Version: June 24, 2009
Virtual Private Networking or VPN is a method of connecting users who are not physically on the College’s campus with the Hampshire College data network. Users can access and work with their files stored on campus servers from any remote location that provides Internet access via high-speed lines or modems. This policy defines VPN and addresses who can use VPN, what data are accessible through VPN, how to request VPN service, data security restrictions, technical requirements, and other protocols.
What is VPN?
VPN allows users to access and manipulate files stored on campus servers from remote locations. This obviates the need to travel with sensitive or confidential data or to save such data on a remote computer. Another important advantage of VPN is that valuable files such as drafts of books or articles can be stored and backed-up on campus servers and accessed at any time and place.
The VPN creates a connection between a user’s remote computer, for example a personal computer used at home or elsewhere, with a user’s files stored on a campus server. Once connected, the computer screen, folders, and files are indistinguishable from those the user sees when using an on-campus computer. A user accesses VPN through a desktop icon, user ID, and user password.
VPN cannot be accessed through a remote computer on which the College’s VPN software is not installed. A computer in a hotel-supported business center or Internet cafe, for example, could not provide access to the College’s VPN.
VPN access is not currently available for PDA’s or other handheld devices.
Who May Use VPN
Any current employee of the College who wishes to store work-related files on the College’s servers may use VPN.
Data Accessible Through VPN
A user may access and manipulate files previously stored on the College’s servers and/or may store new files on the College’s servers.
When VPN is in use, users cannot use their web browsers to access the World Wide Web.
Security of Computers and Data
Remote user-owned computers connected to the College’s VPN service become an extension of the College’s network and in turn provide access to that network. They are subject to the same rule and regulations that apply to College-owned computers, and especially those concerning data security.
Remote user-owned computers must have the latest operating system or applications updates installed. These updates ensure that the latest security features are active. Current anti-virus software is required on any remote user-owned computer accessing the College’s VPN. The antivirus software must be active with automatic updates and scheduling features turned on. Failure to update this software and ensure it is active will constitute a violation of the College’s VPN policy and could subject the user to College discipline and personal liability.
Because VPN allows off-campus users to access the College network and servers, it is particularly important that passwords must not be shared and that antivirus software must be installed. Non Hampshire College employees must not be allowed access to this service or any machine
that is utilizing this service.
Confidential data stored on the College’s servers and accessed on user-owned or college-owned remote computers through VPN must not be downloaded and stored on remote computers or external storage devices, including, but not limited to, USB thumb drives, disks, or hard drives. Confidential documents and data can only be stored on the College’s file servers. Examples of confidential data include social security numbers, home addresses, wealth profiles, donation
history, course evaluations of student work, faculty promotion files, and medical data. Confidential information is protected by state and federal laws, and violations of this policy could subject the user to civil and/or criminal prosecution.
VPN users will be automatically disconnected from Hampshire College's network after sixty minutes of inactivity to help prevent unauthorized use. The user must then log-in again to reconnect to the network.
VPN Installation and Compliance Certification
VPN software must be installed on any user-owned or college-owned computer to access the College’s VPN. IT can install this software on campus by appointment. At that time IT will check to ensure that the latest versions of the operating system and anti-virus software are installed and active. The user bears the costs of any required upgrades to a personal computer.
Please call the Helpdesk at 413.559.5418 between 8:30 – 4:30 M-F to arrange for an appointment. At the time of the appointment the user will be asked to read this policy in the presence of an IT manager and sign it, certifying that the user has read it and will comply. Failure to sign the policy will result in a deactivation of VPN access.
VPN use from any remote location requires Internet access. The user is responsible for arranging for that access and its associated costs.
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