Pulse Secure VPN with DUO at CSU

By Ross Madden
Published on December 1, 2015 4:08 pm MT
Updated on February 16, 2021 1:41 pm MT
Posted in Apple, General CNSIT, Security News, Windows

Virtual Private Network (VPN) technology is an essential tool in today’s online world.  Generically, VPNs extend a private network and make it available on a public network.  For CSU, when connected to our Pulse Secure VPN, you are able to access on campus resources from an off campus location.

CSU’s VPN implementation also uses DUO 2 Factor authentication.  When connecting to the VPN, you will be required to provide secondary factor authentication.  More information on setting up and using DUO can be found here: https://cnsit.colostate.edu/kb/pulse-secure-secondary-password-with-2-factor-authentication

Some additional “Best Practices” for DUO can be learned about with this article: https://cnsit.colostate.edu/kb/duo-best-practice

There are two ways to connect to the Pulse Secure VPN at CSU.  The first is a web based browser connection and the second is the Pulse Secure VPN Desktop Client.

Pulse Secure VPN Web Browser Connection

If you are working from home and need many non-web resources available to you, then this is not the best solution for you.

Connecting to the Pulse Secure VPN through a web browser is very straightforward.  Simply point your web browser URL to https://secure.colostate.edu and authenticate!  This method is easy for quick interactions with common campus interfaces such as AAR.  It is important to note that this only connects this single web session to the VPN.  

Pulse Secure VPN Desktop Client Connection

For most users that are working or learning remotely, the Pulse Secure VPN Desktop Client is going to be the preferred method of connecting to CSU’s network.  This method connects all of your computer’s network traffic to the VPN and causes your computer to act as if it were actually on campus.

If you are using a CSU computer set up by CNSIT then the Pulse Secure VPN Desktop Client should already be installed and configured.  You can launch this using the quick launch icon (Windows: lower right near your clock – MacOS: top right menu bar).

If this is a personally owned computer, then you will probably need to install the desktop client yourself.  The installation is easy in that you need to simply choose the appropriate version for your OS from the list found below the title “The Pulse Secure desktop client is the current full-tunnel VPN client for all supported operating systems”:


Once downloaded, run the installer – choosing defaults for anything the wizard presents to you.  After the installation is complete you will need to set up a connection profile.  Launch Pulse Secure using the quick launch icon (Windows: lower right near your clock – MacOS: top right menu bar)  Use the following information to set up the profile for CSU:

Type: Policy Secure (UAC) or Connect Secure (VPN)
Server URL: secure.colostate.edu/2fa

After you have this profile created, you can connect to it and get to work!


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