Enterprise Mobile Device Wi-Fi Policy Implementation - dummies

Enterprise Mobile Device Wi-Fi Policy Implementation

By Rich Campagna, Subbu Iyer, Ashwin Krishnan, Mark Bauhaus

In your organization, you can create a corporate Wi-Fi network to which employees securely connect their various devices, including laptop computers, smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices. In most cases, once a device has been used to connect to a particular Wi-Fi network, it remembers the network for future use. This means that whenever that network is in the vicinity of the device in the future, the device will connect automatically.

Private Wi-Fi networks, such as home networks, are best secured using WEP or WPA/WPA2 encryption. If your users are setting up a Wi-Fi network at home, they need to be sure to use these techniques to set up a suitably secured Wi-Fi environment.

If you’re deploying a corporate Wi-Fi network for many users, you should be looking for an enterprise-grade Wi-Fi with WPA2-enterprise encryption. This form of encryption may require you to deploy other infrastructure servers, so be sure to investigate the options from your networking vendor.

For corporate Wi-Fi networks, you often need to provision policies and settings indicating the networks available in a corporate building. These policies include the name of the network and the password used to secure the network.

As an enterprise administrator managing policies for many users, you want to set policies that push out names and security keys of secure Wi-Fi networks that you want users to connect to, which may include your corporate Wi-Fi networks worldwide. When users bring their devices into the work environment, their devices will then detect and connect to the network, without needing the user’s intervention.

This setup is ideal because it forces users to be on the corporate Wi-Fi network whenever available. When users move out of reach of the Wi-Fi network, their devices fall back to the carrier network.

In the following list, shows the choices available to deploy Wi-Fi policies to mobile devices from an enterprise perspective:

  • iPhone and iPad: An application called iPhone Configuration Utility, enables you to configure policies to enforce on corporate users’ iOS devices. These policies include Wi-Fi configuration as well. When you create a policy, the iPhone Configuration Utility produces a profile that can be sent out to all users at once. Users need to install the profile from their iOS devices to activate the policies and settings you’ve set up.

    The iPhone Configuration Utility allows configuration of Wi-Fi policies for iPhones and iPads.
    The iPhone Configuration Utility allows configuration of Wi-Fi policies for iPhones and iPads.

    Mobile Device Management (MDM) vendors offer the feature of deploying such policies to Apple iOS devices centrally. You can utilize an MDM solution to define Wi-Fi policies, passcode settings, and many other policies, and deploy them centrally to all iOS devices with one click.

  • BlackBerry: The BlackBerry Enterprise Server manages the configuration and deployment of Wi-Fi policies across all BlackBerry devices used in an enterprise.

    The BlackBerry Enterprise Server supports a variety of policies, including device encryption, passcode compliance, and browsing preferences. You can centrally administer these policies and deploy them to all BlackBerry devices at once.

  • Android and Windows Phone 7 smartphones: Google and Microsoft provide no solutions to manage corporate Wi-Fi policies. If you need to configure policies for all types of mobile devices, including iPhones, iPads, and Android devices, look for Mobile Device Management (MDM) solutions, which are available from vendors such as Juniper, Good Technology, and MobileIron.