Archive for June, 2021

Road Warrior vs. At-Home Hero

Split image of woman on train speaking on phone and man at home wearing a headset

Enabling remote and hybrid work has become a competitive advantage. Microsoft, Salesforce, SAP, and other tech companies have all created long-term remote and hybrid workforce accommodations, but it’s not just tech companies. A survey of 5,858 U.S. adults in October 2020 found 84% of those in banking, finance, and accounting felt the responsibilities of their job could be done from home, either full time or part time.

In a previous article, we discussed how to support a workforce that is expected to return to the office full time with cloud-managed WAN products, IoT cameras, and sensors. Let’s now consider how an insurer can provide a successful hybrid or remote workforce environment.

Bundle your workforce strategy

Historically, underwriters, claims representatives, and adjustors spent a majority of their time in the field. Yet their experience demands 100% connection to the network to secure sensitive data and protect devices and applications.

While eliminating a long commute or picking a few days to collaborate in person sounds appealing to workers, managers have many questions about creating a secure, yet flexible environment, such as:

  • How do we keep employees productive with cloud security and real-time network monitoring?
  • Can we secure sensitive data and enable employees to comply with industry regulations anywhere they work?
  • What’s the best way to protect users’ devices and computers whether they are in the office or not?
  • Can we resolve issues faster and expedite troubleshooting with end-to-end network intelligence?

Let’s approach these questions with two scenarios: an insurance adjuster who spends part of the time away from the office (hybrid worker) and an underwriter who works from home (remote worker).

On the road again

Our insurance adjuster is always on-the-go and requires the same security and collaboration control inside and outside company headquarters. Cybersecurity risks for hybrid employees are often a concern, since the workforce may be in or around unsecured networks. 

A Meraki MR wireless LAN device with the latest in Wi-Fi 6 compatibility, along with an MS switch and a Z3 teleworker gateway, ensures the adjuster maintains uptime and security. 

Out of range of a reliable internet provider? The Meraki MG21 or MG41 enable a hybrid workforce to connect through secure MPLS, broadband, or cellular networks.

Home is where the office is

An underwriter working remotely faces other challenges. A home office network must often compete with video game consoles, streaming services, or even online classwork. Enabling high-speed teleworking with resilient uplinks using wired and wireless LAN devices allows the workforce to communicate with customers and employees as clearly as if they were standing next to them.

All systems, check

Meraki Systems Manager completes the picture for either the hybrid or remote worker. Devices and data are secured with automated provisioning and policy enforcement. Additionally, the company’s operations gain complete visibility of network and application performance in the Meraki dashboard. Meraki Systems Manager allows for remote troubleshooting and Cisco Duo enforces integrated zero-trust security for all users, devices, and applications.

While Meraki’s platform can address networks of all sizes, financial services providers need to balance the customer experience with compliance rules for both health and safety protocols. To learn more about these and other remote and hybrid workforce experiences for financial services, request a free demonstration.

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See beyond Believing with Smart Cameras

Two women collaborating on desktop computer

As manufacturers large and small look to recover from the disruption of the pandemic, leaders are looking to digitalization to create the agile factory of the future. This trend will uncover new data sources from connected devices that can provide leaders with insights to help align operations more to the needs of customers.

One overlooked source that has emerged is video data captured by smart cameras. The potential applications for smart cameras have exploded with the progression of video analytics and increasingly powerful processors.  

Only recently, though, have manufacturers recognized the unique value that cameras can bring to warehouses, distribution centers, and factory floors. Besides obvious applications like monitoring for the theft of raw materials or perimeter security, here are a few additional ways you can use video intelligence to connect people, processes, and assets to keep your operations moving.

Machinery—friend or foe?  

Everything seems to be working fine until very quickly, it’s not, and production is stopped for 72 hours. There’s only a small window of time to identify if your equipment is working normally or if it’s on a downward spiral. Do you understand what “normal” equipment functioning looks like? How do the rollers on the conveyor belt move when 100% operational? As the functionality deteriorates, do you have a monitoring and measurement system in place, and can you report on it?

Identifying a preventative maintenance need before it is too late is critical. Your cloud-based smart cameras can be paired with third-party or custom software solutions to package video data into reports on a digital dashboard with real-time alerts. 

Health, safety, and compliance

Shockingly, about 150 workers die daily on the job due to hazardous workplace conditions. Most accidents happen due to a lack of guards and safety equipment, inadequate or inconsistent training to employees, or compromised safety. In a factory, keeping first-line workers safe can mean:

  • Identifying spills on the floor for quick cleanup 
  • Monitoring hazardous areas for proper use of protective gear 
  • Having exclusion zones and/or minimum staff for safe machine operations
  • Establishing lone worker safety protocols where an absence of movement is detected and triggers an alarm  

By pairing cloud-based smart cameras with new software applications that can solve for a variety of safety hazards, you can create a safer working environment for you and your team.

To learn more about how Meraki helps manufacturers, check out the Meraki for Manufacturing page.

Thank you to Meraki technology partner EveryAngle for contributing to this article.

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ICYMI—All the Tea from Meraki Network

If you didn’t already know, last week we had our first Meraki Network user conference. It was certainly a blast for the whole team at Meraki, and we hope that those of you who attended were equally engaged.

But, we know that to-do lists and calendar invites can get the best of us, so here’s a quick one-minute recap if you weren’t able to make it. 

So now you know that digital transformation is top-of-mind for everyone and IoT devices are about to flood the market. If you’re hungry for more, never fear! All of the content is available free on demand (yep, free!).

If you’re still not convinced, here’s what people in the Twitter-verse are saying. Feeling that FOMO yet? 

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The Midas Touch for Your Security Strategy

overhead view of three call center workers at their computers

This article was contributed by Meraki technology partner Openpath.

Security systems are an important investment, yet it’s often difficult to make the case for new technology until after a costly breach. By merging cybersecurity and physical security, your teams will be better equipped to navigate the emerging security landscape, adding significant value for your business.

Improve team and system efficiency

Efficiency in any department affects your bottom line, and the same holds true for security. When physical security and cybersecurity systems and teams work together, operations are more efficient and effective. Converging cyber and physical systems reduces duplicative efforts between teams by streamlining operations. Security convergence also results in faster incident response, which mitigates risk and prevents threats as they are happening. 

Streamline processes with remote access

Remote access to keyless entry system controls and video surveillance data saves time, reduces IT burden, and improves the user experience. Management teams having access from anywhere results in fewer calls to IT for time-consuming tasks such as provisioning, addressing lockouts, and configuring credentials. In addition, it eliminates the need for property and IT managers to visit the building to resolve minor incidents. 

Reduce costly training

While security training is essential for every business, it’s often time consuming and expensive. The right tools and strategies decrease the costs associated with training administrators and end users for new features or security updates. Intuitive cloud-based software requires less onboarding and recurring training. It’s also easier to scale, making the deployment of security systems and strategies to new locations faster, and simplifying onboarding through streamlining changes to staffing and headcount. 

Scalable, future-proof technology

Your technology is only as secure as the latest update. Bringing physical security and cybersecurity together makes it easier to identify and mitigate evolving vulnerabilities. Over-the-air software updates eliminate expensive upgrades and maintenance and ensure you have the latest features and security updates. 

Future-proof security technology scales more easily than on-premise models, which adds inherent value. A flexible strategy that keeps buildings and data secure through transitions is well worth the investment. With 81% of companies recently surveyed by PwC expecting to change their real estate strategy in the next 12 months, the value of a future-proofed system that effortlessly grows or shrinks to meet changing needs is clear. 

Cybersecurity and physical security that employs full-system automation has a measurable impact. As IoT devices continue to flood the market, fully integrated building systems and AI-powered intelligence tools allow organizations to analyze data and apply learnings quickly, with increasing accuracy to inform decisions. Automation frees up time and IT resources while strengthening sustainability, building experiences, and security posturing.
For a more detailed look at the impact of security convergence strategies, join our webinar on June 29 for a three-part discussion on emerging security strategies.

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Smarter Safety and Security

Overhead view of workers in an office

Safety and security is constantly changing, and it’s become even more apparent over the past year. Many customers turned to Meraki to help navigate various disruptions—everything from remote patient monitoring and vaccine distribution to detecting face masks and PPE and managing occupancy. Today, we’re introducing new tools and products to make it even easier for customers to create safer and more secure environments. 

The Meraki Vision portal puts video front and center

Fast, reliable video access is a core physical security need. In addition to general monitoring, users need an intuitive way to view camera video in order to respond to and investigate incidents quickly. The users who access video are typically not the same administrators who configure cameras and manage the rest of the network. To meet the unique needs of this user, we designed the Meraki Vision portal. 

The Meraki vision portal
The Meraki Vision portal

The Vision portal has the same benefits as the Meraki dashboard—browser-based, no software or plugins to install, and accessibility from anywhere—but it is designed specifically for the video user. The layout is optimized for video, with a collapsible left navigation pane that contains the camera floor plan and camera list, complete with thumbnails. This makes it easy to conduct cross-camera investigations and resolve incidents quickly. 

MV2 makes physical security and analytics easier

The Vision portal simplifies video access, and the new MV2 flex camera simplifies installation. The MV2 combines a compact, flexible, and easy-to-deploy design with enterprise-grade security and analytics, making it more accessible to small business customers. Wireless mobile onboarding and USB-C power speeds up deployments so customers can get smart physical security where it’s needed, fast. This simplicity also makes the MV2 ideal for organizations that are looking to expand coverage areas for ecosystem applications, like safe occupancy in the workplace or providing retail insights. Whether you need powerful physical security, smart analytics, or both, MV2 has you covered.

Continuing to add more value

In addition to the Vision portal and MV2, we recently announced new audio and occupancy analytics features in the existing MV smart camera portfolio. Audio analytics enable MV cameras to detect sirens and alarms and integrate with alarm systems, providing additional insight into the environment, enhancing security, and speeding response times. Occupancy analytics, available on the MV32, provide visibility into how workspaces are being used—including desk and meeting room-level data—to help organizations safely navigate their return to the office. 

The simplicity of Meraki smart camera architecture and the power of the Meraki platform offer the flexibility and future-proofing required to meet the needs of organizations, both now and for whatever comes next. Our robust partner ecosystem, with a variety of apps in the Marketplace, helps businesses get more from their investment. Visit our microsite to learn more about how MV cameras make your business safer and smarter, or check out the MV smart camera page to learn more about the MV2, the Vision portal, and new analytics capabilities. 

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Merging Physical Security and Cybersecurity

Man viewing security display in a dark room

This article was contributed by Meraki technology partner Openpath.

In today’s security landscape, very few businesses are running without cybersecurity and physical security systems in place. However, as IoT technology continues to evolve, and more systems move into the cloud, companies need to constantly reevaluate their strategies. 

Though cybercrime is the top concern when it comes to security, these incidents are often linked to oversights in physical security practices. A comprehensive approach to physical and cyber security convergence will help address the emerging threats of this new security landscape. 

Understanding physical and cybersecurity convergence

Traditionally, physical security measures such as access control, security personnel, and surveillance are treated as standalone functions, with little regard for how data and IT systems are intrinsically connected to physical security. When applications and systems are increasingly mobile or cloud-based, it’s nearly impossible to achieve compliance for sensitive data and identity protection without an integrated physical and cybersecurity strategy. 

A cyber and physical security convergence strategy employs measures to restrict access to certain spaces, along with cybersecurity practices to secure the IP network and limit access to sensitive data. 

Physical security protects cybersecurity by limiting who has access to spaces where data is stored, and the reverse is also true. Physical security components connected to the internet, such as RFID key card door locks, smartphones, and video surveillance cameras, are common targets for hackers. A strong cybersecurity strategy safeguards the sensitive data that physical systems retain. Physical and IT security convergence addresses the interconnected nature of these components and treats them as one rather than as separate business entities.

Best practices for converged security 

In order to successfully implement physical and IT security convergence, systems need to function together seamlessly. While physical security measures are important for preventing unwanted access, a physical and cybersecurity convergence strategy should also cover network devices, applications, and software that power smart, cloud-based devices and security systems as well as the people who manage, monitor, and make business decisions for these functions. To successfully implement a physical and IT security convergence strategy: 

  • Install access control and surveillance for any space that houses sensitive data, proprietary information, or personally identifiable information (PII), and secure key entry points, such as the front door, to prevent unauthorized individuals from gaining access.
  • Ensure that both internal teams and security system providers adhere to best practices for cybersecurity, including using multi-factor authentication (MFA), least-privilege access models, stringent data storage and retention policies, required security training, active system monitoring and threat detection, and frequent vulnerability testing.
  • Restructure security teams so that physical security and IT leaders work together to ensure the right technology is deployed and that the systems are functioning to maximize security across the entire organization.
  • Establish formal collaboration to give teams a better way to share information from their prospective systems and apply those learnings holistically to improve both cybersecurity and physical security.
  • Leverage data compiled from integrated systems for a more complete picture of security posturing across the entire organization. 

Physical and IT security convergence aligns threat assessment for faster, more accurate incident response, plus shared goals eliminate redundancies for a unified team across physical and IT functions. By merging cyber- and physical security strategies, teams will be better equipped to navigate the emerging security landscape.

For a more detailed look at the impact of security convergence strategies, join our webinar for a three-part discussion on emerging security strategies.

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Who’s Who at Meraki Network?

collage of speakers and hosts at Meraki Network

The first Meraki Network user conference is just a few weeks away! To get you ready for an engaging event, here are the leaders, influencers, and experts you’ll want to be logged in to see.

First, your hosts

A great event needs to have illustrious hosts. We’ve got you covered with two Merakians who know a thing or two about standing out. 

Rebecca Stone

Rebecca Stone
Vice President of Marketing, Cisco Meraki

Rebecca oversees the global marketing team at Meraki, focused on innovative go-to-market, field, market strategy, and product marketing, as well as creative design and global communications. As a marketing leader, Rebecca has overseen a variety of sales development, product marketing, lead generation, and marketing communications teams. 

Jason Pernell

Jason Pernell 
Vice President of Sales, Cisco Meraki

As the head of the Meraki sales team, Jason “JP” Pernell is passionate about driving the shift from traditional enterprise networking platforms to the latest in cloud-based solutions. Prior to Meraki, Jason held numerous leadership roles at Cisco. He takes great pride in helping customers achieve their vision through Meraki solutions while leading the organization to success within Cisco.

You can hear more about Rebecca’s and JP’s stories and what they’re looking forward to for the event on the Meraki Unboxed Podcast.

Keynote speakers

We’ve got some big names on our keynote speakers list. Register now and be sure not to miss them! 

Reshma Saujani

Reshma Saujani
Founder, Girls Who Code and Marshall Plan for Moms

Reshma Saujani is Founder and CEO of Girls Who Code, the international nonprofit organization working to close the gender gap in technology and change the image of what a computer programmer looks like and does.

Guy Raz

Guy Raz
Award-winning Reporter, Radio & Podcast Host, and Creator

Guy Raz is an acclaimed radio and podcast personality and creator of the popular podcast “How I Built This” and the “TED Radio Hour.” His shows are heard by more than 19 million people each month around the world.

Denise Thomas

Denise Thomas
Chief Operations Officer, Cisco Meraki

Denise Thomas serves as Chief Operations Officer for Cisco’s Meraki Business Unit, where she’s responsible for inclusion, employee experience, IT, business systems, program management, facilities, and business and manufacturing operations. Denise played a pivotal role in enabling Meraki to grow from 300 employees to over 2,000, helping the team navigate its high-growth startup stage through a successful integration as part of Cisco. 

Chris Stori
SVP/GM, Enterprise Networking, Meraki, and IoT

Chris is Senior Vice President/General Manager of Enterprise Networking, Meraki, and IoT for Cisco. Chris joined Cisco with the Meraki acquisition in 2012. He stepped into the role of VP, Operations/COO in 2014, and was named SVP/GM of Cisco Meraki in 2020. In May 2021, Chris was elevated to SVP/GM of Cisco’s Enterprise Networking, Meraki, and IoT businesses.


Finally, here are some of the Cisco Meraki customers who will also be joining us for the event. If you haven’t registered yet, there’s still time!

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Returning to the Office in Financial Services

Man in glasses speaking and gesturing to another man in the foreground

Ready to roll up your sleeves and get back to the office? Many employers are eager to get their workforce under one roof. CEOs like Goldman Sachs’ David Solomon and JPMorgan Chase’s Jamie Dimon have announced their current remote workforce will soon return to the office either full time or in a hybrid model. The thinking is that face-to-face interactions result in clear communication and collaboration.

As more and more people are getting vaccinated, and with social restrictions being lifted, there is a pent-up demand from customers looking for face-to-face personalized services like banking, insurance, and wealth management. Professional services firm PricewaterhouseCoopers surveyed financial services employers in December 2020. The result: 70% said they felt workers should be physically in the office at least three days a week to preserve a company’s competitive edge. 

While the thought of returning full time sounds appealing to employers, many questions about creating safe environments remain, such as: 

  • How do I keep my employees and customers safe?
  • Should everyone come back at the same time? What about a hybrid approach?
  • What is the best way to monitor workspaces to allow for social distancing?
  • How can we maintain security and compliance with a distributed workforce?

To help answer these questions, let’s consider a midrange banking services provider with a workforce expected to return to the office full time. In a follow up article, we will consider how a large corporate insurance carrier can provide a hybrid workforce environment.

Under one roof

As employees stream back to the office on a full-time basis, executives should be looking to provide three things: infrastructure and insights, branch and building safety, and cloud-based team support.

Infrastructure and insights

Financial services firms should provide reliable and secure connections with the latest Wi-Fi protocols and the fastest networking capabilities. Employees who have worked from home will appreciate the vastly improved experience back in the office, especially as they won’t need to keep sharing bandwidth with their children’s video games. 

Additionally, employers can use networking insights to determine how branch infrastructure is operating for an improved employee experience. Some strategies include installing wireless access points with Wi-Fi 6 capabilities to optimize network visibility and traffic analytics. These insights can provide a drastic reduction in troubleshooting and allow IT resources to focus on the true cause of end-user frustration.

Branch and building safety

Even if all workers are in the office, health and safety protocols may require limited numbers of people in meeting rooms and common areas. Employers will want to evaluate these trends, including analyzing occupancy throughout the day for better on-site employee experiences. Providing video analytics can help intelligently maintain social distancing protocols, as would IoT cameras and sensors.

Cloud-based team support

Financial services teams often work in close collaboration. Employers should insist that their cloud-based solutions support their remote workforce and branch employees in order to collaborate safely. This may include secure policy controls that identify workers capabilities.To learn more about these and other solutions for financial services, read our e-book.

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