Cisco Bulks Up Networking, Storage Portfolios for SMBs

Cisco is continuing its push for a larger presence in the SMB space with new networking, security and storage products. The vendor also is offering new financing options.

Cisco Systems is introducing networking, security and storage products to its portfolio of offerings for small and midsize companies as it continues to push for a larger share of that market.

Cisco has always had a significant presence in the enterprise, but in recent years, company officials have talked about their desire to grow their traction among SMB customers, a space that is looking for more performance out of their technology infrastructures.

The additions to Cisco's Connect and Secure SMB lineups, announced Jan. 25, are designed to enable smaller businesses to more easily and securely connect workers and their devices with the content they're looking for, whenever they need it, company officials said. The message harkens to Cisco's larger Borderless Network initiative, which itself is aimed at giving employees network access anytime, from anywhere and on any device.

The networking giant is rolling out a new line of entry-level Ethernet switches-the 200 Series Smart Switches-as well as a new network security firewall and a backup service for storage products. Cisco also is offering new financing offers for SMBs.

"We're very pleased to continue the redesign of our entire small-business switching line with the Cisco 200 Series switches," Ian Pennell, co-chair of Cisco's Small Business Council, said in a statement. "This is yet another strong proof point in Cisco's ongoing commitment to our small-business market adjacency, our partners and our customers.

The new managed switches-additions to the Connect portfolio-are designed to be easy to install and to manage. Through these switches, SMBs can create a network that will enable employees who use PCs and mobile devices to access shared content, according to Cisco.

The new RV220W is a network security firewall for small offices that need greater wireless security. The firewall offers smaller businesses faster performance with its 1G Ethernet speed, hybrid VPN capabilities and an optional Web-security service-dubbed Cisco ProtectLink-from the vendor.

Cisco also is adding further security options with its online Mozy backup service to its NSS300 Series Smart Storage offerings. SMB customers have the option to choose between full on-site backups or a hybrid backup system that is both on-site and online. Both the on-site and online backup offerings can be managed from a single interface, Cisco officials said.

Cisco also is aiming to make it easier for SMBs to buy its products. Through its Cisco Capital financing arm, the vendor is offering financing for smaller customers, including three-year, 3 percent financing in the United States and zero-percent financing in Europe and Canada. The goal is to give SMBs the credit they need to buy the technology they want, according to Kristine Snow, president of Cisco Capital.

The 200 Series switches start at $287 and are available worldwide. The RV220W firewall starts at $363, and is available now in the United States and Canada, with release elsewhere in the world later this quarter. Smart Storage starts at $913, and SMBs can add Mozy online backup plans starting at $145 for 25GB for a year.