As people increasingly work over the Internet from a coffee shop or home office, quite a lot of classified business information is crossing the open Internet. Such information can be intercepted by a hacker, which is why Apple provides Mac OS X with private network technology that creates a secure Internet connection between your Mac and the server you are connecting to. It’s like a private highway between your office and your home.
When your company uses VPN connections to secure access to its shared files, databases, web applications, and email, you need to establish and activate a VPN connection on your Mac to be able to connect. To install a VPN, follow these steps:
1. Click the + button at the bottom left of the System Preferences Network window.
2. In the options area, select VPN. Select the VPN technology your company uses, and then, in the Service Name field, give this VPN a meaningful name. Click on Create.
3. In the VPN settings panel, enter the required information, which depends on the type of VPN technology you selected earlier. Usually they ask for the address of the VPN server, an account on that server, and a password. You may also be asked to select the desired encryption level. Click on Authentication Settings to enter additional information such as Pre-Shared Key, hardware security key, or certificate that provides a second level of user authentication. You may have to enter additional parameters required by the IT department. Your IT department should provide the required information or fill in these fields yourself.
To connect to a VPN, first make sure you are connected to the Internet via Ethernet, Wi-Fi, or another connection. Otherwise, the VPN won’t have a way to access your server. Then go to the System Preferences Network window, select the VPN configuration and click on Connect to start the VPN connection. Alternatively, use the VPN icon in the menu bar if visible. Note that you may be prompted for registration information upon login if the server is configured to not allow users to save their passwords.
When you are finished with the VPN connection, disconnect it in the same way.