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

If you are using a computer purchased with leasing financing check the expiry of the lease before departure. If the lease expires while you are away, you must either replace the computer before the trip or agree with your supervisor on extending the lease (three months at a time). You can check the length of the lease:

  • from the lease label on your computer.
  • with the unit administrator or the procurement contact person.
  • with IT procurement: [email protected].

Service and warranty matters

HP laptops purchased by Aalto University are covered by a three-year global on-site service warranty in all those countries where Hewlett Packard has a service organisation. 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 licence 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. Updating programs requires a VPN connection.

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, you should have with you a compatible external hard drive or a USB flash drive for backups and storing files. Remember information security if you are dealing with confidential data.

If your laptop does not have drive encryption, please contact IT Service Desk so that it can install in your computer encryption software compatible with the operating system.

All work files should be saved on the work disk and synchronized with the Aalto disk server from the laptop. More detailed instructions on synchronizing files are available below.

  • Instructions for Mac. (coming soon)

Check also your home directory (Z drive). It cannot be synchronized if your disk space is full.

  • Instructions for Windows. Open resource management and go to Computer menu. Move the cursor to Z drive, right-click to open a shortcut menu and go to Properties tab. The window that now opens shows the disk space available in your home directory. (This only functions in Aalto network /VPN)
  • Instructions for Mac. In Finder, use the Go command to go to Connect to server, enter the path smb://home and select data. You can see the state of your home directory, when you click Action -> Get info in the menu of the window that now opens. The available disk space appears in the top right-hand corner of the data info window.

A2. Before travel - your username and password

Validity of your Aalto username and obtaining personal admin ID for your workstation

When you are abroad, there may be situations (such as installing software or attachments) where your username is not enough. No separate admin ID is required in Aalto Mac but you can apply for a personal admin ID for Windows and Linux computers (wa ID). You may have to wait for the ID for a week or two.

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 and the admin ID for your workstation is valid for 180 days. Therefore it is recommendable to change it just before your trip and check that the new password works with your laptop by logging in with your username and admin ID in the Aalto network.

You should also change the password 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 (you can submit the invoice as part of your travel claim). 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. If you have an Android phone, enable remote wipe so that you can delete the data from your phone using webmail if the device is lost or stolen. In Nokia and iPhone smartphones, remote wipe is automatically enabled. To perform a remote wipe, you must have Aalto email in your phone, and be connected to the Exchange server. Take a look at the settings and instructions of the email application in your smartphone. Contact the IT Service Desk for more information.
  • Other settings - PIN locking and security code. Set your phone to ask for the PIN if it is not in use and take a look at manual of your smartphone, especially the section on PIN codes and security settings.
  • If your phone is locked (because of incorrectly entered PIN code), you need a PUK code to unlock the device. Contact the IT Service Desk to obtain the PUK code. Contact information:

A4. Travel accessories

You should have with you at least the following:

  • Power supplies compatible with the system used in the country of destination (for your laptop and the mobile phone).
  • Necessary network adapters.
  • An external hard drive or a USB flash drive (at least 32 GB) for making backup copies.
  • A sufficiently long (3 metres) computer network cable. Wireless Internet connections are not available everywhere.

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 displayed on the computer.

A5. After travel - computer and files


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


  • Synchronizing files. Make sure that you have synchronized the off-line files on your home network drive (Z drive) and the work disk from your own workstation to the Aalto server.
  • Make sure that the My Documents folders on your home network drive (Z drive) do not contain files of more than 100 GB. If there are files larger than that, the synchronization of files from your workstation to the network server will fail and as a result, the files may be lost.
  • If you are not sure, ask for help from the IT Service Desk or the IT administrator in your unit.

B1. Equipment - computer and phone

Service and warranty matters. HP laptops purchased by Aalto University are covered by a three-year global on-site service warranty in all those countries where Hewlett Packard has a service organisation. 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.

Click the following links to check whether the warranty for you laptop is in effect:



The warranty period for Huawei Android phones is usually between two and three years and for Apple iPhones one year.

Checking the warranty for your phone:

You can check the warranty for an Apple iPhone as follows:

Huawei Android

B2. 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:

B3. Storing and synchronizing files to network drive

Laptop offline files and synchronizing them at Windows workstations:

Offline files on a laptop and synchronizing them on a Mac workstation

(coming soon)

Using personal network drive space, home directory (Home) and disk space

Each Aalto University student and staff member has a home directory of 100 gigabytes on network drive. At Windows workstations, the home directory is shown in resource management as Z drive.

Please note: If your home directory quota is 100 gigabytes and the directories that you have selected for synchronization contain more files, you cannot save all files.

B4. 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 (you can submit the invoice as part of your travel claim).

Data usage

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

Call 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.

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:

B5. Software and licences

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


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

(instructions: )

  • You will receive centralised 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.
  • The computer certificate should also be updated once a year. The certificate will be updated 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.

B6. 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 minimise 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]

This service is provided by:

IT Services

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