Elevating Wi-Fi Security and Connectivity with Passpoint: A Strategic Focus for CIOs

As campus networks continue to evolve, CIOs face a new hurdle in ensuring top-notch security measures. The importance of Wi-Fi technology cannot be understated as visitors and employees rely on it for seamless connectivity while on campus. However, CIOs and their teams are challenged with not only addressing security threats but also troubleshooting an extensive network of personal devices. Protecting enterprise environments has never been more necessary or intricate.

According to a 2021 report by Positive Technologies, 97% of enterprise Wi-Fi networks are vulnerable to attack. The most common vulnerabilities include weak passwords, unpatched software, and the use of insecure protocols.

In a survey of IT professionals conducted by Cybersecurity Insiders in 2020, 84% reported that their organizations had experienced a WiFi-related security breach in the previous 12 months. The same survey found that 60% of organizations do not use encryption to protect Wi-Fi communications, and 53% do not use secure passwords.

The 2021 Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report found that 26% of data breaches involved the use of stolen credentials, which can be obtained through WiFi-related attacks such as phishing or man-in-the-middle attacks.

Overall, these statistics highlight the importance of taking Wi-Fi security seriously in enterprise environments and implementing strong security measures to protect against potential risks.

Thankfully, Passpoint can address some of the top challenges IT leaders are facing today by enhancing security and automatizing time-consuming Wi-Fi management processes.

What is Passpoint?

Passpoint is based on the IEEE 802.11u standard and it is the brand for the Hotspot 2.0 certification program, Wi-Fi CERTIFIED Passpoint®, operated by the Wi-Fi Alliance. It is an industry-wide solution that streamlines Wi-Fi access and eliminates the need for users to find and authenticate a network each time they visit.

Passpoint grants instant, secure Wi-Fi access to users after once-in-a-lifetime provisioning of the Passpoint profile in their mobile device. Then, the enabled devices automatically connect to the organization’s network whenever they arrive at any campus.

Passpoint also enhances security measures without compromising the onboarding process. It uses 802.1X for user authentication and, specifically, the Extensible Authentication Protocol (EAP)-TLS, which supports certificate-basedauthentication —the gold standard of authentication— reducing the risk of cyber-attacks and data breaches.

Finally, Passpoint has the ability to support emerging technologies, such as the Internet of Things (IoT), that are expected to drive the next wave of digital transformation and will require a secure and seamless network infrastructure.

Enabling hybrid work practices

The practice of bringing your own device (BYOD) has been around for years in office spaces and the shift to hybrid work around the world has accelerated the trend. However, employees and visitors face several problems when connecting to traditional enterprise Wi-Fi, such as needing or losing a password, losing connectivity when logging back into a laptop, or onboarding personal devices into the network, thus putting the organization’s network at risk.

The aforementioned onboarding issues can result in a great deal of time wasted—both by users trying to resolve the issues and IT teams trying to help. Fortunately, Passpoint solves these onboarding issues by supercharging the Wi-Fi security and experience in this new highly mobile and agile working environment.

IT teams can quickly onboard all “unmanaged” devices, with peace of mind. By automating Wi-Fi onboarding in a secure way, Passpoint can have a positive impact on IT teams’ morale through improving user satisfaction and increasing productivity, as employees are not wasting time trying to connect to Wi-Fi or troubleshoot connection issues.

Focusing on digital transformation

In today’s fast-paced tech world, it can be overwhelming for CIOs and their teams to stay on top of the latest cloud technologies, virtual reality, and machine learning advancements. They are constantly learning and mastering new skills just to keep up.

By embracing Passpoint, CIOs can safeguard company data while reducing the burdensome tasks of their IT team that can work more efficiently and happily. This way, CIOs can devote their attention to defining and executing higher-value strategic initiatives, aligning their efforts with business objectives.

It is imperative for CIOs to prioritize Passpoint adoption if they wish to expedite their digital transformation journey and prepare their organization for the future.

To find out how Cloud4Wi can upgrade your enterprise Wi-Fi to Passpoint, click here.