PittNet VPN (Pulse Secure) | Information Technology | University of Pittsburgh
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PittNet VPN (Pulse Secure)

Quick Links: Key Benefits I Getting Started

The PittNet VPN (Pulse Secure) service provides students, faculty, and staff with the ability to connect to restricted University resources while off campus or when using the PittNet wireless network. The service encrypts traffic between a user's computer and the University's network. Access can also be configured for specific needs, such as departmental file servers. PittNet VPN can also be used to create SSL-based VPN connections to access information sources that reside behind University firewalls.

The service includes a security check or "health check" to help ensure that remote computers accessing University machines do not pass on viruses, worms, and other security threats. The service can be used through the Network Connect connection method, which allows faculty and staff access to departmental servers and databases that reside behind Enterprise Network Firewalls. Your Responsibility Center Administrator can tell you more about specific services available in your department. You must request Network Connect by calling the 24/7 Help Desk at 412-624-HELP (4357). A connection to the PittNet VPN Service can be established on a desktop or mobile device. You must have a device registered for multifactor authentication before you can establish a secure connection.

Off-campus access to most articles, ebooks, electronic journals, and databases–including some content on www.library.pitt.edu or www.hsls.pitt.edu–is available only to current Pitt students, faculty, and staff via the EZproxy service. EZproxy detects when login is needed. Learn more about using EZProxy while off campus.

Key Benefits

  • Access to restricted resources: Securely access a private network and share data remotely through public networks.
  • Network connectivity via a private network: Create a virtual private network (VPN) to establish an encrypted network connection.
  • Improved security: Assist with ensuring University network security while connected on and off campus.
  • Privacy protection: Use for added safety and confidentiality for public and private network connections.
  • Better network connectivity: Easily and quickly establish long-distance and secure network connections. 

Requirements

  1. The Pulse client is required to make a remote desktop connection to your office computer or for accessing departmental databases and servers that reside behind network firewalls. It can be obtained via the Software Download Service. A mobile app is available on the Apple App Store (iOS), the Google Play store (Android), and the Microsoft app store (Windows Phone). Note: The Pulse Secure client is also available at technology.pitt.edu/pulseclient for individuals who don't have access to the Software Download Service (for example, sponsored accounts or UPMC employees). 
  2. Specific security features must be active on your computer while using the PittNet VPN service. Before connecting through the Network Connect connection method, your computer will be scanned by a Health Check. The Health Check will check your computer for the following items:
  • Operating system is Windows 7, Windows 8, or Windows 10.
    Note: Macintosh and Linux systems pass the Health Check.
  • A software firewall must be installed and enabled on your computer.
  • Microsoft Automatic Software Update is turned on so you can receive the latest security patches.
  • The latest version of Antivirus (Symantec Endpoint Protection) with LiveUpdate is turned on so you can receive the latest virus definitions. Alternately, a compatible antivirus software program may be installed (see our help sheet for details). Most purchased antivirus programs are supported; many free versions of antivirus programs are not recommended or supported. Some older antivirus and personal firewall products no longer pass.
    Note: Symantec Endpoint Protection is the University's recommended and officially supported antivirus solution. It can be downloaded at no cost via the Software Download Service

Get Started with Establishing a Secure Remote Connection