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VPN Security

What Is a VPN?spar

VPN stands for virtual private network, and that is exactly what it is, a private network, accessed virtually by people approved to use it. Using a VPN allows access to a secure network where information is stored, and applications are running.

Why Should I Care about VPN?

Online privacy, pure and simple. VPN services establish secure and encrypted connections to provide greater privacy than even a secured Wi-Fi. For a personal example, someone has stopped for coffee at Starbucks and connects to their Wi-Fi to check their bank balance or to pay a bill. That public traffic is open to people spying on transactions. And just because it is called Starbucks_WiFi does not mean it is actually owned by the well-known coffee franchise. If that person used a VPN to conduct private business, that bank balance, credit card statement, passwords, etc. are all still private.

Why Does UTHSC Have a VPN?

UTHSC supporting its mission of improving the health and well-being of Tennesseans and the global community; there are times where people need to access the UTHSC network when they are not on campus.

Any application that uses data categorized as Classified or Confidential in accordance with Standard-InfoSec-GP-002-Data & System Classification requires the use of a VPN if not on campus. 

How Does a VPN work?

When a person connects their computer (or another device, such as a smartphone or tablet) to a VPN, that computer acts as if it’s on the same local network as the VPN. All the network traffic is sent over a secure connection to the VPN. Because that computer behaves as if it is on the network, this allows the person to securely access local network resources even when in a different physical location, even on the other side of the world. The person is also able to use the Internet as if they were present at the VPN’s location, which has some benefits if you’re using pubic Wi-Fi.

UTHSC's VPN Access had more information about accessing and using the University's VPN.

Last Published: Jul 28, 2021