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Durham University

Computing and Information Services

Virtual Private Network Guidance


The use of a Virtual Private Network (VPN) allows a secure connection to the University network that ensures the confidentiality and integrity of the information between your endpoint point device and the campus network. The use of a VPN also provides secure access to services that are intended for on-campus access only.

If you are using a University-managed windows device (MDS) then you will have remote access using our MDS Remote service, this service gives off-campus users the same access to University network resources as if you were on the University network, for example, S and J drives.

Access VPN gives users on non-managed devices (often referred to as BYOD) a secure connection to network resources which otherwise would not be accessible when working remotely. Access VPN also allows managed windows devices (MDS) access to network resources/applications which are restricted by enhanced security or network controls (such as Oracle Financials and Oracle Discoverer).

What you need to know?

1. Be aware that centrally managed Windows devices (MDS) have an active virtual private network connection which allows them to communicate with the campus network when away from the University. There are jurisdictions were the use of virtual private network technology is forbidden. You must check that the use of virtual private network is permitted before using a managed device within these territorial jurisdictions. This link provides an indication of countries where this might apply, but you should check local legislation with an official source before travelling:

Please also refer to the Overseas Travel Guidance which can be found at:

If you intend to travel to a jurisdiction where virtual private networks are prohibited you should arrange for a device that has no virtual private network installed or virtual private network application that can be started on demand as opposed to being permanently active.

2. The use of University virtual private networks is subject to monitoring in order to ensure the service is available and ensure compliance with legal statutes and university policy.

3. In order to use the virtual private network service, you are required to abide by the Information Security Policy and relevant technical policies and standards.

4. If you are accessing the virtual private network service on a non-university owned device, you must ensure it is compliant with the Use of Non-University-Owned Devices policy


5. All sessions have a maximum lifetime of 10 hours after which users should re-authenticate to create a new remote session

6. Each user is responsible for ensuring that any software accessed while connected to the VPN is appropriately licensed.

Who can access the VPN?

1. Durham University full & part-time employees and postgraduate researchers are permitted to use the service.

2. Durham University undergraduates and taught postgraduates are unlikely to require the VPN service. Under exceptional circumstances, access may be granted where there is an academic justification. This justification must be sponsored by a member of University staff (e.g. a course tutor or lecturer). To apply, complete the form via the link below.

3. All contractor, visitor, supplier, support, collaborative or other 3rd party access to the VPN service must be authorised by the CIS Security Team on an individual basis and must be justified by a sponsor from the University.

4. Requests for access to the VPN service shall be directed to the IT Service Desk via the webform at: