Archive for October, 2016

Switches with a NAC for Security

Happy Halloween! Here at Cisco Meraki we recognize that network security is a crucial part of any IT deployment. As mobile device adoption continues to skyrocket, security is becoming increasingly cumbersome to manage and oversee – particularly in large or highly distributed networks. In response to this, Network Access Control (NAC) solutions have evolved to support dynamic policy enforcement, going beyond the static one-and-done configuration approach of networks past. This enables more streamlined policy control over all users and devices while reducing complexity and opportunities for human error.

We are excited to announce that RADIUS Change of Authorization (CoA), a key feature for enabling deeper integration with NAC solutions, is now available in public beta. Once CoA is enabled, Meraki switches will act as a RADIUS Dynamic Authorization Server and will respond to RADIUS Change-of-Authorization and Disconnect messages sent by a RADIUS server. CoA can be configured easily using the Access Policies page in dashboard:

Access Policy with CoA

There are a variety of NAC solutions available in the market, including Cisco’s own Identity Services Engine (ISE), Bradford Network Sentry, and Forescout CounterACT® just to name a few. With the addition of CoA and RADIUS accounting, NAC solutions can now further integrate with Meraki switches for comprehensive policy enforcement and network access control.

This feature is included in our new switch firmware, which will be available to all Meraki switch customers soon.  You can learn more about how the feature is configured here, or if you would like to make use of this new capability right away you can contact our Support team via the Get Help page in Dashboard and we’ll be happy to get an upgrade scheduled for you. 

Merakify Your Mission

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At Meraki, we believe that by simplifying powerful technology, we can free passionate people to focus on their mission. We know that IT teams are a critical piece of what’s possible in any organization and that their time is a limiting factor.

We hear from our customers every day about how Meraki has enabled their teams to achieve greater goals by spending less time worrying about their networks, whether that’s in schools, stores, offices, or even on the road. Here are just a few snippets of what our customers have to say:

“The Meraki platform provides our local chapters with the same core capabilities, regardless of their size or geographic location, to be able to coordinate and collaborate with each other in order to make these wishes come true.”
– Make-A-Wish America

“Meraki has allowed learning to occur anytime, anywhere, meaning that teaching isn’t restricted by physical constraints.”
– York College

“Meraki’s dashboard and cloud configuration are the innovative and forward thinking technologies that fit our city’s IT mission.”
– City of Dalton, Georgia

We find our customers’ stories incredibly inspiring and wanted to share them more widely, so we built a new web page to do just that! Visit the new Merakify Your Mission page to read customer quotes and watch customer videos to learn what they have to say about their organizations’ missions and Meraki’s part in achieving them.

Have you merakified your mission yet?

Share your own #merakifyyourmission story on Twitter or submit your story through the form on the site—your story may even be added to the quotes section. We can’t wait to hear from you!

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Meraki’s Wireless Network Experts

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Congratulations to two Merakians who have achieved the Certified Wireless Network Expert (CWNE) designation: Farzam Vafa (CWNE #193), Network Support Engineer, and Ryan Miles (CWNE #34), Consulting Systems Engineer.

Earning the CWNE certification demonstrates that they “have the most advanced skills available in today’s enterprise Wi-Fi market.”

This prestigious distinction is currently held by only 193 individuals in the world and is a testament to our dedication to hiring the best talent around for building and supporting Meraki’s enterprise IT solutions.

Learn more about the certification on their website.

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Taking Network Topology to the Next Level

Here at Meraki, an exciting challenge arose with the addition of our sixth product category: MV Security Cameras. Customer topologies were starting to quickly outgrow what the page was originally designed to handle, so our engineering team decided to add a handy new feature by providing the option to expand and collapse the topology by level or product type. This makes the tool even more user friendly, and lets our users focus on a specific part of their infrastructure.

For example, switches are the fabric connecting the rest of a network together, so it makes sense to occasionally narrow a network topology to just the switch level:

Topology-expand

With the addition of this new feature, we have also taken topology out of beta status, making the feature generally available for everyone. We hope you find this new option useful, and as always we’d love to hear from you so make a wish!

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Gain situational awareness in just a few minutes

Providing up-to-date information to the right people at the right time has always been a fundamental driver of telecommunications technology. With Meraki MV security cameras it is exceptionally easy to provide situational awareness to first responders in emergency situations.

Due to its cloud architecture and browser-based interface, the MV system allows any number of police officers or firefighters access to video from any device with a modern web browser. This ability to gain situational awareness in just a few minutes can have a big impact on public safety when a crisis occurs.

Four major attributes of MV’s functionality enable this capability. The first is the automatic delivery of video to remote viewers through the cloud. This automatic cloud stream is dynamically created when the Meraki dashboard detects the user’s device can’t connect directly to the camera for instance, from outside of the building. This secure encrypted video delivery eliminates the need for a VPN and the associated complex configuration.

Spencer Data Flow and Storage

The Meraki cloud will automatically detect whether the viewing computer is in the same network as the cameras, sending video directly or proxying through the cloud.

The second is that because the cloud acts as a proxy for the video coming from the MV cameras, video is only streamed once from the camera to the cloud but many times from the cloud to the clients. This allows the system to scale in an emergency to allow for many first responders to have access to video simultaneously. This happens automatically and dynamically with no pre-planning or configuration required.

Spencer Data Flow and Storage - RemoteVideo streams once from the cameras to the cloud, but can stream to multiple remote computers simultaneously.

Thirdly, the implementation of HLS for video transport means video can stream to any device with a modern web browser. In an emergency situation all you need is access to an Internet-connected device and a web browser: no special computer, no software to install, and no wasted time.

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Finally, comprehensive access controls allow for login and video viewing privileges to only be assigned to those who should have them. These privileges can be integrated with existing user databases with Meraki’s support for SAML, or new access can be provisioned directly within a couple of minutes with just a user’s email address.

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Combined, Meraki MV’s features offer a new level of capability and customizability when it comes to public safety. When making the right decision is paramount, the value of having rapid access to the right information cannot be overestimated. Contact us today to find out more about MV and to arrange a trial to test the technology for yourself.

Good things come in threes

Our approach to product development ensures we bring new Meraki hardware to market rapidly, once the essential feature set is ready to roll. This formula has worked well for us, and anyone who has followed Meraki over the years will know all about our legendary Feature Velocity. Shipping hardware is just the beginning of an exciting life cycle for each product. From day one we’re listening to feedback, planning and building new features to ensure our customers experience increasing value for their investment over time.

Since its launch in May we’ve been delighted by the response to our Communications line and its first product, MC74. This was a bold move by Meraki, entering an established and mature market, but we knew we had something fresh to offer. It simply made sense to take our experience in building cloud-managed networking products and apply it to other areas of technology, and the voice world was ripe for a simplified approach to deployment. By eliminating the traditional PBX, and integrating the PSTN service provider component directly into the dashboard, we’ve delivered on the promise of IT made simple.

Almost since the day of the launch we’ve seen one consistent feature request: what the industry generally refers to as Hunt Groups, or Work Groups. These are essentially a way to relay an incoming call around a configured group of phones until the call is answered, with the ultimate goal of improving customer experience.

Our engineers have been hard at work coding a solution, and today we’re delighted to announce the introduction of ‘Call Groups’ for Meraki phones. Here’s how setting up a Call Group looks in dashboard:

Call Groups

Setting up a call group is as simple as our customers have come to expect from Meraki. Name the call group, determine which phones should ring (phones can be tagged, or all phones in the network can be included), determine a ringing strategy, numbers for the group, and that’s it. The ringing strategy can be based on which phone has been idle the longest, a round robin (one after the other with equal treatment for each) or simply ringing all the phones simultaneously. In each case the duration of ringing for each phone is set on the phone itself, and the admin can configure a total time for which the caller will be passed around the group before the call goes to voicemail.

Next on today’s list of much requested features is Announcements. It’s now possible to grant specific phones the privilege of making announcements to a predetermined group of receiving phones. When an announcement is initiated, the speakers on the receiving phones will be enabled and the phones will be muted to prevent feedback. Here’s how it looks on the announcing phone:

announcements

The blog title hinted at three things, and we do have one more thing to share today: an enhancement to our Service Provider integration into the Phone Numbers configuration screen. Integrating the Service Provider component directly into dashboard smooths the workflow for IT administrators, eliminating the need to work separately with the provider to purchase public numbers, which can be a potentially lengthy process. The dashboard already provides searching for and purchasing new numbers. We’re now adding the ability to ‘port’, or transfer existing numbers from a third party, all handled within the dashboard.

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IT administrators who work with Meraki are familiar with our Feature Velocity. It’s a fundamental benefit of moving to a cloud-based architecture, where so much more can be achieved in software, free of the constraints of an expensive box. The Product Management team is already cooking up the next batch of features for the Meraki phone, as well as for the other products in our broadening portfolio, and this blog is the place to be to stay on top of it all. We hope you’re enjoying the ride as much as we are.

Click here to learn more about Meraki MC and attend a webinar.

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Keeping an Eye on What Matters

A big challenge of managing the physical security of a large office, school, or other campus is keeping an eye on what’s important at any given time. One way to help streamline this daunting task is grouping relevant video feeds—whether by location, tag, or anything else—into video walls. This not only helps with the organization of seemingly endless video streams, but also creates screens that can be used in a ‘command center’ setup in the main security office or elsewhere.

In contrast to many hard-to-manage and/or clunky video management software (VMS) packages available today, the browser-based Meraki dashboard provides a simple and streamlined experience. Meraki MV doesn’t require any additional software packages or plugins, and best of all, with the dashboard interface, you can create a video wall in just a few clicks. See it in action:

To learn more about Meraki MV and all the ways it can help your organization, get in touch with a Meraki rep or join a webinar.

 

 

Meraki is now on Medium

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As of today, we now have a second blog, hosted on medium.com. Check it out HERE.

Why the need for an additional blog, you ask? At Meraki, we’re always looking for better ways to deliver the most relevant and engaging content we can to our followers. We’ve decided there are two distinct formats that will allow us to more effectively organize and distribute content which matters to our community and beyond.

Here’s the breakdown:

The Meraki site blog (the one you’re reading this on!) will continue to focus on product and feature news and updates, as well as more company-specific happenings, keeping you up to speed on all things Meraki.

The new Meraki Medium blog will feature content that makes sense for broader audiences, filtered through our experiences here at Meraki. Topics will include case studies, helpful advice, industry observations, and more; think of it as the right brain to our site blog’s left brain.

Rather than splitting our current posting frequency between the two mediums (sorry for the pun), we will be stepping up our content output, delivering more substance that will help you rock your job and be the most interesting person at your office happy hours.

Happy reading!

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Get a year of licensing for free!

Just over a month ago, the First Year on Us promotion launched, allowing customers making new license purchases (3 years or more) to get an extra year of licensing for free!

Meraki First Year on Us Banner-02

We want to make sure everyone can benefit from the promotion, so from now until July 29, 2017, it will automatically be added to eligible customers’ Meraki dashboard accounts and will appear within 30 days of purchase.

No matter whether you’re adding new devices to an existing Meraki network or thinking of purchasing for the first time, it’s a great time to take a look at your IT needs and see that you don’t have to compromise due to budget constraints. With the added year of licensing, your IT infrastructure will keep on running for another year, providing you with Meraki’s standard suite of benefits:

  • Easy to configure: fill in the blanks and drop-down menus in an intuitive interface with enterprise functionality
  • Easy to access: configure and monitor your network from anywhere in the world where you have Internet access
  • Easy to scale: ship Meraki hardware to your sites and add it to your network by entering the serial numbers into dashboard
  • Easy to deploy: ideal for organizations of any size, from small site to large distributed enterprises

And remember, there’s so much more than you think included in that license! Not only do you get 24/7 dedicated support from a Meraki specialist, but you’re also getting all future firmware updates and new feature releases included, making your deployment future-proof.

Now is the perfect time to try the industry-leading Cisco Meraki solution and get started on completing those IT projects!

*This is for new license purchases only, so license renewals are not eligible for this offer. This offer is only valid between September 1, 2016 and July 29, 2017.

Full terms and conditions are available here.

Questions? Contact your Meraki sales rep or email [email protected].

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As easy as your smartphone

They say a picture tells a thousand words. Today we wanted to share a short video put together by Paul, one of the Meraki Product Specialists working on our MC product line. In less than 2 1/2 minutes Paul shows us how easy it is to do the essentials on the MC74.

Hands up everyone who’s experienced sitting through a training session at work or being given a manual to work through, just to use a device as simple as a phone. The truth is, we all know how to work a sophisticated modern phone: we carry one around with us everywhere we go.

Anyone who can work a smartphone will be right at home on this beautiful handset, and as we set out on our webpage, MC74 has a host of user-friendly features to keep communication simple, like it should be.

To try MC74, with public phone network access, head on over to our trial page. There’s no better way to experience Meraki.

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