Good morning.


I sure hope that everyone is familiar with VPN, which stands for Virtual Private Network. A VPN Is used to extend a private network across a public network as a way to permit users to send and receive data across the public network. The VPN makes use of the private network to protect the data being sent or received. By using the VPN to connect, the encryption protects the confidentiality and integrity of the data. This encryption converts the data from a readable format to an unreadable format, using an algorithm, that must be decoded using the correct encryption key. The VPN does the encoding and decoding for you so that the traffic cannot be monitored when sent over the network.


UTIA IT01xx - Information Technology Access Control Policy* states that the Institute requires all users who need to connect to Institute or University IT assets while not physically located on the Knoxville area campus, must use the encrypted VPN to securely connect. This includes connecting via dial-up, broadband, or wireless.


The network across the state, known as SHIELD, uses a VPN solution for connecting to the UTK network from the AgResearch Centers, Extension offices, 4-H Centers, and regional offices. This VPN solution was designed for those areas and is managed and monitored by the Institute’s Information Technology Services. There is no separate log in for those offices because they are configured so that those users go straight to the UTK network.


For everyone else, including county offices not on the SHIELD network and those users who work from an off-site location or are traveling**, you must use the UTK-provided VPN, which is managed and monitored by UTK’s Network Services. If you are not using this VPN when traveling or working elsewhere, please go to the OIT Software Distribution site and choose the appropriate version under “VPN.”


If you have any questions or concerns about VPN usage or any other IT security topic, please don’t hesitate to let me know!


I hope everyone is having a great start to 2020!




*Please note that this UTIA policy has no number (IT01xx), as there is no System policy available at this time.

**If traveling internationally, always check to make sure the country you are visiting allows the use of a VPN! If it does not, please contact me prior to travel.