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E-mail & Computing
Remote Access Tools

Networking > Remote Access Tools

Remote Access/Telecommuting Tools from CUIT

CUIT provides technologies that enable all faculty and staff to accomplish their work-related tasks while working remotely at any time, whether telecommuting, working remotely during an emergency, or working remotely off-hours. For information, visit the Email & Computing page regarding systems and email availability, the HR web site for employee announcements, and the Columbia University homepage for additional information.

Important: To be prepared for emergencies, it is important to be familiar with these remote access tools, download any software that may be required, and test them in advance of needing to use them. Also recognize that you must be sure your desktop or laptop is first safe from computer viruses, worms, bots, etc. Refer to the Columbia University Remote Access Policy in the Administrative Policy Library for specific requirements and guidelines.

Primary Remote Access Tools

Email Access via the Internet
Although most people refer to Columbia's email system as CubMail, the system that manages access to and storage of email messages for the entire Columbia community is called the Cyrus email system.

Everyone at Columbia can securely access his or her Columbia email remotely using CubMail or any email client. To start CubMail, visit UNI logon is required.

Faculty and staff who have their Cyrus email forwarded to their Microsoft Exchange email accounts can also securely access their email inbox and subfolders, calendar, contacts and tasks from any Internet-enabled computer using Microsoft Outlook Web Access (OWA). For departments with other local email systems, individuals should contact their departmental IT staff for remote access information. Again, authentication is required.

University Application Access via the Internet
Faculty and staff with permissions to the following applications can access these applications from computers with Internet access (UNI logon required):
  • FinSys including WebSAF
  • ECRT (Effort Reporting)
  • CourseWorks
  • Sakai
  • SSOL
  • R25 Webviewre
  • Federal Work-study
  • AskUs
  • COB
  • Data Warehouse
  • PAC
  • InfoEd
  • MIR3
  • Apply Yourself
Note: Be sure to log off the application and close the browser window when access is no longer needed.

Secondary Remote Access Tools

Virtual Private Network (VPN) Access
Faculty and staff can use Virtual Private Network (VPN) technology to connect to Columbia's network, systems, file shares, email servers and all administrative and school applications if they have been authorized to access this information.

You can access shared drives remotely but not your local desktop hard drive (unless you have a laptop that you carry with you). Therefore, if you need to access files remotely, be sure to save them on a shared drive. Also, make sure that security is set up to enable only authorized individuals to access the files.

CUIT provides the Columbia community with Cisco's VPN software; this application provides the highest possible level of security through encryption and authentication technologies that protect data traversing the VPN from unauthorized access.

Information on hardware and software requirements, as well as a link to download and install the Cisco VPN software is available online. (UNI authentication required). Contact the CUIT Helpdesk at as soon as possible if you need assistance downloading or using the Cisco VPN software.

Note: It is important to log onto the VPN server only for as long as needed to access applications.

University Application and File-Share Access via VPN ONLY
Although faculty and staff can access the applications noted above via the Internet, certain applications are only accessible via VPN (UNI logon required). These applications are:
  • FFE
  • AP/CAR
  • CAPS
  • OPG/GC
  • SIS Mainframe via Telnet
  • SAS via Telnet
  • Business Objects
  • SDR - SIS Desktop Reports
University Administrative Applications NOT accessible via VPN or the Internet
The following application is only accessible while on campus:
  • R25 Client

Other Remote Access Tools

Telephone Communication
Rolm Phone. During emergencies and/or whenever away from campus, Rolm phone users can record an outgoing Phone Mail greeting providing an alternate phone number (home, cell, etc.) and other information.

Rolm Phone users can forward their phones to other Columbia extensions only.

Upon request, with a 1-2 business day notice, Rolm Phone users can contact the CUIT Helpdesk to enable forwarding calls to off-campus phone numbers. The cost for this service is $75 charged to an FAS account.

To access Phone Mail voicemail messages or to change outgoing greetings from off-campus:
Dial your office telephone number (including area code and full 3-digit exchange, such as 1-212-854-xxxx), press 5, and enter your password.
To learn about other Rolm Phone and Phone Mail features, including how to change outgoing greetings, visit the CUIT Telecommunications page.

NetPhone. During an emergency or while away from campus, a NetPhone user can record an outgoing message instructing callers to contact him/her at an alternate phone number (home, cell, etc.). For a full list of NetPhone features and instructions, please refer to the CUIT NetPhone Quick Reference Guide.

Many self-service features, including incoming call forwarding to campus or off-campus numbers, are available to NetPhone Users via a website. Use CUIT's MyNetPhone (UNI logon required) tool to forward calls or make any other necessary changes.

To access your voicemail messages or to change your outgoing message from off-campus:
  1. Dial 1-212-854-8600
  2. Enter your 5-digit extension and press #
  3. Enter your password, then press # again.

Additional Computer Hardware

CUIT does not have additional computers for use by faculty and staff telecommuting during emergencies. Please consider this when ordering computers for staff.

Related Links
Remote Access Policy

Download VPN Software

Rolm Phone Tutorial

Nethone Quick Reference Guide