How to Remotely Manage Wi-Fi Networks

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In the previous post we covered how difficult it is to manage Wi-Fi networks, the nightmare of deploying and updating multiple devices with the new Wi-Fi credentials and of course those little blighters who give out Wi-Fi passwords to whoever they come across. Managing Wi-Fi networks can be an absolute pain in the nether regions and no IT administrator wants to have to go through those scenarios. You certainly don’t want to have to deal with disgruntled employees as they still have access to your Wi-Fi networks! You definitely wouldn’t want to be the one who has to give the bad news to the boss, especially when your company is trying so hard to protect its sensitive data.  With 2X MDM you can remotely manage your Wi-Fi networks from your desk without needing to deal with all the problems mentioned above. Lets now see how 2X MDM can help you prevent something like this happening to you!

Wi-Fi Management Vs Employees

In the previous article, we talked about employees being laid off, which could push them over the edge and make them harm the company by manipulating important data, which would be easy for them to do as they still have the company’s network credentials. If the device belongs to the company, you’ll simply take it from the departing employee and that’s your job done, but how on earth would you get your hands on the device if it was part of the company’s BYOD scheme? 2X MDM has the solution for you!

Remove Wi-Fi Credentials Instantly

With 2X MDM it is now possible to remove the Wi-Fi credentials instantly from a user’s device. This prevents the user from logging in and doing damage to any company assets. To remove the Wi-Fi credentials from a device follow the next steps:

  1. Log in to the 2X MDM portal
  2. Navigate to the ‘Devices’ node
  3. Select the device that you want to remove the Wi-Fi credentials from
  4. Click on the ‘Wi-Fi’ tab and select the company network that you want to remove from the device
  5. Press the ‘Delete’ button and select ‘Delete’ again on the dialog that appears.
  6. The Wi-Fi network configuration will be removed from the device immediately and you will be shown a notification confirming the deletion. Note: If the Wi-Fi networks you’re trying to remove are greyed out, it means those Wi-Fi networks were deployed through a Group Policy. If that’s the case, what you’ll need to do is create a new group that has no Wi-Fi configuration added to it, then move the mobile devices to that group.
  7. Delete the devices from the ‘Devices node’ and delete the users from the ‘Users’ node to complete the removal of the users.

Control Wi-Fi Access to Secure Networks

Most company Wi-Fi networks are global for all users, meaning that there’s one Wi-Fi network which serves all users. Unfortunately, this creates a security problem as everyone on that Wi-Fi network has access to confidential corporate data. To deal with this issue, some companies create multiple Wi-Fi networks, which creates an extra burden on managing which devices sit on which networks.

To minimize exposure to sensitive information you can now control which Wi-Fi network each device or group of devices is allowed to access through 2X MDM. For example, do you want your Sales Team earning millions of chips on Zynga Poker? I didn’t think so. But I’m sure you want your Marketing Team to work on Facebook and other social media streams. Therefore, these teams need to work on two different Wi-Fi networks. Now what about the Technical Support Team? They need to have access to all Wi-Fi networks available within the company. You can configure this easily. With 2X MDM it is even possible to have Wi-Fi networks defined by group policies and networks deployed separately from the group policy.

‘Minimal effort, maximum benefits’. Isn’t that the motto of every IT administrator? To configure access to secure Wi-Fi networks for multiple devices, simply follow these steps:

  1. Log in to the 2X MDM Portal and select the ‘Group Policies’ node
  2. Select the Group that you want to set up Wi-Fi access on
  3. Select the ‘Wi-Fi’ tab, then press the ‘Add Network’ button and fill in the network details and credentials to be deployed on the devices.
  4. Press ‘Add’ when you are finished. You will receive a confirmation message.
  5. The Wi-Fi network configuration will be deployed to All the devices in the group.
  6. If you want to specify additional Wi-Fi configurations for a device that belongs to a group, select it from the ‘Devices’ node and follow the procedure from step 3 above onward.
  7. If you want to specify multiple Wi-Fi configurations for all the devices in the group, repeat steps 1-5

Change Password for Security Reasons

It’s good practice for a company to use the following password policy:

  1. Regularly change the Wi-Fi network password(s). Any password can be cracked when there is enough time and processing power available, so companies who follow a good security policy change their Wi-Fi network passwords on a weekly or monthly basis. That means that you, the IT administrator has to go through the same grueling regiment each week or month of getting up from your beloved chair and hunting down those pesky devices to update their Wi-Fi passwords. The worst part is that this task can feel like you’re chasing mice around a barn. You’ll never find them all in the same place at the same time.
  2. Change the Wi-Fi Passwords on Multiple Devices in Seconds! Chances are you’ll have at least a few devices under your supervision. If like us, you’ve got to manage over one hundred Android smartphones and tablets as well as iPhone’s and iPads, by the time you’ve finished changing all the Wi-Fi password manually, you’ll more than likely be 1. exhausted, 2. Frantic, 3. Fed up. Why put yourself through all that? Simply use 2X MDM and change the device passwords with just a few mouse clicks via the 2X MDM Group Policies node.

Okay, so how do you do this? Well, before we get started, I need to let you know that there are 2 prerequisites that you have to keep in mind. 1. The Wi-Fi configuration must have been deployed through a group policy and not individually for each device. 2. If the device has additional Wi-Fi configurations that weren’t deployed via group policies, you have to update those one by one.

To change the password for a group of devices:

  1. Log in to the 2X MDM Portal and select the ‘Group Policies’ node
  2. Select the group that you want to change the Wi-Fi settings for and click on the ‘Wi-Fi’ tab
  3. Select the Wi-Fi network and press the ‘Edit Network’ button above.
  4. Type in the new password and press ‘Update’.
  5. Your changes will be deployed in the Wi-Fi configuration of all the devices in the group.
  6. To change the password on a single device, just select the device from the ‘Devices’ node and then follow steps 2 to 4 to update it’s Wi-Fi password.

Push Network Configuration to Users without revealing the Password

Any Wi-Fi network configuration for any device that is pushed using the above examples hides the password from the user. Under no circumstances is the password revealed when it is deployed on a device via 2X MDM so there is no chance of accidental or intentional disclosure of the company’s Wi-Fi password to third parties.

Now that you’ve got 2X MDM to remotely manage your Wi-Fi networks, you go ahead and plan another LAN party seeing as you missed the last one while dealing with previous Wi-Fi management issues :-)

Giorgio Bonuccelli is a Marketing and Communications Director at Parallels. Giorgio has extensive experience in cloud computing and virtualization, with a background of many years in multinational corporations (Dell, EMC and McAfee). In his career he has filled different roles, from sales to training and marketing. This wide-ranging experience and flexibility helps him simplify concepts and write content that is easy to read and understandable even by newcomers to the subject. As a blogger and technical writer he has published more than 1000 papers.