Our insight

Adrian Clarke

Solutions Architect

Recent Posts


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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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