IT Recommendations for Telework and Tele-Education

How do I use Office 365? (Updated March 18, 2020)

The Enterprise Training Group is providing online classes on how to use Office 365 to work from home as well as providing specific detailed classes for Microsoft Teams, OneDrive, SharePoint, etc.

It is highly recommended that people read the information that is available on the Office 365 website – https://www.umaryland.edu/office365/. The site has been updated with additional information, including instructions for moving files to SharePoint from network file shares.

How do I use Webex, Skype for Business, Microsoft Teams, or Blackboard Collaborate for virtual meetings? (Updated March 18, 2020)

For more information on Webex, including how to create a voice-only conference line - https://www.umaryland.edu/cits/services/webex/.

For more information on Skype for Business  - https://www.umaryland.edu/office365/skype-for-business/.

For more information on Microsoft Teams - https://www.umaryland.edu/office365/teams/.

For more information on Blackboard Collaborate - https://www.umaryland.edu/blackboard/collaborate/.

Improving Webex/video-conferencing Experience

When using Webex or any video-conferencing software, if you have limited or no Internet bandwidth, here are some tips to consider that could help to keep you productive:

  • If you do not have strong WiFi -lower video quality or turn off your web camera, and better yet, share your content before the call.
  • Close unnecessary applications- audio and video competes for the same resources and under pressure will impact the quality of your collaboration experience.
  • If you have no WiFi- use the direct dial numbers for your meeting, which you can find in the invite.
  • Enrich your collaboration experience- While working from home, there may be a lot of background noise. Consider muting yourself if you are not speaking. 
  • Webex can run outside of VPN- Turning off VPN for Webex can lead to a better experience for audio, video and sharing.

·       For more tips and information on preserving network bandwidth please visit this page

How do I install anti-virus software to protect my computer, my identity, and UMB systems? (Updated March 18, 2020)

If using Windows 10, turn on the built-in antivirus feature called Microsoft Defender. https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/17464/windows-10-help-protect-my-device-with-windows-security

Purchase Symantec Endpoint Protection here - https://cf.umaryland.edu/software_sales/.

Many Internet Service Providers (ISPs) offer free antivirus software.

Comcast/Xfinity provides Norton Security Online - https://www.xfinity.com/hub/internet/internet-security

Verizon/FIOS provides Verizon Internet Security Suite - https://www.verizon.com/support/consumer/internet/essentials/internet-security-suite-download

AT&T provides AT&T Internet Security - https://www.att.com/support/article/u-verse-tv/KM1046931/

Spectrum provides Security Suite - https://www.spectrum.net/support/internet/security-suite-windows-installation/.

How can I be wary of coronavirus scams and phishing attempts? (Updated March 18, 2020)

Unscrupulous individuals are trying to take advantage of this situation. Never share personal information. 

For more information on spam - https://www.umaryland.edu/cits/services/spam/.

For more information on phishing - https://www.umaryland.edu/cits/it-security-and-compliance/.

How do I update my computer? (Updated March 18, 2020)

Make sure your operating system, anti-virus, web browsers, and other third-party software like Microsoft Office and Adobe Acrobat are all up to date.   Check for updates frequently.

Can I save sensitive University data using my personal device? (Updated March 18, 2020)

Do not save any sensitive University data to your personal device. Please save all work to Microsoft OneDrive or SharePoint.

Can I use public WiFi to conduct University business? (Updated March 18, 2020)

Do not use public WiFi to conduct sensitive University business. When connected to campus systems remotely, do not leave your computer unattended and make sure you log out when you have finished your work.

How do I add additional second factors to my Duo account? (Updated March 18, 2020)

If you are not already using the Duo Mobile app on your iPhone or Android, set up Duo Push for the best experience. 

If your only second factor is your UMB office phone, add your home phone as another option.

For more information on Duo - https://www.umaryland.edu/cits/services/duo/existing-user/.

Improving Internet Performance When Working Remotely

Working remotely? Understanding your internet connection capacity is an important component to a successful remote work experience.

Weak Wi-Fi signal or a poor broadband internet provider -- meaning less than 15 Mb/s download speeds, 5 Mb/s upload speed, or high latency -- can make it difficult to work remotely. 

First, consider whether your internet provider is up to the task. Depending on your city and neighborhood, not all of these options are available to you.

  • Fiber and cable internet providers (i.e Verizon, Xfinity, etc.) generally offer the highest quality connection and will work well for remote work. 
  • DSL (Digital Subscriber Line) service is a generally lower-quality service but is the best choice for some rural neighborhoods and homes. 
  • A cellular hotspot may work, depending on the strength of the cellular coverage in your area, but often restricts how much bandwidth you can consume. 
  • Satellite broadband and dial-up internet options won’t work well for access to most resources.

Next to the internet provider you use, the next most important factor is how you connect to the network within a house or other location. Things to consider:

  • Router position is key

Is your router in some remote corner of your house? If so, move it.  If the Wi-Fi signal from the router can’t reach you, your internet connection will suffer. Position your router toward the middle of your house, preferably on whichever floor you hang out on the most. If you spend all your time in the living room on the first floor, put your router on that same level.  Avoid having two or more walls or one floor between your computer and your home’s internet router/access point.  

Periodically reboot your router.  Your router is also a small computer.  It holds memory and background processes and caches information.  It can benefit from the occasional reset to get things going right again.

  • Embrace Ethernet

If possible, directly connecting to the internet router or access point via a wired (Ethernet) cable will provide the best quality, especially for audio/video applications (e.g. work related apps like WebEx, Blackboard Collaborate, Skype or Zoom).  

If you connect via Ethernet, you don’t need to worry about Wi-Fi quality. 

Cabled connections like Ethernet, will always be faster and more reliable than wireless ones. The cable gets the signal directly to your device rather than relying on over-the-air transmissions

  • Wireless Convenience

If you need to use Wi-Fi, the quality of your wireless connection will significantly impact your overall internet quality. 

If you’re using the wireless access point that came with your internet connection, note that these often have average to poor coverage. 

Houses larger than 1,500 square feet or so (depending on layout and building materials) will usually need multiple wireless access points for good house-wide coverage. 

Consider installing a newer Wi-Fi access point, or Wi-Fi mesh networks that cover your home with multiple access points. The Wirecutter by The New York Times as well as techradar website, regularly tests and recommends Wi-Fi access points and mesh hardware. 

Wi-Fi signals are transmitted at two different frequency modes: 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz. 2.4 GHz is an older technology; it’s more prone to interference and runs at slower speeds.  For best results, make sure your computer is using 5 GHz Wi-Fi; then, disable 2.4 GHz on your router and update other devices on your network to use only 5 GHz.

You can test the speed of your internet service to make sure you are ready to work by using the free Speedtest.net website. This provides an end-to-end test of all the factors affecting your device’s connection: your internet provider, your home network setup, and the device you’re on. Speedtest.net is currently available for the web and download on IOS, Android, macOS, Windows, Google Chrome and Apple TV.

How do I access applications while I’m off-campus?

For most applications, you do not need a VPN Connection.  Please click here to see the list of applications that are available to you from an Internet Browser.   VPN is only required to access resources on-campus (i.e. Remote Desktop to desktops/servers or resources that are solely available while on campus, to name a few).