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Ask Cisco: How do I improve collaboration among multiple offices and remote users?

Q: My company has been trying to figure out how we can do better at connecting our remote users to our main site, as well as making our other location seem like it’s right next door. Any advice?

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Why Cisco, Not Juniper? OpEx, CapEx and the Frankenkluge in the Branch Office Closet

One of the great things about being at Cisco HQ in Silicon Valley is the wonderful diversity we have here. Although you don’t really get seasons you do get an awesome mix of people. A recent stroll around the lake at Shoreline Park revealed people speaking English, Russian, German, Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Hindi and some other languages I could not identify. Similarly sushi, butter chicken and naan, pho, bulgoki and bahn mi are all easy to find for the diversified, international foodie.

However, when I go out for Indian food with my friends, they almost always insist on going to a buffet in Mountain View called Passage to India. Partially because they usually have a huge assortment of “desi-chinese” dishes such as Gobi Manchurian and Chilli Chicken but largely because they see the buffet being a tremendous value. Little chicken tikka masala, little tandoori, little goat curry, some gulab jamun – enjoy them all, they are all included in a well integrated package. A la carte approaches make it hard to enjoy such variety, as each additional dish is usually priced like the main part of a meal.

Reminds me of the whole Cisco vs Juniper thing for the branch.

We took a look at the cost of building a modern, secure, integrated services network for the branch, incorporating the functionality and services that you would want in a new branch deployment, you know, things like security (firewall, IPS, VPN), video, server virtualization, WAN optimization, video optimization, 4G backup and Unified Communications. Doing all this with Cisco was pretty easy, all you need is an ISR, which we spec’ed out as an ISR 3945 for our hypothetical 150 person branch (with a 45Mbps WAN bandwidth). Implementation was cheap and easy, particularly when you consider all the capabilities that you were getting.

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The Year in Review: the Top 10 Posts of 2011

It’s hard to believe another year has come and (almost) gone. Every year seems to speed by ever faster, much like the pace of technological advancements. We understand that it’s a challenge keeping up with the latest technologies that impact your small business. So we were curious to find out what topics caught your eye this past year on the Small Business Blog.

Security was by far the most popular topic; and security in all forms—from your core network to personal devices to the cloud. That’s not surprising when you consider all the ways in which you can now access data.

Here’s the list of top 10 posts for 2011:

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Technology Roundup: Routers and Wireless

Looking to connect your business to the world? These resources can help

They’re small, often kept out of view, and rarely thought about beyond the purchase. However, without a reliable router, you can’t securely connect to the Internet. Whether wired or wireless, a router is critical to connecting your company to your world of employees, partners, and customers. A router is also your first line of defense for protecting your network resources against malicious attacks. So choosing the best routing and wireless solutions for your business are key to ensuring that you’re building the right network to support your business today and tomorrow.

In this third installment of our Technology Roundup series, we offer some resources to help you understand routers and wireless networks and make the best decision for your small business network.

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Borderless Networks: Experience Required

In a recent blog, I talked about how recording artists are using the network to create new ways of nurturing customer (or fan) relationships while also building a great marketing base. But as we increasingly move into a world of borderless networks, where traditional, limiting boundaries fall away, we’re seeing a new cultural playground. One that allows us, as users, to connect with what enriches our lives. And that, too, is a powerful force in building relationships and community on the network.

As the explosion of mobile devices continues, and new forms of social media and tools emerge, we are entering an exciting new phase. Because when you start putting these together, along with innovative functionality in the routers and switches that bring those things to life, we have the opportunity to experience things that might have been out of reach in the past.

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