Virginia Commonwealth University

Virginia Commonwealth University

Case Study

Searching for a WPA2-Enterprise Solution

Virginia Commonwealth University is one of the top research universities in the United States and the single largest employer in Richmond, Virginia. With such a large and diverse user base, the VCU Technology Services staff knew implementing a secure network that’s efficient and user-friendly was a top priority.

The school elected to use a WPA2-Enterprise network with 802.1X authentication. By opting to use a highly secure network type with encrypted authentication, VCU felt confident their network offered the gold standard for over-the-air encryption and security to students and staff members.

Buddy Bishop, Manager of Desktop Support at Virginia Commonwealth University, knew he had a serious problem on his hands when he witnessed the growing mob of frustrated students waiting in line for the VCU help IT Center. Many users were having difficulty connecting to the network and the backlog of support tickets presented an immediate obstacle.

Every day, I had dozens and dozens of people lining up for hours on end, and I just don’t have that anymore.

Buddy Bishop

Manager, desktop support

An Onboarding Solution for IT and Users

When deploying the campus-wide secure wireless network, VCU chose to leverage the PEAP-GTC protocol for authentication. They believed this protocol would offer flexibility but did not know they couldn’t offer native Windows support. Windows users comprise roughly 60 percent of VCU students and staff, and they were left without a method for connecting to the WPA2-Enterprise wireless network.

The second challenge became an even larger issue. VCU asked their users to manually configure for WPA2-Enterprise, which is not an easy task. Even if a setup guide is provided, the average network user is not going to understand the high-level IT steps they are required to complete. This presents many opportunities to misconfigure their devices and not gain network access.

Today’s students, staff, and faculty all rely heavily on Wi-Fi for multitude purposes. As a result, secure and efficient wireless network has become a requirement because in many cases it’s the only way a device can access critical resources.

The growth of BYOD means that most devices on campus today are no longer IT-owned assets, but instead belong to students and staff. While BYOD is great for productivity and mobility, it remains a challenge to manually provision unmanaged devices for WPA2-Enterprise networks.

Additionally, the ever increasing quantity and diversity of mobile devices presents its own host of problems. As a result, it has become increasingly important to provide users with a straightforward process for connecting on any device that’s still highly secure.

Without a reliable process in place, the number of support tickets continued to grow with no signs of slowing down. Implementing a simple and secure process to access the WPA2-Enterprise quickly became a top priority for Bishop and the VCU helpIT Center.

SecureW2’s JoinNow Solution

To keep the number of support tickets from reaching a critical level, VCU began researching options to solve their connection problems. They found SecureW2 and the JoinNow MultiOS solution. The solution offered would simplify the onboarding process and promised to lower support ticket requests. After testing and evaluation, VCU offered SecureW2’s solution to the thousands of users demanding access to the secure wireless network on campus.

Today, students and faculty connecting their personal devices for the first time are directed to the SecureW2 deployment from the VCU Technology Services support page. After entering their VCU credentials, the device is automatically configured with all required settings, including the installation of trusted server certificates. The device is then migrated and automatically connected to the secure wireless network moving forward.

The entire configuration process is done automatically and requires minimal effort from users for lifetime network connection. The solution will lead to much less interaction between IT and users while increasing network adoption and user satisfaction. No need for lengthy manual configuration guides and no more protocol or support headaches.

All-In-One WPA2-Enterprise Solution

After implementing SecureW2’s JoinNow solution, the number of VCU helpIT Center calls measurably decreased. With the WPA2-Enterprise onboarding challenge resolved, the VCU helpIT Center saved valuable time and resources while continuing to offer the highest level of network security.

As wireless connectivity and security have become mission-critical, hundreds of institutions around the world have come to rely on SecureW2 to provide users with reliable self-service tools for accessing secure wireless networks from both MDM and BYOD devices.

For VCU, SecureW2 has helped ease the pain of countless students and staff members, who are now provided a simple and straightforward solution for configuring and connecting their personally-owned devices to the SafeNet Wireless network. To learn if this cost effective solution will work for your organization, click our pricing page.