Cisco Meraki – Small Business Networking Solution

by | Mar 6, 2019 | Cloud, Infrastructure, Managed Services | 0 comments

New branch locations, aging hardware, guest mobile device management can stress small IT departments, and by so doing, expose the organization to greater vulnerabilities. A streamlined networking solution helps to safely address that business risk through:

  • Distribution and deployment tools,
  • Performance optimization configurations,
  • Guest wireless access policy management, and
  • dvanced analytics.

Cisco Meraki offers a comprehensive line of equipment designed to provide those precise business advantages. The streamlined cloud-based solution integrates wireless networking, switching, security, WAN optimization and mobile device management (MDM).

Reducing threats to business operation by reducing management overload

Cisco Meraki - Reducing threats to business operation by reducing management overload

Keeping the business network stable and secure is increasingly difficult. With each new location comes multiple vulnerabilities: device compatibility, user access control, and data protection. Introducing new network components add to an already burdened patch management and asset tracking process. Growth isn’t the only challenge. Aging and critical IT infrastructure must be kept up-to-date.

In technical terms, organizations uncover an expanded attack surface when new devices or users are added ad hoc and when pre-existing devices or users are poorly managed. Every device and each user can present multiple “threat vectors.”

Cisco Meraki’s networking solution reduces a business operations attack surface and vectors of attack by providing even small IT departments with enterprise-grade management tools. It imposes systemic networking best-practice. It adds value by reducing complexity in the areas of provisioning, optimizing, and security. In addition to the value propositions, corporate policy compliance becomes measurable, and therefore more effective in contributing benefits rather than irritants.

Primary Benefits: Efficient & Reliable Network Distribution and Management

Cisco Meraki Primary Benefits: Efficient & Reliable Network Distribution and Management

A cloud-based network solution can deliver what on-prem solutions struggle to deliver for even large IT departments:

  1. Turn-key installation (provisioning)
  2. Routine updates
  3. Affordable scalability
  4. Meaningful reporting and analytics

Organizations that deploy this IT infrastructure receive multi-site visibility and control. A dashboard allows users to see, on a map, each location’s status for remote diagnostics, and configure automatic alerts through remote monitoring. In addition, users can configure and synchronize devices. Devices are automatically provisioned – no off-site staging is required – with optional site-to-site VPN through a self-configuration protocol.

Cisco Meraki’s solution optimizes network traffic by accelerating and deduplicating data, and even prioritizes applications for dynamic QoS configuration. They address radio signal interference with instant channel selection and modification to power level output.

Cisco Meraki network achieves high-throughput, high-density WLAN performance through RF optimization and application-aware QoS.

Distributed network MDM is achieved through centralized policy enforcement. Network access control and group policies consider authentication by user name (role) and user device. This centralized management resource allows users to establish device-aware firewall and access control, antivirus scanning, LAN isolation, content and security filtering, even Bonjour Gateway control (an Apple-device specific data network protocol).

Users can also provide a flexible system of control to reduce user inconvenience, while adhering to strict security and data use policies. Administrators can choose between requiring a click-thru (splash screen acknowledgment), or multi-protocol sign-on, such as via Facebook Page or SMS authentication (currently in beta).

In addition to controlling the sign-on experience, the MDM management application provides dynamic access control through firewall rules, VLANs, and application-aware QoS.

Deep reporting and analytics round out the management capability. Advanced metrics such as capture rate, dwell time, and visitor type combine to provide marketing as well as operational analytics. The data points are built-in. No extra sensors, software, or appliances are needed to feed report data via an extensible API. The reporting data is provided via secure protocols to back-office systems such as CRMs, loyalty programs, or other custom applications.

Marketing campaigns can be executed and monitored out of the box with Cisco Meraki small business networking solutions.

Enterprise-class network security is provided to protect the business. In addition to the application firewall and content filtering mentioned earlier, Cisco Meraki’s cloud-based network solution detects wireless attacks and protects against them its Air Marshal WIDS/WIPS.

This detection and mitigation system will also contain or isolate rogue access points. The NG firewall and content security mechanism include a dynamic content filtering match list and up-to-the-minute antivirus/anti-malware filtering. It includes Google safe-search.

Introducing Cisco Meraki Product Line

Cisco Meraki Product Line

The Cisco Meraki line includes four primary products, each seamlessly integrated to serve as a comprehensive small business network solution. The networking solution is designed to minimize IT disruptions so that businesses focus more on their revenue building and client engagement.

Meraki MR Wireless LAN are wireless access points that feature cloud-based remote management for BYOD policies, application traffic shaping and optimization, guest access management, enterprise security, WIDS/WIPS, and meaningful analytics for operational and marketing purposes. Only Cisco Meraki provides a dedicated security radio to cloud-managed 802.11n APs.

  • 5 models for prioritized business case needs
  • Enterprise-class silicon includes RF optimization, PoE, with voice & video support
  • Lifetime warranty on indoor units

Meraki MS Ethernet Switches offer access and aggregation functions with voice & video QoS, Layer 7 app visibility, virtual stacking, PoE / PoE+ on all ports, and remote packet capture and cable testing.

  • Gigabit switches in 8-, 24-, and 48-port configurations
  • 10 Gigabit SFP+ aggregation switches in 24- and 48-port configurations
  • Enterprise-class performance and reliability such as non-blocking performance, voice/video QoS, and lifetime warranty

Meraki MX Security Appliances offer zero-touch site-to-site VPN, WAN optimization, NG firewall, content filtering, WAN link bonding, and intrusion detection.

  • 6 models scaling from small branch to campus or data center locations
  • Complete networking and security in a single appliance

Keeping an eye on the network so customers can keep an eye on the business

The small business networking solution from Cisco Meraki protects and promotes business growth. Network endpoints are securely connected to the cloud, from which administrators centrally control users and traffic via an intuitive browser-based dashboard. Advanced analytics useful to marketing and customer engagement campaigns are easily surfaced and delivered to campaign measurement applications.

The Cisco-proven scalability, reliability, and security bring systemic networking solutions best-practice to organizations with limited IT staff.

SMBs in growth mode often make the mistake of thinking short-term with their IT. Here is your action plan to fix this.

IT Action Plan for Small Businesses