Cisco Meraki : Easy to Deploy Cloud-Based & Infrastructure Solutions

Keller Schroeder IT Engineer Mike SanfordMike Sanford – [Wireless Consultant]

Do you need to be able to bring a remote office up quickly without an on-site visit?  Do you want one place to monitor wired and wireless connectivity?  Are you looking for a cloud-based solution that can provide wireless access points, switches, firewalls as well as video cameras?  If you can answer “Yes” to any of those questions, Cisco Meraki has a solution for you.

MCisco Meraki Logoeraki was founded in 2006, gaining interest as a cloud provider of wireless services.  In 2012, it was purchased by Cisco and has since branched out into the other areas of IT infrastructure mentioned above.  Their focus is providing technology that is easy to deploy and manage.  Keller Schroeder has successfully deployed most of these Meraki hardware solutions, with the exception of the video camera solution which was released in the last quarter of 2016.

Cisco Meraki DashboardWhen connected to an internet ready network, Meraki devices “phone home” and are immediately configurable from the web based Meraki Dashboard.  The Dashboard offers a single pane of glass to configure devices as well as monitor devices for up/down time and keep an eye on end user traffic.  The Dashboard provides the ability to adjust allowed bandwidth utilization and whitelist or blacklist web traffic, giving you the ability to maximize your infrastructure and internet performance.  Traffic for each piece of hardware, network and end user device is tracked and displayed in easy to view, drill-down graphs.  Information such as user, total amount and percentage of usage, applications and sites visited are available.  This information can then be used to quickly throttle bandwidth hogs, or to limit internet access by type of site or by specific site.

Meraki also offers an Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) solution called Systems Manager.  With Systems Manager, applications and network policy can be deployed to mobile and desktop devices.  Once the easy on-boarding process is complete, a device can be monitored for location, security posture and software inventory.  The devices can also be protected by enforcing encryption policies, network access control and there is a remote enterprise wipe feature.

To learn more about our cloud solutions including Meraki, or to ask about how Keller Schroeder can perform a wireless assessment of your environment, give us a call at 812-474-6825 or contact your Keller Schroeder Select Account Manager.


2017 NCAA March Madness Kick-Off Event

 Carissa Eatmon – [Marketing & Communications Coordinator]

We began our 2017 event schedule by getting into the NCAA action with a March Madness Kick-Off Event!

The Keller Schroeder team, along with our friends from Cisco and Nimble, met our clients at Bar Louis in Evansville
for a laid back afternoon filled with food, live action game play, friendly rivalries and fun! Thank you to everyone who came to hang out!

Clients who both pre-registered and attended were also entered into our Grand Prize Drawing for a Samsung 55″ 4K Ultra HD TV. Congratulations to our winner, Jana Shelton of Cresline!

We feel honored to have each of you as our client, and we look forward to seeing you again soon at our next event!


Cisco Smart Net Total Care

Channel_Premier_360px_72_RGB

Carissa Montgomery[Marketing & Communications Coordinator]

As we first informed you in July 2015, Cisco recently migrated all SMARTnet clients to their new Smart Net Total Care (SNTC) service. Cisco SNTC is a software service that uses a collector to gather information on your network, validates it against Cisco’s records, and returns it to administrators with any actionable information. If you are currently a Cisco SMARTnet customer, you already have access to this service and the collection device.

It has been reported that on average, IT teams support at around 1,000 devices. One of the challenges network administrators face is keeping track of these devices – including their associated contracts, renewal dates, end-of-sale, end-of-support, and end-of life details. Most often, this information is placed in a spreadsheet, which may be updated only once or twice a year. The SNTC device mitigates this process by quickly collecting all of this information for you, and reports it back through a simple, user-friendly portal.KS Cisco SNTC

SNTC also provides serial numbers, product numbers, and the IOS versions the devices are on as well as the components plugged into those devices (SFP Cards, etc.) This eliminates the need to log into every device periodically and manually record the information. In addition, SNTC provides security advisories based on the hardware and the IOS version your system has.

Key Benefits

SNTC eliminates many issues with the manual device and renewal processes.

  • Time-consuming logging process
  • Human error
  • Equipment overbooking
  • Multiple iterations of contracts, quotes, and spreadsheets which increase the opportunity for inconsistencies

Quickly and Easily Provides:

  • Cisco device inventory
  • Device contracts
  • Renewal
  • End-of-sale
  • End-of support
  • End-of-life

The good news is that your company already has access to the Cisco Smart Net Total Care device. Keller Schroeder’s team of engineers can assist you with its implementation. We will install the device, verify that all of your devices are properly registering, ensure that you are receiving the notifications that are most critical for your environment, and provide the knowledge you need to effectively manage the SNTC portal.

To learn more about the Cisco SNTC service or to schedule a time for us to assist you with implementation, please contact your Keller Schroeder Account Manager.


2015 Client Appreciation Event : All-Star Bash

Allstar Bash
Carissa Montgomery
– Marketing & Communications Coordinator

On October 2nd, 2015, Keller Schroeder hosted our annual Client Appreciation Event. This year, we held an All-Star Bash to celebrate the TRUE MVPs of our organization. It was a day filled with delicious food from Marx Barbecue and Pacetre, plus fellowship and a lot of fun.

Full SwingGirls

Along with our vendor partners, we also gave attendees the opportunity to win great prizes – including our grand prize – a set of 4 Indianapolis Colts Tickets.

Perhaps our favorite aspect of this event every year is the opportunity we give our clients and employee-owners to give back to the community. The continued generosity shown at this event never ceases to amaze us. This year, the Boys & Girls Club of Evansville was chosen to receive our give back donations. We successfully collected over 2 truckloads of supplies for the organization – things like cleaning supplies, healthy snacks, copy paper, and supplies for the care of their sports field.

Giving BackBasketball

Thank you so much to all of our employee-owners for their hard work in making this event a reality every year. Thank you to our vendor partners for both their resources and for joining us. Most importantly, we owe a huge debt of gratitude to our clients for their continued loyalty and support.

Group ShotRay

Be sure to mark your calendars for next year’s Client Appreciation Event! It’s always the first Friday in October – October 7th in 2016!

 


Leverage Your Existing Cisco Phone System with Informacast

Warren Swingle – Senior Systems Engineer

Do you have the need to send mass notifications to people in your organization?  Would you like to leverage your existing Cisco phone system to add a paging system and/or notification system?  Informacast software can integrate with your existing or new Cisco phone system to provide numerous paging and notification features.

PrintSince the release of Cisco Call Manager Version 9, Cisco has included a Singlewire software called Informacast with Call Manager Business Edition 6000.  It also can be downloaded free and installed with Call Manager 8.5 and higher.  The Informacast Basic Paging license lever is free with Cisco Call Manager.  Basic Paging allows customers to live page up to 50 IP phones through the speaker built into the phone.  Custom groups can be created to page different areas, departments or groups.  Informacast can run as a virtual appliance on your existing VM hosts supporting your current UC virtual machines.  Since Informacast runs as an appliance, no Windows licensing is needed.  Informacast Basic Paging is also supported by Cisco TAC if you have an active support contract for Call Manager.  Within the same application supporting Basic Paging, a license upgrade unlocks the Advanced Notification features.  Below are some of the most popular features.  These features can be easily customized to fit your business need in healthcare, education, manufacturing, financial or retail.

  • Live or pre-recorded audio paging to Cisco IP phones and overhead paging systems.
  • Notification and confirmation to mobile devices (Apple iOS, Andriod and SMS), IP phones and desktop workstations.
  • Common Alerting Protocol integration with the National Weather Service, NOAA and Homeland Security.
  • Notification to Jabber Clients and Twitter
  • 911 call monitoring, alerting and recording
  • Automated weather notifications
  • Message confirmation
  • Trigger notifications from other systems (door locks, panic buttons, lights, etc.)

 

Informacast HeaderInformacast Advanced Notification can provide customized notifications and confirmation of those notifications.  An example situation would be if there is an emergency that requires a site lockdown.  Informicast Advanced Notification can send a pre-recorded audio page to IP phones and overcisco-paging-cdn-informacasthead speakers.
Simultaneously, notifications are sent to computer desktops, Apple/Andriod mobile devices and SMS text messages.  If a user has received a message via a mobile device, SMS, IP phone or desktop they can acknowledge receipt of the notification.  Informacast management console has the ability to track the acknowledgement of those notifications. Informicast Advanced Notification can also receive Common Alerting Protocol (CAP) notifications from the National Weather Service, NOAA, and Homeland Security.  Based on the type, location and severity of the alert, Informatcast can trigger an alert via paging and/or notifications.

 

Another feature of Informacast is the emergency call notification.  Emergency call notification can notify personnel in your organization that a 911 call has been made from your facilty and record the emergency call.  The receiver of the notification will have the internal extension and name of the phone that dialed the emergency number.  Many times if you have a large building or campus, the 911 PSAP is only the number and physical address of the location.  Emergency call notification allows groups within your organization to be aware an emergency call has been made, where it originated, and a recording of the call.  This can be critical information that can be given to first responders when they arrive.

There are many other powerful paging and notification features available with Informicast software.  If you have any questions about Informacast Paging and Notification contact your Keller Schroeder Account Manager.


Cisco SMARTnet became Smart Net Total Care on July 27, 2015

The converged service will now be branded Smart Net Total Care.  The new service delivers the same award-winning technical service capabilities of SMARTnet, while entitling every customer and partner to the smart service capabilities of Smart Net Total Care, which includes:Total Care

  • Validated data about your installed base, viewable on an intuitive web portal.
  • Easy access to contract status so you can see you have the right service coverage.
  • Consolidated network view to better identify, track, manage, and respond to issues with proactive diagnostics and
  • Faster problem solving and improved network uptime through award-winning technical support services

 

With Smart Net Total Care, you receive highly secure, ongoing visibility into your Cisco installed base, analyzed and correlated with Cisco intellectual capital. This gives you an up-to-date understanding of what is covered and not covered, and what is nearing or past the last day of support.

 

To better understand the new Cisco merged service, please find links below to short video clips:

SMARTnet merges into Smart Net Total Care   7:44min

Smart Net Total Care – How it works   0:50min

Smart Net Total Care – Portal Overview   1:29min

Smart Net Total Care – Is it secure?   2:17min

Smart Net Total Care — Quick Start version 3.0   9:42min

 

If you have any further questions regarding Cisco Smart Net Total Care, your Keller Schroeder Account Manager would be happy to assist you.


Spotlight On…

Ty Nixon

Employee Owners: Ty Nixon

 

Ty has 9 years of experience in the Information Technology field.  Prior to his role with Keller Schroeder, he designed, implemented, and maintained server, network, and cabling infrastructure for 56 locations in a post-secondary environment with over 8,000 students.  For that institution, he carried the primary responsibility for 100+ Windows Servers, Active Directory, Exchange 2013, SQL Server, Systems Center, Sharepoint Server, Hyper-V, Cisco LAN, WAN, and wireless technologies.  He also led the design and implementation for SAN solutions, and designed high-availability solutions based on clustering, multi-homing, and replication.

In addition to his Microsoft and Cisco background, Ty has experience with Symantec Backup Exec, Simpana Commvault, and Websense security products.  He also has experience with infrastructure automation through the use of Powershell.

Ty and his wife Teresa recently moved to the area from Texas.  They have two young children – a son named Flint and daughter Ela. In his spare time, Ty enjoys spending time with his family and being outdoors. He loves riding motorcycles, carpentry and woodworking, and studying theology.

Contact the Keller Schroeder Account Team to learn more about Ty and how you can leverage his experience and skills to benefit your organization.


Cisco ASA and AnyConnect

Tim Deem, Sr. Network Consultant

Cisco Systems recently made two significant announcements at Cisco Live! Milan.  The first included new models of the Adaptive Security Appliance (ASA), and the second included changes in the AnyConnect Client with respect to new names and ordering methods.

New ASA Models
The new models of the ASA provide substantially improved throughput and the FirePower services within purchased bundles.

CISCO ASA5506-X:   Similar to the 5505 model in its footprint, but with 5 times the throughput  (750Mbps), and as a Next Generation Firewall (NGFW), ships with FirePower services and built-in administration.

5506W-X:
  Mirrors 5506-X features, with a built-in 702 AP (802.11n).

Although the improved performance and FirePower inclusion is greatly anticipated, one disappointment is the lack of Power over Ethernet (PoE) and its absence from the roadmap on these units. Two additional models were also mentioned, but aren’t due to be available until later in Cisco’s calendar year.  Details on the 5508-X (higher performance model) and the 5506H-X (ruggedized model) will be forthcoming.

 

Cisco AnyConnect Change
The announcement at Cisco Live! Milan was followed by the End of Support (EOS) alert issued March 14, 2015 declaring the EOS for Cisco AnyConnect version 3.x.  As of this alert, the following are now in effect:
Cisco Any Connect

  • Software maintenance will not be available for the stated software versions [3.x] beyond March 1, 2016.
  • OS Platform updates for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux will not be available for the stated software versions [3.x] beyond July 31, 2015.

The new Cisco AnyConnect SSL-based client solution is acquired by purchasing the licensing for AnyConnect Plus (which mirrors the old Essentials license in features and functionality) or AnyConnect APEX (which mirrors the old Premium license).  If, however, you’ve purchased the original AnyConnect Essentials or Premium licensing prior to March 2nd 2015, there are migration licenses which can be acquired at a reduced cost.

 

For more information regarding the new ASA models or the AnyConnect licensing, please contact your Keller Schroeder Account Manager.


TechSpot Recap : Cisco Intercloud & Peak 10 Disaster Recovery

Carissa Montgomery, Marketing & Communications Coordinator

Steve Kevin Cisco
The kickoff to our 2015 TechSpot series of lunch-and-learn events took place on Thursday, February 26th. The event was also the first held at our new TechSpot location, ITT Technical Institute in Newburgh, IN. The informative session featured presentations from our vendor partners Cisco and Peak 10.

Cisco Systems Engineer Kevin Flook discussed the company’s Intercloud Fabric, a highly secure, open, and flexible solution that gives users complete freedom in workload placement based on business needs.
Kevin’s presentation included details such as Cisco’s Intercloud Kevin PresentingFabric vision, an overview of its architecture, and case studies highlighting the technology’s true business value.

John and Mike Peak 10
Attendees also had the opportunity to hear from Mike Meyer, Systems Engineer from Peak 10. Mike discussed the latest in Peak 10’s Disaster Recovery. Topics featured in Mike’s presentation included Business Continuity versus Disaster Recovery, a Disaster Recovery plan using the Cisco PPDIOO Chart, challenges associated with traditional disaster recovery implementations, and cloud-based disaster recovery using Peak 10’s Mike PresentingDRaaS.

Clients were also treated to a free lunch, a free gift, and the opportunity to win great prizes. Becky Hills from Ivy Tech, Allen Tate from the Ohio Township Public Library System, and Cathy Finch from Raben Tire all took home Amazon Fire Sticks. Abram Devonshire from Flanders Electric won our Grand Prize, a $100 VISA Gift Card.

 


Business Edition 6000

Tim Deem, Sr. Network Consultant


As a Cisco Partner with a Voice Specialization for over a decade, we have seen the growth and maturity of the Unified Communication platforms and products firsthand – from the earliest Cisco 7750 consolidated single-chassis product providing simple dial-tone & voice mail services to today’s distributed modular unified communication product line that contains a wide array of collaboration tools to manage voice, video, messaging and numerous other means of communication.


In its first iteration beyond the single 7750 chassis model, each individual product, such as Cisco Call Manager and Unity, ran independently on stand-alone servers using the network for their inter-connectivity. Shortly after migrating the products from a Microsoft Windows platform to one of Red Hat Linux, to meet the demand of smaller businesses, Cisco released a single-server combined solution called Business Edition in which the primary products, Cisco Call Manager and Cisco Unity Connection (the new messaging product), would co-exist as a single image. This marked the beginning of a new product line and provided an entry point for those businesses wishing to reap the benefits of IP-based Communications at a price point much more palatable to their financial position.


Since that time, the original product has become known as Business Edition 5000. This was assumed to be an effort to differentiate it from the new announced Business Edition 6000 or as it’s become known, BE6K for short. The BE6K retains its namesake primarily in Marketing only as its design takes advantage of Cisco’s migration to virtual implementation. This new platform is based on the Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS) hardware platform, available in a medium-density and high-density model, and is designed for an organization of up to 1000 employees utilizing up to a combined total of 2500 devices.


ciscobe6kIn addition to the basic services of the Business Edition 5000 product, Business Edition 6000 also provides the mechanism to deploy video conferencing, Jabber-based collaboration, Contact Center, and numerous complementary services such as Emergency Responder and Paging services and a wide variety of approved third-party applications. Each of these inherent, complementary or third-party applications co-exist within the Cisco UCS as virtual machines (VM) instances, extending to those managing the environment all the benefits a VMware environment provides.


Worth mentioning is a recent enhancement to the BE6K product that’s served to increase its popularity both with potential customers and Cisco Voice Partners is the ability to provide system redundancy both in day-to-day operation and business continuity planning by allowing for multiple physical servers in the overall design.


With the inherent applications focused on voice and video, the availability of third-party applications, and an ability to design a physically and geographically dispersed solution, the Business Edition 6000 product just might be the right solution for your environment.


Contact your Account Manager at Keller Schroeder for more information about these products and how they might benefit your organization.