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One Step Ahead: Working From Off Campus

May 10, 2011, Volume 57, No. 33

Another tip in a series provided by the Offices of Information Systems & Computing and Audit, Compliance & Privacy.

Working From Off Campus

As the summer approaches, many faculty and staff find themselves working away from campus more often than during the academic year. 

When you take your work on the road, consider the following tips to protect your privacy and safeguard Penn’s data.

• Shred all unneeded papers with grades, student data, or other sensitive information on them—the regular recycling bin is not OK.

• Make sure you are working on a computer that has software with up-to-date security patches, the firewall setting turned on, and antivirus software installed. If you don’t keep your computer’s software up to date, you run a high risk of having your computer compromised. 

• Protect University data by using a dedicated computer that no one else uses.  If that’s not possible, use remote desktop to reach your campus computer, or create a separate user account and data storage area on the hard drive which will be reserved for your Penn work.

• Guard against physical theft by keeping your belongings in sight and never leaving your laptop unattended—this includes visible on the seat of your vehicle. Consider purchasing Computrace software, which installs a tracking feature on your laptop that can be activated in the case of loss or theft. If your laptop contains sensitive data, be sure to encrypt your hard drive.

• Have a backup strategy for work you complete away from the office. Either save individual files to a USB drive or CD, or automate the process by using the backup features built into operating systems, coupled with an external hard drive.

• Part of the art of working remotely is having your data accessible wherever you are. Remember, emailing sensitive data to yourself or others is not safe. Instead, use Penn’s free Secure Share service to temporarily upload and download documents, securely sharing them with designated Penn colleagues.

For more tips and information about working from off campus please see www.upenn.edu/computing/help/doc/homeguide/



For additional tips, see the One Step Ahead link on the Information Security website: www.upenn.edu/computing/security/



Almanac - May 10, 2011, Volume 57, No. 33