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Efficient Device Onboarding for Higher Education

An important first task for incoming students is to connect to the secure network they will use for all their on-campus studies. If the process is less than smooth, the already busy schedule is bogged down by large numbers of users experiencing connection issues and filing support tickets.

Long lines cause significant slowdowns for IT, who must divert attention and funds to remedying  issues instead of focusing on value-add tasks. And if the network deployed relies on credential-based authentication, the same issues can be expected to surface when passwords expire at regular intervals.

To simplify the onboarding process and avoid the pitfalls of credentials, forward-thinking universities deploy certificate-based networks with device onboarding software that streamlines new users’ connection. Not only does it significantly enhance the user experience, but it greatly increases network security too.

The Advantages of Device Onboarding Software

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Smooth the User Experience with Device Onboarding Software

Device Onboarding software (also called Wi-Fi Onboarding software) has become a standard among Higher Education in recent years, and it’s easy to understand why. Each new cohort of students brings with them an ever-growing number of internet-connected devices – each of which needs to be configured properly to maintain the integrity of a secure network.

The average university student has 7 internet connected devices, all of which need to be reconfigured every 60-90 days due to password reset policies. Certificates eliminate this need – and typically only need to be configured once during a device’s lifetime.

Onboarding software like SecureW2’s JoinNow allows end users to easily configure their own devices (called BYOD, or Bring Your Own Device), which  reduces the burden on IT support and provides convenience for users. Paired with Wi-Fi certificates, it can vastly improve the user experience by eliminating password-related disconnects.

While Wi-Fi certificates are highly recommended for improving BYOD device onboarding, they can be difficult to configure for regular network users. This is why customers love the pairing of our onboarding software with our PKI services. Our software makes it incredibly easy to replace credentials with certificates, so universities can enjoy all the benefits of certificates with none of the drawbacks.

Stay Secure with Device Onboarding Software

Our software uses certificate-based authentication, which is both versatile and secure.  Certificates can be used for authentication with web applications and desktops,as well as to enable SSL Inspection. They make it easy for administrators to apply group-based policies and segment their network because they can store user attributes. Often, customers will use these attributes to assign varying certificate lifetimes, access to network resources, bandwidth, or to segment IoT devices.

Onboarding software is also vital for network security. It can configure devices for server certificate validation – which allows the users’ devices to authenticate the identity of the RADIUS server certificate. This prevents the user from accidentally connecting to a spoofed SSID and becoming a victim to a Man-In-The-Middle attack.

With all users configured for server certificate validation upon enrollment, diligent monitoring for spoofed SSIDs becomes less vital, as users’ devices prevent them from becoming an issue.

Configure Device Onboarding for Eduroam

Eduroam is also easily configurable with an onboarding software and greatly expands the connectedness of your organization.

Eduroam allows users to travel between campuses without having to re-enroll for network access. However, it’s difficult for end users to configure manually and causes those devices to be prone to credential theft. When setup properly, devices can be recognized and authenticated to allow full network access on all affiliated Eduroam campuses. Some organizations even use Eduroam as their main SSID, eliminating the need to do multiple enrollments and distribute new certificates/credentials.

Secure and Simple Device Onboarding for Higher Education

SecureW2’s certificate solutions are easily configurable and greatly improve upon the usability and security of a university’s network.

We offer a full deployment with all necessary components, such as a Cloud RADIUS and PKI. Our solutions integrate directly with all major network infrastructure and mobile device manufacturers and require no forklift upgrades to implement. In addition, if you have existing infrastructure, such as a RADIUS server, our certificate solutions integrate with components from all major vendors and maximizes the potential of your network security.

Once a university is equipped with certificate-based network authentication, it has a smoother user experience and enhanced security. SecureW2 offers affordable options for organizations of all shapes and sizes. Click here to inquire about pricing.

Learn about this author

Eytan Raphaely

Eytan Raphaely is a digital marketing professional with a true passion for writing things that he thinks are really funny, that other people think are mildly funny. Eytan is a graduate of University of Washington where he studied digital marketing. Eytan has diverse writing experience, including studios and marketing consulting companies, digital comedy media companies, and more.

Efficient Device Onboarding for Higher Education