Cisco Offers Technology and Support Help for Cost-Conscious Businesses

Cisco rolls out communications products, customer care and finance options for cost-conscious businesses.

Networking and security company Cisco announced small business partner profitability initiative designed for various types of partners serving the small business market. Cisco also announced it is expanding its small business product portfolio with new network security and collaboration technologies.

The company announced additions to its Cisco Small Business Pro Series portfolio and enhancements to the Cisco Smart Business Communications System, such as the SA 500 Series (starting at $550), part of the Cisco Small Business Pro Series, a security solution designed to protect a small business's network and data while allowing employees to connect in a secure environment to the business network from anywhere. The device features a built-in firewall, virtual private network capabilities and high-speed network connections.

Cisco also announced the SPA 500 Series IP Phones ($135-$430), SIP-enabled IP phones with HD-quality audio that work with Cisco Small Business premises-based call control like the Cisco Unified Communications 500 Series or with hosted IP telephony solutions deployed by service providers, and Smart Business Communications System (SBCS) Release 1.6 (prices varies by region), which supports the SPA 500 Series phones and the SR 520-T1 Secure Router ($1,495) and supports new third-party applications for the automotive and insurance industries as well as a new call accounting application and network monitoring and management application.

The Cisco Small Business Pro Service, which is available for all Cisco Small Business Pro products, provides three years of technical support, software enhancements, extended access to the Cisco Small Business Support Center and next-business-day hardware replacement as necessary. The cost of the Business Pro Service is based on four price bands: $19 for devices such as the Cisco SPA 500 Series IP Phones, $69 for devices such as the Cisco SA 500 Security Appliances, $149 for devices like the Cisco SR 520-T1 Secure Router, $499 for solutions like the Cisco Smart Business Communications System.

Cisco is also rolling out financing programs aimed at supporting small businesses and channel partners, such as Cisco CapitalSM, which provides interest-free financing and offers free training to teach channel partners how to use flexible financing from Cisco Capital to close new technology deals. In the U.S. and Canada, Cisco has extended zero percent financing on voice solutions to include the Smart Business Communications System, Unified Communications Manager Express and Unified Communications Manager Business Edition. The offer is available to qualifying businesses through December 31, 2009. In Europe, EasyLease zero percent financing has now been extended to include all Cisco Unified Communications and network technologies.

Andrew Sage, Cisco's vice president of worldwide small business sales, said the new partner profitability framework, coupled with their broad portfolio of small business solutions and support, helps channel partners build and sustain a profitable small business practice. "This is the Cisco Small Business Advantage, and with it, our partners can confidently pursue and serve their small customers," he said.