Cisco Adds Support, Products to Small Business Channel Partner Program

By Jessica Davis  |  Print this article Print

A year after networking giant Cisco made the grand gesture of investing $100 million in serving the small business market with products and programs, Cisco is announcing some new benefits to meet more needs of small business customers through their channel partners.

Cisco’s celebration of its year anniversary of a $100 million investment in small business comes with some good news for partners.

The networking giant says that it is now creating a new partner presales technical support and new hardware advanced-replacement service designed specifically for its reseller channel partners selling to the small business market.

In addition, Cisco says it is expanding its portfolio of products designed for the small business market.

The program and updates to it are all designed to deliver the right level of service and support to partners serving small business as well as ensuring their Cisco sales offer strong profitability, Andrew Sage, vice president of worldwide small business sales, tells Channel Insider.

The predesign support gives small business partners access to a team of expert engineers focused on Cisco Small Business technology, says Sage. It’s offered via phone or online chat in nine languages. Cisco has previously offered similar services to partners serving larger customers, but this is the first time it will be available to small business customers.

The Cisco Small Business Pro Rapid Replacement Service offers 4-hour hardware replacement and 24-hour technical support for Cisco Small Business Pro products. Sage points out that when voice goes down it’s important to get help right away. The three-year $999 on-site service also includes software updates, 24-hour phone access to the Cisco Small Business Support Center and access to the Cisco Small Business Support Community.

New products include the Cisco AP541N, an 802.11n dual-band clustering access point for small business. On the security side, the Cisco Configuration Assistant now enables the Cisco SPA 525G IP Phone to receive and display live video streaming from Cisco Small Business security cameras. VPN support for that phone now lets workers take their phone to any broadband-enabled location and have it function as part of the overall phone system.

And the Cisco SA 500 Series Security Appliances have gained an intrusion protection system, the Cisco ProtectLink Gateway, which blocks attacks through a hosted service, and Cisco ProtectLink Endpoint, which prevents users from accessing the Internet if their systems are not up-to-date.

In addition, Cisco has updated its Smart Business Communications System with Release 2.0, which now supports up to 100 users.

Sage points out that Cisco continues to offer zero percent financing for 36 months.

"We are doing a lot of work to get acceptance rates up as high as possible," he says.

Jessica Davis covers the channel for eWeek and Channel Insider. Her technology journalism career began well before anyone heard of the World Wide Web and has included stints at Infoworld, Electronic News/EDN, and the Philadelphia Business Journal. Her work has also appeared on CNN and Forbes.com. She has covered hardware, software and networking, as well as the business side of technology. She has won several journalism awards, including a national ASBPE award for best staff-written column, and was named Marketing Computers hardest working tech journalist on their inaugural list of top tech journalists. Jessica can be reached at jessica.davis@ziffdavisenterprise.com

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