The IEEE standard for port-based authentication, 802.1X, has been around since the early 2000’s, but in recent years has been met with frustration from network administrations and architectural experts. While 802.1X is well suited to the needs of the wired, desktop-dependent enterprise, with the shift to wireless networks, together with an upsurge of BYOD and Internet of Things (IoT) devices, deployment of 802.1X has become more of headache than a help.
Much of the criticism for 802.1X centers around the difficulty of deployment, namely that certain hardware infrastructure, such as RADIUS authentication and user repository servers, are required. In addition, with an increase of mobile devices in the enterprise, 802.1X is not able to provide enough contextual information on devices to allow for effective security controls. Finally, the difficulty of deployment involves the allocation of agents, which must be carefully managed on endpoints and could become a nuisance for employees if they are constantly required to enter their access credentials.
So Why Reconsider 802.1X?
Despite these technical difficulties, 802.1X has proven to be the strongest method for authenticating devices on the corporate network due to its continuous and direct communication with authenticating servers as opposed to pre/post scanners or the use of logs. The benefits for centralized management and enhanced security should not be deserted based on the sheer complexity of 802.1X deployments.
802.1X Delivered as a Cloud Service
Now, there is another way. With the growth of cloud computing technologies, Portnox CLEAR offers a solution that allows for simple deployment of 802.1X authentication , without compromising on security across the enterprise. By deploying RADIUS and user repository servers from the cloud, and delivering 802.1X as a software-defined cloud service, admins can embrace the benefits of 802.1X authentication by deploying a zero-touch solution that eliminates geo-redundancies. In a matter of minutes, admins can see and control every device connecting to their network and issue agents to monitor and control those devices with one swift action.