Cisco Launches New SMB Products

Paul Mah

Continuing with its strategy of gaining a foothold into small and medium-sized businesses, Cisco earlier this month launched a range of new products, enhancements and services targeted squarely at SMBs. This comes in the wake of Cisco's first year anniversary of its $100 million investment to create the Small Business Technology Group to tap into the SMB market.


As I wrote in June, Cisco believes that the SMB portion of the networking market represents a $7 billion opportunity, a sum adequate to make the networking juggernaut sit up.


Below is a snapshot of some of these new products and services, as reported by


  • AP 541N, a new access point with 802.11n dual-band clustering
  • SPA 525G IP Phone with live video streaming, as well as VPN support
  • SA 500 Security Appliance now comes with an Intrusion Detection System called ProtectLink Gateway
  • Smart Business Communications System 2.0 now offers Unified Communications service for companies with UC 540 and 560 phones


In addition, Cisco has added the Cisco Small Business Pro Rapid Replacement Service, which gives its customers 24-hour technical support and four-hour hardware replacement. Being able to access replacement hardware - as opposed to a time-intensive repair - is an area that SMBs in particular will benefit from. As you can imagine, smaller organizations are unlikely to have units with which to replace malfunctioning ones or even to swap hardware in from less crucial locations. Non-enterprise products do not typically offer such swift replacement times.


Kerry McDonough, U.S. director of small business sales at Cisco, displayed an acute understanding of how SMBs operate in an interview with Referring to the Cisco Small Business Pro Rapid Replacement Service, McDonough said, "It's a service that partners can then add to with value and services of their own. These customers may not have IT staff, and even if they do, they're still cutting costs."


On what spurs Cisco's design philosophy for SMBs, "The most basic customer thing we hear is 'Make it easier to deploy. The small businesses are looking to be price-conscious, but they do see technology as a way to grow their business. We want to address the simplest customers but also be able to upgrade as they grow."


It is clear that Cisco is building solutions specifically for SMBs, as opposed to producing cut-down versions of the same products. Ultimately, this can only result in a better fit with small and medium-sized businesses benefitting.

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