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Cisco Meraki Managed Service

Organizations are increasingly looking to offload network deployment, monitoring, and management to a trusted partner. Going beyond networking design and installation, managed service providers (MSPs) are delivering networks as a service: ongoing monitoring, configuring, and troubleshooting handled by the service provider. End customers are able to treat their network as a utility, and MSPs have new recurring revenue opportunities providing value-added services.

To help Cisco partners deliver these services more efficiently and to a broader base of customers, Cisco has introduced a set of unique tools and resources for MSPs offering Meraki wireless, switching, security, and MDM as a service to their customers. The Cisco Meraki MSP Dashboard is specifically built to allow service providers to centrally manage end-customer networks over the web, while still maintaining logical isolation and security of each customer network.

The MSP Dashboard is built on top of Meraki’s cloud dashboard and integrated hardware. Cisco maintains Meraki back-end infrastructure in multiple datacenters around the world and delivers all management tools through a central web-based interface, without additional wireless controllers, management appliances, or software. On-premise access points, switches, and security appliances automatically pull their configuration from the cloud, and commuincate statistics and metadata back to a centralized database. User traffic does not pass through the cloud, flowing directly to its destination on the LAN or across the WAN, and and-user functionality is not interrupted if the network loses connectivity to the cloud.

Utilizing this platform, MSPs can increase operational efficiency by monitoring, configuring, and troubleshooting remote branch and campus networks over the web, reducing truck rolls and operational costs. Meraki’s cloud infrastructure is built to handle tens of thousands of customer networks, ranging from from small branch offices to campuses. With Meraki-hosted backend infrastructure, partners can grow their service offerings with their customers with minimal upfront investment.

As a Managed Service Provider, Frontal Communication delivers Cisco Meraki cloud-managed networking as a service to its customers without the infrastructure buildout required by traditional solutions. Via the MSP Dashboard, we can leverage Meraki’s multi-tenant cloud infrastructure to deliver integrated wireless, switching, security and mobile device management. Meraki’s unique architecture enables MSPs to offer networking as a service with minimal upfront investment, and with lower overal operational costs.

Benefits

Partners using the Cisco Meraki MSP Dashboard can benefit from Cisco Meraki’s investments in infrastructure and focus on ease of management to drive revenues and margins.

Lower operational costs
• No infrastructure costs - Meraki maintains a multitenant public cloud-hosted management infrastructure which eliminates the need to build out data centers and other infrastructure
• Controllerless architecture - Network topolgies need to include only access hardware, e.g. APs, switches, and security appliances (firewalls). There are no controllers or other management devices, either on-site or centrally located
• Lower staff requirements - Meraki’s intuitive management reduces engineering hours and staff training requirements. Integrated wireless, security, switching and MDM solutions give administrators a single pane of glass view and a common management tools across products
• Streamlined cost model - A single pricing model includes maintenance, support, and ongoing feature releases
• Increased efficiency - Eliminate pre-staging and truck rolls via self-configuring hardware. Meraki’s centralized dashboard and remote live tools make maintenance easy for both on-site staff and centralized / NOC employees

Scale with customer demand
Meraki’s architecture facilitates partners to scale from small installations to large campuses. Since Meraki hosts the backend infrastrucutre, taking on larger customers doesn’t require increased up-front spending.
Cisco has invested in optimizing the Meraki datacenter architecture to scale to millions of attached devices. Technologies like propriatary high-performance databases, redundant server architectures and multiple geographically dispersed data centers ensure that MSPs can offer Meraki services to all their end customers, no matter how big or distributed they may be.

Extend MSP portfolio into the mid-market
The Meraki cloud-managed architecture is fully-integrated with plug and play features, enabling MSPs to extend enterprise-class features into mid-sized businesses. Solutions including BYOD, site-to-site VPN, location analytics, and wireless security are available “out-of-the-box”, and can be deployed to organizations of all size with minimal operational cost and complexity.

Opportunity for significant value-add services
Cisco Meraki maintains backend infrastructure and networking technical support, allowing MSPs to offer services such as NOC/SOC monitoring, end-user help desks, network design, and installation.
Cisco Meraki’s cloud-managed architecture provides MSPs with a complete solution without the cost and complexity of traditional infrastructure buildout.

Centralized multi-site management
Network administrators can easily monitor multiple sites, e.g. branch offices, from a single web-based console. This approach reduces the complexity of managing distributed deployments.

Speed and ease of deployment
MSP engineers do not need to install, configure, and maintain on-site controllers and management systems, streamlining deployment and driving down total cost. There is no need for prestaging, either - hardware can be shipped directly to the installation point and configured remotely.

Scalability on demand
Meraki networks scale up to tens of thousands of endpoints per network. In addition, back-end cloud resources provision automatically as deployments grow, enabling MSPs to elastically scale their practice simply by deploying more endpoints at the customer’s sites.

Simplified branch network setup
Meraki makes it easy to support customers with many branch offices, without the operational expense of truck rolls and on-site engineers. Meraki hardware simply needs to be connected to the Internet. Once installed, devices will self-configure, and ongoing management can be performed remotely over the web. Automatic, self-configuring site-to-site VPN and WAN optimization create secure, high-performance links between sites.

Automatic cloud-based optimization
Meraki’s centralized service provides round-the-clock optimization of the network. Dynamic wireless channel planning monitors and mitigates interference, ensuring the network is operating at peak performance. Mesh routes are also constantly updated to ensure maximum client throughput.

Highly available and secure datacenters
Meraki’s highly available datacenters with geographic redundancy give partners fault tolerance without incurring the expense of building multiple datacenter. Moreover, a Meraki network continues to serve clients even if communication with the cloud infrastructure is lost, with only remote monitoring and control interrupted - client traffic will continue seamlessly.
The Meraki datacenter architecture is SSAE16 / SAS70 type II certified and hardened against physical and network intrusion, part of an overall solution that is PCI compliant. Additionally, Meraki offers MSP staff a suite of tools for securing administrator accounts, such as two factor authentication and role-based policies.

Effortless upgrades
Meraki’s hosted system makes upgrades trouble-free. Since the management system is web-based, new features require no client or server-side upgrades. New features are added to the cloud dashboard several times per year without disruptive downtime.
Meraki also manages firmware upgrades centrally, freeing network administrators from involvement in keeping APs up-to-date. Firmware upgrades take place over the air in a secure, fault-tolerant fashion.

API Access and Historical Statistics
Having a hosted service available makes it easier to create enterprise applications that build on the network. Meraki offers a secure, XML-based API that can be used to produce custom monitoring and reporting applications, without installing additional software or hardware on site.

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