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Secure Remote Access

It is well publicized that today's attackers are ever vigilant in their attempts to uncover weak points in networks, computers, and mobile devices to establish a foothold and leverage vulnerabilities, thus resulting in the compromise of critical assets or personal information. Areas of concern that can lead to a breach include the lack of physical security controls available at remote locations, the use of unsecured networks, and the connection of infected devices to internal networks. The challenge is especially daunting when:

  1. Public Wi-Fi hot spots are available everywhere and some will use them to access University systems, emails, and documents.
  2. Users who may email work documents to and from their personal account despite numerous security risks this creates.  
  3. Some users will use free USB charging ports available at airports and other public places. These ports pose the risk of transferring viruses and malware to unsuspecting users or steal data.

Tips to Be Secure when Remote

  • Assume the worst will occur and plan accordingly. Laptops and other wireless devices are prone to loss or theft. External networks not controlled by the University are especially susceptible to compromise and data interception. Also, remote users' devices may become infected with malware.
  • Avoid public Wi-Fi. Public Wi-Fi is convenient, but it is a prime opportunity for an attacker to gain access to your computer and data.  Public hotspots do not have security protections and is open to everyone, which includes those looking to compromise a system.  If you must use public Wi-Fi, immediately connect to the University's virtual private network (VPN) before accessing University systems or sensitive information. 
  • Ensure personal devices are secured against common threats. Remote devices should receive the same security applications, software, and devices as those found on campus. They should employ antivirus software and data loss protection capabilities, whenever possible.
  • Employ strong user authentication. Many external security threats may be mitigated through the use of strong passwords/passphrases and multifactor authentication.
  • Exercise good data security. Users should take every reasonable precaution to ensure their remote access connections are secured from interception, eavesdropping, or misuse. To facilitate this, anyone remotely accessing University resources for business, maintenance, or upgrade actions should use VPN. Also, do not save or store sensitive or restricted University data on any unauthorized remote host or external computing device.