Remote Working with Cisco Meraki

Let’s start by breaking the never-ending stigma of Covid-19 and blog posts… Instead of writing an introductory paragraph on how Covid-19 has turned the whole world upside down, I'm going to 'pretend' you already know and jump straight into how we can get back to work and stay productive.


Without further ado, what do we want to achieve when facilitating remote work?


In an ideal world, we’d simulate an environment whereby users seamlessly have full access, while remaining completely secure. In addition to this, the IT team would have broad visibility to efficiently troubleshoot and suggest recommendations or (ideally) make those recommendations themselves.


What challenges prevent this?


As users work-from-home across the country, two issues often arise;

  • There's no on-site enterprise hardware

  • Majority of users are not ‘network literate’

This leaves most users leaning on consumer grade networking equipment, which is often not sophisticated enough to catch up with the latest trends and threats.


We also need to look at what's connecting to a users home network...


Did you know? It takes, on average, just 5-minutes to hack an IoT (Internet of Things) device.


And yes, we have IoT devices in the office too but when the IT department buy new devices that will be connected to the network, several topics are often considered:

  • Are the security features adequate?

  • Is is a trusted source?

  • Is it a trusted vendor?

These decisions aren't typically applied in buying process of devices for a home network. It's usually;

  • Will it match the kettle?

  • Is it on Amazon Prime?

  • Am I sure I can't find a cheaper one?


So, what’s available to help?


Before we discuss Meraki's solution set, it’s worth mentioning that Meraki was built from the ground up with remote work in-mind. With true zero touch provisioning, IT teams can remotely configure, manage and optimise any device through the dashboard.


Meraki VPN

We all know that VPN is not a new technology... So, this is where it's worth reflecting on Meraki's mission statement - Meraki is here to make things more simple. Meraki aren't trying to re-invent the wheel when it comes to VPN, but they are trying to make the wheel easier to use.


AutoVPN is a proprietary technology developed by Meraki that allows you to quickly and easily build VPN tunnels between Meraki devices at your separate network branches with just a few clicks.


To read more about AutoVPN see here.


Teleworker

By deploying a Meraki Teleworker, it helps us understand if remote workers are experiencing business critical applications as we’d like them to, and if they're not, where the problem is.


For mass rollouts, Meraki's health dashboard can be used to filer through which teleworkers are performing well and which are not.


This is an ideal solution for the Fixed Remote Workers.


But what about the Remote Worker on the move?