The RADIUS protocol was created in 1991. It’s a wonder that, in the technology world, something like RADIUS has stood the test of time for almost 30 years. This feat is very impressive, and it speaks to the value that the RADIUS protocol brings to the IT networking community.
With the move to the cloud and modern technology, a core question that we are frequently asked is, “What is the future of RADIUS?” Our answer: cloud RADIUS.
Moving RADIUS to the Cloud
Moving RADIUS to the cloud may seem like an obvious answer, as the common trend is seeing everything move to the cloud, but there is much more to the process than you might think. RADIUS is useful in a number of different contexts and by shifting it to the cloud, it can be used in a wide variety of scenarios including with VPNs, WiFi access points, and more. By moving to the cloud, RADIUS is more integrated into the core infrastructure of an IT organization.
Rather than thinking about it as a separate solution or component to implement, cloud RADIUS will become more of a specific protocol or feature that organizations will leverage. Additionally, there won’t be any additional work or infrastructure to build, just a specific way to leverage the functionality within a broader platform.
The concept of a SaaS RADIUS approach is already implemented by the cloud identity management platform Directory-as-a-Service®, where cloud RADIUS is one of the many features and functions of the cloud directory service. To use this feature, IT administrators simply point their networking infrastructure (e.g. VPNs, WiFi access points, etc.) to authenticate to the cloud RADIUS endpoints. The RADIUS servers are managed by the third party provider rather than being implemented and managed by the IT team.
This concept extends to other areas as well, including LDAP, SAML, and other authentication protocols. IT admins can add multi-factor authentication (MFA) to the RADIUS authentication process for VPNs and even use attributes to dynamically place users in VLANs based on their group membership, for example.
This is how JumpCloud believes a modern identity provider should work: A core database with user identities federated out to whatever types of IT resources that are needed. These resources could be hardware devices, software applications on-premises or in the cloud, storage systems, or networking gear. Whatever protocol that those IT resources need, the cloud identity management platform provides.
Easier on IT
IT admins don’t need an Active Directory server, LDAP instance, FreeRADIUS infrastructure, or any of that additional hardware. All of these features are integrated into Directory-as-a-Service, a unified cloud directory service for whatever IT resources are needed.
Returning to RADIUS, the big picture innovation is delivering RADIUS-as-a-Service from the cloud. This feature enables organizations to leverage RADIUS as a core protocol within their infrastructure, and allows them to reap the benefits of it. Additionally, this is all achievable without the heavy lifting of implementing RADIUS in house and managing it manually.
Learn More about RADIUS-as-a-Service
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