As a Small business owner, you know how to run your business efficiently. So what do you do when you need support for your current Cisco small business network? If you are like me, you will search the internet for a solution. Hopefully your search will lead you to the Cisco Small Business Support Community where you will find helpful support documents, videos, and active conversations regarding all Cisco Small Business Products.
Look at what you will find within the Small Business Support Community:
A) Check to see if you have the latest firmware by clicking on the product family. You can download the latest firmware from there too.
B) Search the community by typing in your question to see if there is another discussion or document already available that may have an answer.
C) Use our Guide Me Tool to search our knowledge base or troubleshoot your equipment.
D) This area has all of our popular links such as contact information for our Small Business Support Center locations where you can speak directly with an Small Business Support Engineer.
E) Log in to post your question. To post a question, all you need to do is to register for a Cisco ID or if you have a Cisco ID just login.
F) Go directly to the product area to see all the conversations and documents related to that product.
G) Stay up to date with the latest firmware release by following @CiscoSBsupport on Twitter or to see what is new in the Small Business Support Community, follow the Small Business Community Blog.
The Cisco Small Business Community is available 24X7 and encourages participation from everyone. We update the community frequently and strive to make the community the first place to go for your Cisco Small Business Product support needs.
Three Reasons: More Productivity, Revenues, and Savings
How can you control the connections and user experiences—and security—of BYOD and other mobile devices that access your business network? Maybe you or your IT staff have the expertise and time to do-it-yourself (DIY). Or, maybe not.
In my last blog,I outlined the benefits of mobility technologies and the hot bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trend that is shaping the future of how business is done. When you consider the amazing things that happen when we connect people, process, data, and things, it’s no surprise to see the demand accelerating from employees, business leaders, and customers for mobile device connectivity.
So, how do you take care of it all—including security? Is DIY really the answer? The devil is in the details.
In this blog, I’ll give you two real-life examples of an alternative to DIY that has a high value proposition: engaging expert IT services for planning, building, and managing mobility—and quickly getting full ROI.
Example #1: Higher productivity, lower OpEx: A small business wanted to trim the large operating expense (OpEx) for its office space in the city by getting employees to work remotely. But the business also wanted to preserve its data security and employees’ feeling of working collaboratively. It decided to engage TekScape, a Cisco Premier Certified Partner, to come up with a solution.
TekScape specializes in “landscape technology”, its term for technology that facilitates more mobile and productive working environments. TekScape delivers and manages advanced IT solutions to help businesses increase employee productivity and reduce operating expenses. Its services include tailored design, implementation, and support of network integration, data center, unified collaboration, and mobility.
TekScape provided the 30-employee business with design and implementation services, as well as an ongoing managed service. The technology solution included Cisco collaboration and security products, and hosted communications services for mobile device apps and Cisco SMARTnet technical support service. To enhance the support, Cisco SMARTnet gives customers direct access to Cisco experts and online resources that can quickly resolve problems, lessen risk by detecting security issues, and keep customers’ IT staff up to date on technology advances and security threats. Solutions like this one position small businesses competitively for current and future mobility opportunities.
Following are the quantitative results:
Over 75 percent of the employees moved out of the office and now work from home or the site of their choice, using BYOD.
Their productivity immediately increased by 10 to 15 percent, due to less commuting, more flexible work hours, and the greater efficiency of participating in meetings in a videoconference format
The annual OpEx for office space shrank by more than $125,000
The business realized full ROI from its mobility products and services in less than a year
Example #2: Revenue and business continuity: A 200-employee business that provides medical records services had an ongoing contract with TekScape to monitor the performance of its network. The network equipment included a Cisco Unified Communications Manager platform and IP phones, and Cisco Compatible Extensions (CCX)for client devices.
When Hurricane Sandy hit the business’s building on a Monday, 30 feet of water flooded two floors beneath the business. All power, Internet, and phone services for the building were knocked out.
Early the next morning,TekScape engineers wearing water boots showed up at the customer’s business, ready to help it resume operations. They quickly assessed that the utilities’ restoration of power and communications services to the building would take days (if not weeks), a delay the business could not endure due to client contracts and compliance requirements.
So TekScape devised an interim BYOD communications network solution, using the customers’ existing network equipment. TekScape engineers carried the communications platform to a co-location center, where they configured it for remote contact center agents, softphones, point-to-point video, and Cisco Jabber. The 200 employees quickly resumed work from locations all over the city, using their tablets, laptops, PCs, and smartphones to connect securely via VPNs.
It turned out that full restoration of operations at the site of the business’s building took two months, a delay that would have cost the customer $5 million in lost revenues.
The quantitative results: In less than a day, the customer realized full ROI from TekScape’s mobility services. And without them, the customer said, it would have gone out of business.
How could your business use expert mobility services to increase its productivity, revenues, or savings on operating expenses? The ROI from engaging expert IT services for planning, building, and managing mobility can be big and fast.
The number of mobile-connected devices has broken the 1 billion mark. That’s not too surprising, given that as we grow more reliant on our devices and mobility, we also become more reliant on the Internet to get things done, take care of customers, and expand our businesses. In fact, we see a future that is defined by what we call the Internet of Everything (IoE), bringing together people, processes, data, and things to make networked connections more relevant and valuable than ever before. Yet Cisco estimates that about 99.4 percent of what could be connected by the Internet is currently unconnected. That’s pretty staggering. Imagine how even a fraction of that could affect your business—by connecting employees when they’re mobile and connecting customers and partners to keep business processes and sales in progress.
Cisco’s latest offerings are designed to capitalize on connectivity, helping to fuel small business success and pave the way for future growth.
Lief Keopsel recently discussed how the growing mobile population calls for a new approach. Cisco’s expanding small business portfolio helps customers find the right technology to meet their evolving needs—such as increasing overall productivity, bolstering responsiveness, and beating the competition. But we haven’t stopped there. We’ve recently added additional routers and wireless access points.
Ultimately, we’re developing a portfolio that helps small businesses perform to their maximum potential through offerings that span security, connectivity, and collaboration.
Security Is a Competitive Advantage Through all this, whether you’re increasing productivity or enabling collaboration, you really have to keep security at the forefront. It’s what gives you the edge. If you missed the recent blog post featuring David Lawrence from Smart Technology Enablers talking about the Cisco ISA500 Series, please listen in. David describes how the Cisco ISA500 Series helps customers safeguard against outside threats while allowing employees to securely access information remotely.
Connectivity Is Key to Productivity Check out how our newly launched products deliver greater capabilities with built-in intelligence to provide more options for getting things done and creating a more customer-centric business model, regardless of location.
Collaboration Improves Business Effectiveness Bringing together people is a key part of our value proposition. We’re helping small businesses respond to customers more quickly and cultivate stronger customer engagement and loyalty. All while lowering the cost of doing business.
We understand that making the right technology decision is critical. And to that point, we’re proud of the recognition we’ve received from Miercom. Linda Beaton’s post on February 8 highlights a recent study by Miercom. This report favorably compared the Cisco SF500, SG500, and SG500X switches with similar products offered by HP, D-Link, and Netgear.
To learn more about the Cisco Small Business products referenced here, please visit our website. Or to learn more about our Cisco Services, click here. If you’re a Cisco partner, check out our Partner Launch page to help seize new market opportunities and add value to your customers.
How are these changes affecting you? And, how can we help to strengthen our partnership?
There’s a great sketch that Louis CK does about our impatience with technology and how much we’ve come to take it for granted. Our ability to connect from anywhere has raised our expectations for being able to instantly get or do what we want. And, when it comes to small businesses, that expectation turns to urgency for keeping productivity levels high. It’s this kind of thinking that framed the development of the new Cisco Small Business RV215W router.
The idea was to create a router that was versatile, but could also pack all your essential networking needs in a single device. The output: an all-in-one router that combines wireless-n, a secure firewall, a four-port switch, and a USB port for broadband connectivity. For customers, that translates to a simplified way to ensure that whatever business is at hand can be done securely and without interruption.
Check out this quick video featuring one of our product managers, to hear his personal take on why he’s excited about this new offering.
To learn more about the Cisco Small Business RV-Series Routers, click here.
Wow. According to a recent Forbes article, there could be 9.5 billion people on the planet by the year 2075. Think how much energy will be generated by that kind of world population. This puts the emphasis on energy-efficient technologies in a whole new light. Technologies, like switches that reduce power consumption, can save businesses money. But so far, it’s not enough to outweigh the other critical factors small businesses seek: resiliency, easy configuration, and zero packet loss. That’s why the Cisco Small Business 500 Series switches are a home run.
A recent study by Miercom, a network consultancy, specializing in networking and communications-related product testing and analysis, favorably compared the Cisco SF500, SG500, and SG500X series of switches with similar products offered by HP, D-Link, and Netgear. The overall findings with regard to the Cisco 500 series switches:
Easiest to configure and implement; highest capacity and scalability of configuration parameters including VLANs, MACs, ACLs, and IP routes
Best resiliency when subjected to a DoS attack
More efficient in terms of overall energy consumption, and the energy saving capabilities, plus more economical when measured using normalized pricing based on price per gigabit and price per PoE watt
Forwarded line rate full mesh traffic at all frame sizes with zero packet loss
Most extensive support for IPv6 transitions
Nice to know that if you’re a small business looking to save money and power, you can have all that and more—without having to sacrifice other critical factors you need to keep your business running. You can read more about the results of the Miercom study here. Or, to learn more about how Cisco helps small businesses, visit www.cisco.com/go/smb.