10 Ways Cisco Meraki Solves Your Organization’s Growing Pains

Whether you’re managing IT in a startup or fast-paced enterprise environment, your organization can benefit from a centrally managed network of IT solutions. Read a list of the common issues growing organizations face, and get an idea of how Cisco Meraki can help you securely manage your infrastructure 100% from the cloud.

Do any of the following issues sound familiar?

Issue #1My organization is in a constant state of flux. At our current rate of growth, it’s difficult for our business solutions to keep pace.

Meraki is a centrally managed solution, meaning you can add and modify components as your infrastructure necessitates. Whether you’re looking to streamline the deployment of a new company communications system, or ensure your security across multiple sites, you can manage all of your deployment and security needs from an online Meraki dashboard.

Cisco Meraki dashboard

Issue #2 – We need a better way of targeting potential customers who visit our retail branches.

Meraki’s presence analytics capabilities allow you to measure the number of people who visit each of your locations. Use the data to compare one location to another, or build out a customer profile by piping in data from other sources (such as a CRM or other analytics application) using APIs.

Issue #3 – Dealing with third-party threat management has made it difficult for us to set up all of our sites consistently.

Deploy a Layer 3 firewall to block threats at the network layer, or a Layer 7 firewall for threats at the application layer. Manage all of your different security services, such as Kaspersky and Brightcloud. Ensure your security policies are followed at each of your locations. And make sure your security definitions stay up-to-date. Handle all of this and more within the Meraki dashboard.

Issue #4 – Setting up and connecting new devices to the network is becoming harder to manage the more we scale.

Meraki Systems Manager allows you to manage and control thousands of mobile and desktop devices from the web-based Meraki dashboard. Drive company initiatives by seamlessly onboarding new devices and automating application of security policies.

Issue #5 – Syncing up a new location’s VPN is a headache, takes forever, and can leave us vulnerable.

Take advantage of Meraki’s automatic configuration of site-to-site VPNs. By enabling AutoVPN through the Meraki dashboard, you enable each participating device to:

  • Automatically advertise its local subnets across the VPN
  • Advertise its WAN IP addresses on Internet 1 and 2 ports
  • Download the global VPN route table
  • Download the preshared key for establishing the VPN tunnel and traffic encryption

Issue #6 – Network downtime could ruin our business, and failover setup is both complicated and time-consuming.

Meraki MX Security Appliances support multiple layers of redundancy, ensuring WAN connectivity, appliance availability, and seamless failover for branch sites.

Issue #7 – Client device troubleshooting takes multiple hours daily and consumes already scarce IT resources.

The Meraki solution gives you complete network visibility. Use the dashboard to identify switches, and track device connections through the network to pinpoint likely issues. Learn more about your device connections with a one-click cable test or ping.

Issue #8 – I need to deploy new switches to remote sites without sending an expensive tech on-site.

Instead of making the trip out to your sites to deploy new switches, simply configure a switch and the switch port settings from your Meraki dashboard. Then ship the switch to the new install site and have anyone plug it in. Streamline the process by cloning switch settings right from the dashboard.

Issue #9 – How can I save electricity and the environment without compromising performance?

Cisco Meraki leverages time-based port scheduling to put switch ports into energy-saving mode after-hours.

Issue #10 – Torrenting on our network is hogging our bandwidth and putting us at risk.

The Meraki dashboard provides insight into clients that drastically slow down WiFi networks, or downloading illegally on your network. Use the Meraki Layer 7 Firewall to block applications by type, and shape traffic by setting application-specific bandwidth limits.

Would you like to learn more about Meraki cloud-based IT solutions? Sign up here for a live demo of the Cisco Meraki platform and receive a free AP! You can also contact NetWize by calling 801-747-3200, option 1.

WannaCry Update: More Details about the Ransomware Attack

It has been ten days since the WannaCry ransomware attack was unleashed. It has infected nearly 300,000 devices in 150 countries. During that time, many large organizations—including hospitals, banks, and telecom companies—were brought to a halt when their data was encrypted. The yet-to-be identified attackers had received just under $110,000 in ransom at the time this article was published. Despite the initial chaos, details have emerged about how the attack happened, who may be behind it, and other malicious attacks using comparable techniques.

WannaCry: What We Know So Far

It is now believed that Windows 7 users were the hardest hit by WannaCry, which counters initial reports that stated Windows XP users were the most widely affected. In fact, the version of Windows 7 that suffered the brunt of the attack is the x64 Edition, an operating system widely deployed by large organizations. It is unclear whether enterprises are less likely to stay up-to-date with their security patches, or if there are other explanations for the nature of this vulnerability.

Another rumor states that most systems became infected following the distribution of spam emails. However, it has been proven more recently that the malware began by scanning the internet for devices with open Server Message Block (SMB) ports. It then used a modified version of the security exploit “EternalBlue”, an exploit initially developed by the National Security Agency, to install WannaCry on vulnerable machines. Once installed, WannaCry propagated across networks, infecting connected devices, and encrypting more and more user data as it grew.

Who is Behind the WannaCry Attack?

EternalBlue was initially developed by the NSA, only to be leaked by the hacker group known as The Shadow Brokers, along with a number of other weaponized software exploits on April 14, 2017. The connection between The Shadow Brokers and the group that created WannaCry remains unclear.

Cybersecurity company Kaspersky Lab has pointed out similarities between the code used for WannaCry, and code that was used for attacks carried out by hackers known as the Lazarus Group. The Lazarus Group, which has ties to North Korea, is believed to have carried out the cyberattack against Sony Pictures in 2014, as well as a bank heist in Bangladesh in 2016. North Korea is denying involvement in those attacks, as well as WannaCry.

New Malware on the Prowl

All of the recent attention on WannaCry has brought to light new threats that are doing damage via the same security exploits that were originally developed by the NSA. One in particular, “EternalRocks”, is malware that makes use of seven of the weaponized exploits The Shadow Brokers have leaked, which is five more than WannaCry used.

Another malware, “Adylkuzz”, has also been spreading using similar security exploits as WannaCry. Although it hasn’t received the same amount of attention that WannaCry generated, it is thought to have been at work longer, and to have done even more damage in the time since its release. Similar to WannaCry’s reliance on the cryptocurrency Bitcoin, Adylkuzz profits from its use of a digital currency called Monero.

Trust the Experts

In March 2017, Microsoft announced the security patch that prevents the SMB vulnerability enabling the latest wave of attacks. At that time, NetWize made sure its customers were protected by implementing the requisite security update. We are also available for consultation regarding user best practices for optimal security. We always make sure our customers are protected with up-to-date anti-virus protection, and a reliable data backup and disaster recovery process. Ask us about Sophos Intercept-X, and its capabilities for protecting against any type of ransomeware attack.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding recent malware attacks, or cybersecurity in general, please call NetWize at (801) 747-3200, option 1.

WannaCry Ransomware: Learn More About the Attack

A new ransomware attack is infecting hundreds of thousands of devices all over the globe. Starting May 12, the ongoing attack uses malicious software called “WannaCry” (also “WannaCrypt” or “Wanna Decryptor”), which locks users out of their computers, and then demands a ransom for restoring the encrypted files. Ransom demands range from $300 to $600, and are to be paid via bitcoin to one of three designated wallets. It is currently unclear whether the unidentified attackers have unlocked files for the users that have made a ransom payment. As of the morning of May 16, ransom payments had reached over $70,000. In 2013, a comparable ransomeware called CryptoWalker was posted to the internet. The attack pulled in an estimated $30 million in its first 100 days.

The the likelihood that the particular vulnerability enabling the spread of WannaCry will affect customers of NetWize is very low. Thanks to the commitment of our engineers to ensuring our customers’ safety, we made the security patch needed to protect against WannaCry shortly after Microsoft’s recommendation. We also offer advice for best practices that reduce a user’s vulnerability. In addition, we always make sure our customers’ antivirus is up-to-date, and that a reliable data backup and disaster recovery process is in place.

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To learn more about the outbreak as it unfolds, check out Wikipedia, and technical support website Bleeping Computer.

As always, if you have any concerns regarding this recent ransomware attack, please call NetWize at (801) 747-3200, option 1. Click here to view our pricing for Sophos Endpoint Protection.

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