Computer networking giant Cisco Systems announced a slew of products aimed at the small to medium-size business market, building on an announcement that the company would invest $100 million on providing products and support for midmarket companies.
Among the products announced was the Cisco Spam and Virus Blocker, a security appliance that provides protection for a business's network and critical data from viruses and malicious e-mail attacks while mitigating spam, the NSS2000 and NSS3000 network storage systems and a collaboration and communications system, the Smart Business Communications System (SBCS) Release 1.4.
"We understand that small businesses need to see the immediate business benefits from their technology investment, especially during these tough economic times, and that's why we've built these new products to address their essential business needs of security, connectivity and productivity," said Cisco's senior vice president of the small business technology group, Ian Pennell. "Our new products combined with our existing broad portfolio of solutions give small businesses the options and flexibility to find technology that's just right for them and their specific needs."
A Forrester Research report released earlier in January found small to medium-size businesses are planning to spend a healthy percentage of their 2009 IT budgets on security, with data protection listed as a top priority. Cisco is hoping that Web and e-mail protection will also find its way to the top of SMB priority lists: It touts its spam and virus blocker as user-friendly and extremely accurate, claiming only one in 1 million false positives, and requiring only a four-step installation that the company claims completes within minutes for most networks.
The Cisco Spam and Virus Blocker price ranges from $2,599 to $5,399, depending on the number of users (50, 100 or 250) and subscription length (one or three years). Cisco's network storage devices start at $595, while the SBCS Release 1.4 will vary in price depending on a business's specific needs. All prices may vary by region, Cisco says.
In December, the company announced the debut of the Cisco Small Business Technology Group (SBTG), led by Pennell and charged with developing technologies focused on six areas Cisco says SMBs consistently highlight as top priorities for enabling business growth: connectivity, security, remote access, productivity, customer interaction and customer support. The SBTG focuses solely on the small-business segment and is composed of sales, marketing, services and technology groups.
On the community front, Cisco also introduced the Small Business Support Community, modeled on the Cisco Learning Network. The online community is designed to be a collaborative space where partners and SMB owners can share their knowledge and expertise on small-business networking and communications.