Archive for the ‘Company Blog’ Category

Launching Systems Manager Sentry

Simple. Secure. Sentry.

To allow IT to be capable of meeting the varied and often conflicting demands of users and security, we have developed Systems Manager Sentry. Sentry brings together the mass of data available in a Cisco Meraki IT infrastructure, to provide context aware automatic security.

Let’s for a minute stop to think about the importance of context. Imagine an iPhone that belongs to the VP of operations for a high street retailer. This VP of operations needs to check inventory levels on a company server to make sure they get their manufacturing orders placed on time.

One evening an iPhone accesses the server over a VPN and looks at the stock levels. 
 

Should anyone be concerned by this? The answer is you don’t know without context. Let’s look at the same situation again.

One evening the VP’s iPhone accesses the server over a VPN and looks at the stock levels. The iPhone is no longer in Paris where the VP lives, it is in Bulgaria and the time there is 3:39AM. 
 

With context can come automation, and with automation comes an agile, simple, and secure IT world. The IT team no longer needs to be alerted by a user that their device needs sensitive information removed due to it being lost or stolen. Dynamic policies can look at device specifics and using the context available, such as the current owner of the device and the location, it can act automatically.

In the past it was difficult to collect, store, and then find information, but today it is trivial to access data on almost anything; from the latest weather to the morning news, or your friend’s location to what restaurant to go to. The challenge now is taking this overwhelming wealth of data, and making sense of it all.

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Sentry is unique in the EMM market for being a complete solution for enabling the secure dynamic network of the future. This gives the IT team time to work with the organisation on defining policies, not being tied up with configuration. Device on-boarding, settings assignment, application management, and network access, are just some IT responsibilities that can be simplified, automated, and dynamically updated with Sentry.

Cisco Meraki Systems Manager is a best in class Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) solution founded on Meraki’s pioneering cloud architecture. We understand the IT challenges faced by technology users in enterprises, education, or government based on our extensive experience of next generation cloud deployments. Hear more about the headline features in Sentry in the following podcast with June Odongo (Product Manager for Systems Manager) and George Bentinck (Solutions Architect).

 

Contact your Cisco Meraki representative today to find out how Systems Manager Sentry can provide automation to your IT world, and simplify your security.

 

Bringing you the #fullstack in Philly

The Meraki team is packing our bags as we get ready to cross the country to attend ISTE for the 4th year! Education and technology leaders attend ISTE each year to exchange ideas and learn about the latest and greatest in education technology. With Independence Day approaching, ISTE 2015 takes place in the (appropriate) historical city of Philadelphia. If you plan to attend, come say hi! You can find us in our bright green Meraki T’s at booth #1010 next week from June 29th-July 1st.

ISTE 2014

Meraki at ISTE 2014

green shirts

Meet the team

Have you seen our dashboard?
ISTE is the perfect place to get a live 1:1 demo and experience the Meraki dashboard first-hand. Expert Merakians will be staffing the booth and dishing on their favorite dashboard features.

Curious how cloud networking can help manage your classroom?
We want you to be a networking ninja, so we’re excited to share our complete product portfolio. Get the latest tips and tricks on BYOD, 1:1 deployment, and secure device management.

Want more?
Join our Meraki evangelist, Simon Tompson (@merakisimon), as he sets up a Meraki network in less than one hour, live and onstage! He’ll show you just how easy managing and deploying your school’s network can be. Find him at the Philadelphia Marriott Downtown in meeting room #303 on Monday, June 29th, 2PM sharp.

Are you a Meraki super fan?
Show us your love for Meraki at our booth by using the hashtag #fullstack in a social network application, like TwitterFacebook, or Instagram, and get a Meraki T-shirt!

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The limited edition Meraki #fullstack T-shirt

We can’t wait to meet you to show just how simple managing your classroom’s network can be. Find us at the Meraki booth, at our presentation, or you might even find the team out and about scouting the best Philly cheesesteak. Either way, we would love to meet you, so say hi!

Spotlight: Meraki Switch Promo

Over the past several months, the Meraki team has been experimenting with new ways to spread awareness of our ground-breaking range of cloud-managed switches. These do so much more than your typical switch and we want to get the word out. In the age of smart devices and evolving technologies, you deserve to have switches that work harder for you.

One of the more public methods was to give away a free Meraki 8-port switch, just for attending a switch focused webinar, replicating what we’re currently doing for our standard webinar series that provide a free Meraki AP to attendees.

We knew we wanted to make these sessions different from our typical switch webinars and reveal all of the benefits that are under the hood, so we took numerous switches from their boxes to full configuration with authenticating clients, all in less than an hour.

We had record attendances at these sessions, sparking interest and receiving some great feedback. One of the attendees, James Loker-Steele, Systems Administrator at Abilia, joined the session familiar with Cisco command line interface and slightly uncertain of what to expect from a cloud offering. “I’m not impressed by much in the technology world when it comes to cloud and I am ever skeptical when it comes to security and trusting your network to an outside source,” James explained. “Meraki though, really impressed me.”

Screen Shot 2015-06-18 at 15.11.03James Loker-Steele’s LinkedIn post summarizing his experiencing receiving the free Meraki switch and AP.

During the webinar, we configured the switches to handle mission critical services such as VoIP, performed wired authentication, and locked down ports during non-business hours. To save time, we started by configured a single switch and then, in the span of just a few mouse clicks in the dashboard, cloned those configurations to new switches. We then used the deep visibility in the dashboard to identify problem clients, perform remote troubleshooting, and set automatic alerts.

“After watching the webinar and asking a few questions, I was like a kid waiting for his birthday to get a new toy to play with,” said James. Upon receiving the switch, James found that setting it up was just as simple as it had been in the webinar and within minutes he was “translating theoretical scenarios to real world, on-site configurations.”

James went on to also receive a free Meraki AP for attending a standard webinar. “Within 10 minutes, I had the device hooked up to our system and serving guests and authenticated RADIUS clients,” said James. “WOW is all I can say to that.” With offices in three countries, James saw the potential of the Meraki solution and used the free trial program to test more devices. His company is now beginning to replace all hardware with Meraki.

“The webinar was a great way to be introduced to Meraki, and receiving the switch allowed me to put some of what I’d seen in the webinar into actual physical practice,” said James. “If you haven’t heard of Meraki or were skeptical, now is the time to move to cloud-based infrastructure.”

It’s been exciting to hear from attendees who have received the free switches and to hear what they’re doing with the devices. Overall it’s been a great success and has led to attendees taking advantage of our free trial program and testing our products on a grander scale. At the end of the day, our goal is to make the lives of our customers easier by providing them with simple to use, powerful networking equipment.

Keep an eye out for upcoming webinars and be sure to take advantage of our free trial program!

Sydney Office Expansion

Today, we’re excited to give you a peek into our new office down under in the historic central business district in Sydney, Australia! Our Asia Pacific team has been making the move since May and some are even making the trek from our headquarters in San Francisco, a place they’ve called home for years.

As our Meraki roots continue to grow in Australia, the team will be able to more easily serve the Asia Pacific region including Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia, Southeast/Central Asia, and Japan. With the new office in place, the sales and channel teams are now more accessible than ever and will be traveling throughout Australia and to nearby countries to visit our new customers, partners, and anyone interested in cloud networking.

We can’t wait for the team to get settled in over the next few months and to make the office their own!

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The office is at 99 Macquaire Street, a popular street in Sydney’s central business district. The office view overlooks the Circular Quay, the Royal Botanical Gardens, and the iconic Sydney Opera House.

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A Merakian welcomes us to her new office and desk.

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The kitchen area with a little artistic flair. We can see that the team is adding in their own touch already.

Onwards to Australian journeys we go!

Mission (not so) Impossible

Three times we’ve been challenged, and three times we have prevailed. With combined viewings measured in the thousands, the Mission Impossible webinar series has been comfortably our most successful ever.

savedaisy

What’s the magic formula? Could it be the free AP we offer to all our first–time webinar attendees? We like to think it’s something more. The suspense, the drama, the sheer nerve required to configure an enterprise class network in real time in front of a live audience with no safety net. That’s more like it.

For those who missed the live event, grab some popcorn, sit back and enjoy the recording. Oh, and be sure to sign-up for one of the many webinars we run every week. Got an idea for a fresh challenge we can complete in 30 minutes? We’re listening on Twitter and in our online community.

Time to take Daisy for a walk. Until next time…

Limited Access Roles for Systems Manager

With Meraki Systems Manager, Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) solution, very powerful controls are placed into the hands of IT administrators. With great power, comes great responsibility; it may not be desirable to have every administrator in your organization capable of wiping the CEO’s iPad!

This is why we have introduced the new limited access roles feature in the Meraki dashboard. It allows organizations to easily choose what devices an administrative user has access to, but most interestingly, this selection of devices can change dynamically based on parameters such as time and identity. For example, teachers can only be given responsibility for devices during the time of their class, or enterprise helpdesk staff can only manage devices in their Active Directory group.

Limited access roles can be found in the Meraki dashboard under Configure > General

lar_config

The example above is based on a retail environment where helpdesk staff only have access to the devices they are responsible for, with three roles for each of the helpdesk teams. These are:

  • A specialist team with knowledge of the Electronic Point of Sale (EPOS) system running on mobile handhelds
  • A generalist team responsible for the customer facing kiosks’ tablets
  • An emergency out of hours team able to help with anything

Tags are used to select the devices managed by each role, with both static and dynamic tags being used in our example. The grey tags represent static tags that have been applied to the device based on its role, while the green tags represent dynamic tags which can change. For these roles, time is being used as the dynamic tag corresponding to the stores operational hours.

time_based_tags_retail

With the times and roles defined, the user George has been given the ‘Shop floor EPOS help desk’ role. If George was part of another team and needed a different role, this can be selected from the drop–down.

assign_role_retail

Limited access roles help ensure privacy, protect against operator error, and simplify management of devices in the Meraki dashboard. This functionality has widespread applicability, while also being a core feature in education, where it is part of our Teacher’s Assistant functionality. Further information on this can be found in our previous blog post here.

 

Bulking up

Creating new networks containing Meraki equipment has always been easy. Just select from inventory and go. But what happens when the network engineer needs to suddenly spin-up a new site or building, requiring new wireless, switching and security? That could mean a lot of serial numbers and many configuration steps.

For some time now there’s been the ability to create templates and apply these to new networks with common requirements. There’s even a very cool feature enabling templates to be applied across multiple locations without creating overlapping IP ranges or firewall rules.

So far, so good. Cloning configuration one at a time is taken care of, but how can multiple sets of equipment be both selected for a network and configured with just a few clicks of a mouse? The answer is by using the new bulk network creation tool.

The tool will appear under the Organization menu whenever the organization has one or more Security Appliance or Wireless configuration templates in place. Here’s a screenshot.

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As with all the best of Meraki design, the tool needs little explanation. Simply choose between a default configuration, a config copied one time from a template or an existing network, or just bind the new networks to existing templates, so that all future config changes are instantly replicated. Finally, go ahead and upload a CSV document containing Meraki serial numbers, sit back and let the dashboard do the rest. Here’s a sample CSV with the available fields, followed by the dashboard interpretation once the CSV has been uploaded.

BNC csv

BNCuploadedcsv

The bulk network creation tool is just one of the features Meraki has introduced to make the lives of Managed Service Providers and large, multi–site businesses easier. How could we tweak it to make it even better? Let us know through the Make a Wish box, or on Twitter.

Meraki #fullstack at Cisco Live

Cisco Live never ceases to impress. Huge keynote audiences numbered in the thousands, presentations, breakout sessions, techtorials, engineer one–on–ones, and of course the World of Solutions expo. No wonder one of the attendees described the event on Twitter as “nerdvana”.

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The Meraki team is at the show in force this week, including product managers for each component of the Meraki “fullstack”. Fullstack (oh, and we like to add a hashtag, so really it’s #fullstack) is the term we’ve chosen to use to describe our complete portfolio, since we have everything our customers need to build a Local Area Network. With a combined network view, our management dashboard is a true ‘single pane of glass’ window onto the network, complete with industry leading visibility and simple controls.

As is customary when we have something to say, we do what any self-respecting tech company would do…. We make a t-shirt.

fullstack t-shirt

Attendees of Cisco Live have a chance to grab one of these limited edition t-shirts, and here’s how. Simply head over to the Meraki stand in the World of Solutions (we’re somewhere towards the back of the hall in the middle) and tweet about Meraki using the hashtags #fullstack and #CLUS. Show us the tweet, tell us your size and we’ll send you away happy.

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The team will be here for the remainder of the week, so please come along and say hi. Cloud management means it’s easy for us to demo the whole portfolio, sorry #fullstack, and we’re excited for the opportunity to show everyone attending the show.

In the meantime we’ve posted a few more photos from the event on our Facebook page and will be adding more during the week for those unable to be here in the San Diego sunshine.

Partner Focus: Euclid Analytics

Over the past 20 years, the online world has fine-tuned its capabilities to accurately target customers and streamline the purchasing and fulfillment process. Every customer touch point is measurable and based upon data science and fact-based decision making.

In stark contrast, the offline world of physical stores has been stuck in analog. As a result, teams within these businesses are often behind digital retailers in analyzing operational metrics,  relying on various traditional approaches including manual counting, gut intuition, and simplistic people counting devices.

Digital tools for brick-and-mortar

 
Thankfully, much has changed over the past few years. In the United States today, 64 percent of the population owns a smartphone. In Europe and Asia, smartphone penetration hovers at 80 percent (Pew Research, 2014). The explosion of mobile devices and the pervasiveness of WiFi has created new ways of unlocking the mysteries of the physical world.

Just over two years ago Meraki released CMX location analytics to all Meraki WLAN capable devices. The first in the industry to offer advanced location services at no additional cost or complexity, Meraki location analytics is now in use by tens of thousands of customers globally.

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Location analytics with Euclid & Meraki

 
Wi-Fi location analytics from Euclid can leverage the existing Meraki infrastructure to extend the out-of-the-box features and includes additional advanced capabilities. Since 2010, Euclid Analytics has provided insights for the physical world in the same way that web analytics does for e-commerce. Euclid’s network captures billions of measurements per day, analyzing hundreds of millions of potential shopping sessions per year, across tens of thousands of physical locations.

euclid_screenshot

Since Euclid integrates seamlessly with existing Meraki infrastructure through the CMX location analytics API, an IT organization can activate Euclid analytics across thousands of Meraki locations with minimal effort.

Meraki and Euclid detect mobile devices and collect anonymous device information which is then aggregated and analyzed in the cloud. By understanding consumer traffic and behaviors within physical locations, businesses can optimize marketing, in-store operations, strategic decision-making, and staffing activities. No matter the vertical, this new data source can help answer performance and operational related questions.

  • Specialty Retail: Is your marketing spend making a difference by driving traffic into the store, and can you prove it? Last month, how many new customers did you gain, and how many are coming back again?
  • Quick service restaurants: Is your staffing aligned with peak traffic times? Are new menu items driving restaurant traffic and sales?
  • Airports: How long did it take for passengers to clear security or taxi lines in the various airport zones? Is security staffing aligned accordingly?
  • Hotels: Where should the hotel focus its marketing efforts to drive traffic into the restaurants – on-property or off-property? How many guests pass through specific hotel zones? Are there specific areas of the hotel that require additional staffing needs?
  • Shopping Malls: During what times of the day is the mall busiest? Which zones were the busiest (or slowest) for the day?  Which stores are located in the busiest zones and should their rents be priced accordingly?
  • Auto Dealerships: What impact does an ad campaign or an auto show have on dealership traffic? When shopping for a new car, are customers cross-shopping at affiliate dealers within the area?

Want to know more?

 
If you would like to know more about location analytics with Meraki & Euclid, then you can listen to the podcast below. Sunil Daluvoy (Head of Business Development at Euclid) joins George Bentinck (Solutions Architect at Meraki), to discuss location analytics, what benefit it offers, and the Meraki relationship with Euclid.

 

Existing Meraki customers wanting to try Euclid for free today can get started using Euclid’s Express service, or for further information on the advanced capabilities of the Euclid platform, they can contact Andrew Borella at Euclid Analytics.

 

Can I have a go?

Following the recent announcement of Teacher Assistant for Systems Manager, there is another exciting new feature available for Systems Manager customers: Shared Users.

At the heart of the Shared User feature is multi-user authentication. This allows for the user of the device to be repeatedly changed without an administrator’s intervention. The device will dynamically change based on the person using it at a given time, with the user logging into, or out of, the device using the Meraki Systems Manager app. This exceptionally simple self-service model allows a single iOS device to be easily used by multiple people with different needs.

Multi-User Authentication

 
A user can be assigned a device, or multiple devices, and this pairing allows for configurations, settings, applications, and other options to be automatically applied based on that specific person’s requirements. The list of users can be managed in the Meraki dashboard, or easily integrated into Active Directory.

Driven again by the requirements of educators, the Shared User feature is a natural extension of Teacher Assistant, enabling even more ways of learning with an iPad. Although of particular interest to those wishing to use iOS devices in a learning environment, the ability to easily support multiple users on one device has is useful in a number of situations.

Multi-user authentication can be enabled with a single checkbox in the Meraki dashboard under Systems Manager > Configure > General

multi_user_auth_config

User self-service

 
The Meraki Systems Manager app acts as the interface for multi-user authentication. With multi-user authentication enabled in a Systems Manager network, a fourth option will now appear in the bottom navigation pane of the app called ‘User’. When a user goes to this page, it will give the user the option to login to the device if no user is already assigned, or they can log the current user out of the device.

app_user

When a new user logs into the app, the Meraki cloud will check to see what needs to be changed on the device and act accordingly. This could be new applications, alternate settings, or fewer restrictions than the device had previously.

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Total control, complete customization

 
With Systems Manager’s dynamic tags, the user of the device can be checked along with other things such as time, location, and security profile, to allow for complete customization of a device, giving total control. For further information on tags refer to this article.

A great example of the practical use of tags and multi-user authentication, is to put devices into a locked state when no one is logged in. By creating a profile that places non-assigned devices into single app mode, they can be locked into the Meraki app preventing any activity other than the ability to log into the device. When a user logs in, their tags are applied and the configuration for the device is updated.

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Start sharing your devices today

 
Start sharing your iOS devices today by signing up for a Systems Manager account here, free for 100 devices or less. Existing Systems Manager Standard customer who would like to take advantage of this, and other new features, can enable a free trial directly within the Meraki dashboard.