Working From Home
Here are some simple guidelines for faculty and staff that work from home using a VPN connection.
VPN (Virtual Private Network) is a highly secure encrypted connection between your computer and the computer you are connecting to. This allows you to "tunnel" through the university's firewall and connect to resources that are protected from the Internet. Many UMass applications, including email, WISER, and Blackboard, are available without a VPN connection, so you should only request VPN access if you actually need it.
Please visit https://www.umb.edu/it/getting_services/vpn for more information on how to obtain a VPN account and use it.
VPN client computers must have up-to-date antivirus software, along with all up-to-date operating system and application patches. Because of the frequency of security problems with Java, you should take special precautions to make sure you are up to date. Visit https://www.umb.edu/scanmypc to check your browser, add-ons, and other software.
IT Security reserves the right to cancel a VPN account without notice if the VPN connection is attempting to spread malware or otherwise damage the university network.
Keeping university information confidential is important
When using the VPN connection, make sure that unauthorized persons are not observing your work. Always log off before leaving your remote workstation and safeguard all printed materials and files downloaded from university sources. Please see our Data Encryption page for information on securing data.
Shred any printed documents no longer needed, and do not leave downloaded university files for unauthorized others to find.
Please read our page on Personally Identifiable Information for more information on your legal responsibility to safeguard private information.
Places NEVER to establish a VPN connection
Because you will be entering your username and password into the computer and then viewing potentially sensitive information on it, you must be certain that the computer you are using to make a VPN connection is secure and free of malware. Following are examples of computers you should never trust when making a VPN connection.
- public library computers
- conference center computers
- airport lounge computers
- hotel computers (business centers or in-room supplied laptops)
- any computer on which you have reason to believe an infection or other compromise may or does exist
Computer and browser requirements
- Apple computers with Mac OS X versions 10.4 or newer with Safari 6 or later or Firefox 10 or later and the latest version of Java.
- Windows PC with Microsoft 7 or 8 with Internet Explorer 9.0 or later or Firefox 10 or later, with ActiveX enabled and the latest version of Java.
- iPad or iPhone (built in VPN Client)
- Linux with Ubuntu 7 or 8, Red Hat Linux 3 or 4, Fedora Core 4 through 9, Slackware 11 or 12.1, openSUSE 10 or 10.1 with Firefox 2.0 or later (not supported)
- Android 4.0 or newer (not supported)