Tuesday Tips

February 8, 2022
Past Editions


Buying Software and IT Services

Image of shopping cart containing apps

The UC-wide IS-3 IT security policy and UC Davis policy require that we complete a "Vendor Risk Assessment" (VRA) for any software or IT services that we use at UC Davis.

The goal of a VRA is to answer the question, Can we trust this software with UC data?

As with all other aspects of IS-3, VRAs are risk-based: the level of risk is determined by the types of UC data that will be stored or processed, and the level of diligence in the process is scaled to match that data risk level.

For software and IT services that will be used with low-risk P1 (public) or P2 (internal) data, the VRA process can be completed by the LS IT team—usually within 3 business days. In many cases, we have previously vetted common software for blanket, automatic approval.

For software and IT services that will be used with medium-risk P3 (proprietary) or high-risk P4 (statutory) data, the VRA process is handled through the campus Information Security Office (ISO), which takes 2-9 months. If you are working with sensitive P4 research data (e.g., identifiable human subjects data), FERPA-protected student data, large quantities of personally-identifiable information, data acquired from state or federal agencies that specifies security requirements, or other types of highly sensitive data, please plan around VRA delays in the purchasing process.

We have integrated the VRA process into our purchasing process—you do not need to separately request a VRA. When you request to purchase software or IT services through LS IT, we will guide you through the VRA process. In most cases, we'll respond with a short intake survey to ask you to describe how you plan to use the software and the kinds of data you'll be working with.

One important note: you should never purchase software using personal funds and then expect reimbursement. Under policy, circumventing the UC Davis purchasing and VRA processes by purchasing on personal funds and requesting reimbursement means you will not be reimbursed. In some rare cases, reimbursement is the appropriate purchasing process, but a VRA needs to be completed before the purchase is made. Just contact LS IT to start the process.

Level Up Your Outlook Search Game

Magnifying glass highlighting Outlook icon on blurred web page
We have a few simple tips to help you get more useful results from the email search function in Outlook.

Tip #1: Advanced Search
Screenshot of Outlook Advanced Search dialog

When you click in the search bar, you can click the "down arrow" icon on the right side to open the Advanced Search options. These advanced search tools allow you refine your search based on more detailed criteria. On the desktop versions of Outlook, clicking "+ Add more options" reveals even more advanced criteria that you can use for search.

Tip #2: Boolean Search—AND, OR, and NOT
Screenshot showing Boolean search in Outlook
You can use the Boolean AND, OR, and NOT search operators, but the trick is that the operators must be in UPPER CASE. You can also use parentheses to group operators and search terms, e.g., "security AND (information OR it) NOT uc davis". Note that search terms other than the Boolean operators themselves are not case sensitive.

Tip #3: Specify with Search Operators
Beyond Boolean operators, Outlook supports many other operators that allow you to narrow your searches based on sender, receiver, dates, CCs and BCCs, attachments, and more. Her are some example: or from:"Severus Snape"
or to:Karkaroff
or received:yesterday or received:"last month"
or sent:"last year" or sent:6/30/2020 or cc:minerva

(Note the use of quotation marks for multi-word searches.)

You can combine these along with Boolean operators from #2. For example, to find messages from Severus Snape to Igor Karkaroff that were sent in the last year and include attachments and refer to the Triwizard Cup but not to He Who Shall Not Be Named:

from:"Severus Snape" to:"Igor Karkaroff" sent:"last year" hasattachments:yes triwizard AND cup NOT (voldemort OR "he who shall not be named" OR "tom riddle")

Tip #4: Search within a Date Range
Building on #3, you can also search for messages sent or received within a range of dates using the ".." (two periods) operator, such as:


These search tips work on both the desktop and web versions of Outlook, and you can find additional Outlook search operators, tips, and examples on the Microsoft website.

UC Davis Slack Workspace

Slack has become an essential collaboration tool for many of us, particularly with the pivot to remote work and instruction over the past two years. 

We often find that research labs or other groups start their own Slack workspaces rather than using the UC Davis workspace, only to find themselves stranded later. Unfortunately, free Slack workspaces have  serious limitations that often aren't obvious at first, including the amount of message history (10,000 messages), file storage (5GB), and app integrations (10 integrations). Further, while it is possible to export some content from a separate workspace into the UC Davis workspace, Slack only allows transfers of content from public channels. 

The UC Davis Slack workspace ( is available to all UC Davis affiliates at no direct cost to you and is a paid workspace that does not have the limits of the free workspaces. You are welcome to set up private or public channels on the UC Davis workspace for collaboration within your team, lab, class, etc. 

If you are a PI, manager, or team lead, we highly recommend that you use the UC Davis workspace rather than setting up your own. We are happy to help with transferring content from a separate workspace to the UC Davis workspace with the limitations noted above.

Quick Updates and Reminders


Supply Chain Delays

We continue to experience the effects of global supply chain delays on monitors, printers, some computers, and other equipment. In many cases, items we order today are not shipping for up to 6 months—and sometimes longer. Even when vendors provide an estimated ship date, we are frequently seeing those dates ship by weeks or months. Please plan ahead by ordering as soon as possible, and please be patient.

Daily Symptom Survey Required

For any in-person support, including drop-ins, your LS IT service analyst will ask to see your Daily Symptom Survey results. IT support often involves close contact, so for your protection and ours we ask that you be prepared to show your green symptom survey result for any in-person support.

Supported macOS Versions

If you are running an older version of macOS than 10.15 Catalina, you are no longer receiving security updates and are out of compliance with UC-wide policy. Please contact LS IT for assistance upgrading to a supported macOS version.

UC Davis Phish Bowl

The UC Davis Phish Bowl is a fast place to check whether a suspicious email you've received is phishing or legitimate. 
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