GEM Award Winners

Three of our team were presented with a ‘Going the Extra Mile’ Award in September.

Nominated and voted for by their colleagues, and presented by Gary Bayliss, the award recognises the successful efforts of Tash, Nick and James in planning and implementing the Festival of Code in collaboration with Service Management colleagues:

‘… a big thank you to the TIS team here at the university; Nick, Tash, James, Dan, Martin and the rest of the team who worked tirelessly to enable this and who jumped in, last minute, to come up with a solution for the Pavilions.

This was at the core of the success of this years Festival of Code here in Plymouth, further contributing to the reputation of Computacenter and the University.’

Birgitte Aga
Creative Director

Institute of Digital Art and Technology

James Long

James Long

Nick Sharratt and Gary Bayliss

Nick Sharratt and Gary Bayliss

Tash Harden and Gary Bayliss

Tash Harden and Gary Bayliss

Beware of the Phishing Emails!

The university mail systems are constantly bombarded by Spam and Phishing (aimed at emails discovering user account details by clicking constructed links) in emails, the majority of these messages are either deleted or marked as such before being sent to the recipients mailbox.

Phishing emails are getting more and more clever, either by using university details or strategy information that is publicly available.

Please refer to the messages below, that have been received by university staff recently:



The link within the email (Faculty and Staff Portal) will direct any traffic to the following location: this can be discovered by hovering over the link itself.  As you can see this is not a Plymouth University domain (the ends in “, but it is aimed to confuse individuals.

Further down in the email, there are references to the Charles Seale-Hayne Library and Babbage Building, including the opening times for computing resources as well as official university tools for finding ‘Open Access’ computers and their availability.



The same principles apply to this communication as the first example, would you be contacted by an entity offering an overseas service, apparently approved by a senior member of staff that also goes on to talk about Student Funding (taken directly from the university website)?  The answer is simply no.  The phisher is using freely available information and appending it to a standard phishing email.

SonicWall have a really useful Phishing IQ test to determine how likely you are to fall foul of these attacks, have a look and see what score your receive?

If you receive emails like this or are unsure whether an email is from a valid source or not, please contact the Service Desk ( for assistance.

Cybercrime – Keep yourself protected

Thanks to a global initiative by the National Crime Agency, the FBI and other security organisations a temporary reprieve from the GoZeus and CryptoLocker malware applications has been provided.  The clock is already ticking before the next global attack is launched that will attempt to either steal your personal data, or encrypt your files and hold you to ransom to retrieve them again.

Whilst this sounds terrible, there are a number of simple steps that you can take to protect yourself in the cyber world:

  • Do not open any email attachments from unknown sources, or click on links you cannot verify (for example, an email entitled Larger mailbox from Plymouth University Support Desk with an email address of
  • Back up your important data regularly
  • Disconnect all USB sticks and external hard drives when they are not in use
  • Keep you computer (or smart phone) up to date with operating system patches
  • Ensure that you have active antimalware on the device

For University staff and students, there is the ability to procure Kaspersky’s security software at a 50% discount.

Plymouth University named runner-up in national IT innovation awards

A project to enhance the internet connections across Plymouth University’s campus has earned recognition from judges at a national awards ceremony.

The major upgrade, part of a programme of investment in state-of-the-art technology, included an overhaul of the wired and wireless networks in more than 1,700 student rooms and other communal areas.

Real IT Awards

The project has now been named runner-up in the Best Use of Cloud category in the Real IT Awards, which aim to recognise outstanding IT innovation across the private and public sector.

Plymouth was the only educational institution on the awards shortlist, with other nominees including multi-national giants such as Volkswagen, E.ON, GlaxoSmithKline and Pepsi, as well as Government departments and public sector bodies.

Adrian Hollister, Head of Strategy and Architecture in Plymouth University’s Technology and Information Services Directorate, said: “When we saw the calibre of the other nominees, we realised that just being on the awards shortlist was a major achievement in itself, and a vindication of all our hard work on this project. Our students expect to be able to access internet services wherever they are on campus, and it is vital we do not rest on our laurels and remain in a position to meet those expectations. Enabling them to stay connected is a key part of their academic and personal development.”

The four-week upgrade was carried out by leading technology service company CAE, and involved providing a 600Mbit Wireless N service and a 100Mbit wired service, giving students full access to the University’s suite of online resources on all their desktop, laptop, tablet or mobile devices. It enables families and friends to access the internet anywhere on campus during visits.

The upgraded service also includes a commitment to enhancing student employability by recruiting ambassadors for the service, who will become the first point of contact and providing out of hours help if required.

John Wright, the University’s Chief Information Officer, added: “This praise is due recognition for our outstanding technology team, who are consistently pushing the boundaries to keep the University ahead of the game. Through constant innovation, we have created an environment where students and staff can stay connected, and the new high performance wireless network has enabled us to achieve our ambition of supporting learning and leisure for all.”


Notes to Editors

The wireless upgrade involved the installation of 400 sector-leading Cisco Meraki wireless access points in halls, which have fast data throughput of 600 megabits per second. These devices are connected to the network using 12. 5km of high-tech cabling – CAT7 is the latest standard of cabling and is designed to work the next generation of technology and last around 20 years. An additional 8 Cisco Meraki wireless access points have been installed throughout the student village to provide students with WiFi access in popular outdoor areas including North Hill.

For more information about this press release, contact Plymouth University Press & PR Officer Alan Williams on 01752 588004 or email

About Plymouth University

Consistently ranked as one of the leading universities in the UK, and awarded a Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education in 2012, Plymouth has a strong record of excellence, enterprise and innovation across its teaching and research activities. Distinguished by its long-term engagement with business and the community, the University enjoys outstanding links with employers and plays a key role in civic and regional leadership. It is the only university in the world to have been awarded the Social Enterprise Mark in recognition of its work in support of the sector.

With around 30,000 students, including those studying higher education at its partner colleges throughout the South West, the University is one of largest in the UK. It enjoys a high rate of graduate employment and has recently invested more than £150 million in its estate and facilities to enhance the student experience and support world-class research.

Plymouth has embedded sustainability across its operations, and is the overall best performing university in the People & Planet Green League. It is the first modern university to found a medical and dental school – the Plymouth University Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry – and is the leading provider of Higher Education in Cornwall. For more information, please visit

Life as an Apprentice

When I joined the strategy and architecture team in January I was embarking on a new career and unsure what my new job would entail as I had not previously worked within the IT or Higher Education sector.


A few months into my apprenticeship and employment, I can say that this role has been nothing short of superb; I have been involved in a variety of activities ranging from, but not limited to, meeting with customers, speaking and meeting with suppliers, arranging online demonstrations, gathering and reporting on statistics from pipelines, software testing and representing TIS across the wider University.


The work that I have been involved in has been challenging yet rewarding, devising an automated way for statistics to be taken from the Business Partners Pipeline to simply show the Senior Leadership Team what has been happening in the last few weeks involved a lot of work as well as a lot of input from the BP’s, a similar thing was done for the Technical architects. Researching and finding solutions for the HESA phone survey difficulties was also an interesting task as it involved me speaking to several suppliers. I also spent a few hours looking at the CIS systems with Richard O’Brien which was a real eye-opener to the amount of work and effort that goes into the back end of something to make it as simple as possible for the front end user. I shall soon be spending a couple of days a week in the PMO office which I am looking forward to as it gives me an insight into that department.


My apprenticeship requires me to attend classes at South Devon College once a week, currently we are looking at Web Architecture and Computer Systems, specifically in the Hardware side of things with Servers, Routers, Hubs and Switches.


I have recently represented South Devon College at the National Apprenticeship Week, where we gave advice and guidance to school children in their final few years of school to show them how apprenticeships work and how they are superior to ordinary college courses due to the range of benefits an apprenticeship can offer.


My major college highlight to present is that I had been chosen by my peers to be project lead on a task involving the company Bay-Cycles which is co-owned by a member of Torbay Council. Becoming a Project Lead was a new experience for me as it has given an opportunity to enhance my communication, interpersonal skills as well as my management skills. My main duties of being a project lead has seen me managing relations with customers as well as my team, arranging meetings and deciding the best way to move a project forward, this is a challenging and difficult task but I find it extremely rewarding and look forward to continuing with these opportunities.


As my time with Strategy & Architecture continues I will be writing bi-weekly blog updates; I feel this will allow me to reflect on the work I am completing and knowledge I am gaining, it will also be a great way to demonstrate to potential future apprentices the work I do here.


Technology and Information Services Road Map

The Strategy & Architecture team have established a digital presentation of the current TIS road map (linked here).

The presentation, which is broken down into key theme areas, identifies the major components of the strategic roadmap for review and development over the next five years. The presentation will be updated by the team as the TIS road map evolves and is refined over time.