Silverstone Grand Prix

I was recently fortunate enough to be invited as a VIP guest of our business partner EMC and Team Lotus to attend the British Grand Prix at Silverstone. After getting out of bed at 4.45am, an ungodly hour especially for a Sunday, I made my way to the event in order to get there for 7am, so I could immerse myself in the full Formula 1 experience.

My access all areas pass

My access all areas pass

Ian Parslow and Craig Russell were also invited, but I can’t say for sure that I saw them there at 7am or even 8am for that matter…probably arriving at 8:30am.

As the day got underway, I got called away from all the excitement to go and rescue two executives from Telefonica and Visa International who had forgotten to pick up their passes and were stuck in the Paddock car park. I was lucky enough to have been given an access all areas gold pass, so naturally, I was elected to get these two back into the Paddock Club at the Lotus hospitality suite. It didn’t take long before they were back where they belonged – some twenty minutes later. Sometimes it helps to have an operational outlook in other areas of life!

Team Lotus driver Pastor Maldonado

The fun started when I was fortunate enough to meet ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Pastor Maldonado, one of the Team Lotus drivers, who was kind enough to sign a mini Team Lotus helmet for me and get a picture taken with him. This was all facilitated by a lovely lady called Beth O’Neill, who is the hospitality events manager for Logan Sports Marketing, which supports EMC in these sorts of events. Beth and Logan Sports Marketing, which looks after EMC with their sponsorship of events, from rugby through to sailing, were fantastic hosts during the day, letting us meet some of the drivers and get down in the paddocks during the race.

Following a super lunch and as a special VIP treat we were escorted down behind the scenes by Aimelia Herbert (Johnny Herbert’s daughter) giving us access right into the to the Team Lotus garage area where the real action happens, where we were able to watch the technical teams behind the race work (listening in to the radio as the cars zipped around, and watching while electronic adjustments were being made to the cars as they raced).

Aimelia Herbert and I

Aimelia Herbert and I

Ian Parslow, Craig Russell and Phil Cook also had a great time, and got to experience the action first hand. You can see a picture of us all alongside some of the Team Lotus memorabilia.

Ian Parslow, Phil Cook, Craig Russell and I

I would like to say a big thank you to all the EMC executive management for inviting us out to such an exciting VIP event, in particular Jonathan Martin, SVP, CMO for EMC, for setting up the day & hosting us and converting a Formula 1 novice, such as myself, into a die-hard fan.

MTI Forum an overwhelming success

We recently held our annual MTI Forum event, bringing together our partners, customers and peers from across the datacentre, IT and security sectors.

The event was held at the impressive Beaumont Estate in Windsor, which played host to around 300 visitors keen to learn from a high calibre speaker line-up made up of the leading voices in the UK technology industry.

MTI Forum

Ian Parslow welcomes MTI Forum delegates

We held an exclusive dinner event at the venue on Tuesday evening (April15) for 20 of our VIP customers. Special guests Michael Vaughan, the former England cricket captain, and sports leadership coach Steve Bull, who has worked with the England cricket team and the British Olympics team, commanded the crease as our guest speakers on the evening. Vaughan was a hugely inspirational speaker, discussing the difficulties of managing while playing, including in his case big personalities like Andrew Flintoff and Kevin Pietersen, and gave us his pre-match team talk: “This is what we have prepared for. This is what we have waited for. Now go out and enjoy the game.”

Michael Vaughan MTI

Michael Vaughan and Steve Bull entertain VIP customers at the MTI Forum dinner

Vaughan also provided insight into his mentality and the professional motivation technique he uses called ‘the man in the mirror,’ which really resonated. It essentially boils down to: can you look in the mirror at the end of every day and say you’ve done the very best job possible? That is what I demand of myself and ask of everyone at MTI – as long as we can all say we’ve done our best everyday then we will continue to be successful.

I then spent the latter part of Tuesday evening being educated on the finer points of Sat Nav technology and IP protection wherever you are working in the world by Andrew Ralston, Director of Information Services and Security at one of our newer customers Wolfson Microelectronics.

The MTI Forum itself, on Wednesday (April 16), was a great community event for companies to share ideas and take inspiration from expert speakers. The series of talks covered a variety of topics, from cybercrime and hacking techniques through to the future of the datacentre, the new generation of mobility and the Internet of Everything.

MTI Forum

The MTI team welcomes guests to MTI Forum

The day began with a gracious welcome and introduction by MTI’s own Ian Parslow, followed by an overview of EMC’s take on the market from Chris Gould, Director of Sales and Strategy UK&I.

The speaker sessions then kicked into full force, with Websense’s Jonathan Wood giving an illuminating introduction to the ‘7 stages of a hack,’ and our own Rob Buckton and Ian Reynolds discussing who companies to trust to manage their data and how to pass the PSN IT Health Check, respectively.

The rest of the morning saw experts explore a wide range of security issues, courtesy of RSA’s Bob Griffin, Palo Alto Networks’ Tim Kirk and MTI’s PCI-DSS expert Pauline Brace. Morning sessions also saw Cisco’s Roger Ian Dickinson take us through the finer points of the future of the datacentre, a review of IT operations and analytics from Extra Hop’s Owen Cole and insight into the power of virtualisation from WatchGuard’s Martin Lethbridge. We also enjoyed further vision into EMC’s offering from Simon Stevens, Tony Alder and Mark Galpin.

During a very nice lunch on the sunny terrace I had the delight of spending time with Terry Beale, EMC’s Director of Channel UK&I, Alex Jenkins, CISO at long-term MTI customers Babcock International, and John Singh, a partner at our legal firm DAC Beachcroft.

Moving into the afternoon we had an introduction to life after Blackberry in the new age of mobility with MobileIron’s Graeme Jenkins, security analytics insight from CyberArk’s Tobie Kottmann a look at big data with Matt Lock from Varonis. Imperva’s Andy Harcup talked us through how to tackle the modern data security threats, while Phil Keeley from Aerohive Networks had us all hooked on the next generation of wireless networking.

The afternoon sessions also saw MTI’s managed services experts Simon Walters and Asad Malik deliver a workshop on how to take the journey to the cloud, while Trusted IA’s Dave Williams gave a hands-on workshop on how to achieve a PSN pass at the first time of asking.

Next up Cisco’s Ian Foddering took us through the fascinating world of the Internet of Everything, James Walker of TrendMicro explained why traditional security is no longer enough and VMware’s Ian Little discussed managing virtual environments.

A hugely enjoyable day was rounded off in style with MTI’s Ian Reynolds delivering his popular Anatomy of a Hack presentation, which took us through the intricacies of a cyber attack.

Many thanks to all those that spoke at the event and everyone who attended the show, it was an excellent show that gave us all food for thought and we hope to see you all again next year.

Celebrating 25 years with MTI

1989 was a momentous year for many reasons. It was the year that saw the fall of the Berlin Wall, Tim Berners-Lee conceived the World Wide Web, while George Bush Snr became the 41st President of the United States and Sky Television (now BSkyB) launched across Europe. In sport, Nick Faldo won the first of his three US Masters titles and images of Terry Butcher’s blood-soaked shirt were forever etched into England football fans’ memories.

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MTI’s recent 2-year pen recipients with Nick Westall

But it was also a momentous year for MTI. 1989 was the year that Gary Menezes and Alasdair Young both joined us. I recently had the honour of congratulating both of them for their tenure and dedication to MTI, awarding them 5 days of extra vacation which I know they will put to good use. Thanks again guys.

People stick with MTI. I am proud of that. Whether this is customers, partners or colleagues, we have a great track record in this regard and it is one that I feel is very important. I was therefore delighted to recently award 2-year pens to Scott Phillips, Nora Copping, Chris Gelstharp, Joe Karol, James Robbins and Alex Bouraoui.

What I find most encouraging is that these colleagues all come from different departments within MTI – Customer Services, Administration, Security, Finance, and the managed services Secure Operations Centre. This demonstrates that MTI’s culture of retention is consistent across the business, and is particularly pleasing for me.

Even when they leave, people stick with MTI: We said good-bye to Nick Westall who after being with MTI for 17 years is moving to work with one of our clients. We are delighted that Nick will remain part of MTI’s family and sent him off with a signed oar ( due to Nick’s passion for rowing), as you can see in the picture. An iPhone 6 is also on order with his name on it. Thanks again Nick and see you soon!

Jeremy Hunt MP opens new Godalming datacentre

I firmly believe that Godalming is a thriving hub for UK technology firms, so I was delighted to attend the launch of a brand new datacentre in the town on Friday (January 10).

datacentre godalming

Jeremy Hunt, Secretary of State for Health and Surrey West MP, opens Aegis’ new datacentre in Godalming

The new state-of-the-art Aegis datacentre was officially opened by Jeremy Hunt, the Secretary of State for Health and our Surrey West MP, who it just so happens went to school with Aegis’ CEO Gerald Pawsey at Charterhouse.

The MTI management team and myself attended the launch event – just 50 yards up the road from our offices – to show our support for local businesses and the surging technology industry in the local area, along with John Singh from our corporate lawyers DAC Beachcroft LLP.

In the wake of the floods that affected many people and businesses in the Godalming area over the Christmas period, the launch of this 30,000 square-foot datacentre shows the power our industry has to bring people together and create a sense of community.

I welcome the new site and the fact that another business is supporting Godalming, and look forward to the prospect of exploring the opportunities of working with Aegis in the future.

MTI UK tees off Christmas with customers from across the business

Forget the switching on of the Christmas lights in London, for MTI customers the official countdown to Christmas is now officially our annual urban golf night which took place last night in South Kensington

Our suburban golfing grotto saw a load of big hitters getting into the swing of things with champagne, canapés and an MTI cake, all ably assisted by Santa’s Little Helpers.

KC's Urban Golf Snapshopt

It don’t mean a thing if you ain’t got the MTI swing!

It was great to see so many customers from across MTI’s security, datacentre and managed services business. There were representatives from The Royal Household, Avis, GE GAM(UK)Ltd., Vocalink, CLS and Wogen all proving that having a mince pie in one hand and a golf club in another is no handicap to a great night out.

My thanks also to the partners who came to give their support to this superb evening.

Happy Christmas to one and all!

MTI raises more than £1,000 for Children In Need

MTI Children in Need

The MTI team poses in its yellow Children In Need outfits

I am delighted to report that MTI staff raised an amazing £542.72 for the BBC’s annual Children In Need appeal last week. MTI has matched this amount, giving us a fantastic grand total of £1,085.44 to donate to the charity.

We encouraged all staff to do their bit for charity and dress up in yellow outfits or snazzy polka dots, with some outstanding creative results.

In addition to some wild and wacky outfits, staff in the Godalming office organised a Pudsey-themed cake and snacks sale. A photographer from the Surrey Advertiser also came into the office to capture staff’s efforts, and the newspaper included us in their round-up of Surrey’s Children In Need fundraising.

MTI fundraising

MTI staff organised a Pudsey-themed cake sale at the Godalming office

I am truly proud of the fundraising efforts of the MTI team, who also helped us raise £1,150.26 for Comic Relief in March. Thank you to everyone who took part and helped us raise such a great total towards this year’s record-breaking Children In Need appeal, which raised £31 million in total nationwide.

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The MTI team hit the phones on Children In Need day

MTI execs named in CRN A-List 2014

Every year CRN announces a shortlist of the top players in the IT channel industry, the A-List. It gives me great pleasure to announce that MTI has not one, but two execs featured in the A-List 2014.Image

The report, which gives an insight into IT leaders’ personalities in the form of a short Q&A, named Ian Parslow, our long-serving Senior Vice President of Sales EMEA, and David Hobson, Head of MTI’s Security Practice, as two of the most influential people within our industry.

This is a great accolade for the two of them personally, and it is also a demonstration of the fantastic progress that MTI is making as an organisation.

I encourage you all to head over to CRN to read Ian and David’s profiles as I’m sure you’ll all learn a bit more about the pair, no matter how well you may know them. Personally, I now know that should the occasion arise I have a ready made lorry driver in Ian, and I certainly won’t be asking David to chip in and wash up any dirty dishes in the office. But he should be expecting a call regarding borrowing that powerboat…

Ian’s profile is at: http://www.channelweb.co.uk/crn-uk/profile/2307391/ian-parslow

And David’s profile is at: http://www.channelweb.co.uk/crn-uk/profile/2307285/david-hobson