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WORKING REMOTE / TELEWORKING GUIDE

Both for routine and extraordinary events, it is helpful to be prepared to use technology tools that can help you stay connected with workplace operations and courses from a remote location. 

This guide offers useful resources for telecommuting and working remotely that are available to FBRI students, faculty and staff, as well as planning guidance for departments and groups.  We recommend that you stay in touch with the FBRI IT support staff and Institute leadership for guidance on best practices and resources for working remotely. 


***RETURN AND REVIEW THIS GUIDE OFTEN FOR UPDATES***


HOME / REMOTE WORK CHECKLIST: 

  1. Review this entire guide and checklist.
  2. Make sure you are signed up for all the appropriate alert and notification networks.  
  3. Make sure you have read and signed a Home Use Authorization Form in the last year for any equipment that will be taken offsite, and submit to the FBRI IT department.
    NOTE: If you are wanting to take FBRI / Lab computer and workstation assets (PCs, monitors, etc.) off-site to better the working remote experience, be sure to receive approval from your PI or immediate supervisor.  Any PCs or laptops removed will require the signing of a Home Use Authorization form.  
  4. Ensure you have a reliable and robust Internet connection (i.e. 10Mbps download, 2Mbps upload).
  5. Ensure you have all required power supplies and adapters for your laptop / MacBook.
  6. Ensure you have a well-rated powerstrip with surge protection to protect your (and FBRI's) assets from power issues. 
  7. If using an external monitor, ensure you have the proper cable(s) to connect the devices. 
  8. For security purposes, and to protect both personal and FBRI data, have auto-locking of your desktop due to inactivity in place, and manually lock your workstation when leaving unattended (Win: WindowsKey + L, Mac: Command+Option+Q).
  9. Do not copy FBRI or research data to your portable computer to take off site.  We have solutions in place to allow you secure access to data.  FBRI will not be responsible for data lost or damaged on endpoint workstations.  
  10. Consider forwarding your office phone to your mobile device.  It is not recommended you forward your office phone to a home number (unless you are the only person that would answer it.)  See other options for voice services below.  NOTE: If you forward your office phone to your mobile device, you will NOT receive voicemail at work - it will be directed to your mobile phone voice mail.  
  11. If not forwarding your phone, know how to access the Virginia Tech Voice Mail System.
  12. Consider printing DUO codes to use as backups for logging into VT services.  
  13. Copy data from your computer desktop and local drives to your Lab share (L:) or home directory (U:) so you can access it remotely.  You will not be able to access data on your office PC and local data is not protected or backed up


CONNECTING TO EMAIL:

To connect to FBRI email remotely, connect to the Internet from your FBRI PC or Mac, and launch Outlook.  Alternatively, connect to https://webmail.vtc.vt.edu using any WWW browser.  NOTE: You do NOT need to connect to the VPN to access FBRI email.
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CONNECTING TO THE NETWORK REMOTELY:

If you need to access Lab, Project, or Admin Shares, internal servers or clusters, use the FBRI-provided VPN.  Your FBRI provided PC or MacBook should already have the Cisco AnyConnect VPN client installed. NOTE: You do NOT need to connect to the VPN to access email or Virginia Tech resources.   

Install and Configure the Cisco AnyConnect Software VPN for Windows

Install and Configure the Cisco AnyConnect Software VPN on a Mac

NOTE: If testing the VPN, you must be NOT connected to VTCRI-Wireless or the FBRI wired network. (Need Help?)

CONNECTING TO NETWORK RESOURCES (VPN Connection Required):
Once connected successfully to the VPN, you can access servers, shares, clusters, and printers as if you were connected locally.  If you are having issues connecting to network shares: 

Accessing Lab and Project Shares (Windows | 10)

Accessing Lab and Project Shares (Mac | OSX)

Accessing the Admin and Shared Drives
Accessing Network Home Directories

Trouble mapping drives or no drive letters on a Windows PC?  View this article for help

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BACKUPS AND DATA PROTECTION:

FBRI IT does NOT back up any data stored on your laptop, MacBook, or any FBRI workstation – whether in the Institute or offsite.  

We DO backup, protect, and replicate copies offsite of all network data:

If you have a robust Internet connection, we STRONGLY ENCOURAGE you to work from these folders directly when working remotely (VPN required) and do not copy data from the network to your local device.

If you do not have a robust or persistent Internet connection, the following are options:

  • Copy the file(s) you are working with to your local computer, perform your work, and copy them back.  Make sure you copy them back!
    • These files should not contain PII or sensitive data.
    • If other people commonly work with these files, make sure they are aware you are working with them off-site.
    • Large quantities of project or lab data should not be copied to your local workstation.  (See below for options.)
  • Install and use Google File Stream (Google Drive) and use it to store the data you are working on.   This can also be used as a “backup location” for data you have stored locally. 
  • Consider using Google Team drives for collaborative and group work.  
    • Google File Stream and Google Team drives have been approved by the University for storage of protected data up to the FERPA level.

PLEASE NOTE: We do not recommend storing FBRI data on local USB drives that can be damaged, lost, or stolen.  Sensitive data of any kind should never be stored on local USB drives. 

 
COMPUTER BASED LABORATORY WORK:
If you have computer-based laboratory work that needs to take place on a computer at the FBRI, Start a conversation with us to begin a consult on how we may be able to move your workload to the data center and / or provide you access to it.  More information can be found here


SOFTWARE:
Graphpad Temporary Licenses
Adobe Renewals: The University Adobe software license renewal is due March 26th.  To renew this license, we will proactively reach out to each of you with Adobe software to schedule a time to work together and renew.  We are currently waiting on our new license portal to be provisioned so we can start, however, we do have a 30-day grace period.   Please report any license issues or messages you may receive on your machines.

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ELECTRONIC SIGNATURE USING IN PDFs USING ADOBE ACROBAT PRO DC:

TEAM COLLABORATION:
In addition to those resources available from the FBRI, consider these tools available to you for team collaboration and work: (VT PID required)

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VOICE AND VIDEO CONFERENCING:

NOTE: If you forward your office phone to your mobile device, you will NOT receive voicemail at work - it will be directed to your mobile phone voice mail.  

CONFERENCING: 

For audio-only conferences (save that precious bandwidth if video is not needed):

Zoom - Enabling Personal Audio Conferencing

Video Conferencing:

IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR ZOOM : 

NOTE: Zoom recordings for classes and meetings should be recorded to the cloud, not locally.  Documentation and help can be found here.

NOTE: As an alternative to Zoom for team meetings or collaborative work, consider Google Meet (use your VT PID to authenticate).

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CONTINUED CLASS INSTRUCTION:

NOTE: Zoom recordings for classes and meetings should be recorded to the cloud, not locally.  Documentation and help can be found here.

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  1. Jed Krisch

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