California-based Meru Networks this week announced Smart Connect, a new solution that is designed to simplify the process used by employees to securely access an enterprise network with personal devices in bring-your-own-device (BYOD) environments.

Secure wireless LAN access has long been possible over 802.1x networks, but information-technology (IT) departments historically had to configure devices to ensure security, said Kamal Anand, Meru Network’s senior vice president of product management. This process was relatively straightforward when enterprises owned most of the devices used, but that is changing, he said.

“A few years ago, the enterprise owned the device that the user was using, so [the IT department] could configure it, manage it, etc.” Anand said. “Now, those devices typically are being used by the user, not the IT organization.”

Enterprises want personnel to be able to access the network via personal devices, because it increases productivity and the enterprise does not have to purchase and maintain the device, Anand said. However, one challenge was finding a way to configure each personal device to allow secure access to the enterprise network without requiring the IT department to use its shrinking resources, he said.

“We wanted to bring forward a solution that allows them to deal with it cost effectively without too much IT burden,” Anand said.

With Smart Connect, personnel can log into the enterprise network with a personal device and download an application that automatically configures the device to access the network and its applications based on policies implemented by the IT program, Anand said. Unique in the industry, this solution provides three key benefits, he said.

“First, the user experience is very easy and simple — I can get my device onto the network with one click, and the next time get in, I don’t have to do any login,” Anand said. “Second, the IT guys have built a very scalable model, because it’s self-registration by the end user through a one-click provisioning process. The third thing is that, once the device is connected, it’s an encrypted connection … and I’m not compromising any data.”

Smart Connect is available immediately, Anand said.