Archive for May, 2023

Cloud-First Security and Resilience in Action 

Colleagues collaborating on a laptop

Juan Vela is Global Head of Market Strategy at Cisco Meraki. 

Every modern business has become digital-first, prioritizing technologies and channels as the primary ways of engaging with customers, conducting operations, and delivering products and services. By 2025, 85% of businesses globally will also become cloud-first, according to Gartner. That means a majority of their network resources will be based in the cloud.  

But there’s more to being a cloud-first business than simply migrating workloads to cloud environments. Doing cloud-first right requires a unified approach among an IT organization’s networking, security, and cloud teams. It requires removing the complexity of connecting and securing people, devices, and things wherever they are.  

With a holistic, cloud-managed platform, cloud-first businesses can scale easily, automate operations, connect multiple domains securely, and tap into an open ecosystem of beneficial technology partners.  

Read on to learn how doing cloud-first right can lead to enhanced resilience and security.   

Resilience rising 

According to Gartner, resilience is now a business differentiator. Resilience in a cloud-first business means being able to quickly respond to natural or man-made disruptions by making apps and data accessible from anywhere to maintain business continuity. End-to-end visibility, with shared telemetry and coordinated alerts across security and networking components, empowers predictive analytics solutions to identify potential bottlenecks and disruptions that can be remediated before they occur. 

Supply chains built on cloud-managed platforms are a good example of cloud-first resilience. Suppliers, manufacturers, logistics companies, retailers, and end customers can access cloud-based systems from anywhere (Figure 1). Increased visibility and control of supply chain operations allow for fast and efficient changes to production schedules, alternative sourcing, and different shipping routes. 

Figure 1. The Cloud-First Supply Chain 
Source: Benchmarking, An International Journal; Balan Sundarakani. 

A resilient cloud-first supply chain ensures that all of the links in the supply chain are on the same page, working toward the same goals, and are able to maintain continuity of operations. 

End-to-end security 

Along with network resilience, security is also simpler and more comprehensive in a cloud-first business with a cloud-managed platform compared to traditional security models. Siloed networking and security teams with separate, complex tools, techniques, and products can no longer meet the dynamic security needs of distributed applications, people, places, and things.  

Standardized policies, shared telemetry, and streamlined workflows across security, networking, and cloud operations deliver better and faster IT and business outcomes than environments that operate in technology silos. This allows everyone to work from a common set of tools, fostering consistently secure connectivity end-to-end while increasing efficiencies and reducing risk. 

In contrast to traditional security solutions, a unified, cloud-first architecture managed on a cloud platform pushes centrally managed security policies and enforcement closer to end users and applications, providing connectivity that is flexible, seamless, automated, and zero trust (Figure 2). Known as Secure Access Service Edge (SASE), this model provides the operational simplification and consistent security and performance that cloud-first businesses require.   

Figure 2. SASE security model 
Source: CDW 

An effective, unified foundation 

The cloud-first business with a cloud-managed platform operates from a highly efficient, effective, and unified foundation that provides resilience, security, and a quality end-to-end experience. Applying cloud-first principles also contributes to streamlining IT operations with automation, artificial intelligence for IT operations (AIOps), and predictive analytics.   

More and more organizations recognize that in today’s environment, siloed technology and operations models are too limiting. The challenges of network resilience and end-to-end security with hybrid workforces require a more holistic approach that can deliver a simpler, more secure, more flexible cloud-first network infrastructure and operations model. 

Read our cloud-first whitepaper to learn more. 

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The Key to Effective and Secure Port Management

Meraki dashboard view on laptop

Business works when the network works, and the importance of having a reliable and efficient network is critical. 

For example, imagine a smart office where digital signage shows available conference rooms, smart whiteboards power collaboration, and smart cameras ensure security—all connected to a network switch that is the backbone of everything.

If a port is configured incorrectly, these services could be interrupted, causing disruptions in productivity and potentially compromising the safety and security of the office. IT teams would then spend hours troubleshooting, delaying resolution and causing frustration for everyone.

Modern networks are increasingly complex. The Meraki cloud-managed switching platform provides an efficient way to manage networks across locations remotely, empowering IT teams to achieve scale effectively and intuitively. 

From (day) zero to hero with zero-touch provisioning 

A proactive approach to port management involves identifying and labeling all ports when deploying new switches. This prevents unauthorized access or accidental connection. Meraki zero-touch provisioning eliminates the need for dedicated on-site network staff and potential errors from manual configurations, optimizing both network management and security.  

Paul Campbell, CEO and Founder, Quaversal, discusses zero touch provisioning on the Cisco Champion Radio Podcast

Get the best of both worlds of security and sustainability

Being able to safely monitor usage and quickly detect anomalies requires keeping ports and devices on 24/7. But network switches can consume a significant amount of energy, even when not all ports are in use.  

With the Meraki switching port schedule feature, network teams can remotely and safely disable ports (on a set schedule, like after business hours). This limits access to authorized devices for enhanced security posture and also helps reduce energy consumption.   

Be adaptive to changing needs

As an organization continues to connect more devices to its network, managing port settings and configurations becomes increasingly complex. 

Port Profiles aims to solve the problem of highly repetitive and error-prone port configurations by allowing network teams to create a set of standardized attributes. These can then be applied to one or thousands of ports across the network, making initial and ongoing configuration a breeze. 

Let’s consider a hypothetical fast-food franchise that wants to add additional drive-through order monitors to multiple locations to improve the customer experience. Network teams can create a static profile that includes all the required settings and configurations for the monitors. They can then assign the profile to all targeted ports from the Meraki dashboard or API.

With the upcoming release of dynamic port profiles automation, if the monitors need to be moved to another port in the future, the port configuration is automatically applied. Port Profiles reduces the need for manual configuration or reconfiguration, saving time while minimizing errors and downtime.

As more comprehensive capabilities are added, Port Profiles will become more intelligent, with an increasing ability to dynamically and concisely assign to appropriate devices across a variety of networks.   

Curious to learn more? 

Listen to our episode on the Cisco Champion podcast. Our panel of experts discuss how Meraki switching tackles complex network operations with a user-first approach to deliver features like port profiles, templates, and APIs. They also share best practices for streamlining network operations and enhancing security without headaches. Tune in now!

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A New Dashboard Designed for Simplicity and Intelligence

Meraki next gen dashboard

Meraki is launching an all new dashboard experience focused on simplicity and intelligence. The new dashboard is cleaner in design, more intuitive to use, and makes it even easier to see what’s happening within networks. We’re doing this to help customers accomplish more in less time while also making it easier for them to stay on top of all aspects of their networks. 

Starting today, there will be easier navigation within the dashboard, as well as new switch and access point pages—with a new client page coming soon. The dashboard also features improved performance, including faster screen loads for the new pages and quicker refresh rates for up-to-the minute status information.

More than 40% of customers signed up for the beta program and have enjoyed this new version for the past few months. It’s a truly impressive number, and we thank everyone who helped us make the new dashboard what it is today. Customer feedback has always been important to us, and the new dashboard experience is a result of incorporating as much of that feedback as possible. Thank you!

Global Overview

For customers running large global deployments with multiple organizations, the new dashboard also includes Global Overview. This provides a way to see all organizations holistically on one screen to better understand what needs attention across all of them. Customers then have the ability to drill down to problem areas to quickly resolve issues. 

For day-to-day monitoring, Global Overview helps keep organizations running smoothly by providing customers with intuitive metrics, such as the current status of each device throughout all networks, the status and expiration dates of all licenses, and the number of unused licenses. Global Overview is fast to load and provides the right amount of detail while incorporating the modernized look and feel of the new dashboard. 

Rollout timeline

When can you get your hands on the new dashboard and take it for a spin? Rollout will happen over the coming weeks. Want it sooner? Go to the “Early Access” page within the dashboard and opt in. If you were part of the beta program, you are already using the new dashboard and no further steps are needed. 

We are continually improving the dashboard experience to make it simpler to use—you can look forward to seeing additional updates in the coming weeks and months. 
Watch our webinar to learn more about the new dashboard.

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Ecosystem Partners Are All the Buzz at HIMSS 2023

Doctor holding tablet PC consulting with patient

Cisco Meraki’s ecosystem tech partners took center stage at HIMSS 2023, where customers, partners, and other vendors were all abuzz about the latest tech innovations.

From patient engagement and data-driven workflows to operational transformation and industry-leading security, our tech partners are helping lead the way for a more connected, secure, and resilient future in healthcare. 

Solving healthcare challenges 

Many customer challenges can be solved by Meraki ecosystem partners and their turnkey solutions for healthcare. Using Meraki APIs and partners featured in the Meraki Marketplace, customers can deliver safer spaces, secure access, and much more.

During HIMSS, several ecosystem partners highlighted the extensibility of their solutions, including:

  • Ordr makes it easy to secure every connected device across your network. At HIMSS, they presented a practical approach to zero trust, where attendees learned from the CIO of Dayton Children’s Hospital about their zero-trust journey.
  • Armis creates a detailed inventory of every device on your network using your existing Meraki infrastructure. They showcased how cloud-to-cloud integrations give customers greater visibility into the devices and software on their network, connections between devices, and services being used. At HIMSS, Armis also announced their top ten riskiest devices in healthcare.
  • ServiceNow makes healthcare work for everyone by connecting teams, streamlining processes, and securely integrating systems to change lives for the better. At HIMSS, the team hosted a lunch-and-learn on investing in digital operations to reduce costs, a showcase session on interoperability, and a discussion on streamlining medical device management.

“Meraki has cracked the code for extending its platform value with an effective partner ecosystem. Customers can combine solutions like AiRISTA’s patient location tracking with Cogniac’s computer vision to solve the healthcare industry’s most challenging problems. Cogniac tools allowed us to be self-sufficient, and we created the integration in only hours.”

Vince Grove, AiRISTA Flow, VP Marketing

In learning more from our tech partners, the audience gained insight into how to build a flexible and distributed network infrastructure—one that can scale up and down as needed—and they took away the knowledge of how to be at the center of all digital transformation efforts.

Boost your network with ecosystem partners

Insight into the physical world drives decision-making and innovation. Using Meraki smart cameras and environmental sensors—while leveraging the various technologies from our ecosystem partners—can aid in remote patient monitoring, PPE compliance, detecting aggressive behavior, or slip-and-fall prevention.

As healthcare organizations navigate the evolving landscape of healthcare IT and strive to deliver safer, more efficient patient-centric care, the Meraki team and its ecosystem partners are happy to be a resource that moves them well into the future.

Start with our smart hospital checklist or learn more about our healthcare IT solutions
Missed HIMSS23 altogether? For a high-level recap, check out the Cisco blog, Top three takeaways for healthcare technology leaders at HIMSS 2023.

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