UNH CIS Signals

Enterprise Applications Now Require New VPN

CIS Staff

February, 2009

AlertThe Computing and Information Services’ (CIS) Enterprise Computing Group (ECG) and Telecommunications rolled out a new Web-based Virtual Private Network (VPN) in January 2009. ECG is asking various users from UNH, PSU, KSC, GSC and USNH to perform initial testing. Once testing is complete, a general announcement will invite all ECG clients to use the new Web-based VPN. Please visit ecgvpn.unh.edu to access the new VPN.

The following is a list of anticipated VPN user questions:

What is a Virtual Private Network (VPN)?

VPN is a strategic technological tool for any enterprise needing to secure and limit access to vital digital information. Access to data is based on a person’s identity, and VPNs help facilitate this process. Here at UNH, VPNs have been used for quite some time. Along with their use to access many enterprise applications, many also employ the VPN to access UNH resources (such as Exchange or shared folders) from off-campus.

When should I use the VPN?

ECG requires VPN to access many of its applications, including Banner Student, Banner Finance/HR, Web Intelligence Management Reporting, Kronos, Alumni, Banner Advancement and many others.

Why is a new VPN necessary? What are the advantages?

Simply put, the new VPN is:

  1. Faster. It provides higher throughput, resulting in a faster transfer of data.
  2. More reliable. It is more stable and holds connections more reliably.
  3. No separate install. New VPN is browser and operating-system independent. Unlike the old VPN, the new VPN does not require a separate install. The new VPN does require a plug-in that needs occasional updating, which requires administrator access to run.
  4. Old VPN Not Issuing Product Updates. The old VPN provider ceased to provide significant product updates for the Contivity to meet our changing needs, where the new VPN provider is aggressively improving its product and developing new and useful features.

When is the old VPN going away?

The old 03-04 Contivity VPN will be phased out as feedback is received through testing on the new VPN. Stay tuned for more information.

Are there any other significant changes?

Yes. VPN service now supports only one login at one time. If you work in an environment that requires Enterprise VPN and are used to using more than one connection at a time, this change will impact you. The single login limitation is an intentional design feature targeted to improve security.

Data security breaches can result from unattended computers logged in to sensitive applications. These breaches, along with a rising volume of identity thefts, have occurred in the national University community, costing institutions millions of dollars in recovery costs.  Identity theft is creating serious hardship for hundreds of thousands of individuals and families across the United States and worldwide.  Please see http://www.unh.edu/signals/may2008/barn-door-open.html for more information about ensuring physical security of your computer.

Please contact the Help Desk with questions at 862-4242.


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