What is Meraki? Meraki is a Cisco cloud based mid-market network solution. It combines a very easy and intuitive interface with the Enterprise technologies that mid-market companies are searching for in security appliances, switches, and wireless APs at a reasonable price.
How can Meraki fit into your network? While Meraki is targeted for small to mid-market companies, there are several hybrid scenarios where Meraki can drastically cut costs, improve security, and ease deployment and management of devices in an enterprise network.
Let’s dive into how Meraki can benefit retail management companies. As new stores are opening and old stores are closing, the network needs to change rapidly to bring these stores online. Meraki has the ability to create configuration templates that will allow you to link multiple devices to a single template. This allows for quick deployments on new stores and standardized configuration changes across all stores linked to the template. Meraki devices are plug and play, so as soon as they come online they will reach out to the cloud and pull down their configuration. People are now accessing the internet in more locations than ever before from their phones, tablets, and laptops. As more stores are providing internet connectivity to their guests they have the dilemma of monitoring that traffic and securing critical business traffic. With Meraki you can quickly and easily build a separate guest wireless network with a per user traffic shaping policy and content filtering for everyone to keep it family friendly. Monitoring is a critical feature that is built right into the cloud portal. This allows for alerting on issues so that they can be immediately addressed and keep the store running as usual.
Meraki can also be utilized by property management companies. For example, with property management comes the requirement to manage a large amount of remote offices and construction sites of all different sizes. Meraki has the ability to auto setup a VPN connection back to the Data Center or between branch offices, and provide a flexible configuration to meet the needs of the specific location with no intervention from IT Staff. In the event of an issue, Meraki has the ability to self-heal the VPN tunnel and bring it back online. This minimizes the impact to the office when there are issues. Moreover, with Meraki you can quickly deploy VoIP phones using LLDP which will configure all the necessary settings for the phone just by plugging it into the network. Conference calls and video conferencing, two very critical ways to communicate in business, require a stable connection, quality of service can be configured on all Meraki devices to ensure that call and video quality are optimized to provide that reliable connection. Furthermore as offices grow, Meraki can easily be scaled to accommodate the growing needs of the office by allowing licensing to be transferred to an upgraded product in the same class. For example, if the office starts off with 10 users, a 24 port switch with a 10 year license can be procured and as the office grows a new 48 port switch can be purchase but still use that same 10 year license that was originally procured. Additionally, Meraki’s cloud based management portal allows for an in-depth view of all devices on your network to identify what type of traffic (Facebook, YouTube, Email or Business Applications) is being generated, wireless heats maps of the network to help predict future expansion and alerting to allow IT staff to quickly meet the needs of remote office.
As a final thought, remember a Meraki solution is a smart choice for enterprises that need to manage many remote locations with limited or no IT staff onsite as they help to cut costs, improve security, ease the deployment process, and are centrally managed out of the box.
To find out more about this or other ways we can assist you with your business needs, contact us at 800.274.3978 or email us.