In early November, Information Technology Services announced upcoming changes to how students, faculty and staff can access on campus digital resources from off campus. ITS has installed new Virtual Private Network (VPN) equipment, and is currently piloting new VPN client software – Palo Alto GlobalProtect. The new infrastructure and software are key to our continued commitment to securing Northeastern’s information and networks, and will help protect the university from malicious attacks. Based on audit recommendations from the Board of Trustees, ITS has also defined a new standard for remote desktop access. During January 2015 these changes will go into effect, and VPN access will be extended to students.
Impact And Timeline
While on campus, there are certain digital resources that are only accessible when connected to Northeastern’s on-campus networks NUnet and NUwave. This includes shared departmental (Q:) drives, certain library databases, the administrative back-end of Banner (INB), personal workstations and data centers. The upgrade to the new VPN only impacts individuals trying to access those resources from an off-campus location (any location that does not have a Northeastern network). Web-based university resources such as Northeastern’s websites, myNEU, Blackboard and Sharepoint are NOT affected, nor is the myApps remote application service.
On January 7, 2015, new VPN software will be available to the entire Northeastern community.
You are impacted on January 7, 2015 if you fall into one of the categories below:
- You currently use Cisco AnyConnect VPN client software:
- You should install the new GlobalProtect VPN client software. There will be a new URL in order to access the VPN portal. After the new VPN is live, there will be a grace period prior to the retirement of Cisco AnyConnect. If you choose, you may uninstall the AnyConnect client software.
- You need to access on-campus digital resources from off campus:
- You must install and being using the new GlobalProtect VPN client software to access these resources. You will need to install the new GlobalProtect VPN client software.
- You are a student who collaborates with faculty and/or staff and you need to access on-campus digital resources from off campus:
- You will gain access to the new VPN. If you need to use the VPN you will need to install the new GlobalProtect VPN client software. This is a new service for students across the university.
On January 30, 2015, a new standard for remote desktop access goes into effect.
You or others may be impacted if:
- You use a remote desktop application to access an on-campus computer or server from off campus:
- Beginning January 30, 2015, certain remote desktop applications – including Microsoft Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP), PC Anywhere, and Apple Remote Desktop – will require the VPN in order to work properly. You must install and use the new GlobalProtect VPN client software.
- You work with non-Northeastern researchers and/or contractors who use a remote desktop application to access an on-campus computer or server from off campus:
- Beginning January 30, 2015, certain remote desktop applications – including Microsoft Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP), PC Anywhere, and Apple Remote Desktop – will require the VPN in order to work properly. Individuals using one of these methods must install and use the new GlobalProtect VPN client software in order to access on-campus digital resources. Additionally, the VPN login requires a myNEU username and password, so impacted non-Northeastern individuals without myNEU access will need a Sponsored Account.
NOTE: At this time other applications and services are not impacted by the new remote desktop access standard. SSH, FTP, HTTP, HTTPS will continue to be accessible without the VPN.
ITS will be working with groups across campus, including researchers and departmental IT providers, to ensure a smooth transition to the new requirements for remote access. We ask that feedback be provided to the ITS Service Desk at 617.373.4357 (xHELP) or email@example.com.
How To Get The GlobalProtect VPN Client Software In January
Beginning January 7, 2015, the new GlobalProtect VPN client software will be made available to students, faculty and staff. Faculty and staff on managed machines will be able to access it via Software Center (Windows) and Self-Service (Mac). Students, faculty and staff using personal and/or Northeastern-owned unmanaged computers will be able to access it via the new VPN portal. A list of operating systems that support the new GlobalProtect VPN client software is available here.
Answers to frequently asked questions and step-by-step instructions for how to download and install the software, as well as the link to the new VPN portal, will be provided in future ITS communications. Be on the lookout for information included in the ITS January newsletter and on the ITS website.
- Apple Remote Desktop
- Dell Remote Access Card (DRAC)
- Jump Desktop
- Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol (L2TP)
- Mocha RDP
- Mosh (Mobile Shell)
- Microsoft Hyper-V Virtual Machine Connection
- Microsoft Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP)
- PC Anywhere
- PC-over-IP (PCoIP)
- Pocket Controller Pro for Windows
- Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol (PPTP)
- RDM+ Remote Desktop
- Remote Shell (rsh)
- TeamViewer (direct IP-IP)
- X Font Server
- Windows Vista, 7, 8, 8.1 (32 and 64 bit)
- Windows Surface Pro
- Mac 10.6 and later
- Apple iOS 6.0 and later
- Google Android 4.0.3 and later
- Linux – requires 3rd party VPNC on Ubuntu 10.4 , CentOS 6
Questions or concerns? Please contact the ITS Service Desk at 617.373.4357 (xHELP) or firstname.lastname@example.org.