La Trobe University's VPN service is designed to allow University staff and students the ability to securely “tunnel” into campus from outside networks such as the Internet and then access services as if they were on campus. Using the VPN requires a working internet connection, the VPN client software and a current La Trobe Staff or Student account.
The internet is inherently insecure to transport sensitive corporate data. Critical applications such as student systems and other IT services can only be made available through adequate safeguards that protect them from being hacked. VPNs, either directly through a VPN client, such as Cisco VPN client or iPass with VPN, are the most effective solution.
A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is a network that uses encryption and other security mechanisms to ensure that only authorised users can access the network and that data cannot be intercepted or modified. When you authenticate with the VPN server, your computer is assigned a second IP address from one of La Trobe Class B address of 188.8.131.52. Once this second IP address has been assigned to your machine, it is as if you are using the network from a machine on campus (rather than coming in from a commercial ISP). After connecting to the VPN service, you can access LTU web services and applications that require a LTU IP address.
VPNs are “virtual” because individuals can use the public Internet as a means of securely accessing the campus network. Once the VPN connection is established, users have access to the same network resources as if they are attached locally.
VPNs are “private” because the data is encrypted between the client computer and the VPN server. Encryption makes it difficult for anyone to intercept packets and capture sensitive data.
VPN at home
Users may start their VPN client from home once they have connected to their Internet Service Provider. This will create a secure “tunnel”, between your computer and LTU providing better security.
Users utilizing this secure service on a 56kbps or slower modem may experience a slow connection. This is because any secure connection adds more data when communicating. Users with high-speed Internet access will also have a slower connection with file downloads. For this reason, users who have a specific use for the VPN service should close the program before surfing the Internet or other activities that do not require a secure connection.
Benefits of a VPN
- Secure access to La Trobe systems by La Trobe staff working from home, and whilst travelling.
- La Trobe internal services (eg. sensitive corporate applications such as SAP or internally published web pages, etc) that are not available to the public will be available via VPN throughout the world at any Internet access point.
- Provides improved authentication and privacy when accessing La Trobe via the Internet.