What is Managed WiFi

Jul 19, 2018

WiFi is everywhere. It’s in our coffee shops, restaurants and local high-street shops, providing us with the seamless connectivity we now expect in our day-to-day lives.

Coupled with the rise of smartphones and Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) schemes, your staff now expect the same level of connectivity in your workplace – and for good reason. A study conducted by Frost & Sullivan revealed the average user saves 58 minutes of time per day when using their own devices. Further research from the Economist Intelligence Unit revealed employees who could connect to the internet on a mobile device contributed to a 16% boost in productivity for that business.

The stats hardly seem surprising. BYOD devices and ubiquitous WiFi free your staff from their desks and allow them to access your corporate information and systems from any mobile device.

So, what can your business do to meet this increasing demand for connectivity while keeping your corporate information safe? Managed WiFi could be the solution.

What is managed WiFi?

Managed WiFi creates a series of networks across your business so your employees can connect to the internet from any device.

A managed WiFi system typically includes devices such as wireless controllers, switches, cabling and Wireless Access Points (WAPs). Most managed WiFi services are usually provided via the cloud, where your entire LAN (Local Area Network) can be managed remotely by your service provider, ensuring a secure and scalable network.

At Zen Systems, we use Cisco Meraki, a 100% cloud-managed wireless network security system, to create networks throughout your business. In short, Cisco Meraki manages your entire network, including LAN, WAN, and wireless LAN.

Unlike other systems, it gives you complete control of guest access points, traffic and connected devices from any location. Cisco Meraki’s access points are also built from high-quality components, giving faster connections, better capacity, and more coverage than inferior boxes.

The Cisco Meraki service and its remotely managed WiFi also bring further benefits to your business.

1. Tech support

With so many devices let loose in your workplace, the sheer magnitude of WiFi management is enough to keep any IT manager awake at night. That’s why many businesses decide to outsource to a managed wireless LAN service provider to free up their IT team.

As a result, your IT team can focus on meeting the needs of your staff, clients and customers, safe in the knowledge that your WiFi is under control.

A remotely managed WiFi network also means you’ll have access to expert tech support at any time of the day. Not only does this reduce the load on your own IT staff, it could further improve the productivity of your business as your staff no longer have to waste time waiting for any problems to be fixed. As a result, you can reduce your downtime and ensure your business is productive.

2. Network security

Businesses are under pressure to secure their networks against cyber security breaches. In fact, the demand for highly-secure networks has never been so important. Research reveals about 1 in 40 small businesses are at risk of falling victim to a cyber crime and nearly 7 in 10 large businesses identified a breach or attack in 2017.

Managed WiFi offers layered security, including encryption, tracking of users and devices, intrusion prevention and firewalls.

Cisco Meraki also seamlessly updates your filter lists and threat definitions. This means every MX has up-to-date protection from the latest vulnerabilities. You can design access policies requiring approved MAC addresses or login credentials for any device that wants to connect to your data or voice VLANs (Virtual LANs).

3. Cost control

At first glance, building a wireless network from scratch may seem expensive, especially if you need to carry out routine upgrades. However, an investment in a managed WiFi network will pay off in the long-run as it provides comprehensive time and resource savings.

For example, a managed WiFi service means your IT team can focus on the areas that really matter to your business. Your staff will also be more productive and happier in their work as research reveals job satisfaction increases by 23% and loyalty to the company increases by 21% for businesses with BYOD initiatives.

Managed WiFi is also scalable, so you can easily match your business’s needs and pay for what you actually use.

4. BYOD

Managed WiFi also allows your business to adopt BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) securely, without impacting your business critical applications. This is because managed WiFi services prioritise your business critical services at the application level.

For example, it doesn’t matter what device your staff use with the Cisco Meraki solution, its managed network intelligence capabilities look at the type of traffic being used and prioritises it accordingly. Cisco Meraki is also the first and only solution on the market to provide device-based security policies and its Systems Manager fully integrates with Meraki Wireless.

As a result, you can easily and securely onboard BYOD devices by defining your security policies to ensure compliance. The Meraki system also automatically identifies and classifies the different devices using your network and provides over-the-air centralised management, diagnostics, and monitoring for the mobile devices managed by your organisation.

In conclusion

With faster connections, better security, BYOD management and 24/7 tech support, it’s easy to see why so many businesses are taking on managed WiFi solutions. If you’d like to find out more about how Zen Systems can help you get connected, just contact us.

Alternatively, you can see just how easy Cisco Meraki is to install by downloading our free guide to its tools.

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