Remote Access: Virtual Private Network (VPN)

Also known as: Virtual Private Network (VPN); VPN (Virtual Private Network)
Available to: Students, Faculty & Staff

Service Summary

A Virtual Private Network or VPN is a remote access service that creates a virtual connection between an internet user and a trusted network. A VPN is used to provide an additional layer of security for remote access or to provide virtual presence on a network.

Mason currently operates an enterprise VPN based on Cisco’s Adaptive Security Appliance (ASA). It offers both VPN functions, providing virtual presence to the general university community and secure access for designated staff to access select administrative systems.

VPN service for virtual presence is available to all university students, faculty, and staff.

This service is limited to users who have approval to access Mason’s online systems and services remotely.

All users of Mason’s enterprise VPN must adhere to:

Faculty and Staff members must also adhere to:

How to Get this Service

To access the VPN on university-managed computers (MESA or Casper), you will need to use the Cisco AnyConnect client. The client is available on all university-managed computers in the Software Center (MESA) or Applications Menu (Casper). If you are not using a university-managed computer, you will first need to download the Cisco AnyConnect VPN client. For Windows, Mac, and Linux devices, download the client from the IT Services Downloads page. For iOS or Android devices, install the Cisco AnyConnect client through the appropriate app store. 

Follow these instructions to ensure you have the Cisco AnyConnect client

Once installed, enter your desired the URL for your VPN group in the format “<group>” If you do not know your specific VPN group or do not have one, you may enter “” and click Connect.  Select “GENERAL” from the Group list and login with your NetID and Patriot Pass password. See VPN Groups for additional information and how to determine your group.

For complete instructions for accessing and using the VPN, visit Using 2FA with Cisco AnyConnect VPN.

Special VPN Cases

In special cases, employees may require secure remote access to select administrative systems specific to their business unit or department. In this instance, employees should check with their technical point of contact for further details on VPN Groups. Non-employees requiring remote access must be sponsored by a Mason department or business unit and qualified by Human Resources. Upon qualification, accounts will be created for these individuals. Departments should engage their HR liaison to begin this process.

There is no charge for this service.


This service is available 24/7, excluding planned outages, normal maintenance windows, and unavoidable events. Maintenance windows are Sundays from 7 to 11 a.m. but may be extended to 2 p.m., if needed. If maintenance is required outside of these hours, it will be announced on the Planned Outages web page.

Getting Help

Assistance for all IT Services is available through the ITS Support Center:

Phone: 703-993-8870
Fax: 703-993-3347
Online: Submit a Request
Hours of Operation: Monday thru Thursday, 8:00 a.m. - 10:00 p.m.
Fridays, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Saturday, 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
Sunday, 2:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m.
Walk-in Support
Fairfax Campus*:
Innovation Hall, Room 226
(*closed Thursdays 3:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. for team meetings)

Additional Information

Issues should be responded to within the time limits set for the SDE Urgency field.

Last modified date: March 14, 2018