Working Securely

Important considerations when working remotely

  • Please use your university-managed laptop if you have one.

  • Connect to VPN at least one evening per week when using a managed computer off campus. Anyone using a USask managed computer off campus must connect to VPN to receive critical updates and security patches while off-campus. At least once per week, connect to VPN in the evening and leave your machine locked, but running, to allow for updates.

  • Usask provides software to all staff, available in the software centre. We discourage the use of free or demo software or any other software that has not been made available by the university, as we do not have any contractual agreements with these vendors and cannot protect your privacy or your data.

We have recently made OneDrive available so you can easily access your files from any computer with internet access. If you would like to move your files to OneDrive, here’s how. Please remember:

  • If you are using your personal computer we are not able to provide as much security and protection. For this reason please avoid copying or storing university data on your personal, unmanaged computer or laptop, or mobile devices. People with personal computers and university desktops should use RDP (Remote Desktop) to access their university desktop for work rather than using software and university data locally on their personal computers.
  • Refrain from emailing documents that contain  restricted data. See Accessing Files. Avoid taking hard copies of university data off-campus.
  • Avoid the use of USB drives to transport university data. 
  • Please refer to Data Handling and Storage Guidelines for recommendations on the appropriate use of university data storage systems to store data.
  • If you need to borrow or purchase a laptop and accessories contact IT Acquisitions. 

Connect to my work computer

There are three options when working remotely and accessing university resources:

Managed university laptop (recommended)
If you have a Usask laptop, this is the best way to work remotely. University laptops are provided with the understanding that the nature of your work can require you to work remotely so Virtual Private Network (VPN) software is installed on all university-managed laptops, which allows you to access university services and files as if you were working physically on campus.

You must connect to VPN at least one evening per week to receive critical security updates when using a managed university laptop. Leave your machine locked, but running, to allow for updates.

Remote Desktop
If you do not have a laptop provided by Usask, then we recommend connecting via remote desktop from a personal device. Connect to your work Windows computer from a personal device. While connected remotely to your work computer, you will have access to all of your apps, files, and network resources as if you were sitting at your desk on campus.

Note: when connecting via remote desktop, you will need to leave your work computer turned on. You may log out of your work computer, but you need to leave it turned on.

Virtual Private Network (VPN)
If you do not have a work laptop and cannot connect via remote desktop, then you may connect via VPN if needed.  

Most remote work can be done without using the VPN service. However, VPN must be used when connecting to a few USask services that require it and should be used if you're connecting to USask network and services using a public or unsecured internet connection. Please note: 

  • You do not need a VPN connection to access USask public web pages (, Office 365 online, Blackboard, PAWS, FAST
  • Services that do require a VPN connection include Banner, Datastore 
If you need to connect via VPN you can establish a secure connection to the university network using a personal machine.

Access files, email and phone

Accessing files

While OneDrive is the preferred method of storing files for remote access, we realize not all staff and faculty have moved towards using this tool. If your files are in Jade or Cabinet, you can connect via remote desktop or VPN.

OneDrive is our new, preferred tool for you to store your files and easily access them remotely. OneDrive is accessible via PAWS.

Jade Server
Files stored in JADE (such as a departmental file share or network drive like your (H: or L: drive) can be accessed remotely but you will need to connect to the university network through a VPN or remote desktop.

Files stored in cabinet can be accessed online directly.

Accessing email

USask email uses the cloud-based Office 365 that boosts the storage capacity of your inbox, improves security features and integrates with the other Office 365 productivity tools. You can access your University email and calendar via PAWS.

Accessing phone and voicemail

Accessing work phone and voicemail

Telephone services

Conduct or attend meetings

Connect with others
WebEx is a campus wide, centrally-supported web conferencing solution that enhances productivity in the workplace by providing rich online environments for collaboration.

We realize that many of you use Zoom for web conferencing. Please note that USask does not have institutional licenses for Zoom, and we are unable to support it.

Get the most out of your online meeting.


MS Teams Log

Chat, meet, call, and collaborate
Microsoft Teams makes it possible for faculty and staff to chat, meet, call, and collaborate from anywhere.

Student licensing is not available so it is not to be used for teaching remotely.

Printing and digital signatures

Setting up a remote workspace

Get support

IT Support Services staff would be happy to consult with you on your specific work needs to ensure you’re well configured to securely work off campus. If you need any assistance in getting set up to work remotely, please visit to submit a ticket and one of our Support Specialists will be in touch.