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Old Dominion University

Information Technology Standard

02.6.0 Remote Access and Virtual Private Network Standard

Date of Current Revision or Creation: December 1, 2019

The purpose of an Information Technology Standard is to specify requirements for compliance with Old Dominion University Information Technology policies, other University policies, as well as applicable laws and regulations. Standards may include business principles, best practices, technical standards, migration and implementation strategies, that direct the design, deployment and management of information technology.

  1. Purpose

    The purpose of this compliance standard is to define the tools and practices used for connecting to the University's information technology resources from any host remote to the University. The intent of this standard is to augment the established Telecommuting Policy and minimize the potential exposure to information technology provide a clear understanding of technology requirements of remote access. Remote access includes VPN, SSH, and any other technology that may be used to access ODU's network remotely on or off campus.

  2. Definitions

    ITS is the acronym for the official name of Information Technology Services.

    Institutional Data - Recorded information that documents a University business-related transaction or activity by or with any appointed board member, officer, or employee of the University. Regardless of physical form, characteristic, or source, the recorded information is a University record if it is produced, collected, received or retained in pursuance of law or in connection with the transaction of University business. The medium upon which such information is recorded has no bearing on the determination of whether the recording is a University record. University records include but are not limited to personnel records, student records, academic records, financial records, patient records and administrative records. Record formats/media include but are not limited email, electronic databases, electronic files, paper, audio, video and images

    Remote Access is any access to ODU's network from a non-campus network through ITS managed devices as well as self-administered or personally owned devices.

    Telecommuting is working in a location other than the traditional office setting, which may include a telecommuter's home. Telecommuting utilizes communication technology (telephone, computer, fax machine, remote access to a data processing network, etc.) to transport information, but may be accomplished with as little as a telephone.

    User includes anyone who accesses and uses the Old Dominion University information technology resources.

    Virtual Private Network (VPN) is a secure encrypted network connection over the Internet between an individual and a private network.

  3. Standards Statement

    All authorized Old Dominion University employees and third parties may utilize the benefits of the Virtual Private Network (VPN) to access University computing resources to which they have been granted access.

    Users must follow ITS Standard 04.2.0 (Account Management Standard).

    VPN gateways are set up and managed by Information Technology Services network and security staff. No other department may implement VPN services unless approved by Information Technology Services. Cloud-based software remote administration tools which provide direct access to campus workstations without the use of the campus VPN (such as TeamViewer, LogMeIn, GotoMyPC, Splashtop) are explicitly prohibited. Exceptions may be granted on a case-by-case basis upon request to the ITS Security team for vendor remote support purposes. The University reserves the right to monitor for unauthorized VPNs and disable access of those devices performing non-sanctioned VPN service.

    To protect the integrity and security of data, ITS may require connecting to the VPN before using remote management applications such as Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) or Secure Shell (SSH) to access a University IT service.

    When actively connected to the Old Dominion University network, the VPN will force all traffic to and from the workstation over the VPN tunnel; split tunneling is not permitted.

    VPN users will be automatically disconnected from Old Dominion University network after one hundred twenty (120) minutes of inactivity. The user must then logon again to reconnect to the network. Pings or other artificial network processes are not to be used to keep the connection open.

    VPN connection time is limited to an absolute continuous connection time of 12 hours. Users may reconnect if necessary.

    Communications on the University's computer systems may be monitored and/or recorded to ensure the effective operation of these systems and for other legal purposes.

    VPN Accounts
    A Virtual Private Network (VPN) connection is available to all full-time employees and authorized third parties with a need to access resources internal to the campus network. (Part-time staff are ineligible for remote work and therefore do not generally get VPN accounts.) Vendors may be provided accounts through a sponsoring department.

    Accounts requests are made via an electronic account request form available at https://midas.odu.edu. The successful completion of online training is required before users may download and install the VPN client software to their device.

    VPN access is controlled via Monarch-Key authentication and password complexity rules are enforced per ITS standards. Users who are enrolled in multi-factor authentication will be prompted for additional credentials upon attempting to connect.

    Telecommuting policy
    Telecommuting permits authorized employees to work at an alternative location for all or a portion of the work week. The telecommuting policy outlines conditions applicable to employees working in alternative locations, including compliance, work schedules, compensation, use of equipment and materials, expenses and confidentiality. For more information on the Telecommuting Policy, Contact Human Resources.


    User Responsibilities
    Users, including faculty, staff, students and other agents accessing information technology resources from a non-campus location must be authorized to access the data. Remote work is done in compliance with the Commonwealth of Virginia Human Resources Policy 1.61.

    • Secure remote access must be strictly controlled. Access will be controlled via account ID and password.
    • Users working with sensitive or confidential data must use an approved VPN.
    • The University may provide state-owned equipment and materials or authorize the use of personal equipment. It is the employee's responsibility that the all possible measures have been taken to secure a remote access connection.
    • Employees with remote access privileges must ensure that their state-owned or personal computer is not connected to any other network at the same time, with the exception of personal networks that are under the complete control of the user.
    • All hosts including personal computers (or other devices) connected to internal networks via remote access technologies must follow University policies and standards.
    • Users must ensure that unauthorized users are not allowed access to the Old Dominion University campus networks.
    • Users must ensure that computers connected to the network via VPN are configured with a supported Operating System with updates enabled, up-to-date anti-virus, and active firewall software. By using VPN technology with personal equipment, users must understand that their machines are an extension of the institution's network and as such are subject to the same rules and regulations that apply to University-owned equipment.

    Any exceptions to this Standard must be approved in writing by the Information Security officer or his designee.

    Failure to comply may result in disciplinary sanctions consistent with University policies and applicable law.

  4. Procedures, Guidelines & Other Related Information

    Federal and State Law

    University Policy 3500 Use of Computing Resources

    University Policy 3505 Information Security Policy

    University Policy 6202 Telework Policy

    05.4.0 Virus and Malicious Code Protection Standard

    09.1.0 Acceptable Use Standard

  5. History


    Responsible Party


    December 2006

    IT Policy Office


    February 2014

    IT Policy Office

    Updated for clarity and to reflect changes in access

    August 2016 IT Policy Office
    Updated for clarity and merged with former ITS Standard 05.4.1 Remote Access Standard
    December 2019 IT Policy Office

    Updated for clarity and correspondence with existing metrics.

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