When it comes to authorizing network access, very few protocols are more widely used than RADIUS (Remote Authentication Dial In User Service). RADIUS was originally created for controlling on-prem dial-up internet access and accounting management. In the modern era, however, the advent of WiFi and cloud technology has changed how the network needs to be managed. This shift in network paradigm has prompted a search for online RADIUS solutions.
A Changing Network Environment
The Advent of Wifi
Long gone are the days of the snaking ethernet cables needed for local area networks (LAN). In the modern office, WiFi has changed the way employees work and, ultimately, how IT needs to manage the network. Now, workers can do their jobs from anywhere, be it traveling between conference rooms or between countries. As such, controlling network access is more critical than ever.
Although WiFi significantly increases end user flexibility and agility, it impacts IT admins’ ability to secure the network. After all, it is difficult to control the extent of a WiFi signal, so keeping potential bad actors out can be difficult as well. Additionally, it sparks questions about leveraging the cloud as a whole. In fact, many organizations have used the shift to WiFi as a springboard to move their networks to the cloud completely. That way, IT admins can transform the organization into a “cafe-style” network, where users can come and go, while infrastructure is hosted from the cloud.
Securing WiFi with RADIUS
Of course, it is much more difficult to ensure that a person trying to access a network is credible when they aren’t physically tied into it. Any random passerby with a phone or laptop can make their way onto an organization’s WiFi network, arising questions of security.
Thankfully, vendors of WiFi networking equipment (i.e. Meraki, Aruba, Ruckus, etc.) were already designing their solutions with RADIUS in mind, making it easier for IT orgs to adopt the protocol wholesale. With RADIUS, IT admins forego only relying on the usual shared SSID and passphrase required to join a wireless network, and instead require the network user’s unique (Read more...)