Retail chains worry about a lot more than just sales figures and customer happiness. They must also deal with store operations, supply chain issues, data security (for both themselves and their customers) and much more.
We recently wrote about how keeping customer data secure is becoming an increasingly difficult and important requirement for retail chains.
Data security is a big challenge for retail chains with thousands of locations across several different continents. Keeping customer data secure requires continuous, real-time access and monitoring of all Point-of-Sale equipment and Wifi and Ethernet technology. Cisco’s Meraki technology can help fulfill this crucial need for retail chains.
What is Cisco Meraki?
Cisco Meraki utilizes a cloud-based dashboard to give visibility into the devices and networks in an organization, as well as network users and their devices. It also offers their customers easily deployable onsite networking solutions that can be centrally managed from the cloud. One key feature allows customers to check-in and lock the devices on a network by using Cisco Meraki’s real-time dashboard which can be accessed on any device. This gives network administrators access to the dashboard anytime and anywhere as long as they can get on the internet.
Meraki services can help retailers manage Wifi, switching, security and mobile device management. These can all be centrally managed from the cloud. Meraki solutions can also support BYOD, guest networking, application control, WAN optimization, firewall applications and other networking services. Providing mobile device management (MDM) is also a key component of Meraki technology. Here’s a look at the features one-by-one.
The Eight Key Features of Cisco Meraki Explained:
1. Check-in and Lock:
Check-in is a process that allows the force updating of devices from the cloud via the dashboard. The lock feature allows customers to easily lock devices, and immediately prohibit the devices from being able to access Wifi. Both features save IT administrators a lot of time and money.
2. Centralized Management:
Remote access to the dashboard is available from almost any web browser and allows users the option of using their smartphone or tablet to have access to a variety of features, from troubleshooting tools to real-time device usage analytics. The dashboard also enables IT Administrators to easily roll out configuration changes to every Meraki-enabled device in their organization.
3. Communication Security
All device management data is sent via an encrypted, secure traffic layer. Customers can also restrict access to the dashboard and its servers. Device management traffic is segregated from regular network communication. These features ensure that malicious attempts to access the management interface will not be successful.
4. Network Insight and Monitoring
The use of a cloud-managed switch leverages the benefits of centralized management and reliable access to its platform. This enables customers to easily configure and monitor thousands of switch ports in real time.
5. Event Logs and Alerts
This feature immediately notifies customers of problems with email alerts, and provides web-based diagnostics to help with troubleshooting the network from any web browser.
6. Virtual Stacking
This is an industry-first technology that provides centralized management of up to 10,000 switch ports. Virtually stacked switches can be in different physical locations which simplify large-scale and distributed environments.
7. Local Management
Provides customers with the ability to locally manage device configuration monitoring and manage IP & VLAN configuration.
8. Automatic Software Updates
Enables both fully automated and scheduled firmware upgrades.
These combined features provide IT Administrators with the ability to manage tens of thousands of devices in thousands of stores, anywhere in the world. Meraki’s solutions provide technology that delivers not only cloud networking and device and security services, but more importantly, it helps to ensure that a retail chain’s customer data is secure from ongoing and ever-evolving security threats.