Remote Work

To minimize risks related to information security, employees working remotely should take all precautions to ensure that they are accessing and managing university information in a secured manner, from a secured location, and using secured equipment. Employees conducting work at alternate work locations are expected to comply with all information security policies and standards.

Secure Equipment

  • Individuals working remotely should ensure the equipment they are using is properly configured, patched, free from, and reasonably safeguarded from viruses and malware.
  • University-issued computers: Please ensure computers are configured by applicable Information Technology Policies, Standards, Baselines, and Guidelines.
    • All university-issued computers (desktops and laptops) used for remote work must be encrypted. IT departments managing computers must:
      • Deploy only encrypted remote-work computers going forward (i.e., net-new).
      • Remediate and encrypt any unencrypted remote-work computers by 1/1/2022.
      • If you cannot encrypt the remote-work computer by 1/1/2022, submit an Information Security Exception Request Form.
    • All university-issued computers used for remote work and used to handle sensitive information should have advanced endpoint detection and response software installed (e.g., Crowdstrike). If you need assistance installing Crowdstrike, please contact the ISO at infosec@vcu.edu.
  • Personal computers: The use of personal computers for work purposes is discouraged. If personal computers are used for work purposes, please refer to the general computer security guidance for tips and tricks on keeping your personal computer safe.

Secure Workspace

  • A secured remote workspace should be established for remote work; such workspace should not be accessible by the general public. 
  • Employees should ensure their home WIFI is password protected. We do NOT recommend using public WIFI (e.g., Coffee shops or restaurants) to access sensitive work information. 
  • Lock your computer whenever you leave your workspace. Locking your computer can be used to protect your computer from unauthorized access. You can use the following keyboard shortcuts to lock your computer:
    • Windows 10: press “Windows Key  + L.” 
    • macOS: press “Ctrl + ⌘ + Q”
  • Paper documents and/or portable electronic storage media (e.g., USB drive) containing sensitive university information should be stored securely and locked away when the remote workspace is not occupied.
  • When the disposal of sensitive university information is needed, secured disposal such as shredding and physical destruction of storage media (e.g., USB drive, CD/DVD) is required. Please consult with the VCU Data Handling and Storage Standard and your local IT support unit for more information.

Secure Access

  • Sensitive data should not be included in electronic messages, such as email unless there is some form of encryption being used. To ensure an encrypted transmission of messages in email, an employee can add the word “secure” (without quotes) to the subject line of the email message sent from your VCU issued Google email (Gmail) account.
  • All remote access involving data stored on the university network requires encryption. The university will provide an encryption mechanism, such as a VPN, that is appropriate for the level of access and the data involved.

Secure File Management

  • University-issued and encrypted computers should be used for work-related purposes. While limited personal use may be permitted, these computers should not be used by anyone other than the employee who is assigned the computer. 
  • Sensitive university data must not be stored on the employee’s personal computer; this may include attachments containing sensitive university information from an email. University-issued and encrypted computers configured and maintained by university IT personnel according to applicable standards and baselines should be used to conduct university business, especially any work involving sensitive university information.
  • Employees are expected to use university-provided information systems (such as email systems, computers, VCU provided file share, Google Drive, etc.) to collect, store, process, and otherwise handle university information. For guidance on how to securely store and handle university information, please visit the VCU Data Management System.

Software

Technology Services provides a suite of software that enables remote work and collaboration while employees are working off-campus.

Duo two-factor authentication

VCU uses two-factor authentication via Duo to provide an extra layer of security. Duo is required to access these resources.

Get started with Duo

General software

ResourceDescription
Avaya IX Workplace (phone) Forward calls for your VCU phone number to your computer or cell phone. 
Email Receive email from your desktop or mobile device using Google’s powerful Gmail software.
Google Chrome Create profiles to maintain separate profiles between personal and work for bookmarks and saved passwords.
Google Drive Access, organize, collaborate and share all your files, including sensitive data, from any device, anywhere.

Categorized software

ResourceDescriptionCategory
App2Go Remotely accessible applications such as R, SPSS, etc. Productivity
Confluence Wiki Provides a platform to easily share information with your team using the web. Collaboration
Docusign  Electronically receive, complete and sign documents securely with automated workflow. Collaboration
Filelocker Conveniently and securely share large files with other people both on and off-campus. File transfer
Google Chat 1:1 chat or a dedicated group workspace, Chat makes it easy to collaborate with your team in an organized way. Collaboration
Google Meet Without any type of special account, host video calls using a computer or mobile device. Calls can now include up to 250 participants! Collaboration
ImageNow A document imaging and workflow management tool used for easily capture, organize & manage documents. Collaboration
Zoom Send and receive video and audio as well as share and annotate computer content in conferences with up to 300 participants.  Collaboration

 

VPN Usage and Software

For some types of work, like if you are working in an application or service that can only be accessed on-campus, you might need to use the VPN, or Virtual Private Network. Utilizing the VPN allows a user to appear as if they are logging in from within VCU's network. Two-factor authentication, Duo, is required for the use of the virtual private network (VPN). Currently VPN sessions will time out after 48 hours, at which point you will need to reinstate the connection.

If you are accessing tools such as Zoom, Kaltura, Google G Suite (Gmail, Docs, Drive, etc.), submitting or managing tickets in Cherwell, a VPN connection is not required. We would like to reserve the VPN service only for people accessing applications that require it.

RamsVPN software and general instructions

Software that require VPN

ResourcesDescriptionCategory
File share Internal file storage. Request access to file share. Collaboration, Storage
Remote Desktop Remote access to internal Windows systems. Request access to remote desktop. Remote access

Having home network issues?

Your home network may not be as fast as what you were able to access at work. Follow the steps detailed in Technology Services' home network troubleshooting guide to make the most of the resources available to you.

Training and Resources

The resources from Linkedin Learning listed below may be helpful for employees learning to work remotely. Please log in to Talent@VCU before clicking the links below.