Cloud Hosted WiFi Infrastructure

By Rajat Bhargava Posted January 15, 2016

Cloud-Hosted Microsoft Active Directory (AD)

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could have cloud hosted WiFi infrastructure so that there was literally nothing on-premises? Unfortunately, that’s not 100% possible. A more likely scenario is to have your wireless access points and the wireless router that connects to your Internet connection on-premises. Aside from that, you can host in the cloud everything else related to your WiFi infrastructure. As IT admins know, just having WAPs isn’t secure enough. Those WAPs need to be connected to a directory so that WiFi access is secured. Some might called this advanced access control for WiFi networks, but we just call it prudent business.

Worried About WiFi Safety?

WiFi networks emerged over a decade ago and are the new norm at this point in time. New offices are rarely built-out with wired infrastructure nowadays. Why? It’s just too expensive and not quite agile enough. And, let’s not forget that new devices aren’t even shipped with a wired Ethernet port. The challenge with WiFi networks, of course, is their weak security. Most implementations just have a common SSID and passphrase that is shared across the office. Anybody with the SSID or passphrase has access to the network. That’s a big risk for organizations to take. Here’s a really scary thought: a hacker idling in your building’s parking lot can easily figure out the credentials and login.

Falling Victim to the WiFi Security Hole

That type of security hole is the very reason why IT organizations connect their WiFi infrastructure to their directory service. This solution requires users to enter their credentials in order to access the network. What happens next? Those credentials are entered into a software application known as a supplicant, storing and passing them onto a RADIUS server which then contacts the directory server to verify the credentials. One set of credentials is used to access the user’s machine, the network, and even their other IT resources such as servers and applications. Implementing the RADIUS connection to the WiFi infrastructure and the directory can be painful. The software configurations can be complex and tedious to implement, and RADIUS infrastructure management is time-consuming.

DaaS: Cloud Hosted WiFi Infrastructure is the Best Defense

However, cloud hosted RADIUS infrastructure exists for organizations to leverage. IT admins don’t need to spend the time spinning up, configuring, and connecting servers to the rest of the infrastructure. Instead, organizations can leverage RADIUS-as-a-Service. WAPs are simply pointed to the cloud hosted RADIUS servers. The on-board directory services are tightly integrated with the RADIUS infrastructure so there is no extra configurations necessary. The RADIUS-as-a-Service infrastructure integrates with virtually any modern wireless access points.

While you may not be able to outsource everything around your WiFi infrastructure, you will be able to step up your wireless security through a cloud hosted RADIUS infrastructure. Drop us a note if you have any questions or feel free to check out JumpCloud’s Directory-as-a-Service platform that includes RADIUS-as-a-Service.

Rajat Bhargava

Rajat Bhargava is co-founder and CEO of JumpCloud, the first Directory-as-a-Service (DaaS). JumpCloud securely connects and manages employees, their devices and IT applications. An MIT graduate with two decades of experience in industries including cloud, security, networking and IT, Rajat is an eight-time entrepreneur with five exits including two IPOs, three trade sales and three companies still private.

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