Prepare for Business Disruptions

Prepare for Business Disruptions


During disrupting events such as pandemic or inclement weather, you may be able to use technology tools to help you sustain your department’s operations from a remote location (i.e. home). UW Information Technology has compiled this UW Administrative Business Continuity Toolkit to give you some ideas on how to prepare for when the unexpected happens. Prepare now!

As part of your preparations, protect your remote location computers with anti-virus software to help ensure they will be reliable when you need them.

Creating a Communications Plan

You should plan how your staff will receive and provide important departmental updates and information during emergency events. Some ideas include:

  • Use your department’s internal Web page. Make sure enough people know how to update the Web page information.
  • Send group email messages. You can set up email distribution lists to send one message to a group of people.
  • Turn a departmental voicemail box into a telephone hotline. Simply update the greeting with timely information. Contact UW Information Technology to create enhanced hotline functionality such as call menus.
  • Contact staff using a call phone tree.
  • Conduct ad hoc and scheduled remote meetings using telephone, video, and Web conferencing.

Working Remotely

There are a number of different ways you can remotely access your work information and systems. Check with your local IT support staff for help.

Connect to the UW Computer Network

You may be able to connect to the UW network through your Internet Service Provider (ISP). Learn more.

If you do not have an ISP, you may be able to connect to the UW Network through the campus modem pool. Learn more.

Connect to Your Work Computer Using Remote Desktop Access

Remote desktop access allows you to access your work computer using another computer with a connection to the Internet. Your icons, programs, and printers are all available. You can even transfer files between your systems. In order to use remote desktop access:

  • Your work computer will need to remain on (you can be logged out, but the computer must not be turned off).
  • You will need to know your work computer’s current IP address or name. (If you need help finding your IP address, contact your local IT support staff.

Possible sources of Remote Desktop software include:

  • Remote Desktop Connection Software for Windows
  • A Unix client from the Rdesktop site
  • Remote Desktop Access software for Mac
Access Your UW Email

If you are connected to the Internet, you can access your work email from your laptop or home computer. Here are some options:

  • If you have a computer available at work, you should be able to use Remote Desktop Access to connect to your work computer and then use your email in the usual way.
  • If you use UW Exchange, you can use the web version Outlook Web Access.
  • If you use UW Email, you can use the web version of Web Alpine.
  • You can install and configure specific UW Email clients such as Outlook Express, Mozilla Thunderbird, PC Pine, or MacIntosh OS-X Mailer on your laptop or home computer. Learn more.
  • If you have a PDA or smartphone, you may be able to access your email through your handheld device.
Access Your Work Files
  • Check with your local IT staff to see if your files are available via the Internet.
  • If you have a computer available at work, you should be able to use Remote Desktop Access to connect to your work computer and then access your files in the usual way.
  • If you are a Nebula user, these options are also available:
    • You can set up a Virtual Private Network (VPN).
  • You can access and share files using Catalyst ShareSpaces.
  • You can use secure file transfer programs (SFTP) such as Winscp (for Windows) and Fugu (for Macintosh) to access files on Uniform Access Servers (e.g. Homer, Dante) and associated web servers.
Access UW Administrative Systems

You should be able to access many UW Administrative Systems from your laptop or home computer. It is important to check your ability to access these systems ahead of time (before an event). If you use additional authentication devices (i.e. SecurID) to access systems, you need to bring those with you to the remote location.

  • Check with your local IT support staff for help.
  • If you have a computer available at work, you should be able to use Remote Desktop Access to connect to your work computer and then access UW Administrative Systems in the usual way.
  • You can install a terminal emulator programs, such as Tera Term, to access systems (e.g. FIN, PAS, HEPPS).
Access Your Office Voicemail

You can access and update your work voicemail from home.

Conduct Meetings

You can conduct real-time meetings remotely, using audio-conferencing and video-conferencing to communicate with your team, and Web-conferencing to display meeting materials:

  • UW Information Technology provides various teleconferencing options and also Web/video-conferencing through Adobe Connect. Learn more.
  • Skype allows you to conduct a teleconference call with up to 25 people, though it does not allow video chat between more than 2 people.
  • Livestream allows you to make live broadcasts from a website you create. Meeting participants simply have to log in to the website to gain access.
Use Your Office Telephone

You can configure your office telephone to help you to communicate remotely. Options include:

  • Six-party conference calling — talk with up to five colleagues at once. Learn more.
  • Forwarding your calls to your cell or home number using Call Forwarding or Remote Access Call Forwarding. Learn more.
  • Contact the UW Information Technology Service Center for the following:
    • Extending your calls simultaneously to both your campus and home or cellular phones using Extension to Cellular.
    • Downloading Avaya IP Softphone software to your laptop or home PC so you can answer and process your office calls remotely on these devices.
    • Installing a campus telecommuter line/phone at your home or other remote location, allowing you to use your campus telephone wherever you are. You will have access to your campus phone number, voicemail, 5-digit dialing, and all other features you have on your campus phone. 

Last modified: July 16, 2013