Covid-19

You can use the information on this page to help get access to university IT services whilst working away from campus due to Covid-19. If you are a member of teaching staff, please also see: Using IT services for distance teaching

You can access Lancaster University IT services while you are away from campus, for example if you are working from home. This page details some of the key services you might need to access, along with information about how to access them.

When working off campus, you should always be mindful of security of the device you are using. For advice see: Digital security when working off campus.

Communication

You can access email from anywhere using Outlook for web, mobile, PC or Mac. You can instant message colleagues, call people, collaborate in groups and meet online using Teams for web, mobile, PC or Mac.

 Accessing email

You can access your University email from anywhere, on any device in a web browser by going to lancaster.ac.uk/office365 and selecting Outlook. You can also configure the Outlook mobile app or Outlook desktop app on personal devices to pick up your university email if desired. You can get access to your shared mailboxes using any of these methods.

For help and information on accessing email, see Email help and training. For help accessing your shared mailboxes, see Shared mailboxes.

Attackers may use events such as pandemics as an opportunity to target users with phishing emails that pose to be from the university. Please be vigilant and remember, that the we will only publish information on our established communication channels.





 Instant messaging

Teams is recommended for instant messaging colleagues or students. 

You can use Teams from anywhere, on any device in a web browser by going to lancaster.ac.uk/office365 and selecting Teams. You can also download the Teams mobile app or Teams desktop app on personal devices.

For help and information on using Teams for instant messaging, see Microsoft Teams help and training.




 Making and receiving calls

Microsoft Teams should be used for calling colleagues or students. With Teams, you can audio call, video call, instant message, host online meetings and book calls in your calendar. You can also call and host meetings with people external to the university.

You can use Teams from anywhere, on any device in a web browser by going to lancaster.ac.uk/office365 and selecting Teams. You can also download the Teams mobile app or Teams desktop app on personal devices.

For help and information on setting up calls using Teams, see Microsoft Teams help and training. For help joining calls, see Joining online meetings, webinars and other events in Microsoft Teams.


Jabber is available for answering and making external calls from your university extension number from off campus.

For help and information on using Jabber, see Jabber help.

FeatureTeamsJabber
Calling colleagues and students


Instant messaging colleagues and students
Online meetings
Group collaboration
Receiving external phone calls to extension number
Making external phone calls from extension number


For either Teams or Jabber, you may wish to use a headset to improve audio quality during calls. If required, you can request to loan a headset. Alternatively you may be able to use headphones to reduce feedback and background noise.




 Hosting and joining meetings

Teams is recommended for hosting or joining meetings, both with colleagues and externals. This can be either video or audio meetings, and includes ability to present, screen share and record, if desired. 

You can use Teams from anywhere, on any device in a web browser by going to lancaster.ac.uk/office365 and selecting Teams. You can also download the Teams mobile app or Teams desktop app on personal devices.

For help and training on setting up meetings using Teams, see Microsoft Teams help and training. For help joining and participating in meetings, see Joining online meetings, webinars and other events in Microsoft Teams.




Files

The easiest way to work with and access files is to ensure they are hosted in Teams (for shared/group/departmental files) or OneDrive (for your personal files). You can also access files that you have stored in your Personal filestore (H drive) or Departmental filestores if required.

 Working with files stored in Teams

Teams is recommended for collaborating on files with colleagues, students or external people. It can also be used for sharing files in departments and sharing files widely across the university.

You can use Teams from anywhere, on any device in a web browser by going to lancaster.ac.uk/office365 and selecting Teams. You can also download the Teams mobile app or Teams desktop app on personal devices.

For help and information on using Teams for file storage, see Microsoft Teams help and training.

As Personal data should not be stored, copied or downloaded to personal devices, the opening and editing documents within web browsers or applications such as Microsoft Teams is the best way of working as it avoids downloading or making local copies. Any personal data created on personal machines should be uploaded to university systems once completed and then removed from personal machines afterwards.




 Working with files stored in OneDrive

OneDrive is recommended for storing your own files. 

You can use OneDrive from anywhere, on any device in a web browser by going to lancaster.ac.uk/office365 and selecting OneDrive. You can also download the OneDrive mobile app on personal devices.

For help and information on using OneDrive for file storage, see Microsoft OneDrive help and training.




 Working with files stored in a personal or departmental filestore

You can access files that you have stored in your Personal filestore (H drive) or Departmental filestore (P, R, S, T or Z etc drives).

For help and information accessing filestores, see: Personal filestore (H drive) help and Departmental filestores help.

You will need to Connect to the VPN in order to access filestores when off campus.




For help and information on all file storage services, see File storage, sharing and collaboration services.

University applications

You can access most university IT services from off campus. Some are available in a web browser without requiring additional steps, such as the staff intranet, Moodle and Office 365 services.

For other university applications, there are two primary methods which allow you to connect remotely.

 VPN for Core MyHR portal, Filestores, TerminalFour CMS, Agresso Web, Kx, CoreBI, Dynamics and some other services

The VPN (virtual private network) service allows you to securely access certain IT services when you are off campus.

Some of the services which require VPN when off campus include:

You do not require VPN to access many IT services. Some of the services you do not need VPN for include:

If you do need to use the VPN to access a service, see the instructions to Connect to the VPN.




 Remote desktop for LUSI, Agresso Desktop and CoreHR backoffice

If accessing secure IT services such as LUSI, Agresso and CoreHR Backoffice whilst away from campus, you must have an ISS supported University laptop with you, and this must be used for connecting to one of the remote desktop services. If you do not have one already, you can request loan of a University laptop.

There are two different options for remote desktop access. The first preference is to use PC remote desktop to access your PC on campus. If you do not have a PC remaining on campus which you can access remotely, you should use virtual remote desktop to get access.

 Information about PC remote desktop

To use this service, you first need to request remote desktop access to your PC on campus. Then, for further help setting it up see: PC remote desktop help. More information about PC remote desktop is included below.


The PC remote desktop service allows you to access certain secure IT services when away from campus. If you have a PC which remains on campus, then you can use the PC remote desktop service to access this when away from campus.

If accessing secure IT services such as LUSI, Agresso and CoreHR Backoffice using PC remote desktop, you must have an ISS supported University laptop with you when you are away from campus, and this must be used for connecting to your PC on campus. If you do not have one already, you can request loan of a University laptop.

If you are not accessing these secure services through PC remote desktop, then you can connect to your PC on campus from another device if you wish.

If you do not have a PC on campus that you can access remotely and need access to LUSI, Agresso or CoreHR Backoffice while away from campus, please use the Virtual remote desktop service.

Many services are available from off campus without the need to use PC remote desktop, including:

It is recommended that Microsoft Teams and Jabber are not used inside remote desktop as you may experience issues with audio and video devices.




 Information about virtual remote desktop

To use this service, you first need to request virtual remote desktop access. Then, for further help setting it up see: Virtual remote desktop help. More information about virtual remote desktop is included below.


The virtual remote desktop service allows you to access certain secure IT services when away from campus. Virtual remote desktop is only available to people accessing secure services who do not have a PC left on campus that they can access using PC remote desktop.

The virtual remote desktop service is only to be used for accessing these secure IT services:

To use it, you must have an ISS supported University laptop with you when you are away from campus, and this must be used for connecting to virtual remote desktop. If you do not have one already, you can request loan of a University laptop.

Using virtual remote desktop does not grant you access to these services if you don't already have it. It is only used to give existing service users access while away from campus.

Most services are available from off campus without the need to use virtual remote desktop, including:

It is recommended that Microsoft Teams and Jabber are not used inside remote desktop as you may experience issues with audio and video devices.







Teaching

Teaching staff have a range of options for teaching remotely. You can access key teaching-related IT services, such as Moodle, via the web. You can record content (e.g. presentations/videos) using eStream, Panopto or PowerPoint. Live lectures and seminars can be hosted in Teams.

For further guidance and information on all of these options and services, see: Using IT services for distance teaching.

Other services and applications

You can use AppsAnywhere to access a wide range of software.

 Use AppsAnywhere to access and install software

A wide range of software is available off campus using AppsAnywhere on Windows PCs.

You can also install many software applications on your Mac. 

You can install Microsoft Office on personal devices (PC, Mac, tablet or mobile) for free. See: Microsoft Office installation, help and training.


For information about accessing other services and applications, please see the individual page for that service. You can use the search box below to find services.

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Frequently asked questions

 Can I still access services if I have a low-bandwidth, intermittent or poor internet connection?

Yes, services are still available to you but may be slower to access than you are used to on campus.

For specific advice about how to maximise the connection you do have, please see Using IT services on low-bandwidth connections.




 What is the VPN and when do I need it?

The VPN (virtual private network) service allows you to securely access certain IT services when you are off campus.

Some of the services which require VPN when off campus include:

You do not require VPN to access many IT services. Some of the services you do not need VPN for include:

If you do need to use the VPN to access a particular service, see the instructions to Connect to the VPN.




 What is virtual remote desktop and when do I need to use it?

The virtual remote desktop service allows you to access certain secure IT services when away from campus. Virtual remote desktop is only available to people accessing secure services who do not have a PC left on campus that they can access using PC remote desktop.

The virtual remote desktop service is only to be used for accessing these secure IT services:

To use it, you must have an ISS supported University laptop with you when you are away from campus, and this must be used for connecting to virtual remote desktop. If you do not have one already, you can request loan of a University laptop.

Using virtual remote desktop does not grant you access to these services if you don't already have it. It is only used to give existing service users access while away from campus.

Most services are available from off campus without the need to use virtual remote desktop, including:

It is recommended that Microsoft Teams and Jabber are not used inside remote desktop as you may experience issues with audio and video devices.

If you need to use virtual remote desktop to access a particular service, see: Virtual remote desktop help.




 What is PC remote desktop and when do I need to use it?

The PC remote desktop service allows you to access certain secure IT services when away from campus. If you have a PC which remains on campus, then you can use the PC remote desktop service to access this when away from campus.

If accessing secure IT services such as LUSI, Agresso and CoreHR Backoffice using PC remote desktop, you must have an ISS supported University laptop with you when you are away from campus, and this must be used for connecting to your PC on campus. If you do not have one already, you can request loan of a University laptop.

If you are not accessing these secure services through PC remote desktop, then you can connect to your PC on campus from another device if you wish.

If you do not have a PC on campus that you can access remotely and need access to LUSI, Agresso or CoreHR Backoffice while away from campus, please use the Virtual remote desktop service.

Many services are available from off campus without the need to use PC remote desktop, including:

It is recommended that Microsoft Teams and Jabber are not used inside remote desktop as you may experience issues with audio and video devices.

If you need to use PC remote desktop to access a particular service, see: PC remote desktop help.




 Can I access IT services everywhere in the world e.g. China?

IT services should generally be available from anywhere that has a reliable internet connection. There may be some exceptions where there is country-wide monitoring of internet traffic, for example China. For specific guidance about what is and is not available in China, see: Using IT services in China.




 What security advice should I follow when working from home?

While working on your device:

    • Ensure you have your own user account and separate accounts for family members, with password protection, on the device;

    • Encrypt your computer – instructions are available on how to set FileVault on a Mac or BitLocker on Windows;

    • Have anti-virus installed and run updates and scans regularly;

    • Install software updates/patches regularly; and

    • Log off when finished using your device.

When using an internet browser:

    • Set your privacy settings appropriately and/or apply private browsing;

    • Set your browsing history to delete temporary files, history, cookies, saved passwords and web form information; and

    • Do not choose to save your passwords on your browser. It is important that you do not share your password with anyone or any service. There is a range of advice in the Password help page for creating strong passwords, changing passwords and resetting passwords.

In terms of storage:

    • Do not print documents. If you need to have a hard copy of a document, you must physically lock restricted or personal information away when not in use (e.g. in a locked cabinet which only you have access to).

In terms of disposal:

    • Information containing restricted or classified information should not be placed in an ordinary waste bin. Shred or return it to campus to dispose of via confidential waste.

    • If you are using your own personal device to work on at home and have ever stored unencrypted restricted or personal information on it, you need to secure erase the hard disk (or other media) or destroy it to ensure information is irretrievable before disposal.




 What security advice should I follow when travelling?
 Before you travel
  • Only take home the information you really need.

  • Restricted or Personal information must be encrypted on portable devices (e.g. laptops, tablets, USBs).

  • If information is on a laptop, encrypt the entire laptop and therefore all contents.

  • Do not remove the master copy from University take a copy of the file and update it as soon as possible on return.

  • If you make a backup of restricted or personal data on a portable device, ensure the backup is encrypted.




 Whilst travelling
  • Keep the information (whether paper based or electronic) in your possession. This is especially the case when using public transport hold onto bags/laptops, and do not leave the information unattended.

  • Information shouldn't be left on display in an unoccupied vehicle.

  • Ensure unauthorised people do not see the information you are working on (e.g. if you are working on the train, consider if other passengers can see the information you are working on).





 How can I report an incident or suspected breach while working off campus?

If you believe that either a data breach has occurred or you are concerned for the security of University IT equipment and/or information, please report an incident or data breach.




 What advice is available for setting up a work space at home?

The University's Health and Safety department provides advice and guidance on using display screen equipment (DSE) e.g. computers, laptops, tablets etc. to reduce risks of musculoskeletal injuries, visual fatigue and stress when using equipment. This includes advice on:

 Key considerations include:

  • Having the correct posture when using equipment to reduce musculoskeletal injuries like back and neck strain, repetitive strain injury and visual fatigue.
  • Taking regular breaks to help reduce risks  - take the opportunity to stretch your muscles, change your posture, and move your eyes to look at different distances.
  • Having a variety of tasks can break up monotonous or repetitive tasks - helping to reduce the risk of repetitive strain injury and feeling stressed.
  • If you are concerned about excessive screen time, specialist software such as f.lux can help mitigate effects of excessive screen time.  For help and information see: Excessive screen time.