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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.

Want to know why 100 million people have moved to Office 365?

Did you know that there are now more than 100 million active Office 365 users? It’s a big number and it’s growing by an estimated 2.5 million every month.

As the world’s most popular business productivity suite, Microsoft Office has finally transitioned from a clunky set of online pseudo applications launched in 2011, to the seriously dynamic cloud-based application it is today that we know as Office 365.

And while Office 365 revenue has now overtaken conventional licence sales of Office, there are still many who have not yet gotten past the poor press that the earlier versions received to see what transformative value this latest incarnation offers.

So here are 10 reasons why Office 365 will be right for you – and why your legacy software may no longer be the best option going forward.

Work on the move

No matter where you are, whether you’re on a train, at home or even dipping in and out of your email while on holiday, you can work anywhere at any time with Office 365. Long gone are the days of being glued to an office workspace – you can now put your smartphones and tablets to better use and work on the move, increasing the productivity of your business.

Predictable costs

As a subscriber service, there are no upfront purchases required. You get a flexible contract with fixed, clear monthly ‘per user’ charges where you can mix and match plans to suit your business and user needs. Budget planning is a lot simpler because of it too.

No more licensing headaches

Previously, knowing what licences you needed could be a real challenge, particularly if different applications and releases were in use. Office 365 includes all the licensing required, and everyone has access to the same software at the same time.

Security

Cloud-based storage services invariably make people think about security. Office 365 makes use of 128-bit SSL/TSL encryption which ensures that even if data is intercepted, it cannot be read. Microsoft enacts a policy known as the Security Development Lifecycle, which ensures that data is secure and safe when developing, deploying and maintaining data.

Evergreen

Office 365 will always include the latest edition of Office technology, which means you won’t have to buy another copy of Office to upgrade, as all changes will be brought to the current software. This saves businesses from having to reinvest in new versions of Office to access the latest developments in the software.

No more patches and maintenance

Office 365 also means Microsoft is taking care of keeping everything up to date and ship shape. The Service includes all of the traditional behind-the-scenes IT support within the licence, so you can free up time and resources for other projects and needs.

Always be unified

Regardless of device you happen to be using, because your email, calendar, contacts and other Office 365 apps are synchronised in the cloud, updating information on one device is automatically updated across the rest.

Reduce your hardware and energy needs

Because it’s a cloud based service, there’s no need for in-house servers. Less equipment means fewer energy requirements and ultimately less space.

Use O365 on up to 5 devices

The days of one licence for every device are well and truly behind us. Now, as you move about you can bring your Office 365 access with you, switching between desktop, mobile, tablet and so on up to 5 devices. All automatically in sync in the cloud.

Disaster Prevention

With old versions of Office, data is stored locally, which means you have to rely on your own backup procedures to ensure the safety of data. With Office 365, Microsoft provides data protection and backup in the cloud, which you can access whenever you want, wherever you are.

As with most things in life, the process of moving to Office 365 can be a mixed bag. For very small organisations it can be a simple DIY job. For slightly larger businesses, the process can be straightforward, but there may be some degree of complexity depending on your legacy set up and arrangements. However, with the right tools, approach and support, Office 365 will quickly make its place at home within your business and will help your users collaborate and operate far more effectively.

If you’re still sitting on the fence, or if you’ve decided to move forward with Office 365, we’re here to help. To learn more about us and what we do, check out our Office 365 page, or get in touch at info@bcn.co.uk.

Is your business about to score an own goal on the 16th of June?

It’s the Euros! Once again the nation will rally around the three lions hoping that this is our year. Whatever the outcome, many businesses are quietly concerned about the disruption it will bring to their companies.

The month long tournament which kicks off on the 10th of June is set to repeat the same absentee and operational challenges experienced during 2012’s Olympics, 2014’s World Cup and last year’s Rugby World Cup. In particular, England’s 2pm match against Wales on Thursday 16th June will be a prime candidate. And should we make it past the first round, further disruption dates are likely to occur.

Absenteeism costs British business more than £13bn a year, yet not all businesses will suffer as much as others.

Organisations with robust cloud and mobility strategies have proven that productivity doesn’t necessarily need to take a hit in such situations. Learning from previous major events, forward thinking businesses have used such technologies to maintain business performance whilst keeping staff happy to enjoy such occasions without having to resort to ever elaborate reasons to be off work.

To discover more about what you can do quickly and affordably to help your organisation avoid lost productivity and still enjoy the Euro finals during the next month speak to us today.

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.

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.