By Greg Keller Posted April 4, 2016
Most IT admins know that RADIUS is a painful solution to manage. It’s difficult to configure and set up. On-going maintenance is time-consuming as the RADIUS platform must always be up and running and continually integrated with new equipment. The benefits, of course, are significant, but for many organizations the hassle outweighs the benefits. For this reason, organizations end up compromising infrastructure standards for ease of management. The good news is that there is another way. Managed RADIUS solutions can take the heavy lifting off of the IT admin’s plate.
RADIUS has been around for a couple of decades and is a core protocol for supporting the authentication, authorization, and accounting of user access to networks and network infrastructure gear. IT organizations have leveraged this protocol to act as the bridge between their user directory and access to routers, switches, VPNs, WiFi access points, and more. Eventually, as on-premises network equipment moved to the cloud the interest to manage RADIUS began to decline. Thus, the hassle has become more significant.
RADIUS and the Introduction of WiFi Networks
Over the last several years, IT organizations have been moving to WiFi networks as their primary network infrastructure. Wired networks and their associated equipment such as switches and routers are being replaced by wireless access points. This type of WiFi access has created an increased security risk.. The security protocols and access mechanisms are viewed as weak. One only needs the SSID and passphrase to enter the wireless network which is generally easy to come by with common open source tools. Because of this, IT admins must continue leveraging RADIUS as the mechanism to increase security. By implementing a RADIUS infrastructure, WiFi access is not only controlled by an SSID and passphrase, but also by a user having credentials on the network. This is done by connecting the RADIUS server to the core user directory.
Managed RADIUS Solutions
Innovative IT organizations are leveraging managed RADIUS solutions instead of building that infrastructure on-premises in order to combat management hassles. With managed RADIUS solutions, one simply connects the WAPs to the cloud-based RADIUS server. The cloud RADIUS infrastructure connects to an integrated cloud-based directory service that houses each person’s identity. User access to the network is controlled centrally and security is greatly enhanced. Along with the security enhancements, IT doesn’t need to manage the complex RADIUS infrastructure.
If you would like to learn more about how a managed RADIUS solution can work for you, drop us a note. We’d be happy to discuss the JumpCloud® Directory-as-a-Service® platform with RADIUS-as-a-Service functionality. Feel free to try our Identity-as-a-Service solution out for free.