Working Remotely

This page is a guide to CCS resources that can help the U of G community stay connected to campus when working offsite. For information on teaching remotely, please visit the OpenEd Academic Continuity site.

A virtual private network (VPN) provides a secure, encrypted internet connection, allowing users to safely send and receive data from anywhere. U of G provides two different VPN configurations: split tunnel and full tunnel. Find more information on the U of G VPN service on the CCS VPN service page, and for instructions on how to get set up with VPN, visit the AnyConnect VPN User Guide

At University of Guelph, VPN access is protected by Multi-Factor Authentication and requires permission to access AnyConnect VPN/

If you do not have access to VPN, please submit the request form: VPN Access Request


Split Tunnel

The split-tunnel configuration is the default. It provides secure and encrypted access to specific U of G systems, while access to non-U of G systems is sent directly via users' home internet connection.

Specific systems and services that require a VPN connection include:  

  • Central File Service or other shared network drive access;
  • remote access to systems on campus, via Remote Desktop, VNC, and SSH; and
  • administrative applications, including FRS (Financial Reporting System), Cognos, HR Employee Records, HR Time Entry.

However, there are many campus services and applications that do not require VPN and can be accessed from anywhere. These include email and Office 365, OneDrive, CourseLink, Webex, Jabber, Gryph Forms, and most University websites including Campus News.

Full Tunnel

The full-tunnel configuration allows staff, faculty and students to direct ALL their online activities through the VPN for a secure, encrypted internet connection when necessary. The full-tunnel option should only be used in the following scenarios:

  • to access online resources while in countries where access may otherwise be unreliable;
  • for a secure, encrypted connection for U of G users when using public (unsecure) WiFi (e.g., in retail locations, cafes, airports, etc.); and
  • to provide an option for campus users needing to access cloud services that require traffic to come from an official University IP address due to access restrictions.

The full-tunnel connection may be slower than the split tunnel, and all internet traffic through the full tunnel will be protected by the University's security infrastructure and is subject to the Acceptable Use Policy which can be found here:

U of G offers three sanctioned platforms for our campus community: Zoom for academic instructional use supported by OpenEd, and Teams and Webex for University business supported by CCS. U of G staff should use Teams and Webex for web conferencing calls. For tips and best practices for setting up secure video conferences where sensitive or confidential business information will be shared, visit the Information Security blog on that subject.

Important notes:

  • The U of G Information Security team recommends against the use of Zoom for uses outside of academic instructional (teaching) purposes due to legitimate security concerns. The OpenEd-supported version of Zoom has additional security controls afforded by its integration with CourseLink and Single Sign-On. 
  • For faculty who wish to gain access to the OpenEd-supported version of Zoom, please email OpenEd at
  • For non-academic users with a legitimate requirement to use Zoom, a formal exception process has been established.
  • These instructions are for hosts only - if you are invited to a meeting that utilizes Zoom or other non-U of G platform, users are able to proceed. 
  • In the event that confidential information will be discussed during a web conference meeting, Teams or Webex should be the platforms used as these provide the highest level of security. 
  • Webex and Teams can also be used for teaching where desired/appropriate. 


Teams is a full-featured collaboration platform that has great integration with Office 365 applications, OneDrive and SharePoint. Teams is best for smaller group meetings (less than 200 people) and may be the simplest tool to set up remote meetings. Teams has been updating their platform with new features, including a 3 x 3 grid view, the "Raise Hand" function, and will be rolling out pop-out windows (breakout rooms) shortly. Teams also provides file sharing/editing, and persistent chat. Everyone has access to Teams as part of your Office 365 toolkit. To get set up visit the Teams service page


Webex is a feature-rich web conferencing tool that allows participants to connect with others anywhere in the world through the use of video and/or audio as well as content sharing. Webex can be used for small and larger meetings (greater than 200). U of G students, faculty and full-time staff members already have access to Webex and do not need to request an account (only part-time staff and sponsored/org accounts need to request an account from CCS). Please log in to Webex with your original email address (i.e., for those who have an alias account, you cannot use this to log in). Visit the Webex service page for instructions. 


Zoom is used by Open Learning specifically for academic instructional use.

For questions or support related to Zoom, resources are as follows: 

Remote users have a few options here:

  • The easiest option might be to change our outgoing voicemail message and include an alternate number where users can reach you (home or mobile number). If you choose not to do this, you can include in your outgoing message that the best way to contact you is via email and that you will not have access to check your voicemail messages.
  • Jabber allows staff and faculty to access their office phone extensions from anywhere. With Jabber, users can receive or make outbound calls on their work extension directly from their mobile phone, tablet, or laptop. Jabber is NOT currently accessible to all U of G staff and faculty, other than those in the Jabber pilot. If you are not part of the pilot and require access, please contact the CCS Help Centre: 

Accessing Your Voicemail

  • Dial 519-824-4120 and press *
  • You will be prompted to enter your user ID, which is your phone extension, followed by #
  • You will then be prompted to enter your pin number for your voicemail, followed by #
  • You can now access your voicemail messages, change your voicemail, or change voicemail settings as you would from the office.

Here is a link to the voicemail feature page for reference:

  • If you are a Managed Desktops client and you have that device at home, you already have the appropriate security settings in place and you are ready to work.
  • If you have a device that is managed by another IT department, you should have the appropriate security settings in place. However, please check with your IT admin and review the list below to ensure all steps have been taken.
  • If you are using a personal computer to connect to the University from home:
    • According to the University’s Acceptable Use Policy, all computing devices connecting to the University network, either on campus or remotely via virtual private network (VPN), must run up-to-date anti-malware software. University-owned computers used by staff and faculty are protected with a centrally-managed endpoint security solution. Those users who own Windows devices come with Windows Defender anti-virus. For all other students, faculty and staff using personally- owned computing devices, the Information Security team strongly recommends running up-to-date anti-malware software. While the University does not endorse any specific endpoint security product, there are many products available, both free and subscription-based. Choose one that is reputable and meets your needs and budget.
    • Ensure that your computer and other devices used for work purposes are up to date with the latest operating system and application updates. Remember to patch your internet browsers and productivity tools as well. If possible enable automatic updates.
    • While working from home, do not download or store sensitive University data on your home computer.
  • Reminders for all users:
    • Do not use public WiFi networks to conduct University business.
    • Ensure all of your devices are protected by a strong password.
    • Make sure all of your accounts have unique passwords and consider using a password manager to securely manage them. Review our blog posts on complex passwords and getting started with a password manager for more information.
    • Be sure to lock your screen if you are working in a shared environment and make sure your family and friends understand that they cannot use your work devices.
    • Stay vigilant with your email and watch for phishing messages and scams. Be sure to report suspicious messages to InfoSec so that we can take action by forwarding them to
    • Be on the lookout for social engineering attacks. While we are all working diligently to keep the operations of the University going amid this pandemic, the bad guys are just as busy trying to capitalize on it. We have learned about a number of reported COVID-19 related scams that you should know about which you can read about on our COVID-19 Scams page.
    • Secure your wireless network at home:
      • Change the default admin password on your wireless router.
      • Enable WPA2 encryption and use a strong password for access to your wireless network.
      • Be aware of all the devices connected to your home network, including baby monitors, video doorbells, gaming consoles, TVs, appliances, etc.
      • Review our blog post on Securing Your Home Network for more tips.  

Find information on setting up Office 365 on different devices, online user guides, etc.

Should you need to download software, visit the CCS Software Distribution Site.

If you do not have a laptop and/or would like to connect to your computer residing on the University of Guelph network via Remote Desktop, following these steps:

  1. Ensure that the computer is powered on and plugged into a wired network connection on the campus network.
  2. If you have any automated power management setting like sleep or hibernate, turn these off.
  3. Make note of the name of your computer
    • Windows
      • Managed Desktop clients can click the MD SYSTEM INFO icon on the desktop and the 'Host Name' field will show the computer name.
      • For all other Windows computers, you can right-click the Start button and choose 'System'. The computer name will be displayed beside 'Device Name'. Alternativetly, typing 'command' in the Windows search box beside the Start button will bring up a command window. Typing 'hostname' in that command window will display your computer name.
    • macOS
      • For Apple systems, click Apple in top left corner, choose System Preferences, and then Sharing.
  4. If you are a CCS Managed Desktops client submit a ticket to have your username added to the Remote Desktop Users group for that computer. Include the computer name in the request.  NOTE: If your department does not use Managed Desktops, please contact your IT Administrator to be added to your department’s Remote Desktop Users Group.

Once you are off-campus:

  1. Connect to the University VPN service with the Cisco AnyConnect client and authenticate with your Central Login username and password.
  2. For Windows systems, click 'Start' and then type 'Remote Desktop Connection'. When prompted for the computer name, type the name of the computer noted earlier and add to the name (e.g., and then click 'Connect'. You will be prompted for your username and password. In this step, ensure the username is typed as CFS\username
  3. For macOS computers, a Microsoft Remote Desktop app can be installed from the Apple App Store by searching for Microsoft Remote Desktop. Once installed and run, enter the computer name, type the name of the computer noted earlier and add to the name (e.g., and then click 'Connec't. You will be prompted for your username and password. In this step, ensure the username is typed as CFS\username


Contact the CCS Help Centre

Should you require additional IT support please contact the CCS Help Centre.


Proactive Recommendations:

  • Bring your laptop with you if you expect a remote work situation.  When there is reason to suspect the campus may close and a remote work situation may ensue (pending snowstorm, campus emergency, pandemic planning, etc.), employees with laptops and headsets should consider proactively taking these devices home. Doing so will keep your device safe and readily available should you need it for work purposes.

  • Ensure access to systems. Consider whether there are some systems or accounts to which only a limited number of people have access in your unit. In the event that those people are unavailable, it may be wise to proactively create a secure process to ensure continuity of access. More information on practices around shared accounts can be found in the CCS Password Standard.

  • Practice using collaboration tools. Having “practice work/teach-from-home days” is a good idea to proactively troubleshoot issues and ensure a smoother workflow in the event you need to work remotely. As a regular practice, employees and faculty might consider having at least one “practice day” each year to ensure they are equipped to work or teach from home.

  • Traveling out of the country? If you are traveling and will need to work remotely, review our CyberSafe Travel Guidelines.

  • Forgot your Central Login password? Password Reset security questions allow you to reset your password at any time and from any computer with an internet connection. Reduce the risk of being locked out of your account by setting up your security questions today.

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