Multi-Tenant Cloud RADIUS Server: The Key to MSP Success

Written by Molly Murphy on July 11, 2023

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A multi-tenant cloud RADIUS (Remote Authentication Dial-In User Service) server is a cloud-based solution that gives managed service providers (MSPs) centralized user authentication and access control for multiple clients’ network resources.

These servers are designed with MSPs in mind, allowing them to support multiple clients, each with their own distinct user bases and networks. This technology is especially important for MSPs, because it allows them to offload the complexity of building and maintaining their own authentication infrastructure. Cloud RADIUS provides a scalable, secure, and flexible solution for managing user access across multiple tenants or organizations within a remote environment.

In this article, we’ll take a deep dive into the benefits and features of a cloud RADIUS server in a multi-tenant environment, provide some potential limitations and considerations of this type of solution, and explain how MSPs can best leverage the power of multi-tenant cloud RADIUS when they choose JumpCloud. 

Benefits of Multi-Tenant Cloud RADIUS Server for MSPs

Multi-Tenant Cloud RADIUS servers offer significant benefits to MSPs in managing and securing their clients’ networks. With the scalability and flexibility of these servers, MSPs can efficiently deliver authentication services to their clients while streamlining operations and enhancing their overall service offerings.

Centralized authentication and authorization

RADIUS servers act as a central point for handling authentication requests from multiple client networks and services. They maintain a user database that stores authentication credentials and authorization policies for each tenant or organization. 

When a user attempts to access a network resource, the network device sends an authentication request to the RADIUS server. The server validates the user’s credentials by comparing them with the information stored in its database. If the credentials are valid, the server authorizes the user’s access based on predefined authorization policies. This centralized approach eliminates the need for separate authentication systems for each client, streamlining the process and ensuring consistency across multiple networks. 


Multi-Tenant Cloud RADIUS Servers are created in cloud-based architecture, offering unparalleled scalability. These servers are designed to handle authentication requests from a large number of users and network devices across multiple client networks. The cloud environment provides the flexibility to allocate additional resources, such as processing power and storage, to accommodate growing user bases or increased network traffic. 

This scalability ensures that the RADIUS server can handle authentication requests efficiently without experiencing performance bottlenecks or service disruptions. MSPs can seamlessly onboard new clients and expand their service offerings without the need for significant infrastructure investments or extensive reconfigurations. 


Cloud RADIUS Servers eliminate the need for MSPs to set up and maintain separate servers for each client. By leveraging a shared infrastructure and pooling their resources, they reduce hardware, maintenance, and administrative overheads. The cloud-based nature of RADIUS also allows for seamless scalability, handling authentication requests from multiple clients with little additional required manpower, which optimizes resource allocation. 

These servers typically operate on a subscription-based model, where MSPs pay for the services they consume. This eliminates the upfront capital expenses associated with setting up and maintaining on-premises infrastructure. Instead, MSPs can align their expenses with their client base, scaling their usage up or down as needed, leading to better cost control and predictability.

Enhanced security

By centralizing authentication, MSPs can enforce strong authentication policies, including password complexity requirements and multifactor authentication, to strengthen users’ account security. These servers also employ robust encryption protocols to secure the transmission of authentication credentials and user data between the client devices and the server to ensure the confidentiality and integrity of the authentication process, preventing unauthorized access or interception of sensitive information.

From a legal standpoint, implementing RADIUS also protects MSPs in the event of an audit or security incident. These servers often have user activity logging and auditing capabilities, allowing MSPs to monitor and track user access, detect any suspicious activities, and quickly respond to potential security threats. They also allow MSPs to define granular access policies for each tenant or organization, including defining user roles, access levels, and resource permissions, reducing the risk of unauthorized access and potential data breaches.

Features of a Good Multi-Tenant RADIUS Server Solution

While any RADIUS server offers benefits over not using one at all, not all providers are created equally. When researching different RADIUS solutions for your business, look for a provider that offers the following features and capabilities. 

Cloud-based architecture

Let’s start with the most obvious feature: a good RADIUS server is one that’s built on cloud-base architecture. MSPs can easily scale cloud resources up or down based on demand, ensuring optimal performance during peak usage periods and cost-efficiency during quieter periods. Remote architecture also enables MSPs to monitor and manage the multi-tenant RADIUS server, authentication policies, and user accounts through a single pane of glass, streamlining administrative tasks, simplifying configuration changes, and ensuring consistency across all tenant environments. 

Cloud-based solutions also provide high availability and reliability, ensuring MSPs can serve clients anywhere with an internet connection. This enables remote collaboration, support, and troubleshooting, regardless of geographical location. The flexibility to access and manage the server remotely improves efficiency and customer service for MSPs, allowing them to provide timely support to their clients.

Multi-factor authentication (MFA)

MFA is a critical feature for a multi-tenant RADIUS server due to its ability to significantly enhance security. With the increasing prevalence of cyber threats and unauthorized access attempts, relying solely on a username and password for authentication is no longer sufficient. MFA adds an additional layer of protection by requiring users to provide multiple forms of authentication to verify their identities. 

MFA mitigates the risk of credential theft or misuse, because even if one authentication factor (like a password) is compromised, the attacker would still need access to the additional factor to gain entry. This significantly strengthens the overall security posture of the authentication process, making it more resilient against password-related attacks, social engineering, and unauthorized access attempts. With MFA in place, MSPs can provide an extra layer of protection to their clients’ networks, sensitive data, and critical resources, ensuring a higher level of security and reducing the risk of data breaches or unauthorized access incidents.


While the RADIUS server is a critical authentication component, it’s often part of a larger ecosystem of tools and platforms used by MSPs and their clients. Integrations allow MSPs to connect the server to other tools in their tech stacks, like network devices, identity management platforms, VPNs, and firewalls.

Integrating the RADIUS server with other systems means you can automate authentication processes while reducing manual effort and potential errors. Should you integrate with other security platforms, you can further strengthen your authentication and threat detection processes, while integrating with various reporting platforms can help MSPs gain a more holistic view of authentication activities. 

A multi-tenant RADIUS server that offers a wide range of integrations also ensures compatibility with various network devices, protocols, and systems commonly used in MSP environments. This flexibility allows MSPs to seamlessly integrate the RADIUS server into their existing infrastructure without disruption or extensive customization.

Reporting and analytics

Multi-tenant RADIUS generate a significant amount of user activity data, authentication patterns, and security events, and reporting and analytics capabilities enable MSPs to leverage this data effectively.

Reporting and analytics empower MSPs to gain comprehensive visibility into authentication activities. They can track and analyze user login attempts, successful and failed authentication events, session durations, and other relevant metrics to identify potential security threats, proactively respond, and mitigate future risks.

This feature also helps facilitate compliance and auditing requirements. MSPs often need to demonstrate compliance with industry regulations and internal policies. Reporting features enable the generation of detailed audit logs and compliance reports, showcasing adherence to security standards and providing evidence of the authentication system’s integrity. These reports can be vital for compliance audits, internal reviews, or client requests, ensuring transparency and accountability.

Furthermore, reporting and analytics support capacity planning and resource optimization. By analyzing authentication data, MSPs can identify peak usage periods, assess system performance, and plan resource allocation accordingly. This helps optimize infrastructure scalability, ensure efficient service delivery, and prevent performance bottlenecks. MSPs can make data-driven decisions to allocate resources effectively, anticipate capacity requirements, and maintain a high level of service availability for their clients.

Vendor support and reliability

As MSPs manage and provide services to multiple clients, they rely on the cloud RADIUS server to deliver secure and reliable authentication for their clients’ networks. In this context, vendor support becomes paramount in ensuring smooth operations and timely resolution of any issues that may arise. MSPs need a responsive RADIUS vendor who can provide prompt assistance, troubleshoot problems, and offer guidance during implementation and ongoing maintenance. Reliable vendor support helps MSPs minimize downtime, maintain service-level agreements, and effectively address client concerns. 

Additionally, the reliability of the multi-tenant cloud RADIUS server itself is crucial. MSPs need a robust and highly available infrastructure that guarantees uptime and performance to meet their clients’ authentication needs. Downtime or service disruptions can have significant consequences, affecting not only the MSP’s reputation but also their clients’ productivity and security. Therefore, MSPs must carefully evaluate the track record, reputation, and service-level commitments of the vendor to ensure that they can rely on the vendor’s support and count on a stable and dependable multi-tenant cloud RADIUS server for their clients.

Potential Limitations of Multi-Tenant Cloud RADIUS Server

While multi-tenant cloud RADIUS servers offer numerous benefits in terms of scalability, flexibility, and cost-efficiency, it is essential to understand the challenges and constraints that organizations may encounter. 

Network latency

RADIUS authentication requires communication between the client and the server to validate user credentials. When utilizing a multi-tenant cloud infrastructure, the server may be hosted in a different geographical location or data center than the client. This geographic separation can introduce network latency, or, a delay in data transmission over the network.

Network latency can lead to potential delays in user authentication and authorization. This delay can be particularly problematic in time-sensitive environments where quick access to network resources is crucial. The latency can also affect the user experience, especially in scenarios where multiple users are concurrently attempting to authenticate, resulting in slower response times, frustrated users and reduced productivity.

To mitigate the impact of network latency, organizations can choose a cloud provider that offers data centers in close proximity to the RADIUS clients, implement caching mechanisms at the client-side, or utilize distributed RADIUS servers placed closer to the clients.

Limited customization options

In a multi-tenant environment, the RADIUS server is shared among multiple tenants, each with their own authentication requirements, policies, and network infrastructure. Due to the shared nature of the service, the level of customization available to individual tenants may be restricted. Customizing the RADIUS server configuration, authentication methods, or policy settings according to specific organizational needs might not be feasible or allowed within the multi-tenant cloud RADIUS service.

This limitation can be challenging for organizations that require highly tailored authentication workflows, advanced security measures, or specific integration requirements. They may find themselves constrained by the predefined configuration options provided by the multi-tenant cloud RADIUS service. Moreover, the inability to customize certain aspects of the RADIUS server may hinder the integration of additional security features or third-party systems that are essential for an organization’s specific requirements. It can limit the ability to adapt and evolve the authentication infrastructure as the organization’s needs change over time.

To mitigate this limitation, MSPs should carefully evaluate the customization options provided by the RADIUS service provider before adoption. They should assess whether the available configuration options align with their specific authentication needs and security policies.

Dependency on internet connectivity

Since multi-tenant cloud RADIUS servers are hosted in remote data centers or cloud infrastructure, they rely on a stable and reliable internet connection for communication between the RADIUS clients and the cloud server. That means that without a stable connection, RADIUS clients may experience delays, timeouts, or complete inability to authenticate, causing inconvenience and potential disruptions in accessing network resources.

To mitigate the dependency on internet connection as a potential limitation, MSPs can consider implementing redundant or backup internet connections. This can help ensure a continuous and reliable connection to the multi-tenant cloud RADIUS servers, even in the event of primary internet service disruptions. MSPs can also consider deploying local RADIUS servers or caching mechanisms that can provide temporary authentication capabilities during internet outages. This can enable users to authenticate and access network resources locally until the internet connection is restored.

Why FreeRADIUS is Not Ideal for MSPs

When considering RADIUS solutions, many MSPs are tempted to consider the open-source RADIUS server, FreeRADIUS. Unfortunately, “out-of-the-box” FreeRADIUS is not an MSP-friendly solution. FreeRADIUS requires a vast amount of technical know-how, and more importantly, time to get set up correctly. Additionally, because MSPs generally have many clients, setting up a FreeRADIUS server for each one is far from ideal as is hacking FreeRADIUS to work in a multi-tenant environment.

Lack of cloud-based architecture

FreeRADIUS lacks native cloud integration, often requiring time-consuming manual configuration and management. Due to its lack of cloud-based architecture, it doesn’t have inherent mechanisms for fault tolerance, which can result in potential downtime and service disruptions for MSPs and their clients.

While cloud-based architectures offer centralized management and monitoring capabilities to simplify troubleshooting, performance monitoring, and policy management, FreeRADIUS’s lack of native cloud-based management tools can make these tasks more complex and require additional configuration and customization efforts. It also lacks built-in support for multi-tenancy, which can hinder MSPs in providing dedicated and secure remote  authentication services for their clients. 

Limited scalability

Along with its lack of cloud-based architecture is FreeRADIUS’s lack of scalability. That can be a big drawback for MSPs, because as their client base grows and fluctuates, they need a RADIUS server solution that can easily scale to accommodate increased user loads and demands.

However, scaling FreeRADIUS typically involves manual configuration and customization, which can be time-consuming and complex, particularly when dealing with a large number of users or distributed environments. This manual scaling process can lead to inefficiencies, increased maintenance efforts, and potential performance bottlenecks.

Additionally, FreeRADIUS’s architecture may not inherently support horizontal scaling, where additional servers are added to distribute the workload. Without native support for load balancing and automatic resource allocation, MSPs may face difficulties in ensuring optimal performance and handling peak authentication loads efficiently.

Complexity of configuration

Because MSPs are managing multiple clients with diverse authentication requirements, ease and efficiency of configuration are crucial for effective service delivery. However, the complex configuration of FreeRADIUS may pose challenges for MSPs, especially when dealing with a large number of clients or complex authentication workflows. 

Each client may have unique authentication policies, access controls, and integration requirements. Managing these customized configurations for multiple clients manually can be error-prone, labor-intensive, and potentially result in inconsistencies across deployments.

FreeRADIUS’s extensive range of configuration options and parameters may require MSPs to invest significant time in learning and mastering the intricacies of the software, which in turn increases the learning curve for new administrators and impacts operational efficiency.

Instead, MSPs often benefit from a RADIUS server solution that offers a more streamlined and intuitive configuration process. Simplified configuration interfaces, user-friendly management consoles, and automation capabilities can significantly enhance the MSP’s productivity and reduce the chances of misconfigurations or inconsistencies.

Leverage Cloud RADIUS and Multi-Tenancy with JumpCloud

When it comes to picking a RADIUS provider, MSPs need a partner that supports the right blend of features and functionality to streamline management responsibilities while delivering quality and secure service. For many MSP instances, you can’t do better than JumpCloud. 

JumpCloud’s Cloud Directory platform offers a cost-effective and lightweight solution to provide security to your clients. Deploying Cloud RADIUS is quick and straightforward with our Multi-Tenant Portal (MTP), requiring minimal technical expertise. The platform offers robust security features, including built-in encryption with EAP-TTLS, PAP, PEAP, WPA2 Enterprise, and RADIUS, secure VPN access with Meraki, Palo Alto, and OpenVPN, network segmentation via VLAN tagging, and MFA for WiFi and VPN connectivity. 

MSPs can benefit from easier network deployments, uniformity in solutions, increased network visibility, and meeting audit and compliance requirements. Discover how JumpCloud’s Cloud RADIUS can strengthen your network security and empower your MSP services by trying it for free.

Become a JumpCloud Partner!  

The JumpCloud Partner program is dedicated to supporting MSPs and resellers, providing resources to streamline their open directory platform, both for themselves and their clients. If you’re ready to grow your business revenue year over year with dedicated channel sales, technical, and marketing resources, apply to become a partner today.

Molly Murphy

Molly Murphy is a Senior Content Writer at JumpCloud. A self-professed nerd, she loves working on the cutting edge of the latest IT tech. When she's not in the [remote] office, Molly loves traveling, rescuing animals, and growing her all together unhealthy obsession with Harry Potter.

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