DirectAccess service

External access to restricted university resources has traditionally been provided via our authenticated Virtual Private Network (VPN) service.  Using this, remote computers have the ability to “appear” like local computers, and this grants secure access to a variety of otherwise protected resources, such as the P: and Q: drives.  DA is a Microsoft remote access service that can perform a similar function but in a more streamlined fashion.  When a DA-enabled computer connects to the network (either internal or external), it automatically creates a protected connection back to its domain.  ITS has used this service on our managed laptops mostly as a mechanism to ensure maintenance of group policy for off-campus devices, but DA can also facilitate access to all domain controlled resources without the need for manually initiating a VPN.  This gives customers convenient access to personal resources from their devices, and ITS can reliably maintain security patches for devices that are remote, even for extended periods of time.

The minimum requirements to use this service are that the university-issued computer must run Windows 7, Windows 8/8.1 or Windows 10 Enterprise and be connected to the ITS Active Directory.  We have been piloting a broader DA service internally and have now enabled it on all mobile computers in the business to customer (B2C) model of our managed workstation program.  Technical staff supporting mobile computers using the business to business (B2B) version of our managed workstation program can enable the expanded DA service for these devices as well.

Enhancing Individual productivity across each of their respective institutional roles is one of our key strategic goals, and we will work with the technical community to expand the DA capability.  Any feedback or insights that you might be able to share will be invaluable to this process.