Work Remotely

Work Remotely

How to work (safely) from home or in public

HIDE IT: Stay Secure Outside of UBC

Why is it risky to work remotely?

Thanks to significant advancements in mobile technologies, more faculty and staff than ever are working remotely from home offices, coffee shops, and other public spaces.

This is a convenient arrangement, but can cause concern when users are accessing research, financial or personal information. This type of data is at a higher risk of being compromised, corrupted, or lost when accessed remotely.

To stay secure, take the following steps to safely access UBC electronic information and be sure to encrypt all of your mobile devices.

One laptop is stolen every 53 seconds.1

97% are never recovered2

70,000,000+ smartphones are lost each year.

93% are never recovered.1

1 | 2

1How can I securely access UBC Electronic Information?

Whenever possible, UBC electronic information should be accessed on campus using the ubcsecure wireless network rather than downloaded onto a device, as this significantly reduces the risk of loss or theft. Carrying important electronic data on a USB stick is never recommended due to the higher potential of it being lost or stolen.

The preferred method for working remotely is to use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) connection, which uses encryption to protect data and prevent others from accessing the data that is transferred between your computer and the campus network.

When accessing UBC electronic information, even through VPN, it is important to remain aware of your surroundings and never leave devices unattended.

2 How can I ensure my devices remain secure?

When working remotely, it is easy to forget how vulnerable the personal information on your devices can be. How would you feel if a stranger had access to your phone or laptop right now?

Here are a few tips to stay secure when working away from the UBC Network:

  • Don’t trust the Wi-Fi: Stay alert when accessing personal information via public Wi-Fi networks, such as those in airports or coffee shops. If a ‘certificate error’ shows up when trying to visit a website or if you feel unsure about the safety of the network, do not use the connection.
  • Get encrypted: If an encrypted device gets misplaced or stolen, the information remains scrambled until your password unlocks it. In most cases, encryption means that sensitive data remains secure even in the event of loss or theft.
  • Never leave your device unattended: Thieves love to look for an easy grab to steal mobile devices; don’t give them the opportunity.
  • Always lock your devices when not in use: When you are not working on your mobile device, always ensure the screen is locked.

To mitigate a potential privacy breach, encrypt any device that accesses the UBC network.

3What if I lose my device or someone steals it?

If you used the device to access the UBC network (e.g. FASmail, Connect, Workspace) please contact the Information Security department immediately at

To report a crime that has occurred, you can also contact the RCMP’s non-emergency line at 604.224.1322 or fill out an incident report form at UBC Vancouver Campus Security. For those at the Okanagan campus, call 250.807.9236 or email

Go even further...

For a much more in-depth look at working remotely as a faculty or staff member of UBC, you can:

Complete the full Fundamentals training to learn how to protect yourself and others
View the Information Security Standard #6: Working Remotely [PDF]
Protecting Personal Information - On the Move [PDF]
Securing Computing and Mobile Storage Devices [PDF]
Telecommuting at UBC