Archive for the ‘Company Blog’ Category

With E-rate Funding, Magic Happens at Ascend Public Charter Schools

Ascend Photo 4

Four sites with four separate networks. No VPN capabilities, no streamlined network management, and no IT budget. Limited wireless access, inhibiting student learning and staff collaboration. Only a five person IT team. Starting to sound like a nightmare?

This was the reality for Ascend Public Charter Schools, located in Brooklyn. Emeka Ibekweh, Managing Director of Technology, inherited very old, traditional controller-based, networking equipment when he joined in 2013. He was faced with challenges that are all too familiar to IT admins: each school had a separately managed network, there was limited wireless access for students and staff to use, and making network configurations or upgrades had to be done manually, on-site. This was not only taxing the IT team, but making it nearly impossible for students to benefit from digital learning resources and requiring staff to use traditional teaching methods. Emeka knew he needed to make a change — so when he received E-rate funding, he jumped right into a network refresh.

Having used Cisco before, Emeka decided to start there. He and his team trialed Cisco Meraki, and after seeing that he could manage all of his networking equipment from one easy-to-use dashboard, he was sold. They purchased Meraki access points, switches, and security appliances and began to roll them out across all of their schools. They immediately saw the benefits – from being able to quickly make configuration changes, to viewing all network traffic, to easily creating separate and secure SSIDs. Plus, students and teachers can now easily and reliably log onto the network, improving student learning initiatives and increasing collaboration among teachers and staff. It really was a dream come true.

Now, nearing the end of 2017, Ascend Charter Schools has grown to ten schools spread across eight buildings and Meraki has continued to grow with them. With each new school, Meraki is quickly deployed at each site, providing unparalleled network access for students and teachers. Emeka and his team now have complete visibility into their network, easily identifying which APs are receiving the heaviest load, which switches are using the most power, what content is being filtered, and where the bandwidth sinkholes are coming from. He can now manage his entire network from a single, simple interface, easily pushing firmware upgrades and running cable tests with the push of a button.

To learn more about Ascend’s Meraki deployment, what products they use, and what they plan to do next, read the full case study. Watch the webinar recording to see a live demo of Ascend’s Meraki dashboard.

Our Most Versatile Switch Ever: The MS210

Hot on the heels of our previous switch release (here) comes our MS210 stackable access switch.

We designed the MS210 to provide network administrators the option to stack the new 1G switch to the 10G uplink of the MS225.

Large enterprise networks often require multiple switches to handle office traffic but have only modest bandwidth needs per switch. However, many desire the flexibility to enhance their bandwidth capability as the organization’s tech needs grow.

The MS210 provides incredible power and flexibility to our switch line. Seven MS210s linked to a MS225 for its 10G uplink (to form a stack of eight) creates one of the most versatile and economical switch options available — all easily configurable using the Meraki dashboard.

 

ms210-stacked

The MS210 line features basic Layer 3 connectivity and comes in both 24- and 48-port models along with PoE and PoE+ power options.

MS210 Features:

  •       Stacks with the MS225 to access 10G uplink
  •       4 x 1G SFP uplinks
  •       PoE and PoE+ options
  •       Basic Layer 3 Routing (Static)
  •       24- and 48-port models

Contact our sales team to learn more about how to use the MS210 in your deployment!

 

Introducing Customer Advisories

2017 has been a challenging year in the world of IT, with a number of high-profile incidents making headlines all around the globe. At Meraki we’ve also discovered issues of our own and made progress in eliminating vulnerabilities, helping to protect our customers’ valuable data. We take this kind of work very personally, and consider it a journey, never a destination.

No IT administrator wakes up wanting to hear about issues like these, especially if they create more work to mitigate, but no doubt all IT admins would reluctantly concede these issues are a fact of life that we will all continue to face from time to time. On the rare occasion we at Meraki do need to communicate about an issue, especially when an action is required, we are able to inform not only through email, but also through the dashboard itself, to any Meraki customer who is potentially impacted.

Thanks to the Meraki model, it’s often the case that we only need to inform because we’ve already patched systems before a vulnerability becomes common knowledge. This was the case with several ransomware attacks we’ve seen this year. Thanks to the integration of Cisco Talos intelligence into the Meraki MX, customers with the Advanced Security license are proactively protected against malicious actors through world-class intrusion and malware detection. In other cases, like the recently uncovered KRACK Wi-Fi vulnerability, firmware which addressed the issue was prepared ahead of public disclosure, meaning we merely needed to inform customers and prompt them to upgrade, where necessary.

Whether to require action, or simply to inform, we want to ensure we are communicating as transparently as possible in a way that is easy to keep track of. To this end, today we are introducing the new Cisco Meraki Customer Advisories page. This page will act as a chronological repository of issues that have the potential to impact Meraki customers, regardless of whether it’s an industry-wide issue or one relating to Meraki technology.

The Meraki team will continue to draw attention to high-priority issues through the channels we’ve always used, so think of this as a supplemental reference which will serve as a record of significant issues that have come to our attention. Through this tool we hope to further raise our chances of reaching and informing every Meraki customer.

We may not be able to wave a magic wand and prevent future vulnerabilities or issues, but we remain ever vigilant and will always do our utmost to communicate transparently. Please take a look at the Advisories page and let us know what you think in the Meraki Community.

 

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Lo más reciente de Meraki para América Latina

Durante Cisco Live! Cancún, presentamos nuevos productos que impactarán al mercado latinoamericano.

En Cisco Meraki creemos que la tecnología conecta y potencia a las personas, motivo por el cual buscamos simplificar tecnología poderosa para poder permitirle a nuestros clientes concentrarse en su misión y no en problemas cotidianos de tecnología. Nuestro portafolio incluye sistemas inalámbricos, switches, equipos de seguridad, EMM (Enterprise Mobility Management) así como cámaras de videovigilancia, todo administrado de forma centralizada en un panel único de control en la nube llamado “El Dashboard de Cisco Meraki” que le permite al administrador de TI acceder a la red en cualquier momento y en cualquier lugar.

Lo más reciente de Meraki 

Dashboard Cisco Meraki en Portugués

Conscientes de las necesidades del mercado brasileño y la importancia de brindarle una mejor experiencia al cliente, Cisco Meraki lanza un nuevo idioma del Dashboard: Portugués.  La plataforma de administración en la nube estará ahora disponible en portugués para así hacerle aún más sencilla la administración de tecnología al administrador de TI.

Nuevos equipos de seguridad MX

MX250 y MX450: Estos son dos nuevos dispositivos de seguridad ideales para concentrar grandes sucursales, campus y VPN:

• Diseñados para despliegue de alto rendimiento, con un rendimiento de firewall con estado que va de 4 a 6 Gbps.
• Opciones de interfaz flexible, incluyendo 1GbE y 10GbE para aplicaciones de cobre y fibra.
• Interfaces WAN 10G para conectividad de enlace ascendente de alta velocidad.
• Fuentes de alimentación modulares, reemplazables en el campo.

Meraki Z3: Una poderosa adición a la familia de gateways Meraki Teleworker.
• Incluye un puerto PoE + para teléfonos VoIP y otros dispositivos finales con alimentación
• 802.11ac Wave 2 inalámbrico
• Mayor rendimiento

Expansión de Meraki vMX100: Ahora disponible para Microsoft Azure, extendiendo la funcionalidad Meraki Auto-VPN y SD-WAN a la nube pública.

Actualizaciones de EMM Systems Manager

• Introduciendo “No molestar”
• Cisco Security Connector, La próxima etapa de la asociación Apple-Cisco
• Conector de seguridad de Cisco para iOS

MS SWITCHES
• Introducción a MS120-8: el modelo de próxima generación del MS220-8. Amplía la línea para incluir modelos sin potencia, de baja potencia (62w) y de plena potencia (124w)
• Los modelos MS120 y MS210 de 24 y 48 puertos están programados para el lanzamiento de otoño de 2017

Para saber más visita la sección de productos en nuestra página web y síguenos en Twitter @MerakiLatAm

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Accelerating growth in healthcare with Cisco Meraki

The junction of big data and small medical devices is rapidly transforming the world of medicine. A new generation of sensors, from Apple Watches and Fitbit wristbands to home glucometers and blood pressure cuffs, gives consumers instant access to measures of their personal well-being. Since wearables and connected devices are making their way into regular practice, doctors, nurses, and other practitioners increasingly turn to big data to make sense of all this patient information.

With more patient data available now than ever before, healthcare providers are seeing startling opportunities, but not without having to deal with a number of challenges. Security incidents, process challenges, architecture issues, limited correlation capabilities, and lack of threat visibility all plague healthcare providers. Migrating from an on-premises IT stack to cloud-managed IT is one way providers have found success in confronting these challenges head-on.

Learn how healthcare companies are using Cisco Meraki to rapidly scale across tens, hundreds, and thousands of hospitals and clinics with IT in the cloud. In our upcoming webinar on November 16 at 10:00 AM PT, we will share how Meraki customers:

  • Easily configure site-to-site VPN to connect remote branch locations securely
  • Manage computers across growing numbers of clinics
  • Provide support for Wi-Fi-dependent medical devices through segmented SSIDs

Save your spot for this webinar you don’t want to miss.  Eligible attendees will receive a free Meraki access point for attending.*

*Free AP terms & conditions apply

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Connecting clouds

Not a day goes by in the world of IT without mention of “the cloud,” in one context or another. Public and private cloud-based services continue to transform the IT industry at a rapid pace, in parallel with the demand for better ways to manage IT infrastructures.

Public cloud solutions provide an option for IT administrators looking to reduce the amount of physical hardware they need to support by running services in a virtual environment. Another ubiquitous form of cloud service is mass public data storage, something which touches the lives of almost everyone connected to the Internet, whether they know it or not. Applications we use every day, like Netflix, Expedia, Spotify and Geico use data storage services provided by one of the cloud storage specialists. These services are attractive to fast-moving tech innovators who get to focus on what they do best without having to build their own huge storage infrastructure to support the data their apps use.

Meraki itself works with cloud hosting providers, and we understand how valuable these services can be to our customers first-hand. Back in May we announced a new software solution we call Virtual MX (or vMX) that enables Meraki customers to conveniently connect directly to a virtual MX instance within Amazon Web Services (AWS) using Meraki Auto VPN. This eliminates the tedious manual configuration associated with regular third party services or VPN peers. Once the VPN is up, Meraki SD-WAN technology ensures dependable, robust connectivity to essential services.

It’s always a good sign when the moment a cool solution is announced for one use case, you’re immediately bombarded with questions about when it will be available for other similar services, and that’s precisely what we experienced with vMX for AWS.

The service everyone wanted to know about? Microsoft Azure.

Azure is one of the largest players in cloud services, so we are excited to announce global availability of Azure Managed Application support for vMX. Customers can now order vMX (VMX100), specifying either AWS or Azure, that will operate as a one-armed VPN concentrator within its host cloud, providing easy access to hosted IT services.

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Detailed setup instructions are available on our documentation site, and customers keen to try either service can now request a trial by reaching out to their Meraki contact.

To learn more about the full capabilities of the MX, sign up for one of our webinars or request some trial gear. We’d love to get the product into your hands and please don’t be shy about letting us know which service we should be connecting Auto VPN to next!

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Todo sobre Cisco Live Cancún

Para los miles de administradores de red que asisten a la gran conferencia cada año, Cisco Live es el mejor lugar para conocer las últimas innovaciones de la compañía de redes más grande del mundo. Para el equipo de liderazgo de Cisco, es una gran oportunidad para anunciar alianzas con compañías como Apple y para compartir excelentes noticias como en el caso de Cisco Meraki.

Cisco Live! Cancún 2017, se llevará a cabo del 6 al 9 de noviembre en la Riviera Maya en el Hotel Moon Palace. Se espera la asistencia de 5.000 personas quienes tendrán acceso a capacitación y entrenamientos de primer nivel sobre productos, soluciones y tendencias así como certificaciones en tecnologías de Cisco®

Este año Cisco Meraki va con todo… Contaremos con  8 demostraciones en nuestro stand, 4 cámaras instaladas con video en vivo en el Campus de Cisco, celebración para clientes ¡Salud con Meraki!  y una gran cantidad de sesiones:

  • Meraki SD-WAN – Caso de éxito: martes 7 de noviembre | 11:20 AM – 11:35 AM  por Leonardo Sambrana 
  • Meraki para educación – Caso de éxito: miércoles 8 de noviembre | 2:00 PM – 2:15 PM por Hans Velez
  • Aplicando una cultura de desarrollo ágil (Sesión ITM) – miércoles 8 de noviembre | 11:25 AM a 12:05 PM por Todd Nightingale SVP Meraki 

Sesiones técnicas

  • 9:30 AM – 1:30 PM SD-WAN con Meraki Sala Alfa – Martes 7 de noviembre por Mauricio Martínez
  • 9:00 AM – 1:00 PM SD-WAN con Meraki | Sala Alfa – Miércoles 8 de noviembre por Juan Cervantes
  • 9:00 AM – 1:00 PM Meraki Cloud Services Automation a través de API | Sala Gama – Miércoles 8 de noviembre por José Rojas
  • 2:30 PM – 6:00 PM SD-WAN con Meraki | Sala Alfa – Miércoles 8 de noviembre por Victor Hernández
  • 4:15 PM – 6:15 PM Cámaras de seguridad Meraki MV como sensor para inteligente | Sala Tulúm 09 – Miércoles 8 de noviembre por Matthew Marston 
  • 9:30 AM – 11:30 AM Meraki SD-WAN: una solución global para la red distribuida | Sala Tulúm 14 – Jueves 9 de noviembre por Jhonnerys Ottenwalder Peña

Para estar más informados sobre #CiscoLiveCancun2017 lo invitamos a seguirnos en Twitter @MerakiLatam y a conectarse para disfrutar la transmisión en vivo en Ciscolive.com/latam del 6 al 9 de noviembre.

Cisco Live! se realiza anualmente en cuatro ciudades en el mundo: Las Vegas, Barcelona, Melbourne y Cancún. Cisco Live! Cancún 2016 reunió más de 5,100 profesionales de 48 países que tuvieron la posibilidad de asistir a 150 sesiones técnicas; 80 partners participaron en el World of Solutions y Cisco ofreció más de 100 demos en el Cisco Campus.

Para mayor información sobre Cisco Live! Cancún, el evento líder en educación y entrenamiento para profesionales de TI por favor visite www.ciscolive.com.

E-rate: Trick or Treat?

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Applying for E-rate can be tricky at times. With its complicated processes and strict form deadlines, it can feel like you applying for funds that are sometimes difficult to get. Rest assured though, there really are funds at the end of the E-rate rainbow for you to take advantage of ($3.9B worth, to be exact). Wouldn’t you like to treat yourself to some of those dollars to improve your network infrastructure?

Think of all of the crazy network advancements you could make with $3.9B… bandwidth of 100 Mbps per student perhaps? A network so secure, not even Alan Turing could hack? So many network policies in place you never had to answer a help-desk ticket or troubleshoot a problem again? Though these ideas may be a little far-fetched, you can still use your piece of the E-rate pie for Cisco Meraki to get you closer to having your IT wishes granted.

Imagine being able to centrally manage your entire network from one simple interface. The Meraki dashboard puts the network at your fingertips, from quickly configuring hundreds of high-density access points, to traffic shaping your students’ music streaming apps, it gives you complete visibility into your network without needing specialized training. Cisco Meraki is specially designed for K-12 environments in a few key ways:

  • Meraki MR wireless access points are designed for high-density classroom environments — so all of your second-grade students can stream educational YouTube videos on their iPads, while your fifth- grade students can take standardized tests without any downtime or interruptions.
  • Meraki MS switches are built to scale to support school districts of all shapes and sizes. Whether you have one location to manage or a hundred, you can remotely configure your network without being on site.
  • Meraki MX security appliances enable you to create and maintain CIPA-compliant networks, which are mandatory for E-rate funding, so that you can sleep soundly knowing that student data remains protected and secure.
  • By deploying a full stack of networking products that are easy to deploy and manage, you get back time to focus on projects that are important to you, allowing you to keep your school(s) on the cutting edge of new technology.

Treat yourself to Meraki! Our access points, switches, and security appliances and licenses are eligible* for E-rate funding. Learn more about our eligible E-rate solutions. To get a deep dive on our solutions for K-12, and specific product offerings, attend an upcoming live webinar. And don’t forget to get started with your E-rate application today!

* MX Advanced Security Licenses are 50% eligible; SM licenses and MC/MV hardware and licenses are not E-rate eligible per Funding Year 2018 eligible services list.

Expanding the Switch Portfolio

We are pleased to announce that we have expanded our switch line to include new models designed for small office and home office customers.

For years, Cisco Meraki’s cloud-managed switches have provided network administrators with an unprecedented level of visibility and control to manage their deployments. While we already offer a wide variety of switching options for campus and enterprise networks, we wanted to introduce the benefits of cloud networking to a greater range of customers across new price points.

New Meraki customers will gain access to innovative network solutions like an entirely GUI-based management platform and firmware updates from the cloud to ensure network stability.

For organizations looking to purchase new switches, there has never been a better time to learn more about cloud-managed IT.

 

MS120-8 Compact Switch

The MS120-8 is our compact access switch designed for flexible and rapid deployment at branch and campus locations. We adopted a fanless design for the non-powered and PoE models, enabling completely silent operation as you work alongside the device on or near your desk.

Features of MS120-8:

  •       2 x 1G SFP uplinks
  •       New Low-Powered (LP) Model
  •       Layer 2 access switch
  •       Fanless
  •       External power supply (non-powered, LP models)
  •       Integrated mounting plate

 

MS120 24/48 Port Switch

The MS120 line is designed for widespread deployment in networks of any size. The large switch port capacity on the 24- and 48-port models allows network administrators to take advantage of the growing number of IoT devices found in the modern workplace, including IP-connected phones, cameras, and security systems.

Additional features of MS120-24/48:

  •       4 x 1G SFP uplinks
  •       Layer 2 access switch
  •       Internal power

Reach out to our sales team to learn how our new switches can enhance your network.

Bringing IT & OT Together to Solve Manufacturing Challenges

IT-OT convergence in manufacturing

While numerous technologies are involved in helping manufacturers embrace the possibilities of Industry 4.0 — in essence, the “smart factory” — simple network management and top-notch network security are at the core of next-gen manufacturing. That’s why CIOs and COOs alike have prioritized establishing rock-solid, easy-to-manage and simple-to-scale networks.

Here a few ways deploying Cisco Meraki technology in the factory and beyond can help manufacturers drive process improvements and become more competitive.

Minimize Production Downtime

Every manufacturer recognizes the damaging impact that production downtime can have on manufacturing operations. Just a few minutes of downtime can cost large enterprises thousands or even millions of dollars, making constant uptime a key priority for decision makers in both the IT and OT departments. Meraki helps minimize downtime by simplifying remote network management, helping admins respond quickly to potential issues, and by staving off dangerous security threats.

Traditional networking infrastructure relies heavily on on-site management. And a solid network is key to preventing downtime, especially with so much production equipment being interconnected. Since maintaining an on-site IT staff at every location can be cost-prohibitive, the ability for a central IT staff to manage networks from anywhere can make a huge difference. With Meraki, admins can use real-time tools built into the dashboard, such as remote packet capture and cable testing, to identify and diagnose issues before they cause major network problems.

Additionally, as Internet-connected manufacturing equipment is increasingly embraced by IT and OT staff, a constantly updated unified threat management (UTM) system is crucial to keeping malicious cyber threats from infecting production equipment. Other features available with the Meraki solution, such as Auto-VPN and SD-WAN, help manufacturers achieve 24/7 uptime and connectivity at all sites.

Enable Mobility — Without the Headaches

In the manufacturing world, mobile technologies present an amazing opportunity to modernize production by giving plant managers and executives immediate access to real-time production information, such as production output and inventory numbers. While manufacturers absolutely should embrace these opportunities for greater information sharing and collaboration, it’s crucial to provide the right infrastructure for mobile devices. Centralized management helps ensure that devices are used to their fullest potential, without interfering with the production process. This requires deep conversations between the IT and OT departments.

Such collaboration may, for example, reveal the opportunity to integrate certain apps with production equipment. Company executives can use the resulting data to meet customer demand. Pushing the app to the right devices, configuring it correctly, and training employees on how to use the app are shared responsibilities of both departments. Meraki Systems Manager, Cisco’s enterprise mobility management (EMM) solution, can help IT seamlessly push apps and keep them updated. Systems Manager can also help manufacturers meet certain requirements for mobile device usage, whether by disabling mobile device cameras on confidential production line environments, locking devices to a single app, or preventing access to confidential data if a mobile device is taken outside of the production facility.

In many ways, manufacturers share the same opportunities and challenges as any other company when it comes to mobility. The BYOD (bring your own device) phenomenon has allowed all kinds of enterprises to make their employees more productive, even though security concerns are always present. Similarly, manufacturers can benefit heavily from enabling mobility, but using the right management tools is crucial to maximizing the benefits while minimizing the headaches.

Minimize Waste

The bane of every manufacturer’s existence is waste, whether it’s wasted time, wasted effort, or wasted materials. Even though eliminating waste entirely is a utopian ideal, the prevalence of automated machinery and other advanced technology that provides insight into production activity serves as evidence of manufacturers’ deep interest in minimizing waste. Making further progress on minimizing waste requires IT and OT to collaborate.

Why does IT-OT integration matter for waste minimization? Because waste — like many of the challenges manufacturers face — is too large of an issue for a single department to address. While waste in manufacturing occurs mainly on the OT side, expecting OT to wave a magic wand and minimize waste on its own is unrealistic in the interconnected factory of the 21st century. In fact, OT needs IT to deploy the right technology and connect the right teams with the right information to properly address waste. From a network connectivity standpoint, IT can minimize energy consumption using Meraki switches by applying schedules to certain switch ports. For instance, IT can automatically turn PoE devices off at specific times if 24/7 operation isn’t required. The aforementioned ability to centrally manage multiple networks through a single dashboard also helps prevent waste by minimizing the need for on-site maintenance.

Perhaps the most interesting application of Meraki technology in manufacturing from a waste minimization standpoint is the use of Meraki MV cameras as a sensor to intelligently monitor processes on-site. The ease of deployment and simple monitoring capabilities of the Meraki MV cameras are just the start; the cameras also allow IT and OT personnel to use motion heat maps to see movement on the factory floor and eliminate the need for an NVR (network video recorder) to save costs. Noosa Yoghurt, a leading manufacturer of yogurt in the United States, deploys the Meraki MV to mitigate product loss and help employees keep track of activities across the factory floor. (Check out Noosa’s story here.)

Closing thoughts

IT and OT may previously have been content to occupy two mindsets (and two different parts of the building), but Industry 4.0 requires that they come together to address key challenges manufacturers face today, including downtime, mobility, and waste. With Meraki technology, manufacturers can decrease costs, reduce waste, improve efficiency, and increase visibility of operations across the manufacturing plant. Ultimately, Meraki aims to simplify powerful technology and help IT focus on more strategic goals — which in manufacturing includes close collaboration with the OT team.

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