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Dean Weber chief audit officer in the office of internal audit
Dean Weber, Chief Audit Officer in the Office of Internal Audit

The Office of Internal Audit (OIA) at UNC-Chapel Hill is a service unit that assists University management in providing the highest quality education and services to students and the people of North Carolina. Dean Weber, Chief Audit Officer, said that OIA’s underlying premise is that “the University must function at the highest level possible.” The OIA supports this objective by providing independent and proactive analyses of operations, financial activities and systems of internal control. Weber said these analyses evaluate whether resources are used in keeping with State requirements and the University’s mission, goals and objectives.

The Office of Internal Audit has been an ITS Managed Desktop Support (MDS) customer since June 2019. MDS provides IT support to faculty, staff and administrators at UNC-Chapel Hill. The group supplies “fixers” for technical support as well as consultative services, with a focus on security and reliability. It supports 15 different campus departments.

In this customer case study, Weber answered a few questions about the “terrific” partnership between OIA and MDS.

Tell us a little about the Office of Internal Audit.

The University established an internal audit function in 1961 with an internal auditor position in the Division of Business and Finance. Fast forward to 2024, the Office of Internal Audit (OIA) operates as an independent department with the chief audit officer administratively reporting to the University’s chancellor and functionally to the Board of Trustees, Audit, Compliance and Risk Management Committee.

Why did you enlist ITS Managed Desktop Services?

We turned to MDS to aid in supporting the technology administration of our department. As a smaller unit of eight FTE administratively housed under the Chancellor’s Office, we realized our department lacked the professional expertise necessary to maintain our administrative technology needs. Specifically, we needed to ensure our technology was properly managed, administered, secured and understood by our department’s users. MDS was the solution to meet our needs in providing professional, efficient, knowledgeable and user-friendly staffing to support our desktop computing needs.

What services does MDS provide to your department?

MDS provides support and direction guiding desktop computing needs for our department. This encompasses addressing departmental staff’s immediate technology questions, as well as our technology hardware and software application planning needs. MDS quickly and efficiently responds to our requests to prepare laptops for our team members, comprising wiping and refreshing equipment when changes in staffing occur. They readily respond to user inquiries regarding technology access, software application questions and technology procurement needs.

How does partnering with MDS benefit OIA?

Partnering with MDS as the provider for our department’s administrative desktop hardware and software computing needs has been terrific! As a department focused on cost-effectiveness, the OIA recognizes substantial value in this partnership, both from a financial standpoint and in terms of the knowledge-based expertise offered in technology administration. The utilization of this shared University resource adds significant value to our unit, given that the costs incurred are minimal compared to the alternative of hiring an in-house professional to support our computing needs. This strategic approach allows us to benefit from specialized support while maintaining a prudent fiscal approach.

What about MDS’ support or service has exceeded your expectations?

I am consistently impressed by the professionalism and expertise demonstrated by every member of the Managed Desktop Services Team with whom I interact. Their responsiveness in addressing our inquiries, fulfilling requests and addressing concerns is prompt and delivered in a friendly manner. Our designated representative is readily accessible through various communication channels, including text, email, phone and Teams, making the process of reaching out to MDS remarkably convenient.

The utilization of Teams chat and remote screen sharing between MDS and our staff has proven to be an invaluable resource. This collaborative approach facilitates swift and effective solutions, enabling the resolution of technology concerns or problems in real time. This efficient process allows us to promptly return to our work, supporting our audit activities with minimal disruption.

What would you tell other schools or departments that are considering hiring MDS?

I would tell them that based on my experience, this is certainly a value-added opportunity to successfully meet the desktop computing needs of their team. MDS personnel are extremely professional, knowledgeable, responsive and customer focused. They are a valuable resource possessing the expertise necessary to support and solve your team’s desktop computing issues.

Anything else you would like to say?

In the decentralized University operating environment, leveraging Managed Desktop Services (MDS) offers a steadfast and dependable solution for meeting desktop computing requirements. MDS services stand out as an efficient and cost-effective option, equipped with the expertise to offer guidance and direction in addressing user technology needs. This includes providing swift and effective solutions, along with expert advice on the optimal methods for addressing software and hardware requirements.

MDS and the OIA IT Systems Auditor are collaborating to explore IT audit services that will provide MDS management insight. The audit tool Nessus Professional will be used to assist MDS with evaluating settings in the baseline images for computers they configure. The OIA will provide recommendations from the Center for Internet Security (CIS) benchmarks. This collaboration supports our common goals to strengthen controls and add value to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.


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