How to Secure 802.1X for Remote Workers

Secure 802.1x for Remote Workers

The Covid-19 pandemic has forced businesses all over the world to leverage the power of cloud computing to the full extent in order to develop virtual workplaces and continue the business during these challenging times. However, remote working is not something that every organization is prepared for. Many businesses struggle with digitalizing their workplaces and taking necessary precautions to secure their remote connectivity infrastructure. Connecting remote employees securely to the organizational premises, applications, and resources is no easy task for businesses, especially while cybercrimes are up by 600% due to the pandemic. Businesses can leverage 802.1X authentication wireless security standards to securely authenticate and connect the remote workers requesting access to critical applications and resources of the organization. As a business, you can secure 802.1X for your remote workers by following the best practices mention below.


RADIUS Authentication With VPN for Secure Remote Access

Virtual Private Networks (VPN) is one of the most common and effective ways to rev up the security and privacy of your organizational networks and connections. In business settings, usually Virtual Local Area Network (VLAN) feature is used for remote devices to be “virtually present” and connect to on-prem resources. However, where using VPN can increase privacy, it can also put your organizational security at risk, as it requires your company’s network to be open to the internet – putting it at risk for cyberattacks. You can leverage your organization’s networking protocol, Remote Authentication Dial-In User Service (RADIUS) to authenticate your virtual employees. Using RADIUS coupled with an efficient VPN for remote access can offer a host of benefits such as :

  • Higher security and easy-to-use Cloud RADIUS services.
  • Your organizational access points can be connected with a VPN upon appropriate configuration, which can allow remote devices to be virtually present and be authorized even by an on-premise RADIUS.
  • Capability to use your RADIUS to implement security policies even if your firewall, access point, or VPN doesn’t support user attributes or directory referencing.


Enabling 802.1X with RADIUS and Certificates

EAP-TLS authentication protocol is used by the most effective iteration of RADIUS to authenticate users with digital certificates instead of credentials. The usage of certificates eliminates the need for password-based authentication that ultimately lowers the risks of security breaches caused by weak or guessable passwords. Cybercriminals use sophisticated phishing attacks to steal critical credentials. Likewise, powerful brute-force attacks allow hackers to guess or break weak passwords. The use of certificates authentication offers complete transparency over who is using your network. Certificates encrypt private data so a hacker wouldn’t be able to do anything if they get a hold of the certificate. Many find the implementation of certificates authentication while using a VPN, complicated. To makes things simplified, you can follow the below steps to use certificates for VPN.

  • Enroll your endpoint devices or security keys for Client Certificates
  • Either upload a root or Intermediate CA on your Firewall, VPN Gateway, and RADIUS Server

The RADIUS server can use the certificates enrolled by the users to authenticate and verify the level of permissions the users have. You can create custom group security policies that can define the different levels of access and controls for different users. Such access and controls can include specifying users that have access to certain organizational resources, networks, Wi-Fi, VPN, and so on.


Use CloudRADIUS to Secure VPN Authentication

SecureW2 is an industry-leading wireless network security solutions vendor. By leveraging SecureW2’s CloudRADIUS authentication service you will be able to authenticate your certificates, check user, group, and device information in your Identity Provider at the moment of authentication. You can also assign unique VLANs to different organizational departments by creating different groups of different departments. You can also deny or allow network access based on attributes like NAS-ID, User Roles, and much more.