Wireless Eyes Are Watching – An Unexpected Benefit of Wi-Fi Security

It happened to be the night before Christmas in Grand Rapids, Michigan when some high school students decided to vandalize their school with spray paint at three in the morning. You can imagine that the school district employees were not so jolly when they discovered the unfortunate display of craftsmanship all over the school buildings. The question was: how would they find the culprits? While Santa’s naughty and nice list would be much too long to sift through, the district used their advanced technology to gain the upper hand.

Prior to this incident, Forest Hills Public School District had embarked on a top-to-bottom overhaul of the wireless infrastructure. The goal: to create a secure, high-capacity Wi-Fi network that would be easy to use and manage, and that was ready for whatever the future might hold. The district deployed nearly 1,000 indoor Ruckus access points (APs) across 24 buildings, all of them delivering 802.11ac Wi-Fi to connect more concurrent devices and support more demanding digital applications. What does the network have to do with the vandalism? Well………

With the goal of having secure BYOD onboarding for students, faculty and staff, Forest Hills deployed Ruckus Cloudpath Enrollment System. Cloudpath software provides secure, simple, self-service onboarding for students, faculty and staff. Users register their devices just once and don’t have to enter logon credentials again—even when visiting another district building. Meanwhile, the system protects users, devices, data and the network with digital certificates and powerful encryption for data in transit over the air using WPA2-Enterprise—among other security measures. Numerous other school districts also use Cloudpath software to simplify and secure BYOD and guest access. With that being said, the naughty little vandals had their phones in their pockets and guess what? When a device authenticates to the network after initial onboarding, Cloudpath software lets IT map the device to a specific user… Gotcha! Unbeknownst to the culprits, it was their phones that was the key to getting caught. Shhhhhh…………

This would not have been possible with default methods of network onboarding and authentication, because conventional PSKs and MAC authentication do not provide a way to associate every device with a user.

Want to learn more? Take a look at the Forest Hills Public School District case study and video to learn how Ruckus provided a secure, high-performing and easy to manage network.

Wendy Stanton
Wendy Stanton

Customer Advocacy Manager

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