Faculty Association Update March 22nd
Sunday’s communication (March 21) from the Chancellor can be found at the end of this email. Please read it carefully as it contains some important updates.
Key points of the Chancellor’s email include:
- We do not yet have a timetable as to when access will be restored but anticipate a solution in the coming days. The ITS department will provide updates as soon as they are able.
- Classes have been delayed until March 29, but employees are expected to continue their scheduled work on March 22. Faculty and staff should work with their direct supervisor to determine the level and scope of work that can be completed.
- To avoid a negative impact on IT’s efforts to resolve the system outage, please direct all media calls and requests to Matt Hasson, Chief Communications Officer at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We also appreciate the incredible work of our ITS professionals. They are working tirelessly to restore our systems and bring us back online. As noted above, we don’t have a date for the system reset and renewed access to email, Canvas, Webex, and MS 365. However, you should expect a disruption of access and, when provided with instructions, a requirement to create 2 factor ID verification and to reset your password.
As the Chancellor acknowledged in his email, we know that many of us are frustrated and would like additional details and answers to our questions about the network outage and its impacts on our students, faculty, and employees. Faculty Association leadership is actively working to acquire and share timely information, including seeking and providing answers to questions submitted to our Systems Outage Questions form. We appreciate those sending questions and will continue to seek answers in our daily meetings with the Chancellor’s Executive Council (CEC). College Faculty Senate Presidents will communicate with their faculty and share these questions and answers as well as any updates from the special meeting for the Faculty Senate Presidents and FEC Officers later this afternoon to discuss their concerns, questions, and current updates.
In order to prevent unintended filtering of our emails sent to your personal email address, please follow these whitelisting instructions. In addition to our emails, all updates are posted regularly on the Faculty Association website. We also recommend that you continue to check Maricopa’s System Status web page for updates.
Faculty Association PresidentI
From: Office of the Chancellor <email@example.com>
Date: Sun, Mar 21, 2021, 3:02 PM
Subject: Message from the Interim Chancellor
Chandler-Gilbert | Estrella Mountain | GateWay | Glendale | Maricopa Corporate College
Mesa | Paradise Valley | Phoenix | Rio Salado | Scottsdale | South Mountain
I want to provide you with an update on where we are and what to expect in the coming week as it relates to the system outage. But first, I want to express my sincere appreciation and support to our ITS professionals who are working tirelessly to restore our systems and bring us back online.
I understand that many of you are frustrated and would like additional details regarding the current network outage. In our response, we are guided by standard incident protocols and are committed to addressing all IT related outages in a secure and responsible way, which includes the sharing of information both when it is validated and safe to do so. While not ideal, it is critical to getting our systems back online in a safe and secure manner.
Here’s what I am able to share right now.
On Tuesday, March 16, we identified suspicious activity within our IT network. As soon as this activity was detected, we implemented our incident response protocols, disconnected external access to our network, and took systems offline. To protect our network and address the issue, we engaged our key partners, including forensic and recovery specialists, to help us determine what happened and resolve the outage.
The initial results from our investigation indicate that the suspicious activity appears related to the early stages of a cyberattack. We continue to investigate this situation while simultaneously restoring applications to ensure system security. We are working with our forensic partners to ensure our systems are secure so we can reestablish connectivity and resume business as usual.
We are working as quickly as possible to solve this problem and safely restore access to all applications and email. We do not yet have a timetable as to when access will be restored but will let you know as we have more information. Unfortunately, this process takes time.
We anticipate a solution in the coming days that will be communicated as soon as we are able. Please keep an eye out for messages from our ITS department who will provide updates on how we bring our systems and your access back online. I ask that we give them the time to focus on these solutions and avoid contacting them with questions. Please wait for their messages.
Although we have delayed the start of classes to March 29, we do expect employees to proceed with their scheduled work on March 22 to the best of your ability. We recognize it is challenging to perform normal duties and responsibilities with limited or no access to technology tools and systems; however, we ask that faculty and staff work with your direct supervisor to determine the level and scope of work that can be completed.
Finally, there is quite a bit of media interest in our system outage. Media is contacting employees and students for comment because we are limited in what we can share with them at this point. Please understand, anything you share with the media could have an impact on the work our IT experts are doing to resolve the situation and is not helpful. Please direct all media calls to Matt Hasson, Chief Communications Officer for the district, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for your continued patience and understanding during this time. You have all been through so much this past year and have excelled in every endeavor. We will get through this and we will learn where there is a lesson, and we will grow where there is opportunity.
Please continue to visit our website for timely updates: https://www.maricopa.edu/system-status.