As Wi-Fi has continued to mature and expand its capabilities, this Networking environment has become a critical component of all business as they continue to digitise and embrace cloud services. Having flexible and secure Network access across your business is critical to long-term success.
A fully managed Network, with high-performance and security at its foundation, is how today’s businesses are building their services. Analyst firm 451 Research state:
"The result of IT innovation that is aligned with and driven by a well-planned business strategy, with the goal of transforming how organisations serve customers, employees, and partners, support continuous improvement in business operations, disrupt existing businesses and markets, and invent new businesses and business models."
For businesses, the need for a Network that offers wireless connectivity has never been more important. According to Deloitte, reporting on the expansion of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device):
"Gains in productivity are the cornerstone of most BYOD business cases. Some 80% of BYOD decision-makers at US and European 500+ employee organisations based their deployment business case on productivity gains."
Operational flexibility is at the heart of the business case for flexible, robust, and secure Wi-Fi Networking. In essence, the core benefits of a new Wi-Fi deployment include:
- Increased speed and capacity.
- Centralised dashboard control of security.
- Support for increasingly geographically diverse workers and teams.
- Location-based data for strategic analysis.
- Control of application access and permissions.
- Ability to fully integrate with managed cloud services.
Data is a business’s most precious commodity. Historically, this information has been difficult to obtain and utilise, due to siloed data storages that are not integrated into the wider business.
As mobile business has rapidly evolved, so too must the access to these data stores. Wireless Networks are now a critical component of all businesses. Allowing everyone (with the correct authorisations) to connect to the Network from any location, and to access this information, is a powerful paradigm that many businesses are only just realising.
One significant step forward is the development of Cloud Managed Wi-Fi - a comprehensive managed cloud-based IT and communications platform build for 21st Century businesses.
It is becoming increasingly important that a business’s Wi-Fi Network is an integrated component of its wider Networking infrastructure. If a business has multiple sites, these can be seamlessly connected, through the use of Cloud Managed Wi-Fi, allowing for an efficient Network that can be accessed anytime, anywhere.
Says Heather Vandenberghe when she was CMO of Westfield, the US shopping centre company:
"People are using their Wi-Fi, they are sitting outdoors on the daybeds, they are charging up their phones, and they are spending time. As a marketer, I want that. The more time they spend, the longer that dwell time, and the more money they spend. That’s good for our business, and it’s good for our retailers."
Analysis of your Network is also vital. Wi-Fi services along with your wider LAN and WAN environment must be assessed. Cloud Managed Wi-Fi offers a variety of analytic options that include:
- The ability to toggle between simple and detailed graphs to understand customer metrics.
- In-depth detail about people passing by the site, time spent within their location, and the typical repeat visit rate. See daily, weekly, or monthly fluctuations in customer traffic to understand peak times of the day.
- A source of data to intelligently market to customers.
- Share data across teams and determine if marketing campaigns or shop front design is affecting footfall.
- Monitoring and reporting on hundreds of applications in use across your Network.
When your business moves to a managed Network, your business can then transform to become more data-centric. Using Cloud Managed Wi-Fi is one way your business can gain these insights, which can include:
- A visibility of how customers and clients move through a business.
- Which areas of a business’s estate gains the most footfall.
- Compare how changing store layouts could positively impact dwell time.
- Identify and track assets via equipment tagging.
Understanding how your Wi-Fi Network becomes a vital component of your business is the key to a successful deployment. Your Wi-Fi Network not only connects you to clients, customers, and staff, but also delivers a flexible data environment that can be easily analysed to understand how your business’s assets move through your enterprise.
A Cloud Managed Wi-Fi Network is intelligent. Networks and their Wi-Fi components built onto a Meraki platform can understand access points and latency, for instance, to enhance the user experience. High-density environments, in particular, can benefit from Wireless Health, which offers Network administrators the ability to see at a granular level how their Networks are performing and identify any pressure points that need alleviating.
Wireless Health is a "powerful heuristics engine that rapidly identifies anomalies impacting end users’ experience across every stage of client connectivity — association, authentication, IP addressing, and DNS availability — for rapid root cause analysis and response," Cisco explains.
Being able to view Network-wide metrics enables failure prevention. In addition, over time, the historical data analysis that is possible informs the future evolution of your Network and its wireless components, which will become even more important in the future. As hosted services become more entrenched and a prerequisite for doing profitable business, having an overview of your Network is part of your enterprise's strategic planning and development.
One of the core benefits of moving to a Cloud Managed Wi-Fi Network is the control possible with your SSID configurations. It is possible to set-up either a Base or Advanced configuration depending on your business’s needs. Businesses that need more than two SSID's setting up can use a bespoke option, which offers the ultimate in customised settings. The key is that your business isn’t restricted no matter your wireless Networking needs.
Cloud Managed Wi-Fi
With Wi-Fi placed at the centre of your business’s data management, you will instantly see benefits, but these go much deeper than simply faster and more reliable Wi-Fi. Your business can expect:
A reduced IT infrastructure
As your Wi-Fi Network is now cloud-based and includes tools to automate the administrative burden that complex Networks can suffer from, your IT department is now free from fire-fighting to work on more innovative projects.
The complete and secure Network environment
The use of SD-WAN enables secure connections between sites using VPN. Through the use of deep packet inspection, any malicious code or attacks can be quickly identified and acted upon. Also included is Cisco’s Advanced Malware Protection (AMP) engine to identify any threats from malware.
This ensures your Wi-Fi Network is highly secure and protects all users from any potential harm.
Flexible Network expansion
The cloud platform offers high levels of versatility. Your business can instantly benefit from the regular updates that the platform receives from its developers.
Anywhere, anytime access
Wireless Networking delivers flexible access to services and data. With Cloud Managed Wi-Fi your staff can work efficiently, as they have full access to your Network from any location.
Clear and concise dashboard control
Removing complexity and delivering insights are at the core of Cloud Managed Wi-Fi Networking. Administrators can gain a complete overview of their Network and its components.
Ultimately, the wireless Networking your business uses will define how it connects workers and sites, but moreover, offers businesses the opportunity to build hosted Networks that are flexible, resilient, and secure to base their business strategy upon.
- Moving to Cloud Managed Wi-Fi offers vast improvements in speed, flexibility, and security, as the platform is completely managed.
- Automatic malicious code and cyberattack detection is a foundation of Cloud Managed Wi-Fi, offering unprecedented levels of protection.
- The expanding BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) environment is completely supported by Cloud Managed Wi-Fi, with secure login and application management across all the personal mobile devices your business’s employees are using.
- Cloud Managed Wi-Fi offers reduced IT infrastructure, together with detailed analysis and reporting. This delivers next-generation Wi-Fi deployment across any size of business or organisation.