IT Connect
Information technology tools and resources at the UW

Working Remotely

This guide points to useful resources for telecommuting and working remotely that are available to UW students, faculty and staff. We also recommend that you contact your local IT support organization for guidance on best practices and resources for working remotely.

Some ways to work from home need to be set up before they can be used, so read through this guide and prepare in advance any tools you require.

Connect to the UW network with a VPN

To access resources on the UW network, telecommuters should use an approved, secure virtual private network (VPN). A VPN is an application on your computing device that establishes a secure connection to a network. VPN options include:

A VPN is not needed for web-based UW resources and services, such as Workday, web pages, Canvas, and UW G Suite and UW Office 365.

Access UW administrative systems

You should be able to access many UW administrative systems from your laptop or home computer.

If you need to access systems that require two-factor authentication (2FA), be sure to enroll any computing devices in the UW’s 2FA system.

  • Check with your local IT support staff for information about remotely connecting to the specific systems your department uses.
  • If you have a managed workstation computer available at work, you can use Remote Desktop Access with an approved, secure VPN to connect to your work computer, and then you can access UW administrative systems in the usual way. Please see below for more information on Remote Desktop, including options for those who do not have a managed workstation.
  • You can install a terminal emulator to access systems that use a command line interface. For example, you can use PuTTY to access FIN, PAS, HEPPS, and Homer, or you can use SecureCRT to access Keynes.

Remotely access, store and back up files

Store important documentations in the cloud, or on a file service that you can access from remote locations.

Get an overview of online storage options, compare the different UW file service options, and ask your local IT staff to see if your work files are available via the Internet.

Remote Desktop

Users of UW-IT’s Managed Workstation Service (MWS) can find out about Remote Desktop at Connecting Remotely. If you do not have MWS, contact your local IT support organization for guidance and support regarding Remote Desktop.

Remote desktop access allows you to access your work computer through another computer with a connection to the Internet. Your icons, programs and printers are all available. You can even transfer files between UW systems. Be sure to review and practice safe computing. See the Practice safe computing section below. Delete any files you downloaded that contain Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) or otherwise sensitive data.

In order to use remote desktop access:

  • Your work computer will need to remain turned on (you can be logged out, but the computer must not be turned off).
  • 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.
  • You need to download and use an approved VPN like Husky OnNet.

Mapping a Drive

For Mac users, you may also map a drive on your home computer to access your work files on a shared file service.

In order to map a drive:

  • You need to download and use an approved VPN such as Husky OnNet.
  • You need to know how to access the individual or shared drive. If you need help finding the shared drive, contact your local IT support staff.

Web-based storage

Both UW Google Drive and UW OneDrive for Business are web-based storage and collaborative applications for file backup and sharing.

U Drive is a centrally-managed file storage where you can store up to 50 GB of data, all automatically backed up and accessible off campus with a VPN.

Email and productivity platforms

Both UW G Suite and UW Office 365 are web-based and accessible from most places via the Internet.

Phone and voicemail

Telecommuters can access voicemail from home and use the free Extension Connect feature to extend UW telephone service to a cellular or home telephone number.

Forward your calls to your cell or home number using Call Forwarding or Remote Access Call Forwarding.

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 the Avaya one-X Communicator (Softphone) software to your laptop or home computer so you that can answer and process your office calls on a computer connected to Wi-Fi.
  • Purchasing a UW Telecommuter VoIP handset and installing it at your home or other remote location. This allows 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.

Chat, voice, video

A variety of web-based video conferencing and online chat platforms are available. Options include:

  • For basic conference calling, use a remote-configured office phone, which allows you to talk with up to five colleagues at once.
  • UW Skype for Business allows you to conduct a video/chat with up to 50 participants and a meeting with up to 250 participant and is aligned with Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), a federal law that protects the privacy of student educational records and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), a federal law that protects the privacy of medical information.
  • UW Zoom makes it easy to participate in group video/chat during online class sessions, host virtual office hours, collaborate remotely on research, share screens and host real-time video conversations, host live web broadcasts to thousands of people worldwide and record to the cloud or computer for easy sharing. UW Zoom is aligned with FERPA and HIPAA. Find out more about Zoom free accounts and Zoom Pro accounts.
  • Google Hangouts, a feature of UW G Suite, 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. Hangouts is FERPA-aligned, but does not have the “Business Associate Agreement” (BAA) required by HIPAA. For more about how Hangouts works, see Google’s page about Google Hangouts.

Get software

Many software programs you use at work can also be downloaded to your personal computer for telecommuting. You can download software at reduced or no cost in UWare, thanks to license agreements with software vendors.

Certain products and/or versions are only licensed for UW-owned equipment. Please be sure to check the eligibility requirements before installing software or send email to if you are unsure.

Practice safe computing

Protect your computer, identity and privacy. Download free antivirus software, and learn how to protect yourself on the web.

  • Staff receive a free license to use Sophos Antivirus Software on University-owned computers and on their personal computers, either on campus or at home.
  • Use safe email practices, and report any abuse, harassment or suspicious email.
  • Be mindful of phishing attempts, and follow the best practices to avoid phishing scams recommended by the Office of the Chief Information Security Officer.
  • Understand appropriate use governing the use of UW computing and networking resources.
  • Don’t accept untrusted certifications if warned by the browser’s security.
  • Delete any file you downloaded that contains FERPA, HIPAA or otherwise sensitive data.
  • For more tips, see the Working Remotely Risk Advisory from the UW Office of the Chief Information Security Officer.
Last reviewed December 20, 2018