Preparing to Work Remotely

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Queens faculty & staff who work from home or other remote locations can access almost all of the systems and technology resources available on campus to continue communications and maintain productivity when working remotely. Many Queens services work the same off campus as on campus, while others require some additional steps to connect securely or from other devices. This article provides guidance and best practices for working remotely.

Things to Note
Even if you do not routinely work remotely, during an emergency or campus closure, you may need to be ready to do so on short notice. Therefore, it’s helpful to prepare ahead of any urgent situation.

And, while it’s possible to use a personally-owned computer for some Queens tasks, if you work with financial information, student records or other confidential information, you are urged to only use your Queens computer for these tasks.

Your Internet Connection
Whether you’re at home, a coffee shop, an airport, or an international location, the quality of your internet connection makes the biggest difference in how well you can work remotely.

At home, weak wi-fi signal or a poor broadband internet provider - meaning less than 15 Mb/s download speeds or 5 Mb/s upload speed - can impact your ability to work remotely. We recommend you test your internet service using the free speedtest.net website or iOS/Android app to make sure you are ready to work. This provides an end-to-end test of all the factors affecting your device’s connection: your internet provider, your home network setup, and the device you’re on. For best results, you’ll want:

  • 15 megabit per second (Mb/s) or better download speed
  • 5 megabit per second (Mb/s) or better upload speed
  • A ‘ping time’ of less than 75 milliseconds

If your performance is worse than this, try plugging into your internet access point or router with a wired (Ethernet) connection and test again.

Working from a coffee shop or other public place? A cellular hotspot can provide the best mix of quality and security. (Be careful of unknown ‘free’ public wi-fi networks, and consider using a VPN service to protect your security and privacy on wi-fi.) You may not need a dedicated hotspot; many cell plans allow your phone to be used as a hotspot.

Queens Phone
You can make & receive phone calls using your Queens phone number on the RingCentral app for Windows, Mac, iPhone, and Android. RingCentral should already be installed on your Queens-owned computer. Log in to the app on your computer with your Queens username & password to answer your Queens phone on your computer when the RingCentral app is open. Log in to the app on your smartphone to answer your Queens phone any time (whether the app is running or not). By default, your Queens phone will only ring between 7am & 6pm Monday-Friday; all other calls will automatically go to voicemail. You can change your personal calling hours in the RingCentral service portal.

If you need to install the RingCentral App on one or more of your personal devices, they are available here:

  • RingCentral App for Mac
  • RingCentral App for Windows
  • RingCentral App for and iOS and Android devices - download at Apple App Store and Google Play Store

Enterprise Applications

Once you have a good internet connection, you’re ready to connect to Queens services. You can connect to most Queens online services - like email, MyQueens, MyCourses, Slate and many more - directly from the internet.

A few services - like Jenzabar, PowerFAIDs, and Raiser's Edge - require the use of a Virtual Private Network (VPN) client. Think of VPN as a way of securely joining your computer to the Queens network, and sending some or all of your internet traffic through Queens.

Instructions for establishing your VPN connection are below.

VPN Connectivity

The VPN client application is called FortiClient. With the FortiClient VPN client you can establish a connection to the Queens network for off-campus locations and access internal resources that would normally require you to be on campus. These include shared drives and the ability to run the enterprise applications listed above. All laptops provided to staff and faculty by Queens should already have the FortiClient VPN application installed on them. This article describes how to establish a VPN connection from the FortiClient VPN client on your Windows laptop.

If you are using your own personal computer (not provided by Queens) or a MacBook, it's possible that the VPN client isn't installed on it. You'll need to install the client software in order to establish a VPN connection.  Below are articles describing how to do that.

 

Online Meetings & Department Collaboration
One of the best ways of collaborating with staff, faculty and students is via RingCentral.  The two RingCentral apps that have meeting and collaboration ability are:

  • RingCentral App (download info above)
    • Audio and video conference calls with individual and group Chat & Texting
    • Configure Teams
  • RingCentral Meetings App (download here if not installed)
    • Audio and video conference calls with individual and group Chat & Texting
    • Share screens or files from computers and applications
    • Whiteboarding
    • Breakout Rooms
    • Meeting Recording
    • Start and schedule meetings directly from Outlook

You can find a Quick Start RingCentral App Guide here and many other RingCentral helps within the IT Help Desk site.

File Storage & Sharing
The two primary means of storing and sharing files are OneDrive and Shared Drives (a.k.a. mapped drives). One of these methods should be used when transferring/sharing sensitive and confidential data.  Per university policy, you are the custodian responsible for all Queens' data on any computer you use and these methods will provide the security, disaster recovery, and business continuity protection necessary.

  • OneDrive is easily accessed remotely by logging in to https://onedrive.queens.edu with your Queens credentials.  Files can be uploaded, downloaded and shared with others.

  • Mapped Drives:  Depending on your role, you many have access to various Mapped Drives when on campus.  These would be accessible via drive letter (e.g. H:, J:, K:, M:) in Windows or via the Finder on a Mac.  Connecting to a Queens Shared Folder remotely requires that you first establish a VPN connection to the Queens network.  Refer the the VPN Connectivity section of this document.  Here's how to connect to mapped drives remotely for Windows and Mac:

Security Practices When Working from Home
University data stored on a computer you use at home, whether the computer is owned by you or the university, is subject to the same policies as data located on campus.  You are the custodian responsible for all Queens data on any computer you use.  Sensitive data should not be placed on a personal computer or device but instead should be accessed via secure remote access technology.

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