The cloud is changing the way businesses are going about their day to day operations. With cloud services, businesses have access to professional IT infrastructure without the need for a professional IT department. IT-dependent tasks that once required new hardware or equipment, such as large file transfers, data storage and collaboration, can all now take place in the cloud, with greater flexibility, lower costs and with little expertise required. The cloud means that even small businesses can easily and affordably access IT functionality to help them be more competitive, efficient and creative.
While this move to digitisation is increasing opportunities for business, one thing still remains critical, and that’s the security of your network. As businesses embrace digitisation, they must embrace it securely. The productive shift towards digitisation means businesses must act smart, and be equipped to avoid cyber-attacks. It may not seem like an immediate threat, but more than 15,000 cyber security incidents were recorded between June 2015 and June 2016*. Security breaches can result in costly clean-ups, time offline, data loss and potentially devastating breaches of customer information, so it pays to be secure.
With security, prevention is better than a cure, so it’s critical that business owners put in place simple yet effective measures to protect their networks. Use anti-virus software. Choose smart passwords and change them frequently. Back-up data regularly. Keep software up to date. Secure the entire network, not just individual devices.
For Australian businesses that don’t have IT specialists in-house (around a third of SMBs), managing these tasks, as well as securing a range of interconnected devices, understanding IT jargon, and managing complicated configurations can all become a bit overwhelming.
Fortunately, there is a solution that can support SMBs to manage the security demands of their networks that is smart and simple. Cloud networking delivers a completely innovative network architecture that is helping businesses overcome many of their traditional IT hurdles, all within a best-in-class secure environment.
Cloud networking is actually beautifully simple. Cisco Meraki cloud managed IT devices (such as wireless APs, switches and security appliances, just to name a few) are discreet white boxes containing powerful hardware that is built to withstand the demands of multiple devices and applications. These devices automatically connect to the Meraki cloud (Cisco’s private cloud, supported by a global network of servers) and have self-provisioning features to get your network registered with ease. It’s simple to set-up, with some networks taking just a few minutes to get up and running, and includes security. Plus, you don’t need any additional software outside of the Meraki cloud managed dashboard.
Meraki was designed with SMB in mind. Research showed that IT intricacies prove difficult for small business management, with three quarters of owners having at least one IT frustration. Not only does Meraki elegantly solve so many of the issues that owners and managers find irritating (such as constant upgrades, software licencing costs, managing multiple devices and configurations), it does so offering best-in-class security, for the entire network.
This all makes it easier for businesses to manage and protect their networks, data and ultimately the organisation, while also reducing the need for extensive, ongoing IT expertise. The cloud-delivered network security performed automatically through the Meraki cloud assures business owners and managers that all devices connected to their system are protected. In addition to this, Meraki is tested daily by an independent third party, to provide reassurance to businesses who use it.
Meraki networking is a game-changer, giving owners and managers the ability to setup, manage and monitor their networks simply and easily, while being assured the latest upgrades and security are delivered automatically, freeing up time to work on the business, rather than in the business.
For businesses with IT challenges, Meraki is a future-proof solution to digital redundancy. And for those businesses with an IT department, Meraki can increase efficiency, security and response times, all while reducing errors, confusion and help-desk burnout. All Meraki devices are managed in the Dashboard, a browser-based interface allowing IT teams to configure and manage devices, settings and data from anywhere in the world and is now offered in multiple languages.
Interested to learn more about how cloud networking can transform your SMB? Cisco’s partners are on-hand to help. Share your project and qualified IT partners will be in touch with customised ideas to support your business goals.
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Other Insights used within this article were taken from an online survey and focus groups in Sydney administrated by Cisco and IDG Research.
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