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Stricter rules for VPN

Thursday, June 21st, 2018

Many of our staff and students use FortiClient to obtain VPN access to the Stellenbosch University network when they are not on campus. To maintain a safe and secure network, we have to put measures in place for our services to minimise the potential exposure to the University from damages which may result from unauthorised use of university resources.  This is particularly important when it comes to access via VPN to our network.  

From 6 August 2018 new VPN users have to register for VPN usage. If you have used VPN (FortiClient) since 1 January 2018, you are considered a registered user by default and don’t have to reapply for access. However, if you are a new VPN user, please follow the process described below.

If you need VPN access to the SU network via FortiClient, the following simple process is applicable: 

  1. The head of your department needs to send an email to help@sun.ac.za motivating why you require VPN access for work purposes.
  2. You will receive an email confirming your registration with instructions on how to install the FortiClient needed for VPN usage. 

VPN (Virtual Private Network) is a way of connecting your off-site computer directly to the University network and allows you to access internal resources such as other computers, network storage, websites, journals using the applications already installed on your off-site computer. VPN provides an encrypted connection which helps to ensure that sensitive data is safely transmitted and prevents unauthorized people from eavesdropping on the traffic, allowing the user to conduct work remotely.

A secure VPN connection to the SU network with FortiClient is not necessary for standard, web-based services. These include email, library resources, SUNLearn or the SUN-e-HR website. All of these services are already accessible via the internet without a VPN connection.

More information on the use of VPN and FortiClient at SU is also available on our service catalogue.

 

 

Microsoft updates via VPN and data costs

Tuesday, June 6th, 2017

Did you know that your university PC always stays up to date with the latest software and you don’t have to lift a finger? 

One of the main reasons for this is that PCs without the latest software, in particular, Microsoft software, pose a high-security threat if they are connected to the SUN network without being adequately protected. Therefore, it’s extremely important that all network users’ devices are up to date at all times. The same goes for antivirus software. Recently this policy also protected SU staff against the WannaCry ransomware when it wreaked havoc around the rest of the world.

The updates are set up so that Microsoft updates will be done when you connect your device to the SUN network. Updates via the SUN network are free when you are on campus, but it could happen that updates are available for download when you are off-campus.

If you use VPN* at home to connect to the SUN network from off campus, be aware that updates may load in the background. Since they are usually quite large, this could cause unusually high traffic and/or large expenses. Microsoft updates are usually released monthly on the every second Tuesday of the month. If you have limited or use expensive data at home, keep an eye on your data usage during that week. 

*VPN (Virtual Private Network) is  a connection to the SUN-network which gives a user the same access as when he/she is on campus.  Take note that most SUN services, for example email, Sun-e-HR, my.sun.ac.za, the Useradm administration page, etc, are all directly available from the internet without a VPN connection. 

VPN – your home connection

Wednesday, April 4th, 2012

With the implementation of the new firewall”, the method for connecting to the internet at home, has also changed. If you’re one of the lucky ones who can work from home, you can follow the instructions below and in no time your internet will be up and running again.

For step by step instructions for the installation of the new VPN client, click here. If you are currently using the Checkpoint VPN (you’ll see a yellow key in the corner of your pc’s screen) first follow these instructions before installing the client. Just remember, this installation will not work if it’s done from campus. You need to be outside the university’s network.

If you use NXInetkey without VPN from home, it will be deactivated from 1 April due to security reasons. Follow the same installation procedures as the VPN users and install the new client.

More details on VPN on our here service catalogue.

 

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