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Building the Right Network to Boost Small Business Productivity

April 12, 2012 at 8:00 am PST

Calling all small sized businesses owners, and resellers – is your network ready for the growing mobility and cloud trends?

Considering that the number of mobile-connected devices will exceed the world’s population in 2012,[i] and that wireless device traffic will exceed wired device traffic by 2014, we say it’s a great time to make sure you are.  In fact, mobile data traffic has doubled in the past four years and tablets are making their way into the office with more than 3.4X the traffic than a smart phone. Businesses are recognizing these upward trends, as a matter of fact; cloud adoption for small businesses is growing quickly with 72-percent of small businesses using the cloud in 2011 to 98 percent in 2015[ii].  So are your networks built to support the growing use of mobility and cloud in the SMB workplace? Cisco’s new lineup of small business solutions could be just the ticket to get you there.

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Business Ready: On the Go and in the Clouds

Oscar Wilde wrote, “One should never trust a woman who tells one her real age.” I’m good with that. So, let’s just say I’m not 20-something. But I do share that generation’s expectation to be able to work from anywhere with whatever device I’m using.  Just because I’m mobile, doesn’t mean I shouldn’t have access to people or information. So, that’s me as an employee. But what about as a consumer? If I can’t easily make a reservation, order a product, get directions, or call with a click of my iPhone, my interest quickly plummets. And when something rocks my world, I usually share that in my social media circles.

I’d say that’s standard operating procedure for most people I know, regardless of age. For businesses to stay relevant in today’s wired-cum-wireless world, the network has to be able to handle secure, remote access, and provide a satisfying customer experience for those who operate on the fly. And that’s where the intersection of mobile, cloud, and social media come into play. You can learn more about this at the 2012 Small Business Tour, which kicks off in Seattle on April 12. Cisco and its partner will discuss how you can take advantage of mobility, cloud, and social media to take your business to the next level. 

While I might not represent the target demographic for all small- to medium-sized businesses, the point is this: As technology and wireless becomes more and more ubiquitous, expectations are growing by leaps and bounds—for employees and for customers. Are you ready?

Understanding the Difference Between Wireless Encryption Protocols

The WPA data encryption protocol you choose depends on your wireless network’s needs

It’s critically important to secure your wireless networks, but security can be complex, particularly when it comes to configuring each network component appropriately. A smart place to start is with the wireless router, which connects your local area network (LAN) to the Internet. Routers allow you to encrypt data as it travels in and out of your network, making it much more difficult to be read or altered by hackers trying to steal confidential information. Most small business routers let you choose which data encryption protocol you want to use, but in order to make the best choice for your network, you need to understand the differences between encryption protocols.

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Raising the Bar: Cisco Managed Switches Outperform Competitors

March 27, 2012 at 8:00 am PST

Daily, we read about and experience the increasing importance of mobility and cloud offerings in the SMB market—and inherent in these trends is the capacity to configure appropriate switches. Tablets, smartphones and laptops are prevalent in the workplace and as SMBs often forgo funding an IT department, it is crucial that their hardware and solutions scale as business transforms.

That said, a recent testing report conducted by Miercom details how Cisco SMB Ethernet switches outperform those of HP and D-Link across the board. From overall performance and price to security, ease of use, and energy efficiency, Cisco’s switches are raising the bar. Highlights from the report include:

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Mythbusters: Cloud Computing Is a Deployment Model, Not a Point Product

Cloud computing gives you a new way to access many different types of software, no matter how small your company

It seems that everyone’s talking about how cloud computing is the answer to all your technology problems—and, depending on your problems, it may be. But before you can use the cloud, you need to understand what it is.

Cloud computing is not a product that you purchase; cloud computing is a deployment model. It is a new way to access and use software for your small company; it is also a new way for vendors to sell their products. How you use cloud computing is up to you.

Simply put, cloud computing allows you to use a vendor’s software over the Internet. Though the software is hosted on the provider’s server, it functions on users’ computers in the same way as installed software—your employees simply connect to it online. You do not purchase and install the application on your server or your desktops; depending on the cloud-based software (also referred to as Software-as-a-Service or SaaS), you might install a specialized client that people use to connect to the service or users might simply connect through their Web browser.

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