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What is a VPN?

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Intended Audience:

This Quicknote is for the benefit of faculty, staff, and students who would like to know more about UM-Flint's Virtual Private Network (VPN) and to explore the benefits and uses of the service.


This Quicknote is for general informational purposes and has no specific requirements.

What is a VPN?

A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is a method of applying extra security and privacy to public and private networks. Typically, VPNs are used to protect sensitive data and enable computers in a remote environment to connect to the enterprise network. Instead of using a dedicated, real-world connection such as an Ethernet connection, a VPN uses secure, encrypted, “virtual” connections routed through the Internet from the University of Michigan-Flint private network to the remote computer.

These virtual connections are created, maintained, and monitored by a software client called Pulse Secure. Pulse Secure is available to students, faculty, and staff who use Windows 8/10 or macOS. Pulse Secure also has mobile apps for smartphones as well.

How do I connect?

To make use of the University's VPN service, download and install the Pulse Secure client. Once you've installed the software, enter the service's networking information into the client, and authenticate that connection with your uniqname and current password.

For more detailed instructions on using VPN resources available to you please refer to the following Quicknote:

Why use a VPN?

There are many advantages to using the VPN from home to connect to the UM-Flint campus network. Some of these advantages are listed below.
  • Remote Desktop Access (Faculty and Staff Only): You will have the ability to use Remote Desktop integrated into the Windows platform to remotely control your office computer from home (this feature is available to faculty/staff only).
  • For instructions on using Remote Desktop please refer to this Quicknote.
  • Receive Updates on University Laptops (Faculty and Staff Only): While connected via the Pulse Secure client, the computer will be able to receive any software updates or domain information that would be pushed out from the ITS team. This will help the computer stay up-to-date even while traveling.


If you have any questions or experience any issues with this Quicknote, please visit or contact the ITS Helpdesk for assistance.

Location: 206 Murchie Science Building
Phone: (810) 762-3123

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