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Top 6 Reasons the Public Sector Should Consider Cisco Meraki IoT

Cisco Meraki Smart Cameras and Environmental Sensors help large enterprises overcome challenges to properly secure and maintain environmental parameters.

July 19, 2021 7 minute read

The Public Sector faces unique challenges in securing people, property and equipment in diverse locations across the enterprise.

State and local governments can have hundreds or thousands of different locations across the state and many of those locations will be serving multiple functions. A data closet may double as a storage room, including a coffee maker and microwave, greatly increasing the need to have eyes and ears monitoring who is coming and going in these areas.

K-12 and Higher Education facilities will have several locations in smaller geographical footprint but with very similar requirements, and not only a need to secure data closets in areas that are accessible to students and faculty members but also keeping the students, teachers and learning environment safe.

Federal governments can also have a great deal of locations across the country and many of those locations will have commercial internet. The need to secure areas like public parks and to secure equipment allowing guest Wi-Fi in these locations is paramount. With safety top of mind, keeping a close eye on these environments is critical to keeping patrons and infrastructure safe.

As communities continue to expand and grow city center living, public safety moves to the forefront of concerns for most municipalities. City wide monitoring is now a requirement rather than a luxury in order to keep citizens safe and secure. Advanced analytics are needed to understand pedestrian traffic flows and design appropriate safety systems.

Here are the top six reasons Cisco Meraki IoT and Smart Cameras are a great option for the Public Sector.

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1. All-in-one dashboard

According to IPVM, less than 1 percent of recorded video is ever actually watched. Meraki statistics match those industry standards which means that we need to transform the way we think about physical surveillance to ensure we are getting the appropriate value from security cameras. With Meraki, surveillance cameras are simply sensors on the network which happen to have an optical lens that records video and a microphone that detects decibel levels of sound. Having cameras and environmental sensors all in one single dashboard helps to simplify deployments and create efficiencies for teams managing these devices on the network.

In addition, Meraki's powerful APIs can also be configured in the same dashboard, to tie the cameras and sensors together which creates incredible physical security benefits for customers. The ability to review the data from these alerts in a single dashboard will greatly reduce the time of investigation allowing customers to more quickly determine next steps.

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2. Real-time alerts

As mentioned previously, utilizing powerful APIs allows customers to create real-time alerts with context. For example, you can setup an alert to be triggered each time a door is opened using a Meraki MT20 door open/closed sensor. This alone is extremely powerful to monitor doors on data centers, unmanned buildings, and more. However, we can take this to the next level by integrating these alerts with the Meraki Cameras as well. This will allow the alert to include a picture of the doorway at the time the alert was triggered. This allows customers to identify if immediate action is required, if police need to be contacted or if perhaps the door was opened by a security guard making their rounds and no immediate action is needed.

When an IoT alert is received, you can also do a live drop in. For example, if you are using a Meraki MT12 water leak detection sensor and an alert is received you can immediately pull up live video to determine how much water has leaked and potentially identify where it is coming from to properly evaluate the risk that exists. The alert can also include a snapshot image from the camera which helps to more quickly determine the appropriate action that needs to take place, as well as how quickly that action needs to be performed. Improved response efficiency can provide massive ROI. Lastly, being able to review footage remotely provides inherent safety benefits and allows better visibility into potentially unsafe and/or hazardous situations.

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3. Security

Many customers hear cloud and think that means all of their data is residing in the cloud. However, Meraki utilizes out-of-band cloud management. This means that only management data is transported to the cloud, while personal user data flows directly to its destination.

Many times IoT devices can be unregulated and create a potential cyber security risk on the network. Cisco Meraki utilizes a Trust Anchor module (TAm) in each of their devices to help secure them on the network and avoid vulnerabilities. TAms ensure that the code running on Cisco hardware platforms are authentic and unmodified. The Cisco TAm on each device ensures that data only comes from trusted devices and that data is encrypted and remains private.

Combining this with the ability to automatically push firmware updates from the cloud to every IoT device and to quickly and easily ensure the latest patches are always applied takes security to the next level. This also ensures that you can be protected against future threats as they present themselves.

Since you can never be fully cyber secure until you are physically secure, it is important to take all of these considerations into account when identifying an IoT deployment that will work for you.

See the latest from Cisco in securing Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) 140 validations. 

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4. Scale

Cisco Meraki IoT devices allows customers to scale across multiple locations quickly and easily. Utilizing the same all in one dashboard gives you the ability to assign profiles and quickly configure IoT devices which is necessary for a successful deployment. Cisco Meraki allows you to configure all device settings on the all in one dashboard, once those devices are plugged into the network, they will phone home to the cloud to download their configuration creating a secure, fast and easy deployment. The IoT sensors will automatically detect and find the cameras in the network and use them as a gateway to get connectivity back to the cloud.

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5. Reduced infrastructure

The IoT cameras and sensors have powerful on-board capabilities which allows customers to reduce the infrastructure typically needed to deploy similar solutions. Customers can take advantage of these devices in small data closets where they may not have had the room to deploy this type of solution in the past. There are no servers, storage devices, controllers, or other pieces of hardware needed outside the physical camera, the sensor, and the Meraki cloud.

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6. Lead with data

Utilizing IoT can help you to understand trends, safety, security, and operations all of which can be improved through a data driven approach. The ease of management and simplified approach to data management will drive intelligent business decisions without putting further burden on limited IT staffs.

For example, monitoring the temperature of a data center as well as devices in that data center will allow you to gather data on how environmentals are impacting device performance over time. This will allow you to make informed decisions about the settings needed for things like the HVAC system running in that data center, which could lead to a reduction in your carbon footprint across multiple locations.

Conclusion

When we look at physical surveillance and security and the impact they have on our daily lives, now more than ever, we need analytics and automation to be effective.  We can use these to make safety and security more effective and at the same time be proactive in how we approach physical security.

Cisco Meraki IoT can overcome many of these unique challenges, allowing Public Sector customers to scale with ease and to do so securely. By leveraging the comprehensive analytics capabilities of Meraki Smart Cameras and IoT sensors the possibilities are endless. Check out our on-demand Cisco Meraki Smart Camera and Environmental Sensors Lab to see how.

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