Information Services Division


Accessing UCL's systems and services

How to connect to the UCL's network and desktop when working remotely.

Choosing the right way to connect

Some staff will need regular access to UCL's systems to carry out their work remotely. For others, occasional access to specific services (e.g. MyHR or MyFinance) may be sufficient.

There are three ways of accessing UCL’s services when working remotely from home:

  • Desktop @ UCL
  • Desktop @ UCL Anywhere, and
  • VPN (Virtual Private Network)

In most cases, it is better for staff to access systems via the VPN service. However, in order to balance what could be a very heavy load of concurrent users on the systems, please use the appropriate option for the services you are trying to access.

ISD also offers access to its network using the Desktop @ UCL Anywhere service. The primary use for Desktop Anywhere is for users who need to be able to remotely access the applications and programs they have installed on their UCL desktop.

PLEASE NOTE: you should not use the Desktop @ UCL Anywhere service if you are surfing the web, checking your email or using Office 365 (including Teams). All of these activities can be done without launching Desktop @ UCL Anywhere

Installing and using VPN

UCL Desktop @ UCL laptop users

The required software is already installed on your machine. To connect to the VPN, open Cisco Anyconnect, click Connect, enter your UCL user ID and password and click OK.

Updating your password while homeworking

PLEASE NOTE: If you are using a Desktop @ UCL laptop while working from home and you need to change your UCL password you should do so after completing the usual process via myaccount.ucl.ac.uk

Once you have updated your password you should follow these additional steps in order to ensure your new password is synchronised down to your laptop:

  1. Connect to the UCL VPN: Open Cisco AnyConnect from the start menu, click Connect, enter your UCL user ID and the new password and click OK.
  2. Once connected, lock your laptop either by pressing Windows Key + L or via Ctrl + Alt + Delete
  3. Login again to unlock the device using the new password. This will trigger the new password to be saved locally on the laptop.
  4. You may now disconnect from the VPN if you no longer need to be connected.

Until these steps are carried out, you will need to continue logging into your laptop with your previous password and some functionality such accessing the S: drive over the VPN may not work.

UCL Non-managed machines or staff home computers

For users of non-managed UCL laptops or to use your home PC you will need to download and install the VPN software onto your machine. The software is available for Windows, Mac and Linux. To maintain network security the VPN requires that a recognised anti-virus application is installed and running. See UCL Virtual Private Network (VPN) for information about which anti-virus product is appropriate for you. There are free versions of software available for use on home machines.

Please note that if you are working on documents and storing them on your N: or S: drive that they will not be backed up until you are connected to the VPN service. We suggest if you are not using the VPN regularly that you connect a couple of times a day to ensure your files are replicated on the UCL filestore. Make sure you are connected long enough for the replication to complete - how long this takes will depend on your home broadband speed and the amount of data you need to upload.

Installing and using Desktop @ UCL Anywhere

For users of non-managed UCL laptops or to use your home PC you will need to download and install the Desktop @ UCL Anywhere software onto your machine. The software is available for Windows, Mac, iOS and Android.