Information Technology Services (ITS)

Working remotely


Find helpful tips, resources and frequently asked questions to stay connected and secure while working remotely.

For University updates on UCheck, COVID-19 guidelines and health and safety, refer to the UTogether site.

Reach out to its.myworkplace@utoronto.ca if you have any questions.


Quick links


Hybrid meetings

Find the best of both worlds by applying simple tips to run your hybrid meetings effectively. Refer to the suggested AV components for meeting rooms and find out what videoconferencing solutions might best suit your needs.


Tips for working remotely

Refer to this checklist for practical and technical considerations when working remotely, and get tips to combat online fatigue, manage wellness and use Microsoft Teams effectively.


Information security

Keeping your data and computing environment safe and secure is a team effort. Read the information security guidelines to learn what you can do to work safely and what security features are enabling safe work in our Microsoft 365 environment.


Frequently asked questions

Sections:

1. Remote work set up

If you are a Digital Workplace client, please refer to the Enterprise Application and Solutions Integration (EASI) remote work guide. This resource will answer your questions about devices and accessing work-related administrative systems, software and files.

You can also refer to EASI's condensed, shareable guide to remote work.

If you are a non-Digital Workplace client, please refer to EASI's remote guide for non-managed desktop users. This resource will answer your questions about devices and accessing work-related administrative systems, software and files.

Most internet service providers (ISP) offer unlimited data plan packages. To avoid costly data overage charges associated with capped data plans, we recommend that you compare the prices of unlimited data plans across multiple ISPs to find a package that can accommodate the increased data usage demands of remote work.

2. VPN services and security

UTORvpn is available to staff, faculty and select groups of students. It provides secure access via an encrypted tunnel to University resources from off-campus. Dynamic IP addresses are automatically assigned. To connect, install the Cisco AnyConnect software onto your computer. Once installed, connect via general.vpn.utoronto.ca and sign into the “UTORvpn” group with your UTORid.

AdminVPN provides secure access to select enterprise applications (e.g., Repository of Student Information or Administrative Management System). Dynamic IP addresses are automatically assigned. UTORMFA and Cisco AnyConnect software are both required to connect. Once installed, connect via port.eis.utoronto.ca and sign into the “Admin Systems VPN” group with your UTORid.

Remote Desktop Gateway (RDG) protects remote desktop connections between Windows systems. It replaces some of the historical uses of VPN services. UTORcsi runs an RDG gateway with access by local UTORcsi account and password. There are nuances to using this depending on whether the remote device is managed by UTORcsi or not (i.e., you may be able to login with UTORid/password or you may need to use the UTORcsi VPN). Contact your local IT help desk for support.

Some local University units run VPN services for their own communities. Contact your local IT help desk for more information.

For more information about VPN services, visit https://isea.utoronto.ca/services/vpn/.

AdminVPN allows the owners of administrative and academic systems as well as department administrators to enforce strong authentication and secure connections. Access to AdminVPN is limited to those authorized to access the systems it protects.

Yes, the restrictions are as follows:

UTORvpn: Once your session is complete, please disconnect from the VPN. Unintended usage may negatively affect performance of the VPN for others.

Please try to avoid using streaming platforms when using the VPN (e.g., YouTube, Netflix, Spotify, etc.) as these streaming services can easily affect the VPN experience for everyone using this service.

AdminVPN: Once your session is complete, please disconnect from the VPN. Unintended usage may negatively affect performance of the VPN for others.

If an individual is using more than 5GB of data within a day, they will receive a warning email from vpn@utoronto.ca.

File sharing has been opened on UTORvpn, which corresponds to the University’s internet IP ranges. However, this is not supported on AdminVPN. To access file sharing on the University network, you must log out of AdminVPN and login to UTORvpn (general.vpn.utoronto.ca).

AdminVPN is configured to enable “split tunnel,” which means that when you are connecting through the VPN "tunnel” established between your computer and the admin environment. When you are connecting to anything else on the internet, traffic is routed to the connection provided by your internet service provider (ISP) and your traffic will appear from the IP address assigned by your ISP.

Please email vpn@utoronto.ca and include your department file share server network information.

3. Alibaba Cloud Enterprise Network (CEN) service

Due to significantly reduced demand and the return to in-person learning, Alibaba CEN was decommissioned effective May 1, 2022. If you have questions, please contact Information Commons at help.desk@utoronto.ca. 

4. Video meetings

The University offers video conferencing solutions such as Microsoft Teams, Zoom and others. Find out what enterprise video conferencing solutions might best suit your needs.

Microsoft Teams provides free, on-demand video conferencing that staff and faculty can use to host and run virtual meetings, presentations and office hours.

You need a faculty or staff UTORid to create a Teams meeting. However, participants do not have to have a UTORid to join Teams meetings – you can invite people from anywhere.

Visit the knowledge base for Microsoft Teams to learn more.

The capacity per meeting is 1,000 participants.

Yes. Dial-in audio conferencing is available for all University of Toronto staff, librarians and faculty who are not able to connect to a Teams meeting through the app on their laptop or mobile device. Anyone who has the dial-in number and conference ID can join a Teams meeting, unless the meeting organizer has locked the meeting. Users do not need to be a member of a Team to join Teams meetings.

5. Phone

The Communicator 7 soft client is available for VoIP users to install on their computer or smartphone so that they can make and receive calls using their U of T phone number.

To use Communicator 7, you will need your phone credential. The username is your 10-digit phone number (no dashes or spaces) and the password should have been provided to you by your department. If you don't know your Communicator 7 password, please email voipsupport@utoronto.ca.

Please note: if you are installing Communicator 7 on your personal computer, it must be equipped with a microphone and speakers. If your computer does not have a microphone, you can connect an external USB headset with a microphone instead. Laptop and mobile devices already have a built-in microphone and speakers.

Some users may prefer or require multi-line capability or other features that can be delivered only with their office Polycom hard phone. To use your U of T Polycom VVX-411 VoIP phone at home, you need either a Polycom universal power supply power adapter (Polycom part #2200-48560-001) or any Power-over-Ethernet (PoE) enabled switch.

  1. Call your U of T number from any home or cell phone.
  2. When you hear your greeting, press * to access the voicemail portal, then press * again.
  3. Enter your phone number and password when prompted.
  4. Press 1 when prompted to access your voicemail portal.

Yes. Technically, your office phone should work if you bring it home and connect it to your home internet router or modem. However, you will need an AC adapter in order to power the phone. Most clients do not have an adapter because the phone in the office typically gets power from the network switch.

An easier way to bring your office phone home is to install the VoIP softphone client Communicator 7, available for both Windows and Mac as well as mobile devices.

To use Communicator 7, you will need your phone credential. The username is your 10-digit phone number (no dashes or spaces) and the password should have been provided to you by your department. If you don't know your Communicator 7 password, please email voipsupport@utoronto.ca.

Please note: if you are installing Communicator 7 on your personal computer, it must be equipped with a microphone and speakers. If your computer does not have a microphone, you can connect an external USB headset with a microphone instead. Laptop and mobile devices already have a built-in microphone and speakers.

Yes. Technically, your office phone should work if you bring it back home and connect to your home internet router or modem. However, you must have an AC adapter to power the phone.

Once your work phone is set up at home, call your bridge number, enter the conference ID and instruct your participants to do the same.

If you do not have a phone and an AC adapter, you can install and use Communicator 7 on a computer or mobile phone and click on “My Room,” then ask your participants to call in.

Please note: you need to be on a premium plan to use this feature. If you don’t know your conference bridge number and/or ID, it can be found within Communicator 7’s “My Room” feature. If you can’t find this information, please email voipsupport@utoronto.ca.

No, it is recommended that clients do not connect to VPN services when using audio and video conferencing tools, including VoIP. Connecting to a VPN could result in poor audio and video quality.

6. Internet connectivity

If you are experiencing internet connection issues or having trouble connecting to a specific website, these resources can help identify the problem:

Rogers outage report: https://istheservicedowncanada.com/status/rogers

Bell outage report: https://istheservicedowncanada.com/status/bell-canada

Telus outage report: https://www.telus.com/en/on/outages

Website/service outage reports: https://downdetector.ca or https://downforeveryoneorjustme.com

Internet speed performance test: https://www.speedtest.net.

If you are having internet connectivity issues that aren’t reported by your service provider:

  • Is your computer disconnected from the network? Check your network settings.
  • Does your modem and/or router need to be reset? Ensure your modem/router is connected.
  • Is your network cable disconnected (if your computer is wired)?
  • Is your software misconfigured for access to the internet?

For more information, visit https://www.russharvey.bc.ca/resources/internet.html.

7. Students

8. Information security

At a minimum, the U of T Information Security Council and Chief Information Security Officer recommend:

  • Enrolling in UTORMFA.
  • Using supported versions of operating systems.
  • Patching and updating the operating system and software/applications with respect to security vulnerabilities.
  • Having fully enabled, automatically updated anti-virus software for Windows computers where possible.
  • Protecting devices with a strong password and/or biometrics.

For more information, review the information security remote work guidelines or download the PDF version.

Also, visit the remote security matters page to learn how to:

The Canadian Centre for Cyber Security, Canada’s authority on cyber security, provides advice and guidance for employees who are working remotely. Review these cyber security tips for remote work to ensure you are working safely.

The Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA), an organization committed to developing and implementing policies that support Canada’s internet community, has a free cyber security course focused on security for remote workers.

To protect yourself from the dangerous effects of malicious software:

  1. If you use a Windows computer, install Microsoft Defender (anti-virus for Windows); it is available at no charge on University-owned or leased equipment.
  2. Enable automatic updates on your computer.
  3. Only download and use products and software that are approved by your department.
  4. Review this tip sheet on how to protect yourself from phishing attacks.
  5. Promptly report incidents to your IT personnel.

Learn more about protecting yourself against malware.

If you suspect a phishing attempt:

The U of T Information Security Council and Chief Information Security Officer recommend:

  • Enrolling in UTORMFA.
  • Encrypting data when stored on devices.
  • Reporting to your local IT management and security.response@utoronto.ca any lost, stolen or compromised devices holding University data or those enrolled in a University authentication system as a trusted device.
  • Using secure connection methods that are encrypted, such as a virtual private network, secure shell protocol (SSH) and transport layer security (SSL/TLS) to connect to University systems before accessing data.
  • Storing data on University-managed systems. Office 365 is considered a University-managed system for this purpose, though your department may have other systems.
  • Not sharing your devices with persons other than those authorized to access the data.

For more information, review the information security remote work guidelines or download the PDF version.

9. Microsoft Teams (meetings, messages, privacy)

To ensure a quality audio and video connection:

  • Make sure you are connected to high-speed internet and try to remain in close proximity to your Wi-Fi modem.
  • Connect directly through an ethernet cable when possible.
  • Disconnect from remote desktops or VPNs for the best connection quality.
  • Join meetings from the Teams app (the version installed on your laptop, mobile device or desktop) as it has the greatest functionality.

For more information, review these good practices for Teams meetings and learn how to join a meeting and adjust your settings.

If you can’t hear or you can’t be heard by others, check your computer’s audio settings.

On a Mac:

  • Navigate to System Preferences > Sound
  • Use the output tab to set volume
  • Use the input tab to set microphone

On a Windows PC:

  • Navigate to Control Panel > Sound
  • Adjust input (microphone) and output (speakers) as needed

If you experience choppy audio or video delays during a Teams meeting, you may not have enough bandwidth available from your internet connection. Try troubleshooting with these tips:

  • Turn off the video feed from your camera (click on the camera icon on Teams until it is crossed out).
  • Disconnect from any virtual private networks (VPN) or remote desktop connections. You do not need these to participate in a Teams meeting and they may slow down your connection.

Microsoft Teams is protected by the same security standards as Office 365. Details about security and compliance to standards are provided in Microsoft’s trust centre and have been reviewed by the University.

Teams customer data stays within the tenant, and the application enforces Team-wide and organization-wide authentication through active directory and encryption of data in transit and at rest. Files are stored in SharePoint and are backed by SharePoint encryption.

Learn more about Teams privacy and security and privacy for Microsoft 365.

Yes, you can edit any message or file you sent to a Teams chat or channel.

To edit or delete a message:

  • Hover over your message and select the extended menu (three dots), then select edit or delete.

To delete a file you shared with a Team:

  • Select the specific Team and channel where you shared the file.
  • Click the file tab in the top menu.
  • Once you locate the file, click the extended menu (three dots) and select delete.
  • To permanently delete files, go to the Team SharePoint, select the recycle bin in the left-hand menu, find the file and select delete.

10. Recording and sharing lectures

Instructors can pre-record videos before the class or record live sessions. Self-service platforms such as Teams, Zoom and TechSmith Snagit are available, as well as technician-supported options with the Learning Space Management team.

Learn more about capturing lectures and other recording and sharing options.

Recorded lectures can be shared with students using various applications such as MyMedia, Microsoft Stream and other steaming services.

Learn more about capturing lectures and other recording and sharing options.

11. Participating in hybrid meetings

Information Technology Services offers a variety of U of T-integrated systems and tools to enhance your team's hybrid work experience, such as Microsoft Teams and Zoom.

Review the videoconferencing solutions for more information.

Any meeting room with an internet connection can accommodate a standard hybrid meeting with a laptop or phone. If you have specific needs, your meeting is not standard, or you are interested in investing in more specialized equipment, review the AV guidelines for meeting rooms and the following list of recommendations:

  • Internet connection (ideally a wired connection as opposed to relying on Wi-Fi)
  • A dedicated computer or appropriate ports for attaching a laptop
  • A device that can run Microsoft Teams and Zoom
  • A dedicated camera (as opposed to one built into the device)
  • Data projectors (digital projection) and TV monitors
  • Sound systems, including proper microphones and echo-cancelation technology
  • A control system (a device that allows for items like multiple inputs, lighting control, etc.)
  • Room booking system (to avoid scheduling conflicts)

Plus find out how to convert standard meeting rooms for hybrid or remote meetings.

Contact your division's IT department for support, as they may have already developed meeting room configurations including setting up wired internet connections.

If you are interested in a more robust, formal meeting room set-up, the University has pre-approved suppliers for AV projects.

Occasionally, your meeting room may also be a bookable “classroom.” To convert a room for hybrid meetings, contact the Learning Space Management (LSM) team (at the St. George campus) or the Information & Instructional Technology Services (IITS) departments (at UTM and UTSC). They may already have plans for your room, or they can make recommendations.

LSM (St. George): https://lsm.utoronto.ca
UTM IITS: https://www.utm.utoronto.ca/iits/
UTSC IITS: https://www.utsc.utoronto.ca/iits/


Working remotely resources

Review these resources to manage and enhance your remote working experience.

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Feedback and resource submission

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