Off-site working

Policies and procedures for the organisation, retrieval and data protection of University information and records and Freedom of Information (FOI) as well as procedures regulating access to corporate IT systems are available on the Information governance and IT policies webpages.

Staff and students working off campus can access many of our services including email, library resources, filestore and the VLE.

Most services will require you to login using your HWU UserID and password, and a few services can only be accessed via the Virtual Private Network (VPN).

You will need your HWU UserID and password to access most resources from off campus.  Your HWU UserID is the one you use to access the university desktop PCs, Vision, WiFi etc - it has the format abc123.

If your mobile device (tablet or phone) is lost or stolen and you use it to access Heriot-Watt email you must notify IT Help (telephone: +44 (0)131 451 4045, email in order to securely erase any information from the device so as to protect both your confidential information and that of the University. We (Information Services) cannot see any information on the device - we can only send a command to erase it the next time it attempts to connect to the University email system. 

HWU Laptops

If you have a HWU laptop (your own or a shared one) it is important that you ensure that it is kept up to date, and that you save your files in a safe location. Before working off site, you need to log in to the physical network (on campus) with the laptop at least once to cache your user details.

Keep your laptop up to date: You should connect your work laptop to the physical network (or through the VPN) as often as possible – ideally at least once a week – and leave it connected overnight – so that it receives the latest system and security updates.

We recommend using the VPN to access Heriot‐Watt files on the network drives e.g. H and S drives when off‐site.  See Virtual Private Network for more information.


Heriot-Watt University provides the eduroam wireless service for staff and students on campus.

Once you have configured your device to access eduroam at HWU, you can visit other eduroam-enabled institutes and connect using your HWU UserID and password.

See WiFi for more information.

Software for Personal Devices

If you are working off campus using a personal device, remember that staff and students are entitled to a range of software through the university licence agreements.

Microsoft Office

You can download the latest version of Microsoft Office onto your personal devices. Log into your Office 365 account to download Microsoft Office.


You can hold and take part in meetings from off-campus using Teams. 

Other Software

Other free or discounted software includes SPSS, Endnote, QSR NVivo, MindGenius and more…

See Software for more full details.

Connecting to services off-site

Most of the services that you use on campus can also be accessed from off campus.

Office 365 (Email, calendar etc)

Office 365 is Microsoft's Office, email, calendar, document storage and collaboration products made available in the cloud.  Access from your web browser, PC and mobile devices.

Enter your username in the format

See our Office 365 help pages for more information.

Library journals, databases and ebooks

Use your HW UserID and password to access resources when prompted. See accessing online resources for more information.

Search our resources from Discovery.


Use your HW UserID and password to access Canvas.


Use your HWU UserID and password to access SharePoint – depending on the device used you may need just your UserID e.g. abc123 or your UserID preceded with hw\ e.g. hw\abc123

Virtual Private Network (VPN)

A few services are only available via the Virtual Private Network (VPN) e.g.

  • CMS
  • Home and Share Drives
  • your desktop PC (via Remote Desktop)

See Virtual Private Network for more information.

Temporary files on your Device

Whilst working, some applications will store temporary files locally on your device.

If you are working with any sensitive information then you should ensure your device is encrypted.

Within Microsoft Windows you can remove temporary files using the Disk Cleanup utility as follows:

  • Close any open applications.
  • Open My Computer (or This PC in Windows 10).
  • Right-click the system drive (usually Local Disk (C:)), and then select Properties.
  • On the General tab, click Disk Cleanup.
  • Scroll down in the Files To Delete list, and then select Temporary Internet Files and Temporary Files.
  • Click OK.