Portrait of James White
James White is an information technology support analyst.
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People of the U: James White

Published on Friday, February 14, 2020

By: Ruth Cummins

James White’s job has him hopping – about 20,000 steps a day, to be a little more exact.

As an IT support analyst whose territory is the Rowland Medical Library and other offices located in the Verner S. Holmes Learning Resources Center, White is always a welcome face. That’s because he helps students and employees with computer issues ranging from broken equipment to phishing attacks to software updates.

“I fix immediate issues to keep our patrons working without too much of an interruption,” said White, a UMMC employee for the past eight years. “I teach people how to use their computers more efficiently.”

Because he’s based in the LRC, White works with a little bit of everybody – administrators, students, faculty and staff. His office is physically located within the library, but he understandably doesn’t spend a lot of time there.

When a student or employee has a computer problem, especially a scary one like a hard drive that appears to have gone belly up, White can be the answer to a prayer.

“One of the worst things I see is someone who received an email as a phishing attack, and them clicking on it without reading it,” White said. “They have no idea who it’s from, but they click on it anyway.”

White educates students and employees alike on how to protect their work-related data and personal information. That can be as simple as password protection or as complicated as a primer on how your information can be stolen when you use a UMMC-issued laptop in an off-campus public place.

“Some of the most worrisome things that I see and teach about are people saving their passwords on websites, or writing them on a sticky note and attaching the note to their computer,” White said. “When you take a laptop off campus, it can be stolen, or you can leave it somewhere. That can put patient information at risk. We have to make sure that we ensure computers are encrypted.”

Such concerns make it imperative that employees complete Healthstream training on information security, White said. “What I do is based on the training that’s going on,” White said.

He encourages students and employees to report any abuse, including social engineering in which callers to UMMC numbers try to wheedle sensitive information out of someone. “Con artists are very good at getting information out of you over the phone,” he said.

White and his wife are Brandon residents and have one daughter and one granddaughter who keep them busy. When he’s at work, though, White’s biggest enjoyment is getting to know the people who he helps every day.

“I love the people,” he said. “The benefits of this job are the people. It’s definitely not the money.

“I get the chance to go abroad, so to speak, and talk to everyone as I work with them and do things for them.”

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