VPN (Virtual Private Network)

VPN (Virtual Private Network) is a secure way to connect to Western's network from home or while traveling. You need an existing internet connection before you can connect to our VPN server. VPN is useful for the following situations:

  • Some campus servers and resources require a VPN connection if you want to access them from off-campus.. Mapped network drives are the most common example. You do not need to use VPN to access Canvas, your Western email, OneDrive, or other Office 365 apps.
  • If you are using a public Wi-Fi connection from somewhere like a hotel, cafe, foreign country, or airport, however, connecting to our VPN will add an additional layer of security, so you may want to connect to our VPN even if it is possible to access the services you need without it.
  • Some secure resources require VPN even when you are on campus, but only a small number of staff need VPN for this purpose.


Standard VPN Access

Students and most faculty and staff need only standard VPN access so they can map to campus network drives from off-campus:

  1. Contact the ATUS Help Desk at 360-650-3333 or helpdesk@wwu.edu and request permission to use the standard VPN service.
  2. Once the Help Desk says you have permission do the following steps from off campus. Install VPN from off-campus using this link: https://securevpn.wwu.edu.
    • Note: For Internet Explorer users, please make sure you add *.wwu.edu to your trusted sites beforehand.
  3. When prompted, enter your Universal username and password.
  4. After installation, the client will automatically start and connect to WWU. Later, you can access the client by going to:
    • Windows: Start > Programs > Cisco
    • Mac: Applications > Cisco
    • When you click the Connect button, the client should connect automatically to the WWU VPN server. If the "Connect to" field is blank, enter the address of the VPN server: securevpn.wwu.edu

Full Tunnel or Split Tunnel?

Screenshot of prompt to select full tunnel or split tunnel

  • Generally you want to select Full Tunnel so all of your network traffic is encrypted by the VPN. 
  • Split Tunnel allows you to communicate with other devices on your local network, like networked printers. This option encrypts only the traffic between you and WWU systems.
    • If you are using software like Windows Remote Desktop to connect to your primary office computer from off-campus (or other remote computer like a laptop), you can use either split or full tunnel from this secondary computer. If you remote into your primary office computer and need to use VPN on that computer (required for ODBC connections to databases behind our firewall) you must select Split Tunnel on your primary computer. 

VPN access for Banner, Nolijweb and AiM

Faculty and staff who need to access Banner, or other Central Administrative Applications, from off-campus need to fill out this VPN Access Esign form. Once your Esign form has been locked you can install the VPN client as described in steps 2 - 4  above.

Students who need to access network drives from off campus should NOT use this form. For network drive access simply request VPN from the Help Desk per the instructions above.

Cisco AnyConnect VPN Client Updates

If you connect to securevpn.wwu.edu using an outdated Cisco AnyConnect Secure Mobility client for Mac OS-X or Windows, the client will automatically exit if an update exists. Then the Cisco AnyConnect Secure Mobility Client Downloader will automatically download and install the updated client. Once the update completes, the VPN client should automatically connect. The process should take no more than a few minutes, depending on the speed of your Internet connection.

You may be asked if you want to allow Cisco Secure Desktop - Hostscan Launch Utility to make changes to your computer. Click the Yes button, along with your password, if required.

Connecting to Resources

Once connected, you can connect to your network drives, use Outlook, or run Remote Desktop to access your office computer. See instructions on mapping network drives.

Mobile Devices

The free Cisco AnyConnect Secure Mobility Client is available for iOS and Android. 

  1. Install the app
  2. Make sure you are connected to the Internet and then open the AnyConnect app and add a VPN connection to the following Server Address: securevpn.wwu.edu
  3. Enable the AnyConnect VPN by sliding the switch from left to right.
  4. Enter your Western Universal Username and Password as you would enter it for myWestern.
  5. You will see a VPN icon next to the Wifi (or cellular data) icon on your device. 

Important Considerations

  • VPN is a shared resource with limited connections. Please make sure that you disconnect when not using this resource.
  • Avoid sensitive transactions like online banking and accessing any site where you need to provide personal information (e.g., passwords, SSN, date of birth) over public Wi-Fi.
  • Any service that you sign into using a Web browser should use encryption. Sites that use encryption are those that begin with https:// instead of http:// (note the “s” after “http”). An example is https://login.microsoftonline.com used for Office 365.