Improving your VPN experience

Look out for improvements to your University virtual private network (VPN) experience during May. Small changes behind the scenes are making VPN use faster, easier and more seamless at Oxford University. 

Desktops and laptops 

Use the Cisco Secure Client to connect to the VPN as you usually do; the main change you will notice comes after you click on ‘Connect’. Currently, the Cisco Secure Client asks users to sign in by entering your full Oxford username and then your Single Sign-On (SSO) password every time you use it. After the change, it will use your default web browser to prompt you to log in and will behave in a similar way to other web services that use your SSO. This may include: 

  • not prompting for your credentials if you are already logged in to another service 
  • remembering your username 
  • supporting password managers that are integrated with your web browser 
  • supporting hardware keys (e.g. Yubikeys) for multi-factor authentication (MFA)  

Phones and tablets 

You may notice slightly different behaviour on your mobile devices and the changes you see may not be the same as on your desktop device. Nonetheless, you’ll notice at least some of the above benefits, such as being able to use Keychain on iPhones and iPads. Again, experiences will vary depending on the operating system you use. 

What you need to do  

The VPN service will update behind the scenes - you don’t need to do anything!

What you see on your browser may look a little different but not significantly. The Cisco VPN client/app will still look the same, and, unless you are already authenticated, you will still see the usual logon prompt.

We hope you find that this upgrade makes your working day smoother and easier.