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Cisco Systems is best known for their enterprise networking equipment. They have developed and are marketing hardware aimed specifically at small business customers, and home office operations. Their goal with Cisco Small Business is to provide products that operate right out of the box, delivering reliable, secure connectivity for users with the most basic understanding of computer networking.

We’ve asked Cisco engineers and product managers to elaborate about how their product lines offer value for cost-conscious SMB operators. Cisco Systems product manager Marc Nagao answers on behalf of the company.

Smart Buyer: Cisco built its reputation with networking gear for larger businesses. What does your value proposition look like for companies under 100 seats?

Marc Nagao, Cisco Systems: Our portfolio of purpose-built networking solutions are all about value. We design and manufacture networking solution for the small business. Performance, quality, reliability and scalability at reasonable cost. This value proposition is strongest with our portfolio. We have products starting targeted at 0-5 users in the home office market. This, of course, scales up to much larger deployments, even larger than 100 seats.

Do you need advanced technical skills to take advantage of these SMB solutions?

All of our small business solutions, and even our small enterprise products, have a web-based user interface that makes them easy to setup within a few minutes.  There may be a perception that all Cisco Networking solutions need to be configured via Command Line Interface (CLI – think console cable) by a CCIE, but that is not the case.  Anyone with basic networking knowledge will be able to setup a Cisco SMB solution.

How should a small business expect to understand ROI from deploying this equipment?

Quality and reliability equates to solutions that last. But the whole time providing a user experience that users won’t even think about it – the network works. That means users and business owners can concentrate on their task at hand—their business.

I notice the brand likes to talk about “rightsized network automation” in the context of small businesses. What does that mean exactly?

To us, this means purchasing networking solutions that fit their use case. For network automation, this means the ability to monitor, manage, remediate and report.

What would you say are most overlooked network security issues for SMB customers, and how does this solution address those?

Users staying away from malicious websites is one of the most dangerous aspects for a business network. Once infected, it can be a lengthy and costly experience. If you want an analogy – think data loss.

Find details and technical specifications on our Cisco store pages.

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Adam Lovinus

Author Adam Lovinus

A tech writer and Raspberry Pi enthusiast from Orange County, California.

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