IT Help Desk
Urgent Requests: x3444
The college provides multiple technologies to access files and applications from off campus. The technology you choose depends on what you need.
Do you need a file from your Z drive or the J drive? Consider the Secure File Transfer option.
Do you need to use an application you don't have on your Windows home or college laptop? Consider the Remote Desktop Service option.
Do you need to use an application but don't have a Windows computer? Consider the VPN with Terminal Server option.
Secure File Transfer Protocol (SFTP) is the service used to access network folders from off campus or from a campus wireless connection. Off-campus access to files is the same for employees as it is for students. Instructions for using the SFTP service are available on the Students' Off-Campus Use page.
Remote Desktop Service (RDS) is the preferred method to establish a remote desktop session from off campus. RDS allows a user to access applications installed on the OTS server and access network folders and data typically available while on campus. The primary advantage of using RDS instead of VPN with Terminal Server (described below) is that you can use other programs on your computer to access Internet sites while connected. RDS is a licensed Windows service so non-Windows users (e.g., Apple Macintosh) need to buy additional remote desktop gateway software (e.g., iTap) to use RDS.
This is a service meant for IHCC owned devices or staff owned devices, not publically available computers, terminals, and Internet kiosks.
When licensing allows, applications are installed on the college Terminal Server (OTS.inverhills.mnscu.edu) to provide secure off-campus use for employees. Unless you are using the RDS service (see above) a VPN session must be established before trying to open a Terminal Server session. When a Terminal Server session is open, all the desktop computer is doing is relaying keyboard, mouse and display information between the server and the PC you are operating.
It is a good idea to practice using Terminal Server while on campus when technical assistance is available before trying it off campus.
Requests to install applications onto the Terminal Server can be sent to Tech Support through the normal IT Help Desk procedure.
Opening a Terminal Server Session
Two conditions must exist before a Terminal Server session can be established:
- You must use a computer running the Microsoft Windows operating system that has the Remote Desktop application installed.
- A VPN session must be established (see VPN section below for client download and connection details).
- Establish a VPN session.
- Open the Remote Desktop Connection application. Remote Desktop Connection is a communications tool. The icon is usually in the All Programs > Accessories section of the Start menu.
- Enter "ots.inverhills.mnscu.edu" as the Computer (without the quotes) and click the Connect button.
- Enter your campus username and password and click OK. Terminal Server can run in full-screen mode or in a window. Use the options in the Remote Desktop Connection dialog box to change the sessions to meet your preferences.
- Find and run an application installed on Terminal Server the same as you would an application installed on your computer.
- When you are finished using the Terminal Server session it is best if you LOGOUT instead of simply clicking the X to close the Remote Desktop Connection application window. Closing the window does not end the session on the server and your session will continue to use resources until the session is logged off.
Complete remote access to the campus network requires a virtual private network (VPN) connection. Establishing a VPN session adds your home computer to the campus network as if it was connected to a cable on campus. VPN is usually combined with a Terminal Server session.
It is important to remember when a VPN session is established that ALL network traffic from your computer is sent to the campus network and ONLY to the campus network. This means the only services you can access and use are campus services until you disconnect the VPN session.
VPN may not work with all ISPs. If you are unable to establish a VPN session or your session repeatedly terminates unexpectedly, contact your ISP and ask them if they allow VPN sessions.
To get your home computer to connect to the VPN, follow these directions