Unified Access Management for WiFi

Written by Vince Lujan on July 20, 2018

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IT admins have been searching for the holy grail in identity management: unified access management. The concept is simple – leverage one identity that connects users to all of their IT resources. Of course, we know that achieving unified access management can be a significant challenge, but is there a way to have unified access management for WiFi? The short answer is, yes, but let’s start with the basics.

What is Unified Access Management?

user management

Recently, analysts and vendors have been throwing around the term, unified access management, in the IAM (Identity and Access Management) space. They are largely using the term to describe a new approach to application access management, which includes web and on-prem applications—rather than just web apps via single sign-on (SSO). Unfortunately, they are taking a considerably narrow view of the term, rather than the expansive approach that modern IT organizations need.

The trouble is that IT organizations need to securely manage and connect users to all of their IT resources living throughout the network, not just their on-prem or cloud apps. This more holistic approach could perhaps be described as true unified access management, or perhaps more accurately as True Single Sign-On. Call it what you will, but the concept essentially describes the ability to leverage a single, core user identity to gain access to virtually any IT resource. And, for many IT organizations, that includes the concept of unified access management for WiFi.

Unified Access Management for WiFi Networks

wireless security

Unfortunately, connecting a single user identity to WiFi has been challenging in the past. Historically, it generally requires IT organizations to integrate a FreeRADIUS server with both their WiFi infrastructure as well as the backend, on-prem identity provider, which is likely Microsoft® Active Directory® (AD). These integrations would often be brittle, and then there would be the challenge of educating end users on how to enter their credentials into their computer for WiFi access that is beyond the standard SSID and passphrase. As a result, most IT organizations skipped this level of effort because it was too time consuming and painful. The downside was that they lost out on increased security and having a unified identity for end users across all of the IT resources they need.

The good news is that there is another way to create a unified access management system that includes WiFi. It’s called JumpCloud® Directory-as-a-Service®, and it embeds the concept of a single identity which can connect to systems, applications, files, and networks (including WiFi). This approach shifts the burden of integrating infrastructure into the WiFi network to a cloud RADIUS service, rather than on-prem systems. Further, as a cloud directory, this platform has an on-board, cloud-based directory service included—so, no extra work is needed. The end result is that IT organizations can enjoy not only unified access management for WiFi, but they can also extend the concept to achieve a True Single Sign-On approach that spans the breadth of their IT infrastructure.

Learn More About Unified Access Management for WiFi

RADIUS Server in the Cloud

The concept of unified access management includes applications, but it should also include central user management and access to all IT resources, including WiFi. If you would like to learn more about unified access management for WiFi, drop us a note. You can also sign up for a free account, or schedule a demo to see our cloud RADIUS service and more in action today. We even offer 10 free users that are free forever to help you get started.

Vince Lujan

Vince is a writer and video specialist at JumpCloud. Originally from the horse capital of New Mexico, Corrales, he has lived in Boulder, Colorado for three years. When Vince is not developing content for JumpCloud, he can usually be found at the Boulder Creek.

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