If a public health crisis, weather emergency, natural disaster, or personal circumstance requires it, you may have to work from home for an extended period of time. You should begin now to determine what you would need to work remotely.
Assess your needs
Here are some items to consider in planning to work from home.
- Phone (Faculty and staff can forward their college phone to any phone number. However, be aware that you can only cancel forwarding using your college phone. You can't cancel forwarding by dialing in from off-campus.)
- Voicemail. Faculty and staff should ensure that you have voicemail-to-email set up on your college extension.
- Basic internet connectivity as well as VPN access to the college network.
- Access to files stored on college file servers. For example, your department's I: drive or your personal U: drive
- Access to files stored on your college computer
- Webcam for video conferencing (built into just about all laptops)
- Printing, scanning, and faxing
- Access to college software such as Microsoft Office and the Adobe Creative Cloud suite, both of which can be downloaded for free for work-at-home use by faculty and staff. Microsoft Office is also available for free to students, but the Adobe Create Cloud costs students about $20 per month.
- Access to specialized software such as Mathematica and SPSS.
- Access to various systems such as Colleague and EMS
- Access to cloud-based storage and services such as Google Drive and Dropbox
- Faculty members should also review strategies specific to remote teaching and research.
- Students should also review strategies specific to distance learning.
Talk to your supervisor to help determine your needs and their expectations. IT is working with all departments to see what resources we can make available to individual users.
Available systems and services
Most college systems and services are available from off campus as long as you have a computer and an internet connection. These break down into two large categories: cloud-based services and services that require a VPN connection to the college network, as well as a smaller set of services that use Citrix.
We've made a concerted effort over the past few years to move college services to the cloud, and as a result many services you need to do your job are available from anywhere. For most users, these include:
- Moodle (course websites)
- Google Drive and Apps
- Zoom (videoconferencing) See the schedule of Zoom training sessions.
- Slack at Amherst (live chat for individuals and groups). Check out this Slack guide to working remotely.
Cloud services also include department-specific services such as Slate, Simplicity Horizons, and StarRez, to name a few.
If you are not taking advantage of cloud services--especially the storage services such as Drive and Dropbox--please follow the links above to see how they can make it easier for you to work remotely. For example, if you need access to files stored on the hard disk on your work computer, moving them to Drive or Dropbox means that they can be accessed from any computer, anywhere.
Services requiring VPN
Systems and services that still reside on the college network require that you establish a VPN connection to the college network in order to access them. If you haven't done so, please set up the appropriate VPN connection on the computer you plan to use from home. The three main VPN services are VPNConnect, VPNStudent, and VPNFirewall.
Services that require VPNConnect and VPNStudent include:
- Departmental I: drives, U: drives, and shares on other file servers such as the Storage and Storage2 servers
- Connections to on-campus license servers. Applications such as Mathematica and SPSS will not work from off-campus unless you first establish a VPN connection with the Amherst network.
- EMS (full client)
- Windows Remote Desktop to computers not behind the firewall
Services that require VPNFirewall include
- Business Objects
- ARMS (full client)
- Windows Remote Desktop to computers behind the firewall
- Controller file server
In addition, specialized applications require specialized VPN services. These include:
- VPNhvac, to access the HVAC control systems
- VPNcboard, to access CS Gold (full client)
Be sure to reivew our Avoid VPN Issues - Pointers for Working Remotely.
Services requiring Citrix
The Citrix environment that provides access services such as EMS, ARMS, and Titanium requires the installation of the Citrix Receiver.
Click the links above to review the descriptions of the various services listed, and contact AskIT@amherst.edu with any questions. Also watch the IT Training & Events Calendar for information about training sessions we will make available, beginning the week of March 10, 2020 with several sessions about Zoom video conferencing.