The Cisco AnyConnect Security Mobility Client

Cisco AnyConnect Secure Mobility Client
Bradley Mitchell

Cisco AnyConnect is the brand name of a security application from Cisco Systems that features Virtual Private Network (VPN) client support. This application replaces the obsolete Cisco VPN Client. Cisco AnyConnect should not be confused with the AnyConnect console shell application (anyconnect.net).

VPN Functionality of the AnyConnect Client

A VPN client enables remote network access. The additional security protections that VPN connections offer are particularly useful when tunneling into private business networks via Internet hotspots and other public networks.

The Cisco AnyConnect Security Mobility Client runs on Windows 7 and newer, Mac OS X, and Linux systems. The VPN portion of this client allows end users to control options for

  • automatically reconnecting the VPN when a connection drops
  • allowing local network (LAN) access during non split-tunnel VPN sessions
  • blocking connections to untrusted servers

Cisco also supports mobile app versions of this software named Cisco AnyConnect Security Mobility Client for Mobile Platforms. These client apps can be downloaded for free from the Apple app store, Google Play, and Amazon’s Appstore.

Installing and Using Cisco AnyConnect VPN

To use Cisco AnyConnect, a person must install the software application and also have a profile configured for each server connection. The profiles require server-side VPN support (an addressable Cisco network appliance or other gateway device configured with the necessary VPN capabilities and AnyConnect licensing) in order to work.

Businesses and universities typically bundle pre-configured profiles as part of their customized software installation packages.

Launching the VPN Client after it is installed brings up a window with a selectable list of installed profiles. Choosing one from the list and the Connect button initiates a new VPN session.

The application prompts for a username and password to complete authentication. Similarly, choosing Disconnect terminates the active session.

While older versions only supported SSL, AnyConnect VPN currently supports both SSL and IPsec (with appropriate Cisco licensing).