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Hanscom SC offers tips to accomplish the mission remotely

HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. – The Air Force is adapting to the influx of teleworkers over the last week amidst the COVID-19 response and social distancing by increasing the virtual private network bandwidth.

The Hanscom Communications and Information Division (SC) released guidance on how to connect to the newest version of VPN, End User Remote Access Management, which officials say has increased capabilities by 600 percent.

Aside from increased capabilities, the newer version features a simpler construct with fewer access points.

“There are a large number of folks who do need to telework right now, but there are ways to help ensure we can all get the mission done,” said John Moseley, the division’s communication focal point chief.

The VPN allows users to access shared drives and base-specific websites, but users are also able to access their Outlook webmail as well as Air Force Portal and SharePoint with just a regular internet connection, said Moseley.

Webmail can be accessed at https://owa.us.af.mil without a VPN connection.

“You’ll see your email through a browser, the way most of us are used to seeing our personal emails,” he said. “The functionality is very similar. You’ll still be able to encrypt and sign emails.”

Those with government smartphones will also have access to email and SharePoint sites, and personnel are able to check their work voicemail by dialing 781-225-7777 and entering their 5-digit mailbox number and pin. Employees are also encouraged to change outgoing voicemail greetings to let callers know they are teleworking and, if available, offer a government cell phone number at which they can be reached.

Despite the increased capability, Moseley said the EURAM still may not be large enough to accommodate every Air Force member, and asks that teleworkers use the bandwidth sparingly.

“We’re requesting that you connect to the VPN, download what you need, and then disconnect and work without to allow others to use the bandwidth,” he said. “We’re trying to decrease the traffic and facilitate everyone’s mission.”

Computer updates will also be deployed via VPN connection.

Officials from the Division’s Client Service Center have opened a temporary IT service center in the Lexington Room of the Hanscom Conference Center on base. Appointments for walk-in service can be requested by emailing Hanscom.csc@us.af.mil with name, cell phone number and a brief description of the problem. A technician will contact requesters to schedule the appointment. Services are available from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.

“The Lexington Room is a large enough auditorium where our team can operate while maintaining a safe social distance while accommodating our customers,” said Moseley.

Personnel who are currently teleworking can continue to call the Help Desk, 781-225-HELP (4357) for support, email requests to Hanscom.csc@us.af.mil, or submit tickets via the vESD application.