Since 1 September 2011 the computing service in Zoology has been provided by the Clinical School Computing Service (CSCS). We are a specialist IT department of the University that focuses on academic and research IT infrastructure and support. We currently work with departments in the School of Clinical Medicine, the School of Biological Sciences and the Careers service. We believe in providing a supportive and flexible service, which enables rather than restricts you.
How is CSCS funded?
CSCS is funded mainly by cost recovery from the departments that we provide IT services to. Service charges are as granular as possible so that a department only buys into what it is using. For a list of our charges please see the Service Catalogue.
User accounts, network charges and workstation support charges are paid for centrally by the department of Zoology. Any additional services (such as configuring new machines, remote laptop backup or web hosting) must be paid for by the user. For assistance in including IT costs within a grant application, please contact the Service Desk (details below).
Frequently Asked Questions
Who gets support from the Clinical School Computing Service?
All Zoology staff and post graduate researchers can get support from CSCS. Zoology undergraduates get support for departmental computers, but should contact their College IT staff for problems with their own devices.
Which devices are supported?
Computers that have been configured for support by us and given a ZooPC or ZooHPC name are supported, as well as printers with a ZooPr name. If your machine has not been configured with a ZooXX name, please call the Service Desk to arrange for your machine to be added to the service (see below, Registering a new device for support).
Phones and tablets are not officially supported, but we will assist you with their configuration where we can.
How do I contact CSCS?
If you have a problem, your first port of call should be the Service Desk on 36261 or at email@example.com. The Service Desk is manned by 4 members of staff and it is open from 08:30 until 17:00 weekdays.
What happens next?
This depends on the problem. The Service Desk can solve the majority of problems and, using remote desktop, can often solve them within minutes. All you need to supply is the name of the computer or printer that you are having a problem with. This will be a white sticker on the device in the format of ‘ZooPC##’ or ‘ZooPr##’
If the problem cannot be resolved immediately, then we will arrange for a call back or visit by one of the relevant teams (Technical Support, Server, Network, Web, or Development).
If the device needs to be taken away to be repaired, we will endeavour to provide you with a loan computer or printer to use.
Are there guides or courses available?
UCS instructed courses – http://www.training.cam.ac.uk/ucs/
UCS self-taught courses – http://www.training.cam.ac.uk/ucs/info/self_taught
What if I have a problem with Hermes, Raven, UniofCam or Eduroam?
These services are run by University Information Services; you can contact the relevant Service Desk on 62999.
What if I have a problem with UFS, CamTools, CamSIS, or CHRIS?
These services are also run by University Information Services; you can contact their Management Information Service Desk on 32999.
Using Zoology Computers
Logging in to a Zoology departmental computer
All Zoology departmental computers should be on the BioSci domain, and you can log onto any of these using your ‘BioSci’ credentials. You should never share your BioSci credentials with anyone – everyone has their own. If a shared or guest account is needed, this can be arranged by the Service Desk.
Who has Administrative rights on our computers?
You do! Our policy is that people should be able to control their own machines. The default configuration is that all members of a research group have administrative rights to the computers within that group – not including people’s personal machines of course. If you think that you are missing permissions on a machine, please contact the Service Desk who can amend this.
Can Part II undergraduates use departmental computers?
Not by default; they only have access to the fifteen computers in the Part II room. If you would like a particular student to have access to your computers (because they are doing a project with you) this can be arranged via the Service Desk.
Changing your password
On a PC – login, press ctrl-alt-delete, then choose “Change a Password…”
On a Mac – login, open System Preferences and then Accounts. The appropriate button is on the right of the screen.
If you have forgotten your password
If you cannot remember your BioSci password, you can email the Service Desk from your @cam email address requesting a reset, or call us on 36261 to arrange an alternative means of verification.
What are the requirements on passwords?
Passwords must be a minimum of 8 characters, and include at least one capital and one symbol or number. They must not include your name.
There are six computers in the Part II Computer room that may be used by staff and post graduates. Printing is free.
Can I use my own computer in the department?
Bringing your own device is fine, provided it meets security standards.
Please contact us to arrange an appointment for new devices; we will ensure security is adequate, configure a wired network connection, access to backups and enable remote support.
If your machine has all relevant OS patches, browser updates, runtime updates (Flash & Java), and anti-malware software installed, and you would like a wired network connection, please apply for the Network Connection Service.
When I log on to my Mac, I get a password request dialogue, why?
If you log onto a Mac with a local account, rather than with your BioSci credentials, then it needs you to provide BioSci credentials in order to access your network drives.
This should be filled in as:
Password: Your BioSci password
Be sure to tick the box, though it seems that some machines do forget occasionally anyway. To solve this we can configure your machine to log on with you BioSci credentials.
Registering New People and Devices
Registering new staff and students
We are notified in advance of new staff arrivals by Anastasia Nezhentseva, and of new research student arrivals by Alice Nelson. We will apply for / confirm a University ID (Hermes, Raven, PWF), and then create a BioSci account. The process can take up to 3-4 days so ideally is done in advance of their arrival. Once the process is complete we will email the new starter that they can collect their passwords either from Anastasia / Alice or from the IT office.
Arranging a network connection for a new computer or wireless access for a visitor
For a wired connection please apply for a Network Connection.
For a wireless connection find out more about the Wireless Network Connections available.
Registering a new device for support
In order for a device to be supported, we must first configure it and join it to the Biosci domain. This will allow you to log onto it with your Biosci credentials, access your network drives, as well as enabling remote support. There is an initial charge to cover staff time for configuration and delivery (please see How is CSCS funded? above for more details). This charge is waived if the device is bought via CSCS.
To sign up for this look at our Computer Support Service.
Getting a quote for new hardware
If you would like to purchase new IT equipment, our Service Desk is happy to recommend, purchase, configure and deliver any IT equipment that is available from University approved suppliers. We also have our own contract with Dell and, being the largest purchaser of Dell equipment in the University, get very good discounts and upgraded 5 year warranties.
Please note that due to our cost recovery model, any quotes provided include a 15% service charge to cover the cost in staff time of specifying, quoting, configuring and delivering. This will be clear on the quote. When purchasing Dells, generally the total price will still be cheaper than going direct.
Any machines that are purchased personally that are then submitted to be added to the domain are signing up for the Computer Support Service, charges apply.
Please, if you do buy new hardware yourself, make sure that it comes with Windows Professional rather than Windows Home. Otherwise, a Professional licence will need to be purchased from the UCS.
If you would like any advice, or help with costing IT services into your grant applications, please contact the Service Desk.
Purchasing software licences
Each research group is responsible for purchasing it’s own licences. The UCS can provide most software packages at discounted prices. Usually you will only need to buy the licence; we will already have the disk and can install the software for you, but please phone to check for anything eclectic!
HOW TO PURCHASE:
- Visit Software Sales at http://sales-web-server.csx.cam.ac.uk/software/, choose ”Institutional Purchase’
- Find and add licences to your basket. Be sure they are for PC or Mac as appropriate. Complete the checkout process, choosing to pay by ‘University Department PO’ but not specifying the number yet. Print the form at the end as instructed.
- Complete a Zoology requisition form (avaiable here) with the Item ID, description, cost and grant code and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Collect your PO from the Purchasing Office when notified.
- Either UMS or take both forms to the Computing Services Service Desk on the second floor of the Austin Building.
Where the UCS cannot provide an application or software, we have also found www.pugh.co.uk to be an excellent alternative.
Protecting Your Data
How should I backup my data?
Everybody has 50GB of private space on CSCS servers, termed your ‘Homedrive’. If you are using a Windows PC with a BioSci login then your Desktop, Documents, Pictures and Outlook archives are already automatically backed up to this space. If you are using a Zoology Mac, then you have access via the shortcut in your Dock. On Linux machines this space is mounted. If you are using a laptop with Windows Home Edition, then we have given you a script to access the space.
How safe is my data on this system?
Very! All data is stored both in the department and also replicated to the Addenbrookes site to protect against any equipment failure. To protect against accidental deletion or corruption, ‘snapshots’ of files are taken each day at 7am, 12pm, 3pm, 8pm and 12am – and these snapshots are then kept for approximately 4 weeks. All backups are on fast hard disks rather than tape – this means that should you need to recover a file, or simply wish to restore an earlier version, it can be done within a few minutes. It can even be done yourself; our Service Desk can show you how.
Large Storage / Group Drives
For users requiring large amounts of secure storage, or groups requiring collaborative storage, space can be purchased on the departmental system. This is a non-recurring cost and will last for the life of the unit; estimated at 2 years (There will, of course, be a replacement system at this point!). To find out more look at the Large Data Store Service.
Once purchased, these are available via ‘My Computer’ on a Windows PC, or the ‘Groups$’ shortcut on a Mac Dock. Backups are performed once daily to tape.
These drives are maintained by Matt Wayland (MW283); all applications, quota requests and inquiries should be addressed to him.
Zoology Departmental Drive
Everybody in the department has access to the ‘Zoology Departmental Drive’. If you are using a departmental Windows PC, it can be found in ‘My Computer’. If you are using a departmental Mac, then follow the ‘Groups$’ link on your Dock. If you are using a home laptop PC, then running the ‘Drive Mapper’ that we provide will map the drive for you. If you have any problems accessing it, then please contact the Service Desk and we can assist you.
The ‘Departmental Drive’ is primarily for use with department wide projects and announcements, but can be used to send files to each other also, and it is better practice than emailing them. Senders – please create a folder with the CRSID of the recipient in the ‘File Transfer’ Folder.
I store my data on an external drive, is this safe?
The cheapness of these devices means that the components often fail, and the lack of physical protection means the drive is easily damaged .We have seen seven broken external drives in the last year at Zoology, and not everyone had a second copy. Important data should always be stored in two places, and we recommend you use your private space (50GB) or your group drive for this purpose wherever possible.
I store my data on a NAS (e.g. Buffalo TeraStation), is this safe?
NAS boxes protect against single drive failure by spreading data across multiple drives, but are still susceptible to electronics failure and accidental deletion. A second copy of the data is still required. A UPS is also recommended to help protect against power cuts.
I store my data on Dropbox / Gdrive / Skydrive etc, is this safe?
These services are primarily for convenient syncing between multiple machines, and are not to be considered as a sufficient backup. If you are using a free account then there is no requirement for them to protect your data. If your data is sensitive, it is worth considering is the rights you give a company by uploading your data to their computers. An interesting editorial on this topic can be found here: http://www.theverge.com/2012/4/25/2973849/google-drive-terms-privacy-data-skydrive-dropbox-icloud. Also be aware that these large organisations are frequently targeted by hackers.
How can I remotely access my data?
You can access data on your Homedrive and Groupdrive(s) using an FTP program, such as Filezilla. This allows you to download and upload files directly, and is fully encrypted. We preinstall Filezilla on all machines that we build.
- Download the software if required from here.
- Install the software (detailed instructions here.
- Launch the program, and enter the following settings:
- Host: bio-sftp.biosci.cam.ac.uk
- Username: Your Univesity ID
- Password: Your BioSci Password
- Port: 22
Now click Quickconnect, and you should see your Homedrive in the right pane. Your local computer is in the left pane.
To download or upload files, you can drag them between the panes.
How can I remotely access my computer?
Currently there is no full service that offers this, although we are working on a VPN solution for the department. If you have an exceptional need, then you can contact us with the following detauils and we might make a temporary exception:
- IP address of the local computer
- IP address of the remote computer (this must be static)
- The type of service or port number required (for example, SSH or Remote Desktop Connection)
- The expected duration required (for example, 3 months whilst on a field trip)
Leaving the department
What happens to my computer when I leave the department?
CSCS will be contacted by your department to request that your BioSci account is closed. If your account should stay open after the end of your contract please contact email@example.com.
With regards to your Hermes account and university services more information can be found on the Staff Leaving page on the UCS site.
How can I get my @cam mail forwarded after I leave?
If you search for and edit your own entry at http://www.lookup.cam.ac.uk/, you can specify a ‘leaving email address’ to which all mail arriving at your @cam will be forwarded. Be aware this cannot be modified once you have left.
What happens to my data when I leave the department?
Any network drives in your name will be closed after 30 days; it is your responsibility to take a copy of the data or transfer it to a colleague or group drive.
Further information about the services offered by the Clinical School are available at: http://cscs.medschl.cam.ac.uk/
All staff are reminded that when they gain a CRSID, they agree to abide by the University’s policies on safe and appropriate use of the network