Archive for February, 2023

Simplify and Scale Anywhere Connectivity

Customers are asking for new ways to interact with the products and services they use, the organizations they rely on, and the brands they love. Businesses are responding by opening highly connected locations, boutique showroom stores, and service centers built around immersive digital experiences. The limiting factor for most locations is access to fast, reliable, always-on connectivity. 

A new way to connect innovative experiences

To help our customers deliver these new experiences, Cisco Meraki is pleased to introduce its first-ever 5G cellular gateways, the MG51 and MG51E. With these devices, branch-based businesses can take advantage of next-generation 5G fixed wireless access for high-performance connectivity, instant provisioning, and simple, sophisticated site management. Powered by the Meraki platform, the MG51 and MG51E provide businesses with a fast, low-latency 5G connection that is also highly resilient and scalable no matter the location.

Faster time-to-market by connecting branches quickly

Businesses want to launch new sites quickly while also providing customers with exceptional experiences. Because new wired connections can take weeks to install, and wired troubleshooting can require complex and time-consuming rewiring, wireless is often the best solution.

For businesses in retail, food services, healthcare, manufacturing and supply chain, and even government agencies like those in public safety, the MG51 and MG51E, combined with the power of the Meraki platform, enable greater agility for branch expansions by providing seamless network management from a single dashboard, whether you’re managing ten or 10,000 locations. This ability to manage large deployments at scale is a differentiator that can be leveraged to expand into new markets.

Reliably execute mission-critical services with priority connectivity

One of the hallmarks of 5G cellular WAN is that it offers greater resiliency than wired connections. This is particularly relevant for organizations that serve the general welfare of the community, such as public safety agencies. Whereas a failed wired line due to digging and construction can require weeks of on-site repairs, the MG51 and MG51E simply grab a signal from the next closest tower when one goes down.

Because the MG51 and MG51E are designed to be deployed anywhere—even outdoors and in harsh climates—they can establish direct line-of-sight to cellular towers for maximum performance. That’s one of many reasons why Meraki cellular is trusted by AT&T FirstNet to help public safety agencies serve communities and perform critical, lifesaving activities with connected first responders everywhere.

Elevating businesses everywhere

5G fixed wireless access, when connected through the Meraki platform, can unlock a plethora of new capabilities that elevate the way branch-based businesses serve their customers. With same-day connectivity, the flexibility to be deployed anywhere, and robust, reliable performance, the MG51 and MG51E give IT teams greater agility to drive the business forward and respond to emerging market dynamics faster. 

Try the MG51 and MG51E for yourself and see how branch-based businesses can scale faster and deliver rich experiences for their customers with Meraki.

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Empowering Network Visibility

Man working on laptop, Meraki Health dashboard

If you’re in charge of your organization’s network infrastructure, you know that keeping tabs on the health of your network can be a draining, 24/7 job. Round-the-clock visibility into your network is paramount, and supporting a growing environment demands ever-improving sophistication, intelligence, and awareness. At Cisco Meraki, we are continuously striving to set the standard for real-time network performance visibility with our AI-powered intelligence dashboard.

Advanced web application insight

With Meraki Health, we give administrators real-time visibility into the performance of their networks, and one key feature is the Web App Health tool, which allows you to:

  • Monitor the availability and responsiveness of your web applications and track performance over time
  • Analyze the root cause of performance problems with your web applications by identifying specific issues
  • View detailed reports and analytics on the health of your web applications, including trends, anomalies, and historical data

As an example, in the past few weeks, the Web App Health tool immediately identified a critical Outlook 365 network outage for a Meraki customer. Without that advanced insight, the IT administrator would have been unable to identify and troubleshoot the critical outage, highlighting the importance of real-time network monitoring.

Web App Health

Streamlined visibility

A robust, critical issue detection tool like Web App Health is essential to understanding your network’s performance. However, if the issues or alerts detected are unclear or difficult to interpret, it limits the efficacy of our AI-driven tools. That’s why we continue to advance the already intuitive and streamlined Meraki health dashboard. 

One recent innovation in this area is the launch of the Organization Alerts page, which provides a centralized view of all alerts across an organization, making it easier to manage and respond to them. This feature allows administrators to customize how they receive alerts so they can choose the method that works best for their workflow and create custom rules to trigger alerts for specific events or situations.

Dashboard alerts

The Organization Alerts page and assortment of other intuitive, centralized management hubs in the Meraki dashboard can provide you with a comprehensive view of your network infrastructure. 

Customer-focused innovation

Our team is constantly innovating with customers in mind, providing new features and capabilities that address the real-world challenges you face today and will continue to face in the future. 

By integrating practical AI and machine-learning algorithms, the Meraki Health dashboard is continuously learning and improving to provide more real-time insights into server performance, proactive monitoring, network roaming, and many new features to come. 

We’ve got your back

No matter your experience level with network management, Meraki Health has your back. With powerful tools like Web App Health and the Organization Alerts Page, you can intuitively keep your network running smoothly and efficiently. Additionally, with a variety of customer-focused AI-driven tools launching soon, the Meraki Health dashboard will continue to offer ever-improving network intelligence to you, our rockstar customers. Learn more about all of our dashboard innovations!

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Security. Privacy. Trust.

security, privacy, trust, camera illustration concept

For security practitioners, security and privacy are part of the job. But as important as it is, it’s not always taken into consideration when looking at camera systems, and many lack  balance between the two. With data protection laws becoming more common globally, it’s imperative that the security cameras your organization selects are built with privacy by design. And as the technology continues to evolve, it’s also essential to ensure that data captured is being used responsibly. To best prepare for what the future may bring, you need a trusted partner who understands that privacy and data protection are integral.

Think about it this way—when looking for a new home, you wouldn’t purchase a house without a lock on the door. And if that house didn’t come with curtains, you’d probably put them in so your neighbors wouldn’t see you cleaning the living room dressed in a cat onesie. But a house where the builder installed locks (security) and curtains (privacy) is a move-in-ready dream house. When selecting cameras to protect your organization, look for that “dream house” as well. 

Building a solid foundation

Security, privacy, trust—organizations should be thinking of these before day one, and definitely before a breach or hack happens. Meraki smart cameras and sensors are that “dream house”—developed with security in mind. They’re built to address emerging security threats, both now and in the future, and go beyond “just the necessary features” to ensure your protection.

  • A secure-by-default approach minimizes configuration requirements, and security cannot be turned off
  • Video is automatically encrypted at rest and in-transit using publicly signed certificates
  • OTA software updates ensure you have the latest security features
  • Devices are protected and tamper-proof with Cisco Trust Anchor modules, secure boot, and firmware image signing 
  • No default usernames and passwords, and secure but easy-to-configure user roles, let you give camera access only to those who need it

A well-balanced foundation is built with privacy that doesn’t sacrifice security or safety. With more departments benefiting from video data, it’s no longer just physical security professionals who need access. As insights from video data are being used by facilities, operations, and marketing, the ability to grant different levels of access is critical to maintaining privacy. This, combined with video access logs, provides additional levels of security and visibility to reduce misuse. Teams that don’t need to watch video can leverage insights from anonymized data, allowing marketing to confirm that a planogram is compliant, and allowing facilities to create a more comfortable employee experience without compromising security or privacy.

Every step of the way 

Security is built into not only the hardware, but also the platform. We don’t just expect this of ourselves, we look for partners and suppliers that share similar values. Our ecosystem partners leverage Meraki APIs to securely connect their applications to the Meraki platform. Partners like meldCX share our commitment to developing ethical, socially responsible, and privacy-compliant computer vision systems. As a security practitioner, ensuring that video data is only being collected when needed and is used ethically should be a top priority.  

Earning trust through transparency

Openness and transparency are key to building customer trust. Across all our lines of business, Cisco is open and transparent about our approach to security and privacy. As we unify experiences across IT, OT, and IoT, customers should expect the same transparency and accountability they’ve come to expect in other areas of our business.  Learn more about how Cisco Meraki is leading the way for security, privacy, and trust in physical security.

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Demystifying Security, Trust, and Compliance

When it comes to cloud networking services, security, privacy, and trust are paramount. Transparency is equally vital.

At Meraki, security, privacy, and trust—like the cloud—are part of our DNA. They underscore everything we do with our platform and the services we provide to millions of customers in the United States and around the world.

Regardless of size or industry, conversations about these values extend across industries and roles. Board members and C-suite executives are concerned. Privacy is a business imperative for 95% of respondents to the Cisco 2023 Data Privacy Benchmark Report. That’s up from 90% in the 2022 study. And 33% of CFOs plan to increase spending on governance, risk, and compliance in 2023, PwC found. 

A central repository

Whether or not your budget grew, nobody wants to spend extra time researching prospective partners’ policies. Abiding by the mantra of efficiency, you can find information about security, privacy, and trust for our platform in the Meraki Trust Center. This dedicated space details a comprehensive list of topics from data centers to PCI compliance to location analytics and more. 

Transparency is key to earning—and deserving—your trust. It’s not just a matter of compliance. It’s a matter of doing what’s right.

Ask me anything

Of course, we still get lots of questions. Here are answers to some of the most common ones.

How big is the Meraki platform?

Meraki operates the industry’s largest-scale cloud networking platform. It powers millions of networks around the world, connecting millions of devices each day. 

So, Meraki has been offering this for a while?

Yes—continuously since 2006. 

What are some of the basic security elements Meraki provides?

Meraki offers 24/7 automated intrusion protection, two-factor authentication, plus IP- and port-based firewalls. Remote access is restricted by IP address and verified by public key (RSA). Other safeguards include around-the-clock security guards augmented by video surveillance, which monitors doors and cabinets at every data center. 

Protection takes far more than these steps. That’s why Meraki supports customers as a strategic partner on their journey toward security modernization

Can you see my data? 

The only information Meraki can view is telemetry data—the data that helps run your network. This enables us to improve the platform and allows you to optimize and better manage your network with Meraki. We cannot see your user data at all—not one bit or byte.

Do you store my data anywhere? 

Customer data does not travel through the Meraki platform. Your user data travels through the internet to the data storage solution you have chosen, such as Google Cloud, Amazon AWS, Microsoft Azure, or your own data center.

Is my network data separate from other customer data? 

All the telemetry data that travels through our platform is segregated by customer. This data is also encrypted in transit and at rest in the cloud, preventing unwanted changes and potential snooping. 

Is Meraki compliant? 

The Meraki platform maintains the following compliance standards: 

  • Data Center ISO 27001
  • Data Center SOC 2 Type 2
  • FIPS 

What questions do you have? How can we answer them? How can the Meraki platform help resolve some of the business challenges and opportunities you face today and beyond? Read our whitepaper to find out. 

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Safety and Security, Meet Smart Buildings

The world is changing—how we work and where we work has evolved dramatically over recent years, an evolution supported by technology and the new ways in which we can perform job responsibilities. 

These new approaches to our work life, such as the here-to-stay hybrid work model, offer an opportunity to reimagine what’s possible and provide new smarter outcomes, including a demonstrable return on technology investment and a future-thinking look at facility management.

The future of facilities: buildings, experiences, and physical security

The way facilities managers deliver safe working environments and manage the facilities themselves is also changing. Long gone are the days of purchasing a video surveillance system as an insurance policy only to revisit it during a trigger event or viewing its use as being solely to protect and secure. In today’s world of flux and change, it’s vital to think beyond what video surveillance has done historically for facilities and instead to the future of what modernized technology can bring to physical safety and security. 

Now is the time to start asking yourself: 

  • Can this technology fit a dual purpose to meet objectives of sustainability? 
  • Can it provide data to make decisions around real estate planning and space utilization? 
  • How am I evolving and adapting physical security technology and delivering more cost savings and efficiency to the facilities I manage?

One answer to these questions exists in the concept of a smart building. A vision that many facilities leaders are now seeing more clearly for its advantages, especially in regards to physical security. 

What is a smart building?

A smart building is a multifaceted concept that goes well beyond safety, security, and physical shelter. Physical security is a basic tenet for a facilities leader, but building management has evolved. Smart buildings are the foundation of the experiences they host for the occupants as buildings have morphed into places for collaboration, learning, socialization, and innovation. With the right digital technologies, facility leaders can achieve three goals by creating smarter buildings:

  • Reduction of operational costs
  • Improvement of overall operational effectiveness
  • Maximization of occupant experiences 
Facilities of the future whitepaper. Read now

A cloud-first foundation

A recent study conducted by Cascade Insights found that many facilities leaders from various industries—including retail, financial services, healthcare, and manufacturing—were adding labor hours to manage their video surveillance systems and respond to security incidents across locations.  

By migrating video surveillance to a cloud-first model, Facilities teams can operate more efficiently and strategically by cutting down on repair and travel time, thus cutting costs. 

This is just one example of how a smart building approach to facilities management and physical security can provide improved experiences compared with traditional security. 

Thinking smarter (and bigger) with your IoT

  • Physical security goes beyond external threats; 48% of HR professionals have witnessed workplace security incidents which could be mitigated by smarter uses of video surveillance
  • IoT could generate $1.2 trillion worldwide through improved productivity
  • Video data can be used to increase retail sales by 30% by analyzing customer traffic

A building equipped with intelligent devices, such as smart cameras and sensors, can provide a real-time view of operations across the entire organization, something that isn’t possible with legacy infrastructure, on-premises video cameras, and disparate sensor technologies.To learn how Cisco Meraki is helping facilities teams create smarter spaces, download our whitepaper.

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