Our insight


Omnichannel is a hot topic in contact centres. Many technology vendors make outrageous claims about its market potential, but what is the truth behind the trend? What, for a start, is the difference between multichannel and omnichannel?

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With cold and flu season upon us it seems pertinent to be talking about infections. Whether it’s avoiding the spluttering of the person next to you on the bus, or giving your red-nosed colleague some extra space, we all take precautions in an attempt to avoid the dreaded autumn cold.

Yet we all get colds.

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Earlier this month I had the privilege to attend the flagship Cisco Partner Summit in Dallas. By invitation only, and with only about 60 places available to UK partners, it is the hottest ticket in the Cisco partner world, yet Ideal has been there on several occasions: a testament to the fantastic relationship that has developed between our companies over the years.

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Your call may be recorded. It's a phrase we've all heard when we speak to the bank, get car insurance, take out a mortgage, or do any of the many things we still do over the phone. Companies record customer conversations for quality or training, or because they're working in industries like finance where they have to. But what happens next?

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On the surface of it, you'd be forgiven for thinking it's been a bad six months or so for sexism. A series of leaks, accusations and other controversies have exposed the 'bro' culture apparently rife within Silicon Valley, and allegations of sexual harassment in Parliament has propelled sexism and the abuse of male power to the forefront of public discussion. So even if we weren't before, we're all now aware of the sexism and bias endemic within certain industries. Why isn't the problem going away?

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We're often talking about software-defined networking (SDN), and how the latest generation of hardware has the intelligence to simplify the provisioning and management of networks. Added brains bring the ability to support new security features like Cisco TrustSec, but we've also moved away from the labour-intensive configuration of individual devices, and towards simplified, centralised administration.

That's great for convenience, allowing admins to configure and support branch networks from a single controller, but if there's a weakness in the system, or if an unauthorised user gains access, isn't software definition a disaster waiting to happen? We asked network solutions architect Richard Harvey and senior cyber security consultant Adrian Clarke to put our minds at rest.

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Cyber security is important in any industry, but the retail sector presents some particular challenges. A large-scale operation can be distributed over tens of sites, have thousands of employees, and handle the data from millions of customers, each making multiple transactions - in person and online.

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It's been nearly a couple of weeks since I came back from VMWare 2017, and even now my head's still spinning a bit. I'd always planned an extended trip to Barcelona, initially to take a couple of days' holiday, but in the end almost the full six-day stretch filled up with meetings, briefings and workshops.

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Last week Daren Vallyon - our data centre solutions architect - got to meet VMware supremo Pat Gelsinger. I'll let Daren recount his adventures at VMworld Barcelona, but meanwhile I wanted to focus on a theme of Gelsinger's August keynote speech at the Las Vegas event.

One of his key points was that the security landscape is crowded with vendors offering targeted, often worthy, solutions, which operate in silos. The net effect is that it's hard to get an overall security picture, which is in itself a risk. As Gelsinger introduced a new virtual-machine-whitelisting product AppDefense, he explained that the industry as a whole needed to deliver more security.

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Time moves quickly. It seems like minutes since the top of the year, but here we are in Q3 and I've been at Ideal for eight months. A lot has happened. A lot more is happening, and this feels like a good point to pause for reflection and take a look at what the future holds for Ideal and its customers.

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Let’s step back to 1995. AOL (America Online) was one of the biggest internet providers, and hackers and pirates from the warez scene - an underground community specialising in illegal software distribution - were conducting the first ever phishing attacks, using AOL instant messenger and masquerading as AOL employees. With the novelty of such attacks working as a catalyst, they tricked many users into verifying their accounts or sending over their billing information.

Sound familiar? Many of the techniques developed back then have become well established, and are still commonly used. In fact, in many ways phishing hasn’t changed at all.

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