The expectations of today’s mobile workforce continue to grow. These include flexibility of moving around the office, using Wi-Fi devices in conference rooms and other meeting areas, and using Wi-Fi connectivity at their own desk for daily usage. Users expect the freedom of wireless connectivity without being tethered to a network cable. Network administrators need to provide this flexibility in a secure manner while minimizing the complexity for the users.
How do you secure a Wi-Fi environment for today’s mobile workforce? There are several options to achieve this. The following seem to be the most common methods for securing an environment:
- Pre-Shared Key – (WPA-PSK) is a security mechanism used to authenticate and validate users on a wireless local area network (WLAN) or Wi-Fi connection. It is a variation of the WPA security protocol.
- 1x with a Radius server for authentication – 802.1X authentication involves three parties: a supplicant, an authenticator, and an authentication server. The supplicant is a client device (such as a laptop) that wishes to attach to the LAN/WLAN. The authenticator is a network device, such as an Ethernet switch or wireless access point; and the authentication server is typically a host running software supporting the RADIUS and EAP protocols.
Allow me to introduce you to the new player in town. Xirrus Wi-Fi Networks provides a set of access portals known as the EasyPass Suite. With the EasyPass Suite, administrators can combine Wi-Fi access with Microsoft Office 365 and Google Apps authentication so that user credentials can be used to connect to the Wi-Fi network and domain resources. Users are blocked from network access to Wi-Fi until authenticated against the Microsoft (Office 365) or Google ecosystems.
Xirrus recently posted a nice article discussing the use of the Office 365 EasyPass module. The following is an excerpt from that article. Click here to access the full article.
To simplify the process of connecting Office 365 users to both their Wi-Fi network and their applications, Xirrus now offers a way to integrate the two together. The new Xirrus EasyPass-Microsoft Azure module links the login process for Office 365 with the connection process for Wi-Fi, combining both into a seamless single-sign-on (SSO) experience.
This new EasyPass functionality leverages the cloud-based Microsoft Azure user authentication employed by Office 365, neatly tying everything together into one simple process. Depending on your type of organization, this integration can eliminate the need to operate a separate user authentication system on site, for example running a RADIUS server for 802.1x. This reduces costs and makes it possible for you to move this service to the cloud entirely.
With the EasyPass access portal and the XMS Cloud Management System, Xirrus is making a valiant effort to allow organizations to leverage the Cloud in all aspects of management, producing more ROI for your Cloud initiatives. Check out the EasyPass Infographic below, to see how Xirrus can help you connect with your Wi-Fi network.