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Teach First

14 March 2019



A comprehensive network and security assessment across Teach First's complex infrastructure to identify any areas for improvement and reduce risk across their IT estate.


The IT team at Teach First supports 800 users across 10 offices and over 15,000 external users. This includes providing and maintaining a complex mixture of applications including leading e-learning solutions, SaaS solutions and bespoke software to support internal and external customers.


The London-based educational charity had recently completed a significant infrastructure upgrade project to improve security, performance and resilience across their network, server and storage estate. This had been carried out by the internal team, and whilst the business was reaping the benefits, the Teach First Technology Director, Mark Sutton, felt they needed an independent view. “It was a good point to get an external validation on the improvements we had made,” commented Mark. “But importantly, it was an opportunity to identify if there were any further areas for improvement, or any areas of risk we had missed.”

Ideal Solution

"I’m really pleased with the appoach Ideal took. They’re professional, flexible and have deep expertise across a number of vendor technologies."

Mark Sutton, Teach First Technology Director

Following a personal recommendation, Teach First engaged Ideal to provide a ‘root and branch’ assessment. This included reviewing the infrastructure supporting the 10 regional offices, as well as the virtual server and network environment in the cloud, plus providing an independent view on the firm’s security posture. “Ideal has a strong reputation for providing high-quality service and the team is made up of experienced subject matter experts. They also offer the level of independence that was needed and I felt we were in good hands,” added Sutton.

Ideal’s team of experts performed a comprehensive review by spending time on-site with the core infrastructure team, and were given full access to the network and service estate. Through this, they were able to assess the current state of:

  • The network design and its suitability for Teach First’s requirements
  • Adoption of industry and vendor best practice
  • Network robustness, scalability and performance
  • LAN security and network segmentation
  • LAN manageability and simplicity.

Findings were reported to Teach First in an interactive workshop and a full report provided to the Teach First technology team.


“I was pleased to get the validation that we had ostensibly completed a sensible set of upgrades leading to increased performance. The report from Ideal did highlight a few areas of improvement to the existing configuration which we’ve been able to quickly address,” commented Mark Sutton. “In addition, Ideal put forward several best practice suggestions and helped identify a roadmap of positive changes that Teach First will consider when we have the appropriate level of future funding. And I’d be keen for Ideal to support us on implementing these.”

Why Ideal?

Ideal prides itself on being customer-centric and offering a highly-flexible approach to accommodate client needs. “I’m really pleased with the approach Ideal took. They’re professional, flexible and have deep expertise across a number of vendor technologies,” commented Sutton. “They’ve stepped in at short notice to cover staff holidays, and were really effective in rapidly resolving a number of infrastructure issues. I’m looking forward to working with them to develop our data centre and advanced firewall strategy.”

About Teach First

Teach First is a social enterprise registered as a charity which aims to address educational disadvantage in England and Wales. The organisation recruits, trains, supports and inspires young people to become brilliant teachers.


Contact the Ideal team on 01273 957500, or get in touch online.


Header image ©Alexis Brown Unsplash