Our insight


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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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