By Rajat Bhargava Posted November 17, 2015
RADIUS was first introduced in the early 1990s as an authentication infrastructure for servers and network infrastructure. Organizations that adopted RADIUS had to standup and manage their own RADIUS infrastructure in order to provide a common platform for users that allowed them to log into a variety of different types of routers, switches, VPNs, and other types of infrastructure. As WiFi emerged, the vendors providing wireless access points (WAPs) leveraged the RADIUS protocol because it enabled IT admins who managed the network infrastructure a way to also manage WiFi.
Nowadays, many organizations use the open-source solution FreeRADIUS as the basis for their infrastructure. The challenge with this, as many IT admins know all too well, is that RADIUS can be extremely painful to set up, configure, and manage. Recently, cloud directory service providers, like JumpCloud, have introduced cloud-hosted RADIUS platforms that eliminate the complexity of setup, configuration, and management. More so, these services now deliver ‘RADIUS-as-a-Service’ with all of the benefits of SaaS-based platforms.
Configuration Headache: The Trouble with RADIUS
IT admins who have implemented RADIUS know the complexity of setting it up, configuring it, and managing it. FreeRADIUS, as an open-sourced solution, is an excellent piece of software and widely utilized, but it is far from easy to implement. There are a wide variety of configurations and settings to contend with, as well as the supplicants that need to be either installed or configured. Additionally, there are the connections that need to be made between the infrastructure components and then, ultimately, the directory service that backends the RADIUS infrastructure.
RADIUS-as-a-Service: An IT Pain Reliever
Until now, IT admins have had to implement RADIUS on their own. With the introduction of RADIUS-as-a-Service, it is now possible for IT admins to outsource all of the heavy lifting to a third party. The modern system works by pointing the WAPs to the cloud-hosted RADIUS server. The RADIUS servers then talk to a directory service. That directory service can be hosted by JumpCloud through the on-board directory service capabilities, or the directory service can be connected to an on-premises Active Directory. If the organization is utilizing Google Apps, that too can be integrated. Endpoint supplicants can be easily turned on to leverage RADIUS through policies. With minimal interaction with the system, an IT admin can easily and quickly have RADIUS integrated into their environment.
2 Key Benefits of a Cloud-Hosted RADIUS System
The benefits of a cloud-hosted RADIUS system are significant. They are as follows:
- Increased security: Users must be a part of your company’s directory service to gain network access. The old method of having an SSID and passphrase is no longer enough to gain network access. Access can then be granted or terminated at the user level rather than an office-wide level.
- Easier implementation & management: With RADIUS-as-a-Service, IT admins don’t need to devote unnecessary time and money to implementing and managing RADIUS.
JumpCloud’s Directory-as-a-Service functions as a broad Identity-as-a-Service platform with RADIUS functionality included. Because the solution is delivered as-a-Service, there is very little infrastructure for an IT organization to build. Learn more about JumpCloud’s cloud hosted RADIUS functionality by dropping us a note. Or try JumpCloud for yourself for free.