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Picking a Networking Solution for a Fast-Growing Small Business

June 27, 2013 at 2:57 pm PST

Network Connectivity is a big concern for any size of business, let alone a small, growing business. Picking the right solution to address  growth is a key decision.

There are countless options available to small business owners ranging from asking cousin Jimmy, calling a “computer expert” you found on Yelp, or even a quick Google Search. No doubt, this experience can be a daunting one.

All jokes aside, choosing the right solution can save some money now and in the future. That is where right-sizing your network solution comes into play. It does not take long for a successful, single-person business to transform into a growing small business.  A consumer wireless router could probably do the job for a single person home office adequately. But if you are looking to use your network for more than just accessing the Internet, then the choice is not so obvious.  Now or in the future, you may want to access local network resources remotely and securely, use Voice over IP, or segment your network to securely support guest access.  Moreover, as you grow, business applications become more critical.  They need to be readily available, dependable and always on-line.

This is where the new Cisco Small Business Wireless Access Points and RV Series Router come into play.

 

Cisco AP551

Part of a growing small business portfolio, the all-new Cisco WAP551& 561 are perfect wireless solutions for your small business These access points enables small businesses to deliver high-capacity wireless N connectivity and guest access, securely and reliably. Simple yet powerful, it delivers business-class features such as Gigabit Ethernet connectivity with PoE, a captive portal for customized guest access, multiple SSID, VLAN’s and more…

Makes sense right?

But wait! How does the network connect to the WAP’s? First, you need a router. The business-class RV320 is the new flagship in the Cisco Small Business RV Series portfolio.

The Cisco RV320 is a powerful, yet highly secure business class router, offering strong networking performance throughput. Add in business-class features such as dual WAN’s for fail-over and load balancing, an intelligent user interface, USB 3G/4G Broadband failover, and you have a router that will provide years of reliable service.

The last piece of the puzzle is a Cisco’s business class switch that offers power-over Ethernet (PoE) functionality, allowing Access Points to be flexibly optimized for placement. The Cisco SG300 Series of PoE switches offer PoE functionality, with the Security, Quality of Service, Scalability, and Reliability to deliver the best experience for your users. These switches are available in 10 to 52 port configurations.

Cisco SG300 Series

The bottom line is this: Cisco Small Business Products are changing the way you connect your business to the world.

 

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Cisco Small Business Support Community

May 30, 2013 at 11:25 am PST

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:

SBSC-map 2

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. 

Please bookmark or add to your favorites, this URL: www.cisco.com/go/smallbizsupport

If you have any ideas on how we can improve, please leave a comment.

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Why Engage Expert IT Services for Mobility and BYOD?

March 14, 2013 at 1:29 pm PST

BYOD blogThree 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.

So if you are thinking of an alternative to DIY, consider working with a Cisco Partner.  Find a partner today.

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Cisco’s New Small Business Portfolio—Fortifying the Future

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?

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Less Is More: Flexible, Secure Collaboration in a Five-Inch Box

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.