Pro IT

Cloud networks without the headache

With the emergence of cloud applications and modern mobile devices driving the necessity for ‘anywhere access’, companies across New Zealand are recognising the shortcomings of traditional corporate networks.

A move to virtualised cloud networks matching these applications and use-case scenarios offers multiple advantages – but making the move can be a daunting prospect, with uncertainty around management, configuration, and day-to-day operations.

A robust Software Defined WAN solution makes virtual cloud networks easy and efficient. That’s been confirmed by Liquorland and Radius Care, both of which today enjoy trouble-free connectivity for every employee. Based on world-class technology from Cisco Meraki, secure connectivity and network intelligence is provided and managed from a single cloud-first platform.

As a ‘virtual network’, the solution grows to accurately match requirements over time: when new branches are added, or new people join, the network is adaptable to these changes. Uniting all devices on a single network, including smart cameras, sensors, and anything else connected, all reported in a single online dashboard.

Radius Care: Rest home security assured Rest home and hospital care specialist

Radius Care has 24 facilities around New Zealand with 1800 staff and 1700 residents. With technology becoming more important in the aged care sector, including residents using their own smart devices, the organisation was facing difficulty with visibility across its networks while concerns around security.

“Prior to putting in this solution, we had issues knowing what devices were connected, and questions around security – and we take security extremely seriously,” confirms Information Systems Manager Kayleen Currie.

“We selected this particular solution and now have way more visibility on our devices and all traffic going through our network. Another benefit is the security and stability; then a major plus is the cost benefits, with the new solution being cheaper and more reliable than our previous solution,” she explains.

Liquorland: Branch connectivity across the motu

The suitability of the same solution for organisations with many branches and multiple users is clear in Liquorland’s implementation of this service.

With 145 stores nationwide processing 9 million transactions per year over its network, it’s clear why this company needs unimpeachable connectivity. Brett O’Hanlon, Finance and IT Manager, says the commercial drivers when choosing a new system started with cost. “In addition, we wanted a robust solution in store that wouldn’t require any intervention from our support centre.

The solution is essentially a store in a box package and comes with a Cisco Meraki MX68 [Security and SD-WAN device] and Wireless Access Point that went into every store, with 4G failover.”

This meant setting up each of those 145 stores was easy – essentially a case of plugging in the preconfigured Cisco Meraki device and plugging in the broadband connection. From there, O’Hanlon says centralised management is very simple.

“The Meraki functionality makes it so easy. I can understand on my phone how all our stores are trading, with powerful dashboarding delivering a seamless experience for Liquorland. We’ve been really happy with how the Meraki solution has been provided.”

An end to support calls

Where previously the largest source of support requests once came from network issues, O’Hanlon says, “We now never talk about the network. And then there’s the reliability of the failover process [to 4G, if the fibre network goes down]. It’s seamless.” A better network also sets the scene for innovation, O’Hanlon explains. “We’ve evolved the services that we use out of network over time. We are learning more and more about what a better network can do for us; it doesn’t stop with putting in a really strong network, that is the foundation for building other solutions on top.”