Working From Home and Other Remote Locations

Most of the SSCC's resources can be used from any location, so working from home or another remote location is definitely possible. This article will introduce you to the available tools and point you to Knowledge Base articles that will show you how to use them. Note that for our purposes you are at a "remote location" if your computer is not plugged into the Sewell Social Sciences Building wired network. Thus this article would apply even if you're using the wireless network in the building. Topics to be covered are:

In the event of a pandemic, extreme weather, or other situation that makes coming to campus infeasible, working from home may become a necessity. Paragraphs in italics will discuss special considerations for these situations. (The main issue is that we do not have enough Winstat licenses for everyone to use it at once.) We suggest becoming familiar with the tools you'd want to use in an emergency before it arrives.

Using Winstat

Logging in to Winstat gives you access to almost all the statistical software available at the SSCC and all the files on the SSCC network. You can also use it to transfer files between the SSCC network and your own computer. This makes it the obvious choice for working from home.

If a situation arose where most SSCC members needed to work from home, it's possible that we would not have enough licenses for everyone who wanted to use Winstat. Thus we suggest you have a backup plan in case you can't log in to Winstat, and if you can avoid using Winstat in such a situation please do so. Some alternatives:

  • If you need to use statistical software and are comfortable using Linux, you can connect directly to Linstat and run programs there.
  • If your office computer has the software you need, you can log into it remotely.
  • If you need to work with files on the network but have the software you need on your home computer (in some cases just Word), you can get access to your files from your home computer.

If funding were made available, SSCC staff could add Winstat licenses or servers (assuming physical access to the SSCC server room) in short order, but we do not anticipate this would happen unless there were a severe and long-lasting emergency.

Using Linstat

You can log into Linstat from home either by logging in to Winstat and running X-Win32 there, or by connecting directly from your home computer. Using Linstat has instructions for Windows, Mac and Linux.

Linstat does not have the license limits Winstat does, though it (by design) does not have all the tools you might want for everyday computing. In an emergency situation please connect directly to Linstat from your computer rather than logging into Winstat just to run X-Win32.

Using Your Office Computer

It's possible to log in to your office computer from home and use it via "Remote Desktop" or "Screen Sharing." The result is similar to logging in to Winstat, though Winstat will generally give you better performance and stability. However, if you have software on your office computer that is not available on Winstat, connecting to it will allow you to use that software from home. Before connecting to your office computer you must first connect to the SSCC network using Virtual Private Networking (VPN).

If your computer is not in the Sewell Social Sciences Building it may still be possible to connect to it remotely, but check with your local IT staff.

Connecting to your office computer is an excellent backup plan if you cannot log in to Winstat. However, it takes a little preparation, which must be done at your office: you must tell your office computer to allow remote connections, and you must learn its name. We suggest you do so right now so you'll be able to use your office computer in the event of an emergency.

Using Files on the SSCC Network

You can use files on the SSCC network from any location by first connecting to the SSCC network using Virtual Private Networking (VPN) and then connecting to the usual network drives.

Secure File Transfer Protocol (SFTP) is an alternative method for accessing files, with SecureFX being our suggested SFTP client for Windows.

Learning More

For more information about working from home see the Remote Computing section of our Knowledge Base, or contact the Help Desk. Campus resources include:

Last Revised: 3/11/2011