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Five-minute interview: Ian Ashworth, Netwrix

MicroScope puts its questions to Ian Ashworth, channel director for EMEA and APAC at Netwrix

Tell us what you do for a living

I am the channel director for Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) and Asia-Pacific (APAC) at IT security software company Netwrix.

Why are you the right person for this job?

I’ve been working in the channel for about 20 years now and would say I have developed a serious passion for it. I enjoy driving forward success in the channel and working with vendors I’ve developed relationships with. Working in the channel is all about long-term strategic partnerships, something I’ve always valued throughout my career.

What gets you up in the morning?

Definitely my three children.

Who helped you get to where you are today?

First, I would have to say Stuart Quinsey, who was my channel director at LogRhythm. During my time there, he was the person I reported to and I looked up to him – he wasn’t just great at giving me advice, he’s an inspirational leader too. Another would have to be Matt Middleton-Leal (general manager, EMEA and APAC) who I have worked with for several years, both at previous companies and now at Netwrix, and who has been key to mentoring me in the cyber security industry.

What is the best or worst business advice you have received and from whom?

“Don’t crash the plane alone!” Great advice for when something is going wrong – always bring in as much help as possible, as quickly as possible. 

What advice would you give to someone starting out today in IT?

Really try to focus and specialise in certain areas of technology. Working in the channel is becoming so diverse and, of course, it’s all about the value you can add, so developing a specialism will definitely make you a more valued strategic partner going forward.

Is it possible to get through an industry conversation without mentioning digital transformation?

For me – yes. Digital transformation has now become such a broad topic that almost everything falls under its umbrella. Now digital transformation has become a bit of a buzzword, it’s almost easier to keep away from, but it’s still an important journey that us channel managers should help our customers navigate successfully.

“If I could be any animal for a day, I’d be a dog, as they can sleep for 20 hours a day. They don’t say it’s a dog’s life for nothing”

Ian Ashworth, Netwrix

What does the next five years hold for the channel?

Over the next five years, the channel is going to become a lot more consultancy-led. The days of box shifting are well gone and new companies with their technologies, whether it’s artificial intelligence (AI) or security innovations, need to evolve into more consultant led organisations. This way, they’ll be sure to stay relevant.

Tell us something most people do not know about you

I’ve walked all the coast paths of England.

What goal do you have to achieve before you die, and why?

I’d love to see England win the football or rugby world cup. We keep getting close, but never quite make it over the finish line.

What is the best book you’ve ever read?

Winning! by Clive Woodward

And the worst film you’ve ever seen?

The Netflix film Alien Warfare. I quite like bad movies, but this was so awful I had to turn it off.

What would be your Desert Island MP3s?

Easy: The colour and shape by The Foo Fighters.

What temptation can you not resist?

This is another easy one: crisps – my guilty pleasure.

What was your first car and how does it compare with what you drive now?

My first car was a Seat Arosa, which is very different to what I drive now. I’ve pretty much made a full 180-degree turn in the car department.

Who would you least like to be stuck in a lift with? Why, what did they do?

For obvious reasons, I’d have to say Nigel Farage.

If you could be any animal for a day, what would you be and why?

A dog, as they can sleep for 20 hours a day. They don’t say it’s a dog’s life for nothing.

If you were facing awesome peril and impossible odds, which real or fictional person would you most want on your side and why?

Hmmm, probably the master of survival himself, Bear Grylls. I’m sure he could help me get through most things.

And finally, a grizzly bear and a silverback gorilla are getting ready for a no-holds-barred rumble. Who is your money on and why?

Gorilla – I have no idea why, but that’s what my instinct said. 

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