Archive for June, 2014

Take a walk on the wired side

If you are a retailer, there are specific networking challenges you likely face every time a customer walks into your store, whenever a sale is made, and each time you want to expand your business to a new location. Some common issues we hear about include:

  • Quickly deploying—and easily managing—multiple branch locations

  • Securing those locations against hackers and high-profile attacks

  • Providing a branded, in-store customer online experience

  • Learning how clients use your retail locations and resources to shop

In essence, you want to know how you can provide the best in-store customer experience in the most secure way possible, while learning about your shoppers along the way.  The Cisco Meraki MX security appliance and MS switch can help.


Rapid deployment, easy management


Deploying any piece of Cisco Meraki equipment—APs, switches, security appliances—is painless. You can preconfigure your Meraki gear using our web-based dashboard before the equipment has ever been powered on or connected to the Internet. Once plugged in and powered, your gear will fetch those configuration settings from the cloud. That’s all there is to it.

Additional features, like Meraki MX configuration templates or MS switch cloning, can greatly ease the burden of deploying hundreds of new sites and enforcing subsequent configuration changes across them all.

Once your Meraki equipment is up and running, you can manage your networks from any Internet-accessible device, gain deep visibility and control over applications and clients, and rest easy knowing that we keep our cloud architecture PCI compliant.


Securing against hackers and high profile attacks


Recent exploits such as the  Heartbleed vulnerability have spiked public alarm over online and in-store shopping security. As a retailer, it’s not enough to be PCI compliant; you need protection from the latest threats and malicious activity.

Enter the Meraki MX. Our Unified Threat Management box hosts an array of security features in a single chassis, but arguably the most critical is integrated Sourcefire intrusion prevention. Meraki MX Advanced Security customers were protected against the Heartbleed vulnerability within 24 hours thanks to this powerful solution. And don’t forget the power of content filtering to improve site security, too.

But it’s not just the MX that can help secure your network;  MS switches can lock down retail locations by preventing unauthorized access to the wired LAN, ensuring no one can plug a laptop or a rogue wireless router into an exposed ethernet jack and wreak havoc on your network.


Branded, in-store customer experiences


The Meraki MX now supports splash pages offering a click-through experience or an authentication prompt—with one option being authentication via Facebook Login.  This means you can provide a tailored end-user experience for customers looking to get on the Internet at one of your stores. All the benefits of using guest access with Facebook Login that we’ve highlighted for wireless apply to the MX.


Location analytics with the MX60W


Aside from the aggregate and anonymous demographic data you can collect through sign-on via Facebook Login, the MX60W (our branch security appliance with built-in dual-radio wireless) provides the same location analytics capability that made waves when introduced into our wireless access points. You can use this tool to better engage in-store customers by analyzing statistics like the number of visitors to your location, their engagement level, and whether they are repeat visitors.

In sum: there are several features in the Meraki wired product lineup that can greatly benefit retailers looking to leverage their network infrastructure for easy deployment, in-store security, and improved customer experience.  If you’re interested in finding out more about Meraki products,  attend a webinar or test drive some gear in your own environment.


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