How to Securely Work from Off-Campus

Posted January 9, 2018 by Academic and Institutional Technology
Tags: Security

How to Securely Work from Off-Campus

In today’s world, technology gives us the freedom to be very mobile. Wheaton College regularly issues laptops and other mobile devices to faculty and staff, which allows many of us to easily work from off campus. While it is strongly recommended that employees use only College-issued devices when interacting with institutional data, personally-owned devices may be used to access College data when they are appropriately secured.

In order to make sure your personal or institutional data is not at risk, please follow these best practices when working from off-campus:

1. Ensure that you are the only person using devices issued to you by the College

This will reduce the possibility of someone inadvertently downloading harmful software, deleting important institutional files, or viewing sensitive College material.

2. Launch Wheaton College’s GlobalProtect Virtual Private Network (VPN) software

The VPN creates a “tunnel” that protects data as it flows between where you are working from and the College’s data resources. VPN should be used whenever you access an application or site hosted on the Wheaton network, which includes anything with “” in the web address/URL.

3. Only use web addresses (URLs) that start with “HTTPS” instead of “HTTP”

This ensures that your data is encrypted, which is crucial when accessing data classified as “private” or “restricted” in Wheaton’s Data Classification Policy. Your web browser, such as Firefox, Chrome, or Safari, may need to be updated in order to access online services through HTTPS. If you need assistance updating your web browser, please contact the AIT Service Desk.

4. Physically secure your device when it’s not in your possession

This might seem obvious, but it’s something many of us overlook when we tell ourselves, “I’ll just be gone for a minute.” A few seconds is all it takes for someone to walk off with your device.

We recommend avoiding the following practices:

  • Leaving your laptop, or the backpack/carrying case with your laptop, in plain sight in a vehicle
  • Leaving your computer unattended in a public place when grabbing a bite to eat or using the restroom
  • Only access secure websites with HTTPS when using your non-institutional devices. On an unencrypted machine, “private” or “restricted” data may be viewed, but not downloaded.
  • Never use public machines in hotels, conference centers, business offices, or Internet Cafés. These devices are not securely maintained and have a high probability of containing malicious software that captures your keystrokes.

5. In the event that you do not have access to an institutionally-owned and managed device and you must use a personal device, you are responsible for ensuring that the data continues to be protected

To do this:

Also, make sure your personal device is secured with:

  • A complex password
  • Up-to-date security patches
  • Working, up-to-date anti-malware software
  • An up-to-date web browser to access online services through HTTPS protocols

6. Be familiar with Wheaton’s policy for traveling abroad with technology, as some countries are less technologically secure.

You can read the full policy here, and fill out AIT’s International Travel Reporting Form here.

If you have any questions or concerns, or need to request a laptop for working from home, please contact the AIT Service Desk by email or by phone at 630.752.4357 (HELP).