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Morning, Steve. Tell us what you do for a living
I’m the head of channel for UK&I at WithSecure, working with channel partners to solve their customers’ cyber security needs. We help our partners grow by acting as an extension to their services, offering both sales and technical support that allows them to wrap services around their product portfolios and transition to as-a-service models.
Why are you the right person for this job?
I like a good challenge. My background is very technical, having worked in pre-sales and sales engineer roles for many years, but this means I’m now able to understand technical and commercial business outcomes that are important to key business decision-makers.
What gets you up in the morning?
My alarm clock – I’m on brew and breakfast duty in the mornings. I need that giant Sports Direct mug of tea to get me going.
On a more serious note, I like helping our partners and MSPs see the benefits of having a cyber vendor as an extension to their business, using what we have in our portfolio, combined with their services and value add to help grow their revenue.
Who helped you get to where you are today?
The biggest influencers for me have been some of my managers at WithSecure, plus another at my previous company, who gave me the advice and guidance that set me on the path to where I am now. Five years ago, I never thought I’d be doing this role, but moving from my engineering roles to where I am now in the company has helped me see a whole new side to helping businesses.
What is the best or worst business advice you have received and from whom?
The best advice I’ve had, from multiple people, is to always listen and be present rather than just waiting for your chance to speak.
The worst, and I won’t say where from, was: “You’ve got an agenda, make sure you get your agenda across.” That’s not how successful business works.
What advice would you give to someone starting out today in IT?
We’re in fast-paced industry, so my advice would be to find an organisation with an entry-level scheme that will really show you the ropes. We’ve had great success finding and growing in-house talent with our schemes this way.
For us, you also don’t need to have a cyber background, just a solid interest in it. You’d be surprised to hear that some of our best consultants have very different educational backgrounds.
Is it possible to get through an industry conversation without mentioning digital transformation?
What does the next five years hold for the channel?
The channel is evolving, and end customers are looking for trusted partners and partnerships rather than the “box shippers” of the past. We’re seeing value-added resellers (VARs) becoming more service-orientated as organisations see the value in managed services, and cyber vendors are being seen as an extension of the partner business, compared to the traditional product and solution selling we’ve seen in the past.
“The best advice I’ve had, from multiple people, is to always listen and be present rather than just waiting for your chance to speak”
Steve Nurton, WithSecure
Partners – and their customers – are also increasingly interested in consolidating their technologies and solutions to reduce pressure in terms of resource and manpower. While the industry continues to struggle with a lack of cyber security professionals, these are both trends we’ll be observing over the next few years.
Tell us something most people do not know about you
I’m a techno DJ with a monthly slot on an internet-based radio station. I’m also starting to learn house music on the piano.
Have you learnt anything new – guitar, painting etc – during the pandemic?
I learnt what cabin fever really meant, especially being in a field-based role.
What goal do you have to achieve before you die, and why?
Djing in Ibiza. I’d love to play at Pacha.
I’d also like to gain my light aircraft pilot’s licence and tackle a charity bike ride – perhaps the London to Paris one.
What is the best book you’ve ever read?
I prefer audio books personally – the best one I’ve ‘read’ is Mr Pikes The story behind the Ibiza legend.
Dare to Lead by Dr Bréne Brown is also a great book I recommend.
And the worst film you’ve ever seen?
I would love to say Dirty Dancing, but just in case my wife reads this, it’s not that. Drop Dead Fred is up there.
What would be your Desert Island MP3s?
Pete Tong’s Ibiza Orchestra, although The Darknet Diaries is a great podcast.
What temptation can you not resist?
Chocolate or a good dark rum.
What was your first car and how does it compare with what you drive now?
I used to be a pizza delivery driver, so the first car I drove was a yellow Peugeot 206 with a flashing phone on the top. The first car I owned though was a Saxo VTR. My car now at least doesn’t rattle or flash as much.
Who would you least like to be stuck in a lift with? Why, what did they do?
Piers Morgan. Give me a call if you want to know why.
If you could be any animal for a day, what would you be and why?
A cheetah because I’ve never been great at running and it would be awesome to be able to go that fast.
If you were facing awesome peril and impossible odds, which real or fictional person would you most want on your side and why?
Han Solo. He always finds a way out of tricky situations. Well, maybe not always…
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?
I’d ask questions first – has anyone heard who is going down and in what round? Then I’d pick one. Win-win.
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