eduVPN: providing secure access to the Internet and your organisation's protected systems

Rosy Pauwels

Marketing @ Belnet
Mon, 10/26/2020 - 14:34

eduVPN enables employees, researchers and students to easily and securely connect to the Internet and gain access to their organisation's protected systems.

eduVPN is offered as an open-source software which is deployable by any NREN or affiliated institutes for higher education or research that are interested.

GÉANT is offering two types of eduVPN access:

  • Institute Access: for institutes and NRENs, to provide exclusive access for members of that institute to the institute's network
  • Secure Internet: for NRENs, access by all users from all research/education institutes belonging to participating NRENs, to be able to protect users on insecure WiFi networks

How does eduVPN work?

eduVPN sets up a Virtual Private Network (VPN), an encrypted connection between your (private) computer or smartphone and the company network of your organisation. It acts as a tunnel, offering you direct network access. This will allow you to connect securely to the public Internet without the fear of prying eyes close by.

From the Netherlands to 14 countries worldwide

The Dutch research and education network SURF started the eduVPN project in 2015. Today 25 on a total of more than 100 institutions are using the eduVPN service from SURF. Larger organizations such as universities and colleges take eduVPN as a managed service.

Rogier Spoor, Product Manager eduVPN: “We see that institutions only consider purchasing eduVPN when their 'old' VPN environment is outdated and needs to be replaced. As a result, the use of eduVPN was only gradually increasing. But then there was the COVID 19 outbreak. From one day to the next, students and employees had to be able to access everything from home. This often failed due to insufficient VPN capacity and/or licenses. And so SURF suddenly saw a sharp increase in the demand for eduVPN.”

eduVPN is currently deployed in 14 countries: Albania, Australia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Morocco, The Netherlands, Norway, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Uganda and Ukraine.

A testimonial of Simo Lamminen, Turku University of Applied Sciences, Finland

In Turku University of Applied Sciences, we use a lot of software that requires access to licensing servers. Formerly we had a basic OpenVPN solution for one software, for few student groups so they were able to use it at home.

When COVID-19 quarantines began the list of required software got a lot bigger. Luckily, we had already familiarized ourselves with eduVPN in test environment. We found that benefits with eduVPN are quite markable. Self-enrollment and SAML authentication made it easy to distribute eduVPN to larger number of users. It was also cost effective and we have familiar community to solve possible issues.

For now, eduVPN offers our students, staff and affiliates access to resources that are required to teach and study effectively and safely. We can provide software licenses when license terms allow for remote access. Additional services have already been planned but not yet implemented.

Are you a higher education or research organisation and would you like to know more about eduVPN and its benefits for your organisation?

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