and new technology:

  • Some units at Pitt use call centers, including Panther Central and the Office of Admissions and Financial Aid. Pitt IT has now installed automatic call-distributing technology to route calls to different home numbers until a staff member answers.

  • Pitt IT usually offers support via a call center, but new software that allows remote access to others’ machines — once permission is granted, of course — is the new substitute for directing callers to a walk-in center for more complicated fixes.

  • With increased use of VPN to duplicate office systems at home, the Pitt system has offered guidance to show the Pitt community when such a move is or isn’t necessary. Pitt also performed “major upgrades to increase the number of users who could access VPN simultaneously,” Lutsko says. VPN should only be used, he adds, under three circumstances:

    • if only your machine in the office has power enough to handle your research project;
    • if your department has software licensed only to an office machine; or
    • most commonly, if your department has files that should not be stored remotely.

 “There were quite a few (IT) projects to be completed by the end of summer that were accelerated to last Monday,” Lutsko says.

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


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