Connecting to VPN with the Cisco AnyConnect Secure Mobility Client in Windows
Posted by Christopher P., Last modified by Christopher P. on May 30, 2023 11:13 AM

In order to access your company or organization's secure internal network when away from the office (such as when you're at home, traveling, or when using a mobile hotspot), you will need to connect to your organization's VPN or Virtual Private Network.

In this article, we will describe how to use the Cisco AnyConnect Secure Mobility Client application to do this.

Step 1 - Connect to the Internet

In order to connect to VPN, you must be connected to the Internet. You can connect via Ethernet (hard-wire), WiFi, or any hotspot such as one that is provided from a cell phone, dedicated hotspot, or vehicle.

Also remember that this will only work if you are not connected to your company or organization's internal network. If you are connected to the internal network either via WiFi or Ethernet, there is no need to connect to VPN.

Step 2 - Access the Start Menu

Click the Windows logo ( ), usually on the lower left-hand side of the screen to access the Start menu.

Step 3 - Find and open the VPN Client

Type cisco - if your computer has the application installed, it should look something like this:

or if you're using Windows 7, it might look like this:

Go ahead and click on it to open the client, as suggested by the arrow in the illustrations.

Note: If the application does not show up as shown in the illustration, the VPN Client may not be installed. In this case, please contact your organization's IT Department for assistance.

Step 4 - Enter your Organization's VPN Address

The VPN Client window should open and look something like this:

In the field, enter your organization's VPN address and when finished, click Connect.

Note: If you do not know your organization's VPN address, you may need to contact your organization's IT department, as this will vary from organization to organization.


Step 5 - When Prompted, Provide Your Credentials

You should then be prompted for your credentials, and it should look something like this:

You should use the same credentials you use to logon to your organization's computers.

Note: For some organizations, you might see an additional Group field with a drop-down selection that you must manually select, which would look similar to the screenshot below:

If this is the case and you are unsure of which group to select, you may need to contact your organization's IT department for assistance as this will vary from organization to organization.

Step 6 - Multi-Factor Authentication (Optional)

For some organizations, you may have to perform an extra step called Multi-Factor Authentication to complete the sign-in. If this is not something your organization has enabled, this step may be skipped and you might already be connected. In that case, proceed to Step 7.

This will typically involve requiring you to enter a specific one-time code that changes frequently and only has a validity period of around 15-30 seconds. These codes are often called a one-time pass code or OTP, MFA code, or simply pass code.

How you will obtain your one-time pass code will vary, but some common methods are:

  • A phone call to a phone number you have tied to your account where you will be read a one-time pass code by an automated system
  • An SMS or text message to a phone number you have tied to your account with a one-time pass code
  • A one-time pass code via an authenticator app on your phone or a physical hardware token

Sometimes instead of a one-time pass code, you will have to approve an authorization request via an app on your phone. These are supposed to appear, but most of the time you will need to open the app on your phone first and then attempt to login to the VPN for it to correctly prompt for authorization on your phone's app. Tip: If the VPN spins for more than a few seconds after you put in your credentials and attempt to login, but doesn't ask for a one-time pass code, make sure the app is open on your phone and check for an authorization request.

Step 7 - Connected

If all went smoothly, you should now be connected and all set. Typically you will see a notification, such as the following:

or if you're running Windows 7, something like this:

At this point, you should be able to access all of your organization's internal resources securely from your location.

If you had any issues accessing network drives or shared drives, try to access them again.

For organizations that store user desktops over the network, if your desktop is blank, right-clicking in the open area and selecting Refresh should cause your desktop icons to appear within the next 10 seconds.

If it refused your credentials and says Login Failed, this could be due to an expired password, locked account, or in some cases lack of proper access to VPN resources. If this happens, you may need to contact your organization's IT department for assistance


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