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Connecting to VPN in OSX (Mac)
Posted by Michael Sturm on 20 March 2017 10:21 AM



You can utilize virtual private networking (aka VPN) to encrypt data between your off-campus location and the college network.

Examples of tasks requiring VPN:


  • Connecting to Datastor files from off-campus
  • Accessing the GIS server
  • Accessing the EMS scheduling program for events and rooms
  • Using SFTP to transfer web pages via Dreamweaver or other programs


Please note: VPN is only needed off-campus—you must not use it when on the Skidmore College network.



Connecting and Installing SSL VPN


1. Close all programs and save your work.


2. Make sure your Internet connection is working.


3. Run Safari or Firefox and go to


Critical: The address starts with https and there is no www. There is an "s" on the end of https.

Critical: Type the address in the browser's address bar, not the search box.




4. Log in with username (all lower case) and password.


You must replace "username" in this example with your own username.

The Group should be Skidmore.


Not working? Try replacing your username with your address:


5. You may receive warnings while installing. Answer in the affirmative and continue. For example, if you see "An applet is requesting access ..." you should choose Allow.


6. A screen shows the progress of the installation. Each phase can take 30 to 60 seconds. Please be patient.


For security reasons, Apple now disables Java in OS X. Therefore, the previous step which requires Java may fail. A tiny message will indicate an error and you will be offered a download.




7. Assuming the Java install failed, click the link to download the program.




8. You are asked how to open the download. Leave it as shown and click OK.




9. Quit your browser. You no longer need that web page.


10. Looking at the desktop:


Do you see an open window with vpn.pkg? If so, go to step 11.


If you don't see the vpn.pkg, double click the mounted disk icon:





11. Double-click the installer package.




12. At the message, "this package will run a program ..." click Continue.


13. Click Continue, Agree, and Install when asked.


14. Enter an administrator password for this Mac.

This is the same password you use to log into your Mac and to do software updates.


15. Click Close at the success message.


16. Close the window containing the PKG file.


17. Eject the disk image from your desktop by dragging it toward trash/eject on the dock.



VPN is now installed. Where can it be located?



Finder > Go menu > Applications > Cisco folder > Cisco AnyConnect Secure


1. Find the icon and double-click.



2. Type if it's not already filled in.


3. Click the Connect button.


4. Log into the Skidmore group with username and password.


5. Click OK.


6. An icon on the menu bar tells you the state of VPN, i.e. connected or not:






I have a new globe icon. How do I run VPN from the menu bar?


1. From the AnyConnect menu at the top of your Mac, choose Connect.




2. Enter username and your Skidmore password.


3. The AnyConnect icon changes. Hint: Notice the tiny lock.




4. You are now securely networked with Skidmore College.


How do I keep track of VPN status other than the icon?

Open the AnyConnect menu and choose Show AnyConnect Window.



VPN is now connected.


Now you can safely connect to Datastor, GIS, and other servers as if you were on-campus--please see our other documentation for instructions.



How do I disconnect when I'm finished with VPN?


First, close all programs and save your work.

Critical: You may corrupt your document(s) unless you close and save before disconnecting.


Note the AnyConnect menu in Finder's menu bar. It now has a Disconnect choice.





Maintained by the IT Help Desk - Last revised 3/20/2017

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