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.
Connecting to the University Network with VPN
Using VPN (virtual private network) technology allows you to create a secure connection to the University's network from anywhere. With VPN, an internet connection is used to access on-campus resources that are not publicly available, such as administrative systems and CFS (central file service). For instructions on using the University's Cisco AnyConnect VPN client, see the AnyConnect VPN User Guide.
Specific systems and services that require a VPN connection are:
- CFS or other shared network drive access
- Remote access to systems on campus, via Remote Desktop, VNC, and SSH
- Administrative applications, including:
- FRS (Financial Reporting System)
- 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:
- Email and Office 365
- Most University websites including Campus News
Teams and Webex are the two CCS-supported tools to help enable remote meetings.
Teams is best for smaller group meetings (less than 200 people) and may be the simplest tool to set up remote meetings. It 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 teaching and learning purposes. For support, contact OpenEd directly or visit the OpenEd Continuing Academic Continuity website - https://opened.uoguelph.ca/academic-continuity
University staff should continue to use Webex and Microsoft Teams for all meetings and conference calls, as Zoom is not supported by CCS.
Connecting to Your On-Campus Computer Remotely
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:
- Ensure that the computer is powered on and plugged into a wired network connection on the campus network.
- If you have any automated power management setting like sleep or hibernate, turn these off.
- Make note of the name of your computer
- 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.
- For Apple systems, click Apple in top left corner, choose System Preferences, and then Sharing.
- 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:
- Connect to the University VPN service with the Cisco AnyConnect client and authenticate with your Central Login username and password.
- 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 .cfs.uoguelph.ca to the name (e.g., COMPUTER.cfs.uoguelph.ca) and then click 'Connect'. You will be prompted for your username and password. In this step, ensure the username is typed as CFS\username
- 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 .cfs.uoguelph.ca to the name (e.g., COMPUTER.cfs.uoguelph.ca) 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
Accessing Your Office Phone and Voicemail
Accessing Your Office Phone
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 at 519-824-4120 Ext. 58888, via email at IThelp@uoguelph.ca, or via our online chat by clicking the blue box in the bottom right corner of the CCS website.
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: https://www.uoguelph.ca/ccs/internet-phones/phones/business/voice-mail
Security Practices When Working Remotely
- 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:
- That system must have anti-malware software installed to protect your account and the campus network. McAfee VirusScan for Windows can be freely downloaded from the Software Distribution site. For Macs, we recommend Avast Antivirus which is available for free.
- 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 email@example.com.
- 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.
Help with Office 365
Find information on setting up Office 365 on different devices, online user guides, etc.
Downloading Free or Discounted Software
Should you need to download software, visit the CCS Software Distribution Site.
Contact the CCS Help Centre
Should you require additional IT support please contact the CCS Help Centre (see contact methods below). We have temporarily extended Help Centre hours to serve our community:
- M-F: 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.
- Sat: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- Sun: 12 to 6 p.m.
Phone: 519-824-4120 Ext. 58888 (please note that during the extended hours, the phone will go directly to a voicemail box that is being consistently monitored).
CCS website and online chat: For the online chat, click the blue box in the bottom-right corner of the CCS website.
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 trouble shoot 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.