Cisco introduced a new family of switches, a wireless VPN firewall, on-premises equipment for service providers, and the launch of an online SMB training center today. The new offering for the small and midsize business market require minimal IT support, a key feature for resource strapped SMBs that often have small, part-time IT staff or no IT staff at all.
Cisco vice president of Small Business Solutions Marketing, Rick Moran, emphasized the growing importance of the network to smaller organizations. He said, “For more and more SMBs, if the network doesn't work, the business is not functional . . . if it fails, you're done . . . that's led them to invest in business grade products.”
Though more SMBs may be convinced of the importance of the network to their business, that doesn't necessarily translate to the IT resources to required to support and manage complex data networks. To fill that gap, Cisco SMB products are designed with simplicity in mind that are accessible to business leaders without IT expertise. As Moran said, “We do speak geek, but instead we need to focus on what customers want to do with the network.”
According to the vendor, the unmanaged switches the newly release Cisco 100 Series ($57-$413) deliver energy-efficiency and Fast Ethernet and Gigabit Ethernet connectivity right out of the box. The switches are the first of a broader rollout from the Cisco SMB group that will continue through the year.
The Cisco RV 120W Wireless-N VPN Firewall ($189)offers affordable connectivity according to Cisco. Designed for organizations with fewer than 20 employees, the device includes 802.11n wireless access and segmented network access control that may appeal to business that want to use the same network for secure internal operations and provide guest access to customers, partners, or clients.
Most SMBs rely heavily on technology service providers and the latest rollout includes two Service Ready Platforms in the Cisco SPR 500 Series for service providers that cater to smaller organizations. The SRP 526W and SRP527W (both $300) allow vendors to deliver data, voice, and other services to small businesses at low cost.
In addition to the products, Cisco also unveiled the online Small Business University for its partners. The web-based resource includes partner tools and training, solution roadmaps, and self-paced technical training all available on-demand around the clock.
Commenting on the value to SMBs of the latest announcements from Cisco, Moran said, "Cisco is focused on building reliable, affordable technologies that small businesses can easily use to connect their business to the world, help secure their business, and communicate more effectively. By categorizing the Cisco Small Business portfolio into connect, secure and communicate, we're helping small businesses select the right technologies to meet their core business needs and even accelerate as the economy recovers."
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