Securing and Simplifying our Network Infrastructure and Management with Meraki to Boost ROI
Managing a complex network has its many challenges that can be costly and time consuming, however the City of Rancho Cordova has found and invested in several key ways to considerably ease network management for its small IT department of just three people. To start with, the City moved away from using an outdated Cisco Wireless system for its buildings and migrated to a modern solution from Meraki. The old Cisco system required many pieces of aged hardware, including a dedicated server, two Cisco Controller units, a Cisco router, and a dedicated switch just to manage the wireless network. By moving to Meraki’s Cloud Based Controller solution, the City was able to remove all of the old equipment and the different management interfaces used to control that system, and gave IT staff one unified web portal that is now accessible from anywhere and anytime – even using mobile clients to manage the entire system. This move has significantly simplified and reduced the amount of time required to set up and secure new wireless networks, provide access to staff and even deploy new access points to just a couple of minutes. With the new solution, the City now even provides free Wi-Fi to its guests at City Hall without any fear of hackers or malicious activity because of the security and routing now in place.
Following the success of the Meraki wireless implementation, IT staff then decided to simply network management even further by replacing old and aged HP ProCurve network switches for both the core and edge networks to new cloud managed Meraki switches. This has streamlined management of the city’s complex network even further by utilizing the same web portal to manage the City’s entire network infrastructure, including VLANs, Routing, QOS, etc.
With the Meraki infrastructure in place at City Hall, IT staff then equipped Code Enforcement, Animal Services and Building department vehicles with small Meraki routers and 4G LTE devices that create an always on hardware VPN connection back to City Hall from each vehicle, allowing mobile staff instant access to their virtual desktop with file, email and print resources while remaining mobile in the field. IT staff has most recently deployed the same Meraki routers and Verizon 4G LTE units to our storm water pumping stations throughout the city and connected them directly back to the SCADA server in the Data Center, also using an always on VPN connection – This enables real time status and control of the pumping stations for staff from anywhere.
IT staff also manage all Smartphones, iPads, and Android Tablets (both City owned and “Bring Your Own Device” devices) using Meraki’s free MDM solution built in to the same web portal.
All IT Staff also make use of Meraki’s Mobile App on their smartphones so they can monitor the City’s networking equipment from anywhere. Now that IT staff can quickly and easily manage the City’s network infrastructure from anywhere, this has allowed them to respond rapidly to any issues or changes.