IT Connect

Information technology tools and resources at the UW

Prepare for business disruptions

Introduction

During disruptive events such as a pandemic or inclement weather, you may be able to use technology tools to help you sustain your department’s operations from a remote location (i.e. home). UW Information Technology has compiled this UW Administrative “Mini- Business Continuity” Toolkit to give you some ideas on how to prepare for when the unexpected happens. Prepare now!

Keep in mind that during a major “disaster” that many of the tools referenced herein may not be available until they are recovered.

As part of your preparations, protect your remote location computers with anti-virus software to help ensure they will be reliable when you need them.

Creating a communications plan

You should plan now for how your staff will receive and provide important departmental updates and information during emergency events. Some ideas include:

  • Use your department’s internal web page. Make sure your staff knows how to access your web page and update the web page information.
  • Send group email messages. You can set up email distribution lists to send one message to a group of people.
  • Turn a departmental voicemail box into a “telephone hotline”. Simply update the greeting with timely information. Contact UW Information Technology to create enhanced hotline functionality such as call menus.
  • Contact staff using a traditional phone call tree.
  • Conduct ad hoc and scheduled remote meetings using telephone, video, and Web conferencing.

Working remotely

How to access materials from home

Methods are available for accessing on campus materials from your personal laptop or home computer. First check with your departmental IT support staff; your department may already have a system in place for accessing files from home.

Accessing the UW networks from home

Most staff connect to the UW network from home through their Internet Service Provider (ISP). Learn more. Connecting to the UW Network will allow you access most of your resources and tools from home in the event that you need to conduct business remotely.

The preferred method of connecting is through Husky OnNet which provides individual users with a secure temporary connection to the UW network from remote locations. Husky OnNet for MacOS and Husky OnNet for Windows are available for download from UWare.

Access UW administrative systems

You should be able to access many UW Administrative Systems from your laptop or home computer. It is important to check your ability to access these systems ahead of time (before an event). If you use additional authentication devices (i.e. SecurID) to access systems, you need to bring those with you to the remote location.

  • Check with your local IT support staff for help.
  • If you have a computer available at work, you should be able to use Remote Desktop Access to connect to your work computer and then access UW Administrative Systems in the usual way.
  • You can install a terminal emulator programs, such as Tera Term, to access systems (e.g. FIN, PAS, HEPPS).

Access your work computer from home using remote desktop access

Remote desktop access allows you to access your work computer using another computer with a connection to the Internet. Your icons, programs and printers are all available. You can even transfer files between your systems. In order to use remote desktop access, your work computer will need to remain on (you can be logged out, but the computer must not be turned off) and you will need to know your work computer’s current IP address or name. If you need help finding your IP address, contact your local IT support staff. Find out more about this option at Connecting Remotely.

Because remote desktop access requires your work computer to remain on when you are not at work, the better option is to store your work materials online, for instance on Google Drive and then use Husky OnNet (see “Accessing the UW Networks From Home” section, above).

Access your UW email

Modern smartphones and cell connected devices provide the best way to access email during emergencies, as cell networks are often buffered from disruptions in power and are less susceptible to wind damage than cable, phone and fiber networks.  When the worst does happen cell services are some of the first systems to be restored. Microsoft Outlook for IOS and Android provides a modern more functional interface to either UW G Suite Gmail or UW Office 365 Exchange Online.  Learn more.

If you find yourself without access to the computer you normally run your email program of choice on, but still have access to a web browser, you’re in luck!  The primary and only fully supported interface for both UW G Suite Gmail and UW Office 365 Exchange Online are web based and accessible from most places via the Internet.  Just remember if you are using someone else’s computer or a public terminal to:

  • Check to make sure the system is running Antivirus.  Accessing UW systems from unprotected systems, even via the web, is a violation of policy and a good way to get your password compromised.     
  • Don’t accept untrusted certs if warned by the browser’s security.
  • Don’t cache your password.
  • Do Logout and close all browser windows.
  • Do delete any file you downloaded that contain FERPA or otherwise sensitive data.

Access your UW collaboration and productivity suites  

Modern smartphones and cell connected devices have moved well beyond providing just email access in times of trouble.  Both UW G Suite and UW Office 365 Education provide not just access to your documents from anywhere, but collaborate in real time using rich co-authoring functions.  

UW G Suite and UW Office 365 provide most commonly used productivity features for document, spreadsheet, presentations, notebooks, and intranet publication via the web browser.  They dramatically enhance collaboration not only with co-authoring experiences but by providing feedback on the activities your coworkers and students are working on. You can also use Google Drive Activity Stream and Office 365 Delve to see and connect to the work around you.For more information on these two options contact UW Information Technology.

Just remember if you are using someone else’s computer or a public terminal to:

  • Check to make sure the system is running Antivirus.  Accessing UW systems from unprotected systems, even via the web, is a violation of policy and a good way to get your password compromised.     
  • Don’t accept untrusted certs if warred by the browser’s security.
  • Don’t cache your password.
  • Do Logout and close all browser windows.
  • Do delete any file you downloaded that contain FERPA or otherwise sensitive data.

Access your work files

  • Check with your local IT staff to see if your files are available via the Internet.
  • If you have a computer available at work, you should be able to use Remote Desktop. Access to connect to your work computer and then access your files in the usual way.  Find out more about this option at Connecting Remotely. (Once again, remember that this option requires leaving your work computer on!)
  • If you are a Managed Workstation Services user, these options are also available:

Access your office voicemail

You can access and update your work voicemail from home.

Chat, voice, video or all three

UW Skype for Business allows you to conduct a chat with up to 50 participants and a meeting with up to 250 participants for both FERPA and HIPAA compatible. Google Hangouts works with up to 25 people at a time. Remember that while you can invite as many people as you want to join a hangout, you can’t have more than 25 people in a hangout at once- others beyond the 25 maximum will get stuck “hanging out” in a lobby. Hangouts is FERPA protected, but does not have the “Business Associate Agreement” (BAA) required by HIPAA. Hangouts is a feature of UW  G Suite. For more about how Hangouts works, see Google’s page about Google Hangouts. Both Google Hangouts and UW Skype for Business or are good tools for chats and conferencing. Adobe Connect is another option provided as a cost recovery service by UW-IT.  

Use your office telephone

You can configure your office telephone to help you to communicate remotely. Options include:

  • Six-party conference calling — talk with up to five colleagues at once. Learn more.
  • Forwarding your calls to your cell or home number using Call Forwarding or Remote Access Call Forwarding. Learn more.
  • Contact the UW Information Technology Service Center for the following:
    • Extending your calls simultaneously to both your campus and home or cellular phones using Extension to Cellular.
    • Downloading Avaya one-X Communicator software to your laptop or home PC so you can answer and process your office calls remotely on these devices.
    • Installing a campus telecommuter line/phone at your home or other remote location, allowing you to use your campus telephone wherever you are. You will have access to your campus phone number, voicemail, 5-digit dialing, and all other features you have on your campus phone.

Rev. 11/23/2016