Ian Turnbull

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Ian Turnbull

Managing director, Pentesec

What was your dream career as a child?

Growing up I always wanted to be a teacher. I didn't get the grades, so I became an MD instead.

What has been your personal highlight of 2019?

Three things stand out: Pentesec winning the Check Point Partner of the Year award for the second year running, being nominated for the CRN Security VAR of the Year and discovering a cracking curry house near my house. I think the curry edges it.

Which famous person deserves a (gentle) slap?

I decline to comment as this may affect ongoing investigations.

What two things (apart from family) would you grab if your house was on fire?

As long as the family is safe, nothing else matters. Life is too short to worry about material things.

Which of your 2019 predictions have come to pass?

Late last year I spoke to CRN about how 2019 would see growing interest and adoption of SD-WAN, the explosion of Crowdstrike worldwide and huge GDPR fines. I'm three for three and pretty happy with that.

What TV show have you binge watched this year?

I can't get enough of Mindhunter - anything crime related is always a good shout. Watching the birth of criminal profiling and getting into the minds of villains to understand how they became bad is fascinating.

How has 2019 been from a business perspective?

So far, so good considering it has been a difficult period for much of the channel, at least according to my peers. We are tracking as we did last year and are just entering our busy period. With a bigger team, an increase in services and backed by last year's success, I am expecting big things.

What annoys you most about your commute?

The lack of a buffet cart in my car! I must be bonkers as I quite enjoy the alone time. Many a good idea has occurred when I am left with my own thoughts.

If you could witness one past event, what would it be?

That drop goal from Jonny Wilkinson in the 2003 Rugby World Cup final. It was a special moment and it would have been amazing to see it in person.

How do you explain the channel to people?

Separate focuses with a shared goal.

Everybody plays the role they're passionate about. From the vendor creating a product, distribution getting it to market and the reseller delivering it to customers.

Trying to do all of that yourself is very limiting but trusting passionate experts to do their bit allows you to play to your strengths. Our success creates a knock-on effect to a whole ecosystem; we're like a family that depends on each other.

What have been your favourite and least favourite partner conference destinations?

I'm a big fan of anywhere warm. Some of these conferences can be a drag if badly engineered, so seeing a little bit of sunshine can be a welcome respite.

What is the biggest challenge facing the channel in 2020?

Ignoring the obvious situation regarding our position in Europe. Knowing what new technology to back. There are a wealth of solutions out there. Are customers ready for them? Do emerging vendors have the channel teams in place to enable their partners?

Our team is working hard to gauge where our customers see the biggest pain points. There is always a common ground and we pride ourselves on learning who has the answers and which solution stands out above the rest. This is where the channel ecosystem comes into its own because we all want what's best, and every year we try to figure out how to achieve it together.

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