Mac Updates – Beginning March 17, 2015

The following information applies to all faculty, staff, and administrators who currently use a Mac (Apple) computer. If you are using an SJU-provided Mac, please continue reading this email in its entirety.

An ongoing priority for the Office of Information Technology (OIT) has been to ensure a safe computing environment for the campus community. This includes providing anti-virus and anti-spyware protection, enabling safe browsing while you search the internet, and patching exposed vulnerabilities that put your data and the SJU network at risk. With these goals in mind, we have taken another step forward to ensure that all Mac users on campus are receiving vital security updates and running the same version of the Mac operating system. In doing this, OIT is able to better assist you in managing the software on University computers and ensure that University information resources are not put at unnecessary risk of potential security threats.

It is a common misconception that Apple computers are not at risk of threats such as viruses and malware. This is simply not the case. In reality, no computer is completely immune from possible attack. Our job in OIT is to proactively protect against this possibility.

A year ago, OIT introduced a new product to assist in remotely managing the software that runs on a Mac. This allowed OIT to deploy software, updates, patches, and other fixes to Apple computers in a more cost effective, distributed manner. Before this new solution was introduced, high priority updates and patches were difficult to deploy in a timely and proactive fashion thus putting the campus computing environment at risk.

Many of you may have already noticed a window appear indicating available updates, which lets you know when new patches or updates are available (pictured below):

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However, since implementing this solution, OIT has found that in some cases, urgent updates are not being installed regularly to University computers.   In other words, some Mac users are ignoring or avoiding these important software update. Beginning on March 17th, OIT will adopt a more proactive approach to ensure that high-priority patches are installed within a 7-day window. If you have a high priority update pending installation on March 17th, you will see a message appear like the one pictured below. You will have 7 days to install the update.

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Within 72 hours of the deadline, you’ll be prompted more frequently to perform the installations. At this point, it is highly recommended that you install these updates immediately to avoid reaching the deadline for the software update. When the deadline is reached, you will be forced to log out and reboot your computer. (Within 5 minutes of the deadline, you will see the image below):

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It is highly recommended that you allow the updates to install when you first receive the update message. If you choose to wait, you risk losing documents when the forced installation occurs.

Is this only for Macs? For now, yes. However, OIT is working on a similar solution to address mandatory updates and patches for Windows computers that will be available soon.

It’s important to know that in utilizing this tool, OIT cannot and will not be accessing any of the data on your University computer.

OIT appreciates your cooperation in helping us better manage our University resources.

If you have any questions, please contact the TSC.