Our insight

14-Nov-2018

When starting with public cloud services in an organisation, the first conversations normally take place at a strategic level and are based around shifting from a CapEx to OpEx cost model. This is a great place to start, but it can create a lot of uncertainty around what those month-to-month costs are going to be for any given infrastructure footprint. 

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25-Sep-2018

While some network and infrastructure managers are gambling on ‘if it aint broke, don’t fix it’, many others are actively trying to find ways to improve WAN functionality and service levels while lowering costs. Which camp do you fall into? If you’ve realised SD-WAN is an essential part of your WAN strategy, then you’ve likely already moved onto weighing up the pros and cons. 

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03-Sep-2018

Many of the snails which will appear around the city in mid-September will have their own stories and unique inspired designs. Discover why artist Rosie Apps wanted to get involved in Snailspace and why her tongue-in-cheek, bold designs are a good fit for Ideal. 

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21-Aug-2018

The direction of travel for IT infrastructure is undoubtedly - and quite rightly - towards automating as much as possible of deployment and maintenance. Automation is the driver towards real business benefits such as increased visibility, operational effectiveness and guaranteed compliance in technical operations, but like any approach it’s not a panacea. Successful approaches to automation require pragmatism rather than ideological inflexibility to really make it add value within an organisation.

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06-Aug-2018

DevOps is often thought of in a cloud context. But how can networking benefit from breaking down the silos of Development and IT Operations roles and introduce automation to achieve efficiencies, speed and agility? SD-WAN has the answer. 

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31-Jul-2018

It’s argued that there is a place for both SD-WAN and MPLS in modern WANs. But we’re backing SD-WAN and for good reason...

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18-Jul-2018

Blog: Tour de Brighton

Written by Jade Hazell posted in HR

Purdey joined us from France to help progress her studies and her career in Sales. In Purdey's blog she shares her experiences of her time at Ideal and her impression of Brighton.

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13-Jul-2018

A week in Ideal

Written by Jade Hazell posted in HR

Work placement Billy gives an insider view to working at Ideal for a summer placement. 


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04-Jun-2018

The modern network can't survive without a security ecosystem. But with multiple complementary services, devices and systems producing millions of log events each month, identifying and acting on security events is a skilled and time-consuming job.

So you have three choices

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25-May-2018

Here's the problem with supporting a network: by the time someone comes to you and tells you they couldn't connect at, say, 7pm on a Friday evening, it's 10.30 on Monday morning. Sure, you could wade through thousands of lines of log text from your switches, access points or authentication server, but in the meantime the problem has resolved itself, and your team has more important things to do.

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25-Apr-2018

Since we launched our Managed SIEM service, we've been talking a lot about the kind of security, reporting and compliance headaches that businesses face, and how Managed SIEM (security information and event management) can help solve them. That's an important angle - as I know very well from my 22 years 'client side' at a major retailer - but I want to explore the additional benefits of having a team of information security experts on call, armed with the latest threat intelligence and event management tools.

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18-Apr-2018

SIEM isn't a one-size fits all proposition. Organisations have unique IT estates, face unique threats and risks, and have unique requirements from their security solutions. Finding the right SIEM (security information and event management) solution means weighing up your needs and matching them to the vendor and service who can best satisfy them, and at the right price.

To help you choose wisely, we've put together these 10 tips for getting a SIEM service that meets your requirements.

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09-Apr-2018

Time was you could cover off the majority of cyber threats with a firewall in the server room and anti-virus on your PCs, but the way we work has changed. Your mobile workforce isn't behind your firewall, and your anti-virus software isn't enough to secure smart devices from smarter criminals.

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03-Apr-2018

In my previous post, I discussed why contact centres are widening their reach to include non-voice channels such as e-mail, chat and social. I also discussed the difference between multichannel, which handles these as separate silos within the business, and omnichannel, which integrates the channels into one overall customer experience.

If we accept that only omnichannel contact centres will enable companies to remain compliant while they maximise the opportunities of the digital revolution, we need to examine how we put the seamless, frictionless omnichannel concept into practice. We also need to consider how to make the most its potential benefits.

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29-Mar-2018

You don't need me to tell you that there's a worldwide shortage of cyber skills - just try advertising a cyber security vacancy. According to the Center for Cyber Safety and Education there's already a 1.5 million-person shortfall in the worldwide information security workforce, and the centre's research suggests this will have widened to 1.8-million staff by 2022.

What does this mean for you?

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21-Mar-2018

Ideal has officially launched its latest managed security service: Managed SIEM (security information and event management). I want to explain what it is, and how it helps you become more secure without the associated costs and resource headaches.

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16-Mar-2018

When cyber vulnerabilities are found, we shouldn't think of it as a failure - more as an inevitability. In the open, standards-based computing and network environments we rely on, across hardware and in software, millions of instructions and rules interact in ways that can't always be predicted. Amid this complex fabric, unavoidably there are dropped stitches, just waiting to be discovered or picked at.

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06-Mar-2018

One in two businesses regard incident response planning as an afterthought, critically limiting their organisation’s information security. Is yours one of them?

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05-Mar-2018

The term disruptive gets bandied about a lot these days - seemingly for anything involving a couple of clicks or an app - but while the term is overused, it's a very real phenomenon. Ask Kodak or Blockbuster, who went from market leaders to market leavers when technology undercut their business models.

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02-Mar-2018

It looks like the worst of the weather might be over, as the Beast from the East slowly relaxes its grip on the UK. In Brighton's comparatively small freeze, my plan B was to ditch the road bike for my mountain bike, wrap up extra warm and enjoy an amazing snowy ride to Ideal along the seafront. What was yours?

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23-Feb-2018

Pick up the phone to Ideal just now and you might detect elevated levels of grooviness. Stroll past our office and you'll likely find yourself moving just a little more slowly. Come in for a meeting and, well, there's a huge, psychedelic snail sunning himself in our meeting room window.

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21-Feb-2018

At the top of the year, Mike set out the challenges and opportunities we're all facing in 2018. More than a month in already, and I wanted to talk about the exciting ways Ideal is rising to meet those challenges, and help you seize and deliver on opportunities.

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13-Feb-2018

At the start of the month I was at Cisco Live in Barcelona: an entire week of presentations, workshops, networking and general hobnobbing among Cisco, its partners and IT professionals. I've been before, but this year I was with fellow solution architects Daren Vallyon and Adrian Clarke - a strong showing from Ideal.

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08-Feb-2018

Poor visibility is impacting organisations’ ability to detect breaches, with Gartner reporting that 92 percent of breaches go undetected until it’s too late. Is something as fundamental as network visibility exposing you to risk?

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27-Jan-2018

I was lucky enough to spend 2017 as a Cisco Champion. If you're not familiar with the programme, it's a Cisco-sponsored network of technical experts, who love what they do, and are fired up about Cisco's technologies and solutions. Being new to it at the start of last year felt a bit like being a fresher at university, but the support on the programme meant that I quickly felt at home. I got so much from it over the year that I really wanted to stay on for 2018.

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24-Jan-2018

This year's going to be an exciting one for Ideal as we expand our managed services portfolio and grow our cloud offering and expertise. We already apply best-practice security across our core architectures - enterprise networking, data centre and unified comms - and we wanted to ensure we could offer the same level of security expertise and reassurance as we expand our range of public, private and hybrid cloud solutions.

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10-Jan-2018

Is data the new oil? A century ago, companies were falling over themselves to find, refine and exploit reserves of crude across the world. Today, businesses are tapping into vast supplies of customer data, and some are growing crazy rich off the back of it. OK, there are big differences, but you don't have to buy into the whole analogy to agree that data, like oil, is valuable: countries are squabbling over both.

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03-Jan-2018

The brief window of quiet as the end of 2017 meets the start of 2018 is the perfect opportunity to look around and consider how things will unfold during the year to come. In addition to our own stories, there are political and economic influences in the world which remain highly unpredictable.

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08-Dec-2017

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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22-Nov-2017

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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14-Nov-2017

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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10-Nov-2017

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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03-Nov-2017

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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18-Oct-2017

SD - should this stand for security disaster?

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? Does SDN actually stand for security disaster networking? We asked network solutions architect Richard Harvey and senior cyber security consultant Adrian Clarke to put our minds at rest.

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06-Oct-2017

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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03-Oct-2017

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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20-Sep-2017

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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11-Sep-2017

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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05-Sep-2017

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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23-Aug-2017

Our series of interviews with women who work in IT and the technology sector was started by co-founder Claire. It's a response, in part, to the lack of female applicants for our job vacancies, which is just one reason why we're very pleased to have Georgina Scott-Picton working with us this summer.

As someone yet to embark on her career in IT, we wanted to find out more about her experience so far, and what motivated her to seek a career in technology.

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09-Aug-2017

It's a few weeks since Cisco announced the next step in its journey toward simplifying and automating network provisioning and management: Cisco DNA Centre. Building on the APIC-EM, which we've been using for a while to help configure intelligent wide-area networks (iWAN), Cisco promises that DNA Centre will be a transformative tool in network design, provisioning, policy management, and support. It's up to people like me to work out whether and when that promise will be fulfilled.

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26-Jul-2017

I've already written a bit about segregating enterprise networks, and about the new technologies that are making this easier and more effective. As Ideal's solution architect for networks it's something I get asked about a lot, so I thought it might be helpful to look at this from the customer point of view. You can probably boil it down to three questions: Do I need to segregate?, What do I need to segregate? and How do I segregate?

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21-Jul-2017

For a long time, technology has existed in silos: hosted, cloud-based, on-premises, data centres, LANs v WANs v SANs - and that's before you even start to consider all the different proprietary brands, operating systems, backends and consoles it takes to make the average IT operation operate - some manufacturers can't even make all their own products talk to each other. But something interesting is happening with APIs, and the walls between systems are, perhaps, beginning to come down.

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05-Jul-2017

We've been building an increasingly close partnership with Palo Alto Networks - the disruptive next-generation security company behind innovative products like Traps. Last month I was out in Vancouver for Ignite, PAN's annual cyber security conference, and as PAN's UK and Ireland Technical Champion of the Year 2016 I had the privilege of a one-to-one with its engaging founder, Nir Zuk.

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21-Jun-2017

Cisco's unified communications (UC) and telephony systems are pretty much the gold standard for reliability, quality and features, but until now they've been overkill for a startup or many smaller SMEs. If you're running a company of, say, 25-100 people, you need a great phone system, but you probably don't need full-blown Call Manager - or the hardware, software and days of configuration work involved in an enterprise system like Cisco's Business Edition 6000. To be honest, you probably can't afford them either.

That's why we're excited to be offering Cisco's brand new Business Edition 4000 (BE4000): a quality, full-featured IP telephony system in one easy-to-configure box.

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14-Jun-2017

Our series of interviews with women who work in IT and the technology sector was started by co-founder Claire. It's a response, in part, to the lack of female applicants for our job vacancies.

As digital marketing manager and founder of Brighton Digital Women, Rachel Finch is a well-placed advocate for women in Brighton's thriving digital industries. Here she shares her experience, and offers advice to anyone starting their own career in technology.

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22-May-2017

We've looked before at how the public cloud, for all its benefits, isn't a one-size-fits-all proposition. From concerns about data security and sovereignty, to my own thoughts about the challenge of managing data and applications across providers, it's clearly not a panacea.

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17-May-2017

We've talked a lot about software-defined networking (SDN) and the increasingly intelligent network hardware that enables it. Lately, fellow solutions architect Daren Vallyon and I have been trying to provide a bit more detail about how Cisco is innovating in both areas, with technologies like Digital Network Architecture (DNA) and Campus Fabric.

Our take on the details might be interesting to fellow technologists, but what if you're trying to build the business case for your organisation to invest in new networking technologies?

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12-May-2017

Our series of interviews with women who work in IT and the technology sector was started by co-founder Claire. It's a response, in part, to the lack of female applicants for our job vacancies - a particular problem when it comes to technical, hands-on roles.

As product owner team lead for a software company, Lisa Legg has just such a role, but like many other contributors to the series she didn't originally plan or study for a technical career. Here she shares her experience, and offers advice to anyone wanting their own career in technology.

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03-May-2017

We're always working to build stronger relationships with long-term, established players, but in the new partnerships we've announced this year, Ideal is also investing in new and exciting technologies. In Rubrik, we've added a partner with something truly disruptive: an appliance-based, converged backup offering that's so 'right' it's a wonder nobody did it before.

I want to explain what it does and why it's brilliant.

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26-Apr-2017

We all know the Internet of Things (IoT) is coming, but a recent conversation made me realise that for some of us, it's already arrived. A colleague here mentioned that he'd got something like 20 connected devices on his home network. That seemed a bit of a stretch, so he listed them. After we'd enumerated computers (5), phones and tablets (5), Kindles (2), Audio and TV kit (4), network hardware (4), IP cameras (2) and a printer, we'd arrived at 23 devices, all on a single home network.

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19-Apr-2017

Our series of interviews with women who work in IT and the technology sector was started by co-founder Claire. It's a response, in part, to the lack of female applicants for our job vacancies - a particular problem when it comes to technical, hands-on roles.

Marena Karasevich has just such a job: she's a Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP) and a 2017 Cisco Champion, responsible for network design and maintenance at a Canadian college. What advice can she offer women looking for a similar role?

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12-Apr-2017

Late yesterday, Cisco announced a new MDS 9700 series director module. For those who don't know, directors are an extremely high-end switch, designed to form the backbone of a fast storage area network (SAN) in the data centre. The MDS 9700 series already has industry-leading scale and performance, and with the new 32Gbps module the largest now supports up to 768 by 32Gbps fibre channel ports, operating with full-duplex aggregate of 48Tbps - astonishing.

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05-Apr-2017

Regular readers will know we've written a lot about the software-defined network (SDN), from explaining the concept in a two-page customer briefing, to building up a bricks and mortar analogy for what it actually means in real life. Inspired by Cisco's recent launch of Campus Fabric, I wanted to take a look at what comes next - and why we need it.

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29-Mar-2017

2016 was a year full of highlights for Ideal, and if its first quarter was anything to judge by, 2017 promises just as much excitement. Since January we've welcomed two new directors, many new starters and two new technology partners - reassuringly, we're still focused on our trademark excellence. With more events and announcements in the pipeline, here are five highlights from our year so far.

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27-Mar-2017

You've probably seen our recent announcement that we've entered into partnership with Pure Storage. Back in 2011, Pure was the first to market with an all-flash enterprise storage array, but nearly six years later flash SAN is a much more competitive market. I wanted to explain a bit about why Pure's three principles of smart storage - effortless, efficient and evergreen - still make it special, and why the two of us are building a closer partnership.

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10-Mar-2017

Cisco ONE - What is it?

Cisco One offers a great alternative for licensing and the IT infrastructure management solutions for your business.

>But what is it? Ideal’s Account Director George McKenna explains all…

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08-Mar-2017

It's International Women's Day, and this year's theme 'being bold for change' calls for everyone to help forge a better working world - a more inclusive, gender-equal world. That's long been a theme for us here at Ideal, but as we've discovered, it's hard to build a gender-balanced IT solutions company when the overwhelming majority of job applicants are male.

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01-Mar-2017

I've recently been accepted onto the Cisco Champion programme, which gives me early access to certain key technologies and information. I'm delighted about it, as it gives me the chance to improve my skills and add to the pool of knowledge that we already have at Ideal. It's good for our customers, too, as it's another sign of us strengthening our relationship with one of our key suppliers, and gaining the strategic and technological insight we need to deliver effective business outcomes.

Last week I had an early sight of some major upgrades to Cisco's Digital Network Architecture (DNA), incorporating network functions virtualisation (NFV) and software-defined networking (SDN). That's an awful lot of TLAs to juggle, but I'm going to try and explain it through the lens of the business benefits - in other words: what can all this cool stuff actually do for you?

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22-Feb-2017

Even with the best defence and planning in place, disasters happen. When they do, businesses face a scramble to minimise downtime and data loss, and to limit the reputational damage that can result.

With data increasingly at the heart of business, and organisations ever more at risk of orchestrated attacks - for example by criminal gangs exploiting ransomware - effective disaster recovery (DR) should be key to every firm's business continuity planning. And yet far too many still see backup as a DR solution. It simply isn't.

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20-Feb-2017

Whatever your industry, doing business today is more than ever about the gathering, processing and storing of data. Whether that data is personal, transactional, intellectual or analytical, it's become the lifeblood of commerce, and its heightened importance makes it - and its rightful custodians - increasingly the target of cyber attacks. 

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15-Feb-2017

Prompted by a shortage of female job applicants and the experiences of our co-founder Claire, we've been interviewing a series of women about their experiences in IT and the technology sector. Like many other contributors to the series, games journalist Katharine Byrne reveals how she didn't initially plan or study for a career in technology.

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01-Feb-2017

Say you run an iconic sports arena and the flagship conferencing, hospitality and events business that goes with it. Your security, corporate services, EPOS, lighting control and IP TV screens need a robust network backbone year-round, while on match days up to 82,000 sports fans want wireless access.

That's challenge enough for your network, but on any given day, multiple mixed-use zones might be configured as bars, hospitality areas, conference rooms or press centres. In each, users need to connect and gain reliable access to the services they require - how do you provision phones, give EPOS machines compliant access to the merchant services backend, and grant PCs and other devices appropriate, secure access to your systems - all without running your team on the ground into the ground?

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25-Jan-2017

Prompted by a shortage of female job applicants and the experiences of our co-founder Claire, we've been interviewing a series of women about their experiences in IT and the technology sector. Most contributors have been UK-based, but we wondered whether our European colleagues working in the sector face similar challenges and opportunities. We asked Amsterdam-based Fleur van Veldhuizen, manager inside sales Western Europe and Africa for our partner Palo Alto Networks, to share her experience and thoughts.

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11-Jan-2017

Although we can't predict the future, security trends, threats and weaknesses need to be anticipated so they can be defended. Part of my job is to to build a clear picture of cyber threats and challenges - both now and on the horizon. With that in mind, here are five of the biggest security issues for 2017, and how Ideal will be helping our customers respond.

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04-Jan-2017

Prompted by a shortage of female job applicants and the experiences of our MD Claire, we've been interviewing a series of women about their experiences in IT and the tech sector. Vicki Jakes, techie, code-lover and account director at social insights agency Brandwatch, explains how she first broke into 'online', and has since enjoyed a range of different roles.

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08-Dec-2016

We've been talking a lot lately about Traps: an advanced endpoint protection product that meets the demands of today's cyber threat landscape. We know from customer feedback that Traps is a brilliant solution, especially now that anti-virus is no longer fit for purpose. Now the Palo Alto Networks' (PAN) product has just been recognised with a major award in CRN's Products of the Year 2016 - overall winner for endpoint security.

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07-Dec-2016

Prompted by a shortage of female job applicants and the experiences of our MD Claire, we've been interviewing a series of women about their experiences working in IT, and asking how the industry can become more attractive and supportive to women. In this interview, makepositive implementation consultant Stephanie Stylianou explains that despite her own mathematical background, the lack of a STEM background - or even a degree - needn't be a barrier.

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28-Nov-2016

On Thursday 24th November, Cisco brought its UK Partner Forum to Brighton, attracting delegates from across the UK to Ideal's home city. Having the event on our doorstep gave us a fantastic opportunity to renew and strengthen our already strong relationship with Cisco, network with industry colleagues, and catch the various speakers and events on the day. Here are some of our highlights.

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23-Nov-2016

At the start of November I was in San Francisco for Cisco's Partner Summit. Cisco knows as well as we all do that in 2016, the IT industry is long embarked on its journey away from hardware sales - the so-called 'box-shifting' days - towards a model where hardware is commoditised, and the value is in unlocking performance through software, delivery and service.

That's a fundamental change which has presented a strategic challenge for a network hardware company like Cisco

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16-Nov-2016

Prompted by a shortage of female job applicants and the experiences of our MD Claire, we've been interviewing a series of women about their careers in IT. In this interview, Rebecca Kimber, CEO of e-commerce software company Create.net, explains how she got started, and why opportunities for women in the sector should start at an early age.

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14-Nov-2016

In the age of apps, mobile devices and data everywhere, the way that customers, employees and partners expect to interact with your organisation is changing fast. As your business needs to change and evolve at an ever-increasing rate, so your IT planning, delivery and performance need to keep pace.

How do you ensure that your IT strategy is clearly aligned to the needs of your business, and that you have the necessary buy-in from stakeholders to support your approach?

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14-Nov-2016

Last week we hosted the first of our series of cyber security briefings, in association with one of our key security partners, Palo Alto Networks (PAN), and distributor Exclusive Networks. We knew cyber security is a hot topic at the moment - particularly in relation to ransomware - but even so we had an absolutely amazing response: it was literally standing room only at our City View office, as 60 people came to hear about the the shortcomings of anti-virus in the new era of ransomware and zero-day exploits, and how endpoint protection forms part of the PAN next-generation security platform, along with firewalls and cloud.

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28-Oct-2016

Last week saw me flying out to Barcelona for the European branch of VMworld - VMware's annual conference on data centre, cloud infrastructure and business mobility. It's a big, interesting event, made all the more so this year by the announcement, just before, that VMware vSphere can now be integrated with Amazon Web Services (AWS).

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20-Oct-2016

You might know that October is European Cyber Security Month - #CyberSecMonth for short - and that in the US it's also National Cyber Security Awareness Month. Both are designed to raise awareness of cyber security threats and to promote and encourage cyber security best-practice among citizens. But now that we've voted to leave the EU, do initiatives like this matter?

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19-Oct-2016

Prompted by a shortage of female job applicants and the experiences of our MD Claire, we've been interviewing a series of women about their experiences working in IT. We asked Rosa Fox, developer at the Government Digital Service, to tell us how she got started, what she loves about her job, and whether she'd experienced sexism first-hand.

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12-Oct-2016

You might have seen the August news story about how UK phone network O2 sent its business customers free USB drives, only to discover that some were carrying malware. While this was clearly done with the best intentions, issues like this are a big headache for corporate cybersecurity. No amount of staff training guarantees that someone, somewhere, won't absent-mindedly use an infected USB drive, and then you're at the mercy of your anti-virus software: if it's not up to date, or not up to the job, you could be looking at a lengthy cleanup, or worse a battle with ransomware.

While the O2 virus was old and it's not clear that anyone was actually infected, it's a reminder that malware can enter the organisation from any direction - and it often finds a seemingly reputable route. Here are five other cases when bugs or malware came from a reputable source.

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10-Oct-2016

The cyberthreat landscape is evolving rapidly. In a business environment where IT infrastructure is fundamental, complexity is burgeoning and - through BYOD - connected devices are varied and often insecure, hackers and opportunists have more potential routes in to your business than ever before.

With the growing success of ransomware, criminal gangs are getting better organised and better equipped to find and exploit your weaknesses. Recent research suggests that of businesses who expect to be hit by ransomware, over half will eventually pay. And as if that wasn't enough, rising regulatory and media interest in data breaches, ransomware and other cybersecurity exploits means that security failings are costly, and often reputationally damaging.

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07-Oct-2016

A couple of weeks back I was lucky enough to head to Nashville, to attend Palo Alto Networks' (PAN's) global sales kickoff for 2017. It was an amazing conference, not least because of its size: over three days, about 3,400 delegates got to mingle with PAN's finest, getting briefed on the year ahead through a series of presentations and networking events.

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04-Oct-2016

I'm Dave Hughes, Ideal's head of marketing, and lately I can't seem to escape hearing about ransomware - hardly surprising, as it's all over the news. A get-rich-quick scheme for cybercriminals, it's evolved to dominate the malware threat landscape. Researchers have now identified more than 120 families of ransomware, with incidents of infection continuously on the rise: Intel charted a 25% increase just over Q1 this year, while other research logs a massive 3,500% increase in the use of internet infrastructure to process ransom payments.

Another recent survey suggests that 40% of businesses have experienced a ransomware attack in the past year, with more than a third of the victims losing revenue as a result. In the UK, more than half of affected businesses decided just to pay up.

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30-Sep-2016

In just three summer months, Ideal has strengthened its partnerships with three key suppliers, been recognised as one of UK's the fastest growing private technology companies, and moved into a brilliant modern office in the heart of Brighton. In many ways Q3 was one big highlight, but in case you missed them, here are some of the things that made it special.

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28-Sep-2016

Our series of interviews with Women in IT is uncovering some persistent themes, but also a variety of experience - and differing opinions on how to encourage women into the industry.

I have been struck by how all the women we have interviewed have referred to the breadth of opportunities available to them in IT companies. Also the women have acknowledged that there are very few roles in any sector which are not now touched by technology, so using the phrase 'women in IT' may not resonate with many women in broader tech careers. Only two of the 11 women we have interviewed studied an IT-related subject at university - just as many studied an Arts subject. I wonder how this impacts on how we define ourselves, how we are experienced as women in this technology industry, and if changing our language when we describe our careers may impact positively on our efforts to promote gender diversity.

To explore some of these themes I caught up with Brandwatch's chief people officer, Naomi Trickey.

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23-Sep-2016

As a Cisco Premier Partner, it's probably no surprise if we think many of Cisco's solutions are the best on the market. That's certainly the case when it comes to unified communications (UC), and now you don't just have to take our word for it: in its latest Magic Quadrant on unified communications, Gartner positions Cisco as the outright leader.

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16-Sep-2016

I'm fiercely proud of Ideal and the care with which we're all working to build the business, so I'm particularly pleased that we again feature in the Sunday Times Hiscox Tech Track 100 - an annual league table of Britain's fastest-growing private technology companies. Not only that, but we've climbed three places from last year to reach number 47.

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14-Sep-2016

Prompted by a shortage of female job applicants and the experiences of our MD Claire, we've been interviewing a series of women about their experiences working in IT. In this interview, Ghazal Asif - Global Channel Sales Director at Cisco Meraki - explains how persistence and initiative helped her win an opportunity.

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02-Sep-2016

Recently we've been talking a lot about the software-defined network (SDN). In our customer briefing The Rise of the Apps, we looked at the way modern, app-driven consumption is steering businesses toward outcome-driven, software-defined alternatives to traditional IT provisioning. Later in August, solutions architect Daren Vallyon followed up with his own analogy for how we might consider the SDN as a type of flexible-use building.

Now Cisco has teamed up with the Dummies' Guide series to produce SDN for Dummies: a more detailed walkthrough of software-defined networks, their technology, applications, benefits and requirements.

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31-Aug-2016

The latest Cisco Cybersecurity Report makes for interesting reading - and not just for cybersecurity professionals like myself. Among its major findings are that ransomware continues to dominate the malware threats faced by businesses: criminal gangs in particular have realised there's big money to be extorted from organisations desperate to restore access to their data.

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30-Aug-2016

If you follow Ideal's news, you'll know that we've recently announced promotions in our relationship with three of our key partners. In addition to our Premier level partnership with Cisco, we're now a NetApp Gold Partner, VMware Enterprise Solution Partner, and a Palo Alto Networks Platinum Partner.

These accreditations reflect our commitment to investing in the development of expertise across the breadth of our product portfolio, which includes security, network, storage, virtualisation, data centre and unified comms.

I believe this breadth and depth of expertise is unusual in a smaller IT firm, so I wanted to explain here why we make this investment.

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26-Aug-2016

As part of the research for our recent customer briefing, The rise of the Apps, fellow solutions architect Richard Harvey and I locked ourselves in a room with a voice recorder and discussed networks - specifically the increasingly app-centric way that corporate IT operates, and the resulting impact on the way networks are provisioned.

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24-Aug-2016

Prompted by a shortage of female job applicants and the experiences of our MD Claire, we've been interviewing a series of women about their experiences working in IT. Here, Sara Newman - Operations Director at Amido - shares her story, and offers great advice for those looking to make a start in IT.

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10-Aug-2016

The Ideal blog is the perfect outlet for us to reflect on what's going on in our sector, but some trends and concepts are just too important or complex to boil down into a 300-word post. It's these topics we aim to discuss in our customer briefings: two-page, downloadable documents giving our steer on key trends and changes we're seeing in the technology sector, and the opportunities and challenges they present for our clients.

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03-Aug-2016

Prompted by a shortage of female job applicants and the experiences of our MD Claire, we've been interviewing a series of women about their experiences working in IT. How do things look to somebody just embarking on their career in the industry? We asked Amy Evans, as she enters the third and final year of her Cisco apprenticeship.

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28-Jul-2016

If you're in touch with us, you probably know that on Monday we moved into brand new offices in the centre of Brighton. It's a big change - we'd been happy for five years in our Kemptown home - so here I want to follow up on my previous post and share how we've set up the new office to change how we work and reflect our culture and ambition.

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15-Jul-2016

Prompted by a shortage of female job applicants and the experiences of our MD Claire, we've been interviewing a series of women about their experiences working in IT. Are things any different in the wider technology sphere, and particularly in the digital sector? We asked @SheSaysBrighton organiser Rifa Thorpe-Tracey.

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06-Jul-2016

2016 is flying by. Half-way through the year, Ideal is preparing for a move to new offices, delivering outstanding work for its clients, and still discussing and engaging with some of the most pressing IT issues. Here, in case you missed them, are five of the most interesting things we talked about in Q2.

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29-Jun-2016

Like many businesses, last Thursday's referendum result has got us thinking about the future, and how we and our customers will manage the changes it might hold. Change is a given in the tech industry of course, and disruption was already on my mind last week as I attended three events: The first was a Cisco EMEAR partner advisory exchange in London, while the other two - a DLA Piper panel discussion on women in technology and Bailey & Fisher’s Designing our Future event - took place as part of London Technology Week.

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29-Jun-2016

The 7-9th June saw the 21st running of the InfoSecurity Europe conference, or Infosec, up in London. As Ideal's senior cyber security consultant, I was pleased to be there to meet with vendors, research products and immerse myself in the latest industry trends and discussions. Here are my takeaways.

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22-Jun-2016

You might have seen my recent post about a new managed services client for Ideal. A year in the planning, the first phase of the project spanned 400 devices in 31 sites, scattered across 18 countries. It was a big job, and there's more to come, so it was essential that we could deliver the excellence we expect from ourselves.

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15-Jun-2016

A 19-year veteran of the computer games industry, Rajan Tande started out at the seminal UK studio Bullfrog Productions, rising through the ranks of its owner - the publishing giant Electronic Arts - to become technical director of its Emeryville studio in California. Now co-founder and CTO at an ambitious Bay Area start-up, Rajan gives us an overview of the unique demands and opportunities that games companies face in the mobile age.

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13-Jun-2016

At Ideal, we place a lot of emphasis on our core values of pride, relationships and ambition. Our workforce is very diverse, but all of our people share some common traits. These traits are at the forefront of our minds whenever we are working to expand our team. We always look for the right person, and we believe that an unfilled position is better than recruiting someone who doesn't share our values.

So what are we looking for when we talk to prospective employees? Here are some of the main points:

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08-Jun-2016

Prompted by a shortage of female job applicants and the experiences of our MD Claire, we've been interviewing a series of women about their experiences working in IT. The responses have been fascinating, varying by business and industry. Here, Gillian Furlong of Essex County Council gives us an insight into the public sector.

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31-May-2016

The danger with any great IT idea is that the hype surrounding it can gather until it begins to drown out the underlying point. If ever there was an example, it's the mobile workplace.

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27-May-2016

A journalist by training and a technologist by instinct, Tom Royal's career in magazine editing coincided with upheaval, as publishers struggled to re-invent themselves for the internet. Now he's chief technical officer for a new publishing company producing prestigious magazines for print and mobile, and providing the platform for others to do the same. In an industry where the dust is yet to settle, what are his business challenges?

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13-May-2016

At Ideal, we're rightly proud of our managed services, and the team of in-house experts who work to proactively identify and resolve customer network issues before they become business problems. You'll have heard us use the word 'excellence' - it's what we aim for across our business, and it's what helps an SME like us win and retain high-profile clients - but what does it mean in practice? Let me tell you what we're delivering for a distributed global client.

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11-May-2016

Chris is Chief Information Officer at the RSC, which in a nutshell means he’s responsible for guiding the company towards a state where the awareness of the importance of information and technology matches the capability of the organisation to maximise the benefit.

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09-May-2016

In the latest in our series of interviews with women in IT, we talk to Natalie Lloyd who began her career at a creative stock photography company and is now a Director at a strategic digital product consultancy.

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04-May-2016

As one of Ideal's data centre specialists, I often start talking to clients once they're already thinking about infrastructure. Understandably, security usually features prominently in their list of requirements by this point, but to look at it chiefly as an infrastructure concern is missing the point. Security is fundamental to any business system, including the applications, processes, data and users that make up the business process: if you're approaching it chiefly as a hardware requirement, you're starting in the wrong place. 

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25-Apr-2016

In the latest in our series of interviews with women in IT, we talk to Rachel Gray - sales director and inclusion and diversity lead at Cisco UK, about how she got started in the industry and how we can encourage more women to follow a career in our industry.

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15-Apr-2016

As a cyber security professional who works for an IT company, being offered the opportunity to attend a technology-focused cyber security conference was always going to be a ‘no brainer’, especially when that conference was being hosted by one of our main technology vendors – Palo Alto Networks. The fact that said conference was also being hosted in sunny Las Vegas was merely a coincidental benefit in the midst of the UK’s long, cold, and wet Spring!

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13-Apr-2016

Every business needs to know the status of its IT environment 24*7*365, whether it be on premise, in the cloud or a combination. Monitoring can help you meet some of the key business challenges you are facing: maintaining uptime and reliability of essential services and systems, reducing overheads, assessing vulnerabilities and gaps, safeguarding your reputation and protecting customers, controlling staff activity and protecting data.

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08-Apr-2016

One challenge that any growing business faces is working out how much space you need. In the current property climate it takes nerves of steel. I know this from personal experience as it's exactly the challenge we're dealing with at Ideal at the moment.

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06-Apr-2016

I'm Tim Misson, the new head of sales. I've tried to hit the ground running, getting involved with the team as they talk with existing and potential customers, and it's here that I came across an interesting question: can your wireless infrastructure be too good?

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23-Mar-2016

Your customers want to contact you in new ways, your staff expect flexible access to their workplace, and your finance team needs to slash overheads: welcome to running a business in 2016.

In this environment, the business that responds in the most agile and innovative way is most successful, responding to challenges thrown up by a changing world, and anticipating others with clever technical solutions. Key to this agility is satisfying the growing demands for a mobile, flexible workplace - but what does that actually mean, and what are the steps necessary to deliver it in your organisation?

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18-Mar-2016

Business, and IT in particular, moves pretty quickly. Already we're at the close of the first quarter, and the Ideal team has been engaged with a range of products, challenges and issues. In case you missed them, here are five of the most interesting topics we've been talking about this year.

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16-Mar-2016

The need for a specific data-sharing agreement such as the new EU-US Privacy Shield arises because European legislators take a different view of data privacy from their American counterparts, and the ongoing legal battle between the FBI and Apple is shining further light on data privacy issues on the other side of the Atlantic.

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11-Mar-2016

Last week I attended Cisco’s Partner Summit and Marketing Velocity conference in San Diego. Marketing Velocity is an inspiring day full of speakers and workshops focused on marketing best practices. Here are five things that I took away from the event.

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11-Mar-2016

Back in January I posted my cyber security predictions for 2016, one of which was that ransomware would reap further havoc. This was based on the observed trends during 2015, and recent 2016 media reports have confirmed that there is just no slowing down in this variant of malicious software, or malware as it is more commonly known.

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09-Mar-2016

Moving your data and business apps to the cloud might seem like an obvious, cheap, hassle-free solution, but it’s not always that way. There are issues with flexibility, costs and security to consider – and in this context I’m impressed with NetApp’s Data Fabric strategy. Here’s why.

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04-Mar-2016

I'm a service desk engineer here at Ideal - and one of just seven female members in a team of more than 40 people. As part of our discussion around women in IT, we're interviewing women within and beyond Ideal to ask what they do in their job, what their experience of IT is, and how we can encourage more women into the sector - here are my answers.

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02-Mar-2016

Last week I attended an event at City College which brought together politicians, education providers and employers to share ideas, and to work with the college to create a new institute providing technology and arts education in Brighton. Here are my thoughts.

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26-Feb-2016

The Ideal Academy is our new project, dedicated to encouraging more of the super-smart young people in our local community to choose IT as a career and - hopefully - Ideal as their employer. As one of the current apprentices, I've been asked to explain how I came to be at Ideal, and how working here feeds back into my studies and helps me develop my skills. Here goes...

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19-Feb-2016

I've always been a strong believer in delivering a high quality of service and value to my clients. It's just how I work. Recently I was on the receiving end of the kind of service I like to deliver. It was an educational experience, as I had been questioning myself about service quality and appropriate levels of delivery.

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17-Feb-2016

If the next generation of workers see wireless access and cloud storage as the norm, what will their expectations be when they join the workforce? How will you support their potential?

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12-Feb-2016

I started as a master's degree student and part-time network infrastructure engineer, and was supported through Cisco qualifications including CCDP to become full-time team leader in the network support team. Here's why I'd recommend Ideal to apprentices and graduates looking for an employer who'll invest in them.

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01-Feb-2016

We're often disappointed to receive so few job applications from women. To try and stimulate the discussion around this we're running a series of interviews with women in IT. In this third installment, we talk to Ciara Man, a coder with 10 years' experience in the computer games industry.

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28-Jan-2016

We think chat tools like Spark are no longer just 'apps' - they're a whole new way to communicate and support customer self-service.

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26-Jan-2016

What happens when two organisations, each with its own network infrastructure, merge?

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21-Jan-2016

At seven years old, Ideal is still young, but already we've seen the rise and fall of buzzwords, fads, and various other transient ideas. Other shifts - the rise of the cloud, the move to mobile - are here to stay, providing us and our customers with new challenges and opportunities. So what are we looking forward to in 2016? And how are we responding to the ever-changing IT landscape?

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19-Jan-2016

I spent two days in Lisbon at Cisco EMEAR collaboration summit last week seeing how beautifully designed, innovative messaging, phone and video technology can be used to collaborate brilliantly with colleagues and customers. This is my report

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18-Jan-2016

In my last post I looked at the potential business costs of not implementing effective cyber security control measures. If however you are having trouble explaining to a colleague why cyber security should be higher up on the priority list, and why a cyber security audit is a really good idea, I stumbled across the following tale following many hours of extended literary research ...

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13-Jan-2016

Last month I blogged about the demise of the Safe Harbour agreement, and the spotlight that it's thrown on some of the issues with cloud provision. Now I want to look at what the death of Safe Harbour means for solutions providers such as Ideal, and for our clients.

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06-Jan-2016

We're often disappointed to receive so few job applications from women. To try and stimulate the discussion around this we're running a series of interviews and, as one of the six women in the Ideal team, it's my turn to go under the spotlight - you can read my answers below.

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15-Dec-2015

I'm Adrian Clarke, CISSP, and I'm the Senior Cyber Security Consultant at Ideal. It's a new role that underlines the ever-growing importance of thorough, ongoing, multi-layer security planning and action across the enterprise. It's something we're so serious about, that for the next two months I'll be visiting customer sites to conduct detailed cyber-security audits. Read on to discover why, and how you can benefit.

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04-Dec-2015

Ever since the 2013 Snowden revelations, which uncovered the potential scale of US government data gathering, the integrity of the Safe Harbour Agreement has looked seriously weakened. In October, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled it invalid, delivering a coup de grâce that, on the surface of it, leaves firms who use US cloud services with a huge headache. So what exactly does it mean for us all in the IT community?

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03-Dec-2015

We have a volunteering rota at Ideal – which means that once a month a member of the team spends a day doing voluntary work instead of being in the office. Here’s why I encourage the team to take part.

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01-Dec-2015

I’m all about an easy life. If there is anything that can be done to make my job, my home life, even my commute to work easier, then I am all for it. That doesn’t mean I am lazy. It doesn’t mean that when there is hard graft to be done that I won’t do it. It just means that I see the sense and logic of doing what needs to be done, as efficiently and easily as possible, without compromising quality.

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27-Nov-2015

We're proud of our team at Ideal, and we've recruited some amazing people over the years, but one thing strikes me again and again: why do we get so few female applicants? Out of our staff of 40, only six are women. It's a microcosm of an industry-wide issue, and something that I've written about several times before.

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26-Nov-2015

The Internet of Things (IoT) and Internet of Everything (IoE) are buzzwords that have been circulating the IT industry and beyond for the past couple of years. In this blog I look to explain Ideal’s understanding of this trend as well as the impact and opportunity it can present organisations if harnessed correctly.

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25-Nov-2015

When we speak to clients and prospective customers about their unified communications (UC) needs, they'll often tell us that they want something based in the cloud. Take a top-level look at their requirements and it's easy to see why

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24-Nov-2015

I'm an Account Director at Ideal and I really enjoy working for a tech start-up. Here's why.

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22-Nov-2015

Last Tuesday was a good day. I attended my first Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Network (STEMNET) event as a STEM ambassador, and also attended my first Tech Track 100 awards dinner.

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12-Nov-2015

I wrote last month about Gartner's Magic Quadrant on Unified Communications (UC), and not long afterwards it's the turn of corporate telephony to come under Gartner's spotlight. In this Corporate Telephony Magic Quadrant, Cisco - as you'd probably expect with its background - remains a clear leader. Meanwhile, with its focus on the cloud, Microsoft has fallen back to challenger status.

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30-Oct-2015

We're currently in the final stages of an 18-month UK telephony project for IKEA, the world's biggest furniture chain. As my thoughts turn to writing a project close down report, I'm in the truly enviable position of being able to ask "why did this work?"

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28-Oct-2015

I'm all for a bit of insight, that distilled essence of great research. After all the data gathering, fact finding and analysis, comes the insight that tells you more about your clients or potential customers, the opportunities or challenges you face, or the wider landscape in which you do business.

For our industry, Gartner's Magic Quadrant reports cast a handy spotlight over how the various tech giants stack up, assessed on several important criteria.

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10-Sep-2015

Ideal ranked 50th in Sunday’s Hiscox Sunday Times Tech Track 100 and I am delighted that all our hard work at Ideal has been recognised in this nationally published league table. I was surprised and if I’m honest a mix of confused, embarrassed and flattered to find a picture of me advertising the league table in the Sunday Times online this week.

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13-Apr-2015

Cisco's vPath is becoming well established within Nexus 1000V customer networks. I recently found myself with a requirement to add a load-balancing and three-tier firewall function to a VMware / FlexPod environment that did not have any existing hosting capability.

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24-Feb-2015

Many IT departments now have to consider the role of location-based services to deliver better user experience and marketing initiatives. Two of the most discussed technologies used to provide direct interaction with customers are Wi-Fi and beacons (or iBeacons).

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