RADIUS Redundancy

Written by Zach DeMeyer on December 10, 2019

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Updated on May 11, 2023

As IT organizations implement RADIUS servers to secure their networks, a common concern revolves around RADIUS redundancy.

What is RADIUS Redundancy?

As is the case with all server implementations, a RADIUS server may go down when it’s needed most. This reality not only presents additional work for IT admins needing to restart their RADIUS instance, but also generates inefficiency for end users, as well as potential security risks.

RADIUS redundancy is the process of implementing a secondary/tertiary RADIUS server and load balancing architecture to cover for potential mishaps. This practice of failover is common for most server implementations, ensuring functionality in the case of hiccups.

Do I Need RADIUS Redundancy?

A catchphrase used across many IT organizations asserts that it is “better safe than sorry.” Implementing RADIUS redundancy provides admins with a way to cover their networks in the case that the main server goes down for any reason. While your organization might have other failsafes in place to cover your servers, RADIUS redundancy, as a practice, prepares IT admins for the worst-case scenario.

The Problem of RADIUS Redundancy

While planning ahead is always a noble cause, RADIUS redundancy causes major headaches for IT organizations. Implementing a RADIUS server is nothing short of a chore due to lengthy technical installation and configuration processes. Multiply this painstaking, time-consuming practice by two or even three servers, not to mention the work of integrating load balancing, and the IT admin’s already full plate just got significantly fuller.

Beyond general setup needs, RADIUS redundancy requires the IT admin to undergo several endeavors in order to properly operate. IT organizations first need to implement load-balancing architecture among their RADIUS server stack to ensure that, when demand is high, each server can shoulder the burden. Beyond that, the network requires continuous testing to ensure that each server fails over properly.

IT admins already have their work cut out for them, so adding the overhead involved with standing up several RADIUS servers for redundancy simply means more frustration and less time for other work. However, it’s unwise to leverage servers without having the proper backups in place. So, what’s a savvy sysadmin to do?

RADIUS from the Cloud

For organizations needing to implement RADIUS but are conscious of their time and money, there’s an option available from the cloud. This solution is called Cloud RADIUS, a cloud-hosted RADIUS service tied into JumpCloud’s open directory platform.

By using Cloud RADIUS, IT organizations offload much of the work involved with implementing RADIUS to the cloud, without foregoing any of its security benefits. Cloud RADIUS’s global network of FreeRADIUS servers provides multiple options in the case of a single outage, meaning IT admins experience the peace of mind granted by RADIUS redundancy without having to worry about configuring failover.

Beyond redundancy, organizations can use Cloud RADIUS to implement WiFi VLAN tagging and RADIUS multi-factor authentication (MFA) to optimize network security for a zero trust approach.

Try JumpCloud Cloud RADIUS

If you’re ready to secure your network with a cloud RADIUS server that provides interoperability and Zero Trust security, sign up today for a JumpCloud account. It’s free for up to 10 users or devices. If you’d like additional information, feel free to consult JumpCloud’s Knowledge Base, or drop us a line.

Zach DeMeyer

Zach is a Product Marketing Specialist at JumpCloud with a degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Colorado School of Mines. He loves being on the cutting edge of new technology, and when he's not working, he enjoys all things outdoors, music, and soccer.

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