Remote Work Resources (FAQ)

In anticipation of an increased need to support remote work and remote teaching, we want to answer some of your most asked questions.  To stay updated on the conditions or status of the University, please visit MU Alert.

Q:  How should I prepare to teach online in the event that in-person classes are not possible or advisable?

A: The Office of eLearning has published a Keep Learning resource and information on many teaching tools to support faculty preparing to instruct online.

Q: Can I use my home computer to work remotely?

A:  Yes, with some caveats:

  • You are responsible for keeping sensitive work-related information safe and private. If your computer at home is shared by others in your house, you may not want to use it for work purposes.  There are specific security requirements for using personally owned devices for University business.
  • If you work with patient information, credit cards, or other highly sensitive information, please make sure you follow all security standards including encryption where required.
  • You may need specific software that isn’t available for installation on your home computer. Please contact your IT support team to discuss the best option for your situation.

Q: I only have a desktop computer for work, can I get a laptop to work remotely?

A:   Many faculty and staff already have access to a computer that they regularly use for remote work in the evenings, weekends, etc.  If you do not have access to a computer that you feel comfortable using in a remote work situation, please contact your IT support team to discuss the best option for your situation.  In anticipation of increased need, DoIT is in process of buying additional laptops for remote work purposes.  Requests for  these systems should  be made through your IT support team.

Q:  Do I need to be concerned about the Internet service package I have at home:

A:  That depends on the package as well as the number of people who are simultaneously using your home Internet connection.  If you are trying to work from home, and several other people  in  your home are streaming movies or games, your connection (and theirs) will likely  be degraded. If you are using Zoom and the connection is poor, you may want to block the use of video and only use the audio portion which consumes less bandwidth.  Those are just a couple of examples of things you should be aware of when working from home.

Q: Are there security issues that I should know about if I choose to work remotely?

A: As always, best practices regarding cybersecurity should be followed.

Now, more than ever, you should be vigilant about recognizing phishing scams. Phishing scams occur when cybercriminals send emails claiming to be from legitimate organizations with important information.  Any time something receives a lot of news coverage (such as a virus outbreak), criminals will use that as an opportunity to prey on your uncertainties . While designed to appear authentic, these emails direct you to links that are actually controlled by the attacker and are intended to harvest your personal information. To learn more about how to protect yourself from falling victim to one of these attacks, see the best practices at the bottom of this webpage.

Increased remote work can increase challenges to information security, please be aware of the University’s information security policies.

Q: Will I be able to access MyHR, Peoplesoft and other tools from home?

A:  Some on-campus IT resources require the use of Virtual Private Networking (VPN), a tool that provides encryption between your computer and campus resources. All University laptops come with the Cisco VPN client installed. If you are using your personally owned computer, please contact your IT support team for instructions about downloading the VPN client.

Q: What collaboration tools are available when in-person meetings aren’t an option?

A: Zoom videoconferencing software is available to all University faculty, staff and students at no cost (this was just announced on 3/5/20).  Zoom mobile videoconferencing enables you to facilitate online audio/video conferencing for meetings, classes, and other group work. With plugins for the major web browsers, Zoom is supported on all major computer operating systems and both iOS and Android.

Installation instructions, resources, and best practices may be found here.

Q: What’s the best way to save files and share files with my workgroup?

A: Ensure that your files are available from wherever you may work by utilizing Box Cloud Storage. Its use, along with the installation and configuration of Box sync, will ensure that your files are protected, as well as available for off-network use. More information on the Box service may be found here, or contact your IT support team for more information on file storage and access practices specific to your workgroup.

Q: What is the best way to receive my work phone calls if I’m away from my office?

A: Several options are available to support work-related phone calls for remote workers.

  • Unified Communications Portal – Unified Communication Portal
    • Self service allows for office phone forward to mobile or landline, and to manage voicemail communications.
    • By default, call forwarding is set up to go to voicemail. This guide will help you change your default settings.
  • Zoom Pro account for audio (less bandwidth used than video)
  • Jabber client: If you don’t currently have the Jabber client, you may request one. Log into the DoIT service portal, and under the service catalog, you will find Networking and Telecom, drill down to find Software Phone Service. From there you may submit a ticket to add a Jabber softphone. Contact your IT support team if you need help facilitating these services.

If you don’t currently have a Cisco phone system that allows you to utilize voice over internet, you may request one. Log into the DoIT service portal, and under the service catalog,  you will find Networking and Telecom, drill down to find  University Phone Service. From there you may submit a ticket to add a phone line or equipment. Contact your IT support team if you need help facilitating voice services.

Q: Is it urgent to start planning for remote work?

A: Making plans now may reduce lost productivity and stress. Your IT support team is ready to support remote work! Please proactively contact us if there is a possibility of you or your team working remotely.

March 10, 2020