Security Recommendations for Remote Teaching, Learning, and Working

To help mitigate elevated security risks with working remotely, consider the following steps to secure your remote work environment. As always, the Dartmouth College Service Desk and Information Security Office are here to help if you need any assistance implementing the following recommendations.  Submit a request for assistance and a representative will contact you.

Many members of the Dartmouth community have rapidly transitioned to a remote work environment to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus.  Through remote teaching and working, Dartmouth College can continue to provide services and support to our clients and colleagues, but it also changes our ability to centrally protect the Dartmouth systems on which you are working.

Protect your device when working from remote locations

When working away from the Dartmouth campus, your device may not be protected in the same way as it was protected in your office.  Your system is not located behind the campus border firewalls that usually protects your system from undesired and malicious traffic coming from the Internet.  Although your home router may provide similar protections, the following recommendations will help protect your system even more while using it off campus.

  1. Use an antivirus software
    • Ensure antivirus is in place and fully updated.
    • Computers enrolled in Dartmouth's Device Assurance Program (DAP) or Computer Assurance Program (CAP) include this protection.
  2. Review and install operating system and software updates regularly
    • DAP and CAP machines include this protection.  Be sure to connect to the virtual private network (VPN) regularly to retrieve the latest patches for your system.
    • Promptly install all operating system (OS) security patches and third party application patches.
    • Enable automatic updates where possible to ensure you get the most out of your device and the most current protection available. 
  3. Don’t install new software
    • Be wary of offers for new software or services.
    • For DAP and CAP machines, most of the software you need to do your job should already be installed.  See the DAP Standard Software related article attahced to the right.
    • DAP and CAP machines will also have access to the Software Center that will provide an easy and trusted way to install any additional software you need.
  4. Use a wired or encrypted WiFi connection, especially when using public networks
    • Wired networks are typically faster and are less subject to interception of your traffic.
    • Prefer networks that are “Secure” or “WPA2” password protected.  If not possible then consider use of VPN (see below).
  5. Use VPN 
    • In the event you are working from an open or public space like a library, coffee shop or a hotel, VPN will keep your traffic private and prevent other people in the vicinity from observing your activity.
    • Some resources, especially systems with more sensitive data (i.e. DISC 2-3) will not be available without VPN.
    • Using the Dartmouth VPN will connect your system back to campus and has the benefit of enabling ITC to utilize the campus border firewalls to provide additional protection for your device.
  6. Turn on your host-based firewall
    • Modern computers and OSs have a built-in firewall. This firewall is usually enabled by default and invisible. The default settings typically do not get in your way.

Use Dartmouth provided devices to work remotely

When considering whether to work remotely on a Dartmouth owned device or personally owned device, we recommend the following.

  • If you are a Dartmouth employee and have access to a Dartmouth laptop, please use that device.
  • If you are a Dartmouth employee and wish to move Dartmouth computer equipment to a remote location, please consult your School’s policies.
  • We realize students use personally owned devices; please follow our guidelines for protecting your device.
  • Faculty who are employed by other institutions should follow their organization’s recommendations and policies.

When working from home, it is important to use Dartmouth provided systems.  Dartmouth provided systems have specifically configured security settings, applications, and tools that allow your ITC consultants to better assist you with problems if they should arise.  Working remotely with a Dartmouth provided system may entail bringing your existing system home from the office, or, obtaining a temporary system to be used at home. Please contact your supervisor for details on how to properly get set up.

Choose computers enrolled in Dartmouth's Device Assurance Program (DAP).  ITC recommends working from a computer that is enrolled in DAP.  Older computers may be utilizing an equally valuable predecessor program called Computer Assurance Program (CAP).  These computers should already have access to most tools and software you will need to work remotely.  If you are working from a Dartmouth owned Windows or Mac computer that is not enrolled in DAP, consider enrolling in DAP today.

If you have a new system, are not enrolled in DAP or CAP, or need additional software, please contact your helpdesk for assistance.


Article ID: 104275
Fri 4/3/20 1:14 PM
Sun 3/14/21 3:11 PM

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The following information was created to establish a common build specification for all staff and faculty laptops and desktops.  Changes to these standards can be submitted via a service request to the Computer Store which will be forwarded to Computer Standards Review Group.  Once received a member of that team will reach out to you