Built from the ground up specifically for small businesses, the new Cisco Meraki Go Wi-Fi, formally announced Wednesday, offers Cisco partners an enterprise-grade Wi-Fi solution to offer their small-business customers at a price and with an ease of use the company says wasn’t available before.
Cisco Meraki Go offers indoor and outdoor wireless access points and targets companies with fewer than 50 employees – with a niche focus on small businesses with about 20 employees – a market segment where Cisco Meraki has not played.
“We built this product because Meraki, over the past decade, has come to know that Wi-Fi is such a critical part of today’s business landscape,” Kevin Rezai, Meraki Go global product sales lead, told us. “That’s true for the enterprise customers we serve today and we know it’s true for the small businesses that we hope to address with Meraki Go.”
Cisco surveyed 1,000 small business in the U.S. and found that the Wi-Fi solutions they use today aren’t meeting their needs. Forty-three percent of business owners report using the same W-iFi devices at the office that they’re using at home; and 80 percent of these small companies don’t have a dedicated IT person on-site, often relying on a friend or one of the more technically astute employees for IT support when needed. [Rezai did add that some of these organizations do contract out for IT services.]
The most significant survey finding, according to Rezai, was that 90 percent of respondents don’t believe they’ve ever been hacked, when in reality two-thirds of all cyberattacks target small businesses.
“Clearly there’s a gap between what the threats are and what these small business owners think what’s happening,” he said.
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Some Cisco Meraki Go features designed to be compelling to small business owners include the ability to manage devices from a mobile app, to get around the challenges of using a web-based dashboard — which Cisco Meraki is known for today; simplified Wi-Fi guest setup, blocking and usage limits; and a dedicated support team.
Like all Cisco Meraki enterprise sales, all of which go through the channel, so will Go sales. Rezai, who has worked with the Cisco Meraki channel for five years, said that many partners have been clamoring for a solution like this.
“They know they have customers in the small-business space that would love the simplicity and visibility, and intuitiveness that Meraki offers but they haven’t been able to have that attractive price point. This product fills a gap for us and customers,” Rezai said.
All Meraki Go access points will require a subscription of one, three or five years, Cisco noted in a blog. That commitment provides access to in-app support, as well as security and app updates.