Optimising network performance is critical to operational success, regardless of the size of your business. You need a secure network that offers unmatched visibility to provide the most enhanced user experience possible. But, because time is money, just like an increasing number of SMEs, you also want to reduce the burden of network deployment, monitoring, and management.
With a wealth of information out there, knowing where to start can be tricky. Luckily, at Genisys, we’ve done the research for you.
Believing it to be the best solution available, we’ve partnered with Cisco Meraki to bring you a fully managed cloud networking solution for wireless, switching, communications, EMM, and security. In this handy guide, we tell you everything you need to know about getting up-and-running with Cisco Meraki; looking at how this powerful business tool can provide the high-performance, next-generation network management you need. At a price, you can afford.
The growth of cloud computing has had an enormous effect on the accessibility and affordability of this technology, and network management is no different. Rather than taking multiple servers to fulfil your needs, all running in a separate computer (with a temperature controlled room to host them in), today, all the software you need can be delivered over the internet.
Forbes estimates that worldwide public cloud services will grow by almost 20% to total $141 billion by 2019, up from $70 billion in 2015.
What this means is that setting up a computer network has never been quicker or more cost-effective. As well as being easier to install, cloud networks require less on-going support; so the cost burden on SMEs is significantly reduced. It’s no wonder, therefore, that more and more SMEs are looking to set up (or upgrade to) a cloud network, to help them get the most out of their IT.
So what do you need to consider when moving to the cloud? We’ve listed some of the benefits of a managed cloud network.
Key benefits of a managed cloud network:
How can you decide if cloud networks aren’t right for you? Disadvantages of a managed solution:
Introducing Cisco Meraki for SMEs
Leading the way when it comes to simplifying and getting the most out of your cloud network is Cisco Meraki. With over 230,000 customers and three million network devices (and counting) across the globe, Cisco Meraki delivers out-of-the-box security, scalability, and management designed for the cloud and targeted at SMEs.
Businesses must enhance performance, connectivity, and mobility if they are to succeed. At the same time, security and compliance have never been more critical. However, with a traditional setup, achieving all this can be a challenge. A new generation of network, Cisco Meraki provides the answer.
Support your IT team
Cloud networks are easy to set-up and configure; removing the pressure on your business. With zero-touch provisioning, devices can be pre-configured before they even arrive on-site. Once connected to the network, configurations download automatically for a genuinely plug-and-play experience.
It’s the burden of IT management that can really slow down business growth.
With Cisco Meraki, the hassle of managing your network is removed. So your IT staff are free to focus on those all-important tasks that make you money.
Access improved visibility and analytics
Your network can be controlled from a single management interface. So each element of your IT infrastructure works together. This provides a complete view of your network topology, in real-time with such interconnected management unlocking new insights and possibilities.
The easy scalability of a cloud managed network ensures that technology is supporting your business growth, rather than holding it back.
Make network management easier
Historically, managing networks or fixing network issues required someone to be physically present. However, because it is cloud-based, the Cisco Meraki dashboard is accessible from any internet-enabled device. This provides at-a-glance performance information in real time. With the ability to monitor bandwidth usage by device, by port, and even by a specific application, it’s easy to adjust the capabilities of your network as required.
Make troubleshooting easier
Alerts will instantly let you know if there are any issues with your network, with instant access to troubleshooting tools so you can fix the problem from any computer, anywhere. So problems can be resolved quickly and easily.
To maintain security while delivering high levels of productivity and uptime, it’s crucial to be aware of device activity and threats. Regular firmware and software updates are also necessary. Cloud-managed networks make it much easier to see what’s going on with a network and keep any security threats at bay. Updates can be made automatically, and security policies can be enforced through one easy-to-use dashboard.
Keep control of your bottom line
One of the essential considerations any SME should make when investing in IT is the total cost of ownership (TCO). All too often, businesses are swayed by the upfront hardware and installation costs. But, while these are important;
It’s the ongoing support and maintenance costs that really make a difference to your bottom line.
With a managed cloud network, you’ll benefit from much lower costs over time, resulting in reduced TCO in just a few years.
The adoption of cloud-based technologies is increasing rapidly, but many companies are still unsure if it is right for their business. Common barriers to cloud adoption include:
SMEs are very concerned about security. The more things move to the cloud, the more people worry about cybercrime. But the truth is, today’s cloud-based solutions are often more secure than existing on-premise ones. In fact, in almost all cases, where a breach or hack has happened, this has been down to a poorly designed and maintained system, not the cloud. In many instances, a substantial investment would be required to make a traditional solution meet the security and reliability of the cloud.
Reluctance to change
One of the most significant barriers to cloud adoption is fear over what this might do to your day-to-day operations. Your current network does what it’s supposed to, so why bother switching? Well, in today’s competitive business world, just getting the job done isn’t enough. Instead, your technology should provide higher efficiency and savings. You don’t have to dive straight in, but take a look at Cisco Meraki and see how it compares to your traditional network (or what it can do for you if you don’t have one).
When it comes to investing in new technology, the price is always going to be an issue. But while with an on-premise IT environment, spend is usually a capital expenditure, with managed cloud architecture the operational costs of your IT are ongoing and fixed; regardless of usage. So while you will pay a regular monthly cost, a cloud managed network will work out much lower than a traditional setup.
Lack of resources
Balancing IT changes with the staff needed to manage it is always a challenge.
Quite often, businesses can be slow to adopt new technology because they just don’t have the necessary resource to implement and maintain it.
However, with a managed cloud partner, the burden is removed from your shoulders. They look after your network while you focus on growing and running your business.
Getting management on board
Even where you have accepted the need to change and found the best cloud network solution, you still can’t progress without support from your management team. So, what can you do to encourage your business to take a more strategic view of technology investment?
As an increasing number of businesses migrate their infrastructure to the cloud, the amount of cloud managed service providers is also on the rise. However, before you dive in, make sure they provide best practices for security and networking.
A managed cloud network, done correctly, drives holistic and strategic change across all ends of your business. But is it right for your SME? To figure this out, conduct an audit to establish what you have, how it’s being used and what you need to make it better.
Consider things like:
A UK-based recruitment firm, with seven international offices and 250+ employees, generated a massive amount of activity every day. This included over 5,000 calls and communications across ten countries.
The existing on-premise solution provided limited visibility into how the network was being used and made it difficult to identify and resolve potential issues. Likewise, when changes needed to be made, IT staff had to go to the relevant site; a time-consuming and costly task. A smarter networking solution was needed.
Cisco Meraki was chosen to provide a complete view of the network. Centralised visibility and control allowed the business to efficiently and remotely manage its various locations, devices, access levels, and systems in one simplified web-based dashboard. The subscription model was also in line with the firm’s operational expenditure model of procuring technology services.
The initial deployment was rapid. User and device groups were created with permissions established to give customisable access to corporate resources and bandwidth usage. Measures were also developed to prevent bandwidth hogging, and security procedures built so that the IT team no longer had to worry about who was connecting or what they were doing.
With a complete Cisco Meraki infrastructure in place, and across each office, the result was more simplified and centralised network management. The flexibility of Cisco Meraki also allowed the IT team to deploy quickly across various offices, without having to go on-site; as well as the easy migration of devices between locations when needed.
The tools available in the Meraki dashboard cut deployment times drastically, resulting in savings in both costs and time. The team was also able to quickly identify anomalies in the network and take proactive measures before any potential issues occurred.
Cisco Meraki delivered everything the business needed out of the box.
With so many options for network management, it can be hard to know which one is right for your business. To help, you must first define your requirements.
Getting started with Cisco Meraki doesn’t have to be daunting. In fact, a simple wireless network can be ready to go in as little as 30 minutes.
One of the biggest concerns when planning for a network migration is how much downtime you will experience. But, with a carefully executed migration strategy, there shouldn’t be any impact on your business operations. Your new cloud-based network will run parallel to your legacy one until the process is complete.
With Cisco Meraki, your cloud networking and architecture is 100% centralised and managed. An intuitive and easy-to-use dashboard provides superior visibility, so you’ll always have a clear overview of the health of your network, your security posture, and the software and hardware inventory for your entire business. Offering a single point of control on your cloud infrastructure, you can be sure your service is always optimised to meet your demand.
Today, every network is a potential target for hackers. However, Cisco Meraki comes with easy-to-implement security features that prevent network intrusions. This includes:
Security apps are deployed in minutes; synced and automated using zero-touch cloud provisioning.
At Genisys, we offer best-in-class cloud network management aligned with your business’s objectives.
Partnering with Cisco Meraki to bring you a fully cloud-managed networking solution for wireless, switching, communications, EMM, and security, together we bring you:
Offering networking with 99.99% uptime, the high capacity Meraki cloud architecture is built for reliability, security, and scalability.