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7 takeaways from Cisco Meraki’s latest cloud wi-fi solution

 

 

Mobile connectivity has grown exponentially over the past few years, so much so that today, 71% of all mobile communications now flow over wireless (source: Wi-Fi Alliance). Whether you are working at home, or using a device at the office, mobility has become a necessary part of modern businesses.

Not surprisingly, managing such a widespread multi-site, multi-mobile entity can be daunting for even the hardiest of administrators. Enter cloud networking. Cisco Meraki have developed a cloud networking, switching, security and wireless management solution that seeks to accommodate and enhance this step change. Here we take a look at key aspects of their platform and how it can help you, your users and your organisation.

So what is it?

In short, Cisco Meraki is a powerful multi-site wireless management tool which removes the need for complex traditional onsite wireless controllers, using just a single cloud-based control interface using real-time communication protocols that enable network administrators to manage their networks from the cloud, without sacrificing control and responsiveness. Whilst this explanation may not sound very compelling, the benefits can be significant.

Always at the ready

Cisco Meraki comes with a robust management dashboard which is accessible at any time, from anywhere. Requiring only an internet connection on your preferred device, accessibility is what the Cloud Meraki Dashboard does best – even in the event of a power outage or poor weather. Using a combination of traffic rerouting and geographical data priority, the dashboard will always remain readily available to anyone who needs to use it, no matter the circumstances.

Safe and sound

Where there’s mention of wireless or the cloud, there quickly follows security concerns. And rightly so. Almost daily we hear or read about major network intrusions, compromises and computer misuse. To combat this, Cisco Meraki puts its security stance front and centre, using an out of band location and an encrypted layer to communicate to and from the management interface. Unlike most traditional wireless and switch arrangements, management traffic is also segregated from the normal network, making unsolicited and malicious intrusion all but impossible.

On a more general footing, it incorporates a variety of advanced features within its firewall solution to stop unauthorised access to your user network. Of these, the firewall allows for:

  • content filtering
  • geographical firewall rules
  • anti-virus and anti-phishing
  • intrusion prevention and intrusion detection services.

Centre stage

The Meraki Cloud Dashboard can be accessed from a wide range of popular web browsers and is also accessible on Apple and Android devices. Through this dashboard, users can identify bandwidth usage from devices or specific applications, as well as the ability to troubleshoot networking issues and test features within the system. The dashboard is simple and easy to navigate – and no other application or program is needed.

Self-sufficient

Any device accessible through the Meraki Cloud Dashboard can be automatically updated to ensure optimal performance and security from the network. Additionally, updates can be scheduled for any time to avoid disruption during periods of heavy internet usage. Should there be a failed update, any incompatible hardware is automatically rolled back to keep your network running without hassle.

Reach for the sky

There’s nothing worse than finding a quiet spot to work from your laptop or tablet, only to discover that internet access is unavailable or appallingly slow. Cisco Meraki solves this by providing enterprise-class 802.11ac access points which deliver the strongest signal strength possible, letting you work happily wherever you want. Furthermore, outdoors access points can also be added throughout the workplace, extending Wi-Fi coverage of your site/campus.

Setting an impression

We expect access to the internet – it’s a staple for much of our everyday lives – and it’s clear we’re getting more fastidious about its absence. According to Hotel Chatter, 38% of people will no longer book a hotel solely on the basis that it does not offer Wi-Fi.

With so much data moving across wireless infrastructure, businesses have few options but to utilise it. How you control, secure and manage it is the new challenge.

Benefits street

Network managers can gain some big advantages from cloud networking over the traditional solutions. Of these are:

  • Faster implementation and easier management
  • Unified view of the entire network regardless of the location of end devices
  • Rapid detection of troubled devices and easy replacement
  • Reduced costs on IT staff and training
  • Reduced costs of upgrades to network operating systems and devices
  • Anytime, anywhere network access
  • Stronger security posture and network control

To summarise, no Wi-Fi is becoming a business showstopper. It’s little surprise that 75% of people recently said that they would be grumpier without internet for a week than without coffee.

At BCN Group, we work closely with customers to ensure that their networks are managed efficiently and safely. Cisco Meraki is just one solution we apply to ensure your business can grow further and exceed expectations. If something has caught your eye, get in touch with us at info@bcn.co.uk, or visit us at www.bcn.co.uk.

Millennials are Top IT Security Risk for Businesses

 

Millennials are a generation defined by technology. After all, this is the first generation to grow up surrounded by technology. Despite this, it’s the older generations who are savvier when it comes to internet security. According to research by FirstData, millennials are less concerned with cybersecurity than older generations. The biggest problems faced are with reusing the same password and with over sharing sensitive information on social media and over email.

 

Older generations might be more concerned with their individual computers and devices being infected, which is why they are cautious about internet usage and sharing information. However, younger generations don’t share these concerns. Although device-level security might be sufficient, there is always the worry that third-party sites could be compromised. If a user has the same password for every platform, then this could present a serious problem.

 

According to the research, 82% of millennials reuse the same password across websites and apps and 42% will only change their password if they are forced to. The main reason cited for this reluctance to change passwords is that they are simply too difficult to remember. For company owners, this presents a unique challenge when it comes to policing their company password policy.

 

When it comes to oversharing on social networks, millennials are less concerned about the risks associated with this. Only 43% of millennials are concerned about transmitting private information over social media sites, compared to 63% of boomers. Even something as small as sharing your date of birth on social media can allow fraudsters to piece together your identity and open credit cards in your name.

 

For companies, this presents a unique challenge, as millennial workers might use the same password for their work email as they would for their social media accounts. Although there is a lot of attention to cybersecurity threats such as ransomware, millennials aren’t as concerned about the risks associated with identity theft. While social networks might be secure, many people allow third-party apps to access their information without a second thought, and this is where more education is needed. Although millennials may be very savvy when it comes to technology, there are clearly gaps in awareness where security is concerned.

9 steps to protect against Ransomware

Security Best Practices

Ransomware attacks start in two main ways. A booby-trapped email with a malicious attachment or via a compromised website; which then work their way down to your endpoints and servers. To stop these attacks, it’s critical that you have advanced protection technology in place at each stage of the attack and combine this protection with good user security practices.

Nine best security practices to apply now

Good IT security practices including regular training for employees are essential components of every single security setup. Make sure you’re following these nine best practices:

Patch early, patch often

The sooner you patch the fewer holes there are for ransomware to exploit.

Backup regularly and keep a recent backup copy off-line and off-site

Offline and off-site means ransomware can’t get to it. With recent back-ups, data loss can be minimised.

Enable file extensions

Enabling extensions makes it much easier to spot file types that wouldn’t commonly be sent to you and your users, such as JavaScript.

Open JavaScript (.JS) files in Notepad

Opening a JavaScript file in Notepad blocks it from running any malicious scripts and allows you to examine the file contents.

Don’t enable macros in document attachments received via email

A lot of infections rely on persuading you to turn macros on, so don’t do it!

Be cautious about unsolicited attachments

If you aren’t sure – don’t open it. Check with the sender if possible.

Don’t have more login power than you need

Admin rights could mean a local infection becomes a network disaster. Stay up-to-date with new security features in your business

Stay up-to-date with new security features in your business applications

For example, Office 2016 now includes a control called “Block macros from running in Office files from the internet”.

Patch early, patch often!

Staying on top of patching is so important that we’ve called it out twice. Don’t let ransomware exploit a patched vulnerability.

 

If you’d like to learn more about how to protect your business against ransomware or any other malware, phishing or cyber-threat, get in touch with us today.

BCN accelerates its public service offerings with G-Cloud 9 approval

BCN Group, the Manchester-based Digital and Cloud Service Provider has been notified by the Crown Commercial Service that it has been successful in becoming a service provider for Cloud Hosting, Cloud Software and Cloud Support for G-Cloud 9.

This latest Government award enables BCN’s increasingly popular cloud-based service offerings to be available to the UK’s public sector organisations, ensuring a compelling blend of commercial best value, flexibility and world class service. The nine newly approved services cover Application Hosting, Email Filtering, Office 365 subscription and migration, Unified Communications as a service, Windows and Linux Server, Backup as a Service, Disaster Recovery as a Service and Specialist Cloud Services.

‘We are delighted to be recognised again as a provider of cloud services’ said Stewart Dalziel, Sales Director at BCN. ‘Achieving a place on G-Cloud 9 is a recognition of our established track record and on-going work with the public sector along with our commitment to customer service excellence.  We are genuinely excited by the opportunity this presents and we are fully committed to supporting the Government’s Digital Workplace Strategy.’

Ends.

Why Ransomware loves your secret shame

The very high profile exposure of the WannaCry ransomware exploit has once again shone a light on this ever-expanding business problem. And whilst such an event is nothing to smile about, in some respects, it’s important that it has happened in such a public way. According to IBM Security, Ransomeware-infected emails expanded 6000% in 2016 compared to the year before, with no sign of slowing this year. To make matters worse, 70% of the victims interviewed paid up.

As an organisation that advises businesses on a wide range of IT security matters, we know that only a small proportion of customers are proactively doing something to mitigate this terrible phenomenon. It’s a common theme to find that those freely wanting to do something about it, have very recently fallen victim themselves!

And therein lies one of the biggest challenges … real-world awareness.  Too many organisations prefer to remain in denial that ransomware is as widespread as it is until it’s too late. It is no exaggeration to state that not one client who has been through this issue is comfortable with their name being associated with it to help prompt or educate others to take preventative action.

We couldn’t agree more with all the helpful advice that is freely available regarding updating software, hardware and security appliances. However, as sensible as this is, it is no substitute for getting professional and impartial advice from a security expert.

Advice, although often free, can result in an unplanned but necessary business purchase. But is that such a bad thing? Surely keeping your business secure and productive is more important?  If only our clients could tell you their stories… But we respect that they won’t, as the brand is everything.

So, what will it take before you seek professional security advice?

 

BCN Group Ltd relocate to Trident House, Manchester Airport

BCN Group are delighted to announce that due to continued growth we are relocating to prestigious new offices in Trident House at Manchester Airport.

Trident House, Manchester Airport

The modern offices include a seminar room which will be used to update and educate our clients on the newest technologies and products as well as providing a training area for our staff.

“I think this move signifies BCN Group’s intent to grow through the introduction of exciting new digital services and solutions, whilst remaining both accessible to our customers, and fully committed to an expanding role within the Northern Powerhouse.” Simon Kelf, Managing Director.

The building boasts an impressive corporate entrance and communal spaces, on site gym, coffee and food amenity and breakout areas as well as excellent transport links by bike, car, train, tram, bus or air.

To introduce our clients to these new premises, we will shortly be holding a launch party. To express your interest in attending, please contact your account manager.

 

 

 

BCN Group Ltd relocate to Trident House, Manchester Airport

BCN Group are delighted to announce that due to continued growth we are relocating to prestigious new offices in Trident House at Manchester Airport.

Trident House, Manchester Airport

The modern offices include a seminar room which will be used to update and educate our clients on the newest technologies and products as well as providing a training area for our staff.

“I think this move signifies BCN Group’s intent to grow through the introduction of exciting new digital services and solutions, whilst remaining both accessible to our customers, and fully committed to an expanding role within the Northern Powerhouse.” Simon Kelf, Managing Director.

The building boasts an impressive corporate entrance and communal spaces, on site gym, coffee and food amenity and breakout areas as well as excellent transport links by bike, car, train, tram, bus or air.

To introduce our clients to these new premises, we will shortly be holding a launch party. To express your interest in attending, please contact your account manager.

 

 

 

BCN Group Ltd relocate to Trident House, Manchester Airport

BCN Group are delighted to announce that due to continued growth we are relocating to prestigious new offices in Trident House at Manchester Airport.

Trident House, Manchester Airport

The modern offices include a seminar room which will be used to update and educate our clients on the newest technologies and products as well as providing a training area for our staff.

“I think this move signifies BCN Group’s intent to grow through the introduction of exciting new digital services and solutions, whilst remaining both accessible to our customers, and fully committed to an expanding role within the Northern Powerhouse.” Simon Kelf, Managing Director.

The building boasts an impressive corporate entrance and communal spaces, on site gym, coffee and food amenity and breakout areas as well as excellent transport links by bike, car, train, tram, bus or air.

To introduce our clients to these new premises, we will shortly be holding a launch party. To express your interest in attending, please contact your account manager.

 

 

 

BCN Group Ltd relocate to Trident House, Manchester Airport

BCN Group are delighted to announce that due to continued growth we are relocating to prestigious new offices in Trident House at Manchester Airport.

Trident House, Manchester Airport

The modern offices include a seminar room which will be used to update and educate our clients on the newest technologies and products as well as providing a training area for our staff.

“I think this move signifies BCN Group’s intent to grow through the introduction of exciting new digital services and solutions, whilst remaining both accessible to our customers, and fully committed to an expanding role within the Northern Powerhouse.” Simon Kelf, Managing Director.

The building boasts an impressive corporate entrance and communal spaces, on site gym, coffee and food amenity and breakout areas as well as excellent transport links by bike, car, train, tram, bus or air.

To introduce our clients to these new premises, we will shortly be holding a launch party. To express your interest in attending, please contact your account manager.