As members of the number one public health academic and research program in the world, the students and faculty of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health play an important role in the research and resolution of critical public health issues in communities across the globe. And, unlike their counterparts at most other universities, the school's 50-person IT team is tasked with supporting more than 5,000 students, staff, and faculty in the classroom and in the field.
In 2008, the IT support team realized that they were becoming more and more limited by traditional support delivery methods. While their walk-up support capabilities worked fine for on-campus incidents, they struggled to provide a high level of support to the growing number of students and faculty in the field.
Whether researchers are in a bustling city in India or a remote village in Uganda, the challenges of supporting researchers in the field are numerous: network connections are often slow and inconsistent, and phone access may not be available. In addition, many research teams maintain their own secure portals on the university's network via Microsoft SharePoint to organize and store information and enable joint collaboration with outside parties. The ability for researchers to access data stored on these portals is crucial to being able to quickly respond to a global health threat.