CUIMC VPN provides a secure way to connect to the campus network and its resources, such as network drives, from off campus or unsecured wireless. VPN creates an encrypted "tunnel", so data traveling to and from the off campus system cannot be intercepted or viewed by others.

It is typically only required only when accessing CUIMC on-site systems (i.e. a computer via Remote Desktop) and data from a remote location (network drives). For example, VPN is not needed to reach apps.nyp.org to access Epic, myColumbia, RASCAL, Teams, OneDrive, many medical journals, etc.

  • While most CUIMC faculty, staff and students are automatically approved to use CUIMC VPN, it is restricted to only those Columbia affiliates that have a business or academic need to access CUIMC information assets. For details see Access to CUIMC VPN for non-affiliates.
  • Computers must be using a supported operating system and have antivirus installed and updated.

Get Started With VPN

I. Collect information for the resource(s) you will use.

This can include a login or permission for the resource, as well as technical details the off-campus computer or device needs to reach it.

  • Network drives have a specific "path" that may need to be set up. Shared or departmental drives require pre-approved access.
  • Web-based programs or applications may require special browser configuration as well as any link or web address.
    • See the Health Sciences Library's Explore Resources page for databases, journals, etc. Many only require your UNI login rather than VPN.
  • Connecting to a work computer via Remote Desktop requires additional set up via your Certified IT Group.

DO NOT skip this step! If you can't find specific instructions for using a resource from off-campus, contact those managing it or check with your Department Administrator or supervisor.

II. Enroll in CUIMC Multifactor Authentication (MFA) via Duo

CUIMC MFA is required to use CUIMC VPN. Note that this is a separate account from Columbia Duo MFA, you must use the CUIMC MFA enrollment form to set up a CUIMC account that will work with VPN. When you log in to VPN, there will be a DUO Passcode field below your username and password to indicate which MFA method you would like to use.

III. Set Up AnyConnect VPN

See Set Up CUIMC VPN for quick steps, or our quick video for VPN set up on a computer, or more detailed instructions to install on:

A UNI login is required to view instructions.

IV. Connect to VPN

Once AnyConnect VPN is installed simply launch it when needed, log in with your Columbia UNI account (the same one used for myColumbia or CourseWorks), and enter your preferred CUIMC MFA method. For help and tips see instructions to connect on:

Always disconnect from VPN when done, and only use it when necessary.


Be sure you are using your Columbia UNI account and password to log in. This is the same account used for myColumbia, SSOL and CourseWorks.
You must also have enrolled for CUIMC MFA to use the required Duo Passcode field in the VPN login window. 

The AnyConnect program should automatically check for and install updates when logging in to VPN. If you have an older version of CUIMC VPN or experience issues at any point, please try uninstalling AnyConnect completely and setting it up again.

For more help please see VPN and MFA FAQs.