IT instructions for foreign travel

These instructions apply to the use of Aalto University laptops and mobile phones outside Finland, and measures to be taken before and after travel.

Link to the instruction:

A1. Before travel - your computer and files

Check the life cycle of your computer before a longer trip abroad. You can check the life cycle:

  • with the unit administrator or the procurement contact person
  • with IT procurement: [email protected]

Service and warranty matters

PC laptops purchased by Aalto University are covered by a three-year (3) global on-site service warranty in all those countries where the manufacturer has a service organization. Availability of the assistance and response times may vary between countries. 

If you have an Apple laptop, you can take it to an Apple Service Point anywhere in the world. No on-site service warranty is available for Apple laptops.

Guest network at the destination

You may be able to join the network of the destination university. IT support may be available at the destination and the local university may also provide you with a computer for the duration of your visit.

  • You should always use a VPN connection when in guest networks (including landline networks), regardless of whether or not they are password-protected.
  • You can use the Eduroam network and your Aalto username to connect to wireless networks in many universities around the world. For more information, go to:

Will your software work even if the VPN and the Aalto network are not connected? There are programs that require a VPN connection to the license servers. Before your trip, you should check that your software works properly even if there is no VPN connection. You should also check that all the applications that you need for your work have been installed on your computer.

Backup copies and encryption. Problems with Internet connections may prevent the transferring of data from your computer to the Aalto network drive and synchronization of files. For this reason, it is recommended to save your files in OneDrive.

We do not recommend the use of external storage media (memory sticks, external hard drives) for data security reasons. The disks of all Aalto IT's centrally managed laptops and phones are encrypted.

All work files should be saved either in Aalto University's OneDrive, in your Aalto home directory or on the Work directory. Make sure that the files are also synchronized with the above services. 

Instructions on synchronizing files:

A2. Before travel - your username and password

Check the validity of your Aalto username. To check the validity of the IDs, go to and follow the instructions given on the website. The data contained in the IDs and their validity are based on the information kept in the personal data system. It is therefore important that all details concerning your employment relationship are up to date when you depart.

Aalto username password and password change interval

The password for your Aalto username is valid for 730 days. 

If you change your password, change it also to Aalto email on your mobile phone.

A3. Before travel – your phone

Check the teleoperators operating in the country of destination before the trip.

  • Go to the website of Elisa (Aalto University phone operator) to read more about Elisa’s roaming partner operating in the country of destination and its call charges. Use the network operator mentioned on the website if you are not planning to purchase a separate prepaid connection for your phone. Check also Elisa’s website for the coverage of the 3G/4G network in the country of destination.
  • Do you need to use mobile data connections extensively during your trip? We recommend that you buy a prepaid data package from a local operator for the duration of your trip (for work trip you can submit the invoice as part of your travel claim, for remote work you are responsible for the expenses yourself). In extreme cases, a user that has accumulated an excessive invoice may be requested to pay the whole invoice. It is therefore important that you agree on the matter with your supervisor in advance.
  • Changing the email password in your smartphone. Remember to also change the password in the email settings of your smartphone. Otherwise, the phone may lock your ID after trying unsuccessfully to contact the email server with the old password.
  • Remote wiping of your smartphone email if the phone is lost. 
  • Other settings - PIN locking and security code. Set your phone to ask for the PIN if it is not in use.
  • More information: [email protected] 

A4. Travel accessories

  • Power supplies compatible with the system used in the country of destination (for your laptop and the mobile phone).
  • Necessary network adapters.

Write the following details of your equipment on paper and as emails in your email:

  • manufacturer, make, type/model, serial number and IMEI code of your phone and computer, and the Aalto name of you workstation (Computer name e.g. L24-0123)

B1. Changing the password when abroad

You are strongly recommended to change the Aalto password for your Aalto workstation so that the password is saved on the Aalto server and the computer you are using.

During the trip, you can only change the password when the VPN connection is on.

You should not change the password for your Aalto username in an Internet café or any other location where information security cannot be ensured.

Please note: If your change the password in the service or in webmail, the new password is not saved in the memory of your laptop.

Instructions for Windows, Mac and Linux workstations:

B2. Phone calls, data usage, VPN connections

Phone calls

The Aalto mobile phone connection may only be used for work calls. If you are staying abroad for a longer period, we recommend that you purchase a prepaid connection from a local operator (for work trip you can submit the invoice as part of your travel claim, for remote work you are responsible for the expenses yourself).

Data usage

The data roaming costs of the Elisa mobile phone connections used by Aalto University are quite reasonable in the EU and ETA area, which means that you can use your mobile connection (email, etc.) to manage normal work matters without accumulating huge bills.

Call/data/SMS prices in countries outside the EU and the EEA and the mobile phone operator's roaming partners abroad are also listed on Elisa's website:

  • In other parts of the world (outside the EU), data usage is extremely expensive.
  • We strongly recommend that you avoid using mobile data when abroad, as WLAN connections are widely available.
  • You may only use mobile data for work-related matters and if no other connection modes are available. Change the email download settings on your phone to once an hour (if it is push, which is the common setting used in Finland). If you use the setting ‘download manually’, you cannot remote wipe your phone when it is stolen.
  • In extreme cases, a user that has accumulated an excessive invoice may be requested to pay the whole invoice.

The best way to buy a prepaid connection is to purchase it at the airport when you arrive at the country of destination. One alternative is to use eSIM operators

When you are travelling, your own smartphone is always a safer alternative than public workstations in Internet cafés, libraries or similar locations. Data transfer costs abroad may be high, however, and for this reason WLAN networks are the recommended connection protocol (with the VPN connection on).

Always use the automatic, code-protected keyboard locking in your telephone in case you lose your phone or it is stolen. Remember to change the default PIN code on your phone to a code of your own choice!

When using WLAN connections on your mobile phone, you should be careful with unencrypted services and take the same precautions as at workstations. For this reason, we recommend that you also use VPN with mobile devices.

Disable Bluetooth visibility to all because it is an information security risk.

Using a VPN connection at portable Aalto workstations

Instructions for Windows, Mac and Linux workstations:

B3. Software and licences

Certain programs installed on Aalto workstations will only work properly if they have a regular connection with their license server in the Aalto network (VPN).


Use the VPN connection regularly (keep it on overnight once a week) and start Start Software Installation.


  • You will receive centralized updates to programs such as Windows, MS Office, browsers, Java, Flash and Acrobat Reader.
  • Your Windows operating system and MS Office will go into a limited functionality mode after six months, unless the activation is repeated. These programs will give recurring error messages about the lack of activation. The activation will take place automatically after the VPN connection has been on for a few hours.


Open Managed Software Update (for example through Finder). Wait until it finds the updates across VPN and click Update without logging out.

B4. Information security and other security issues

A more detailed description of Aalto University IT policies and terminal device rule can be found from

Information security

Information security at Aalto University:

TOP-10 Tips for remote and mobile work:

Security: loss, theft and purchasing a new device

a. Loss or theft

Always report a theft or a robbery to the local police. Ask for a printed copy of the report for yourself.

Also report a theft or loss of items or a robbery immediately to Aalto University IT information security team, so that we can minimize the misuse of information and attempts to hack into Aalto's systems.

  • ELISA: customer service tel. +358 10 80 4400. You can report lost devices to this number 24/7.
  • ELISA: Fax +358 10 296 0787. You can send written reports of offences concerning lost devices to this number 24/7.
  • On the Internet: and Aalto University Business ID: FI22283574

b. Purchasing a new device to replace a lost or a stolen one

Contact your supervisor or your unit’s IT support person to discuss the best way to purchase a new device. Purchasing and making installations on a normal Aalto-equipped laptop and its delivery to the destination will take a while.

Aalto APUA +358 50 46 46 462 service number  You can call Aalto APUA +358 50 46 46 462 whenever you need help, 24/7 all year round. The service is in Finnish and English.

Contact details of the Aalto University IT information security team; [email protected]

C. After travel - computer

After returning to Finland, follow the instructions that you have received. Check with your unit's administrator or the IT Service Desk whether the software or operating system of your computer needs to be updated.  If you had borrowed a device for your trip, return it in accordance with the instructions applying to the device.

aalto it help en

IT Services

You can find up-to-date news, contact information, chat and instructions of frequently used IT services at IT-help hub: accounts, passwords, email, MFA, vpn, printing, teams, zoom, VDI and guidelines how to procure workstations and phones.

This service is provided by:

IT Services

Did you find what you were looking for? If not, please contact us.
  • Published:
  • Updated: