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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.

VMware Announces General Availability of Latest VMware Cloud Management Solutions

Purpose-Built Cloud Management Solutions Help Customers to Enable IT-as-a-Service

BlueCoffee Networks’ virtualization and cloud infrastructure partner, VMware, have announced the general availability of new and updated offerings to the industry’s leading portfolio of management solutions purpose-built for the cloud era – VMware vCloud Automation Center 6.0, VMware vCenter Operations Management Suite 5.8 and VMware IT Business Management Suite. In addition, VMware also announced that it has updated the automation and management capabilities of VMware vCloud Suite 5.5.

“Providing cloud management solutions that simplify and automate how IT is managed is key to helping our customers on their journey to deliver IT-as-a-Service,” said Ramin Sayar, senior vice president and general manager, Cloud Management, VMware. “With the availability of new products and enhancements across our management portfolio, customers can take advantage of the business opportunities that exist whether it’s increasing business agility, enabling cost transparency of IT services or expanding to the hybrid cloud.” read more

To find out how Vmware products can benefit your business, contact us on 0845 095 7000 or sales@bcn.co.uk.

Heading Stateside for Business? Store Your Data In The Cloud Before Takeoff

Anyone who regularly travels to the United States will be familiar with the stringent border control. Unfortunately for regular travellers, this is only set to get worse thanks to new vetting processes that came into play in the wake of Trump’s controversial travel ban. In addition to banning passengers from keeping any electronic device bigger than a Kindle in the cabin, new digital checks are taking place at border control. In some instances, passengers are being asked to hand over passwords for their phones, laptops, email and social media accounts. For business travellers, this presents a problematic situation.

If you regularly travel with a work laptop or phone, chances are your company has a fairly strict policy about keeping the data you carry with you safe. Anyone familiar with Computer Security 101 knows that handing over your password to anyone in any situation is a big no-no. Even if there is nothing incriminating on your devices, by handing over your passwords, you are also giving border control access to the people you communicate with. This can lead to a breakdown of trust between companies and clients.

From a legal perspective, there isn’t much you can do in terms of standing your ground if you aren’t a US citizen. While US citizens have a right to enter the country, visitors are required to prove to border control that they should be let in. This means complying with their requests, which can include handing over passwords. If you refuse, it could be seen as an attempt to conceal something, and the border agent has the right to refuse entry.

So, what’s a person to do to protect their privacy? The most obvious choice is to travel light and leave your devices at home, but this isn’t going to be an option for most business travellers. The best way for business travellers to protect their privacy is to transfer any and all data to a secure cloud storage account and then clean up the devices before travel. There’s a legal grey area around what is and isn’t on your person while you travel. If your files are safe on the cloud, there’s no obvious way for border control to know where to look.

If you do have to hand over passwords, this information can be saved for up to 75 years, so the first thing you do when you clear airport security is to change your passwords. Alternatively, you could change your passwords to something highly secure and unmemorable before leaving. If you don’t have a password manager on your phone, it will be an extra barrier to preventing border control from accessing your data. However, this can be seen as a subversive measure that could raise further suspicion.

For the foreseeable future, anyone travelling to the United States should be prepared for enhanced checks, so a little more preparation might be needed before takeoff to protect sensitive information.

VMware Acquires CloudVolumes

BCN Groups’ virtualisation and cloud infrastructure partner, VMware have acquired CloudVolumes, a leading provider of real-time application delivery technology.

The technology enables enterprises to easily deliver native applications to virtualized environments on-demand. Financial details of the transaction were not disclosed. The transaction is expected to be immaterial to VMware’s financial results.

“Customers are looking to modernize their existing Windows application delivery architecture to be more like mobile IT,” said Sumit Dhawan, senior vice president and general manager, Desktop Products, End-User Computing, VMware. “The combination of CloudVolumes and VMware Horizon will allow customers to build a real-time application delivery system that enables all applications to be centrally managed, always available and up-to-date, and delivered to virtualized environments for desktop, server or cloud on-demand.”

“Customers are looking for game changing solutions,” said Raj Parekh, chief executive officer, CloudVolumes. “By bringing together CloudVoumes and VMware, we will be able to deliver winning technology solutions for the desktop and beyond, that few competitors can match.”

Click here to read more

To find out more about how virtualisation services from BCN Group can benefit your business, contact us on 0845 095 7000 or email sales@bcn.co.uk

Nervous about the Cloud? Why not try hybrid hosting?

Not quite ready for the cloud or need a combination of cloud hosting and physical servers to meet your business needs? Why not try hybrid cloud hosting.

Hybrid cloud hosting is the parallel use of a combination of customer-dedicated servers and public cloud infrastructure to perform distinct functions within the same organisation.

It can provide the security features, performance, and flexibility of dedicated hardware along with the cost savings, utility, and bursting aspects that cloud technology offers.

Benefits of deploying a hybrid hosting solution include:

A good half-way house

Hybrid cloud solutions are considered a good half-way house, as many organisations at the moment are not yet ready to outsource their entire IT operations into the public cloud, although a number of smaller ones already have.

Smaller operations can quite easily rely on the public cloud to host and deliver email, desktop productivity suites, data storage and security services. But complications could arise for those organisations that need to securely manage and store large amounts of data generated from applications like CRM (customer relationship management), ERP (enterprise resource planning) and customer financial information – although this can be done if managed correctly.

A hybrid model can offer the first safe steps into the cloud for organisations that know there are benefits to be enjoyed, but are unable, for a variety of reasons, to move as quickly as others.

Flexibility

Hybrid Cloud Solutions allow organisations to use different cloud delivery services for specific applications. For example, a public cloud may be a more cost-effective service for the computer-intensive task of processing analytics, but the data would remain local, or private, to comply with regulations.

And because a hybrid delivery strategy allows organisations to run applications and services across different clouds, co-location facilities and data centres, a big benefit is that organisations can easily move processes, services and applications from one geographic location to another.

Capacity expansion

Adding capacity on-premises can be high when you think in terms of upgrading power and cooling in a data center to accommodate additional racks or building a whole new data center. A hybrid approach is a viable alternative and doesn’t have to impact existing operations; selecting a hosted cloud that supports bare metal and extending the on-premises network could allow existing technologies, tools and techniques to be reused.

Reduced costs

A very desirable benefit of cloud computing is reduced costs. This is also true for the hybrid cloud. Depending on your business processes, you can configure your hybrid cloud using private and public clouds. As mission critical processes are comparatively fewer, the operational expenditure is greatly reduced by scalable solutions offered by the cloud.

Enhanced security

One of the main concerns of a public cloud is data integrity and security. Hybrid clouds offer extra security to your data. By keeping your data out of the public cloud, companies can add extra security to business processes. At the same time, applications can seamlessly work between different environments to reduce operational costs.

Keeping up with the latest technology

There has been a lot of studies and research done recently which indicate that the use of cloud services is continuing to explode. Keep up with the latest technologies and reap the benefits to your business.

To find out more about how hybrid hosting or the cloud could benefit your business, contact us on 0345 095 7000 or sales@bcn.co.uk.

 

 

VMware appoints Enterprise Industry Veterans & Chief Technology Officer to strengthen End-User Computing Business

BlueCoffee Networks’ virtualization and cloud infrastructure partner, VMware, have announced the addition of three enterprise industry veterans to the End-User Computing leadership team.

Bob Schultz has been appointed chief strategy lead, and will assist with the overall business, product and alliance strategy for the group. Sumit Dhawan has been appointed head of the desktop business, and will lead product development, product management, strategy and delivery for enterprise and personal desktop products. Longtime VMware veteran Kit Colbert has been appointed chief technology officer (CTO) of End-User Computing, and will help drive product and technology strategy for its product portfolio.

“As we accelerate VMware’s End-User Computing strategy and business, Bob, Sumit and Kit are seasoned executives who bring valuable experience and tremendous leadership to our existing team of talented individuals,” said Sanjay Poonen, executive vice president and general manager, End-User Computing, VMware. “VMware’s customer-focused innovation has led to a dynamic End-User Computing product portfolio. These three individuals will join the core leadership team to enable customers to get the best products on the market and innovation for years to come.” Read more

Vmware has also announced the appointment of Ben Fathi to the role of chief technology officer. Fathi most recently served as senior vice president, R&D, at VMware and has been with the company since 2012. Fathi brings experience managing large global teams and delivering innovation, with a focus on customer needs and product quality. Read more

About VMware
VMware is the leader in virtualization and cloud infrastructure solutions that enable businesses to thrive in the Cloud Era. Customers rely on VMware to help them transform the way they build, deliver and consume Information Technology resources in a manner that is evolutionary and based on their specific needs. With 2012 revenues of $4.61 billion, VMware has more than 500,000 customers and 55,000 partners.  The company is headquartered in Silicon Valley with offices throughout the world and can be found online at www.vmware.com.

About BlueCoffee Networks
BlueCoffee Networks is a dynamic, fresh thinking, independent solutions provider covering Manchester, Stockport, Cheshire and the UK. Our key focus areas are virtualisation, storage, disaster recovery, business continuity, consultancy and support services. BlueCoffee Networks have strategic alliances with many of the big known and trusted manufactures such as VMware, Microsoft, Citrix, HP, Cisco, Hitachi and many more.

VMware Announces General Availability of Latest VMware Cloud Management Solutions

Purpose-Built Cloud Management Solutions Help Customers to Enable IT-as-a-Service

BlueCoffee Networks virtualization and cloud infrastructure partner, VMware, have announced the general availability of new and updated offerings to the industry’s leading portfolio of management solutions purpose-built for the cloud era – VMware vCloud Automation Center 6.0, VMware vCenter Operations Management Suite 5.8 and VMware IT Business Management Suite. In addition, VMware also announced that it has updated the automation and management capabilities of VMware vCloud Suite 5.5.

“Providing cloud management solutions that simplify and automate how IT is managed is key to helping our customers on their journey to deliver IT-as-a-Service,” said Ramin Sayar, senior vice president and general manager, Cloud Management, VMware. “With the availability of new products and enhancements across our management portfolio, customers can take advantage of the business opportunities that exist whether it’s increasing business agility, enabling cost transparency of IT services or expanding to the hybrid cloud.” read more

To find out how Vmware products can benefit your business, contact us on 0845 095 7000 or sales@bcn.co.uk.

Industry News: VMware Leads Industry in Support for the Mobile Workforce with New Capabilities Across Its End-User Computing Portfolio

VMware, the global leader in virtualization and cloud infrastructure, has introduced new product offerings and capabilities across its end-user computing product portfolio to broaden support for the mobile workforce at VMworld® 2013 Europe.

Focussing on lowering cost, simplifying management and enhancing performance to help organizations and the industry advance workforce mobility, VMware is the only company that offers customers an end-to-end virtualization solution for the mobile and social cloud era.

“The innovations we are introducing around cost, management and performance of our products make a compelling case to companies searching for a modern approach to supporting their mobile workforces,” said Sanjay Poonen, executive vice president and general manager, End-User Computing, VMware. “We believe customers get the best technology, practical innovations, superior customer support and the most value from VMware compared to our competitors.”

VMware Horizon TMSuite is an integrated platform that supports the mobile workforce by connecting end-users to their data, applications and desktops using any device whilst maintaining IT security and control. It brings together Horizon View TM, Horizon Mirage TM and Horizon Workspace TM to create a single, unified solution designed to transform technology silos into centralized IT services that can be easily provisioned, managed and delivered to end-users.

Click here to read more.