Networking as a service: Creating a better option for SMBs

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Small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) have always had a tough choice when it comes to networking as a service.

Many of them feel the constraints of limited resources and budgets as they watch the numbers of devices and the Internet of Things proliferate. For those reasons, many would be eager to jump to cloud-based applications and everything as a service.

Cloud-based networking eliminates the up-front costs of hardware controllers, can be managed remotely, allows organizations to scale at their own pace, eliminates single points of failure, and maintains a high level of security.

But despite the benefits, many smaller organizations don’t pursue networking as a service, or they hesitate, because they’ve long had to choose between two extreme options:

  1. Consumer-grade hardware that doesn’t offer the management and other features they need
  2. An enterprise-grade solution that offers way more features than they want at a price they can barely afford

SMBs have found themselves either making do with a lesser solution or overpaying for the functionality they need. There’s never been a middle ground.

Price and budget are some of the biggest barriers to adopting networking as a service, with many potential customers surprised that they would have to pay per router on top of bandwidth for the features they want in an enterprise solution.

That’s a huge missed opportunity, since many of these organizations are the perfect audience for networking as a service.

They’re hotels, with multiple locations across a region and hundreds of people coming and going day to day, connecting their various devices to the network.

They’re retailers, restaurants, businesses that have multiple locations and need to manage their network from one of them, or even remotely to troubleshoot after hours, for example. Especially businesses where a high number of people and devices connect to the network.

They’re school districts that can benefit from a solution stretching across administrative offices, high schools, middle schools, elementary schools, and more. Networking as a service creates the flexibility that makes the network easy to manage by multiple people from anywhere.

But these are the same organizations constrained by budgets, with resources too limited to overspend on enterprise solutions tailored for much larger, more complex organizations.

For organizations that want to move their wireless networking into the cloud, and for those already paying too much for the cloud and looking for a way to move off it, there needs to be a middle ground. There needs to be a true cloud solution that allows organizations to remotely monitor, manage, and troubleshoot their wireless networks with a simple, intuitive user interface without the extras that don’t apply, and at a price that fits tight budgets.

We’ve attempted to fill that gap with the Linksys Cloud Manager, a cloud-hosted Wi-Fi Management Platform built to be an affordable, business-grade solution for small business environments. It offers a third choice for all the retailers, hotels, restaurants, schools, and other organizations that have had to make do or overpay.

This multi-site cloud Wi-Fi management system allows SMBs to control their networks anywhere at any time with a user interface simple enough that organizations won’t need technical training. In short, it gives SMBs the functionality they need without stretching their budgets.

Learn more about how networking as a service might be right for your business by contacting your SHI account executive.

About the author

Tina Wilder is a National Account Manager for Belkin International.