Remote Work: When to Use and When to Not Use PittNet VPN

a person browsing the Pittwire VPN page onlineThe PittNet VPN service—widely known as Pulse Secure—provides students, faculty and staff the ability to remotely connect to restricted University resources that otherwise only can be accessed from the University’s network, like departmental file servers and workstations located on campus.

Under normal circumstances, a limited number of people use the PittNet VPN to access restricted University resources remotely. When there’s an extended disruption that changes where we work and how we access restricted resources, the number of users trying to access University resources via PittNet VPN can increase significantly. Access to the vast majority of University resources does not require use of the PittNet VPN, though.

For example, the COVID-19 pandemic has presented unprecedented challenges and impacted where many Pitt community members are working or studying. The increase in remote work by students and employees has created a surge in the number of people trying to access University restricted resources with PittNet VPN.

Since PittNet VPN is a shared resource with a limited pool of licenses, the number of people who can use it at the same time is limited.   

There’s good news, though: Most of the time, faculty, staff and students don’t actually need to use PittNet VPN to work remotely—it’s required only in very specific cases for certain resources.

By minimizing the number of unnecessary PittNet VPN connections during this time of increased demand, you help ensure the service remains available for those who need it for essential work functions. Keep in mind that disconnecting when you are finished accessing resources protected by PittNet VPN will free up available connections for others.

Pitt IT has shared the following guidelines to help staff, faculty and students determine when they do and don’t need to use PittNet VPN.

You do NOT need PittNet VPN to remotely access:

You DO need PittNet VPN to remotely access:

  • A workstation connected to the University’s network—for example, your office workstation.
  • A departmental file server connected to the University’s network.
    Note: If you work with non-sensitive files or data on your workstation or departmental file server, consider copying those files to Enterprise Cloud Storage [Box or OneDrive] so that you can access them from anywhere.
  • Departmental resources that are able to be accessed only from the University’s network.  

In addition, ULS and HSLS library journals available from and do not require a PittNet VPN connection. These journals can be accessed via EZProxy.

Pitt IT is currently working on adding capacity to support additional PittNet VPN users.

A hand holding a smartphonePitt Information Technology has compiled a list of IT resources to support remote work.

Staff, faculty and students are encouraged to contact the 24/7 IT Help Desk at any time if they have questions or need assistance.