An Interview with Aidan Simister, Netwrix

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I recently met with Aidan Simister, country manager, UK & Ireland, NetWrix, at the W hotel in Leicester Square.

You may not be familiar with NetWrix if you are UK-based, which Simister blames on the fact that they are “terrible at telling people what we do, but brilliant at writing tools”. Netwrix is also relatively new to the British market, but we’ll come back to that later.

According to the Netwrix website, their product “unifies change and configuration auditing of critical systems across the entire IT infrastructure”. Having spent ninety minutes with Aidan, I’d probably summarise it as a product which provides visibility of an infrastructure. For the first time in my career as an information security journalist, I was told “We don’t actually secure anything”.

It was at this point that I realised just how much I liked Aidan. The straight-talking didn’t end there. During our interview, he also declared compliance “nonsense – most organisations are only compliant for three weeks a year”, most auditing solutions as “expensive, complicated and time consuming” – with the exception of his own, of course.

So, if NetWrix is not a security product per se, what is it? “We provide consistent and reliable audit data, we offer real-time alerts, and it’s more robust and reliable than SIM”, he told me, also admitting that it acts as a deterrent to misbehaviour “like a speed camera”.

Business .Vs. Technology

Aidan and I discussed the divide between technical minds and business minds, and Aidan agreed that it is a big problem in the industry. “Our brilliant technical people don’t know how to communicate a basic business message. Our CEO, for example, he’s one of the most talented people I’ve ever known, but his focus is on technology, not communication.”

“IT is so critical to business operations – people need to realise that”, he said.

Gap in the Market

Netwrix has been operating from the UK for eighteen months now. Interestingly, Netwrix were selling into the UK from the US and had no plans to change that. UK-based Aidan, however, spotted a gap in the British market, and “looked for a vendor that could fill it. I found Netwrix, contacted the CEO, told him there was a gap in the market, and negotiated my contract.”

Interestingly, one of Aidan’s conditions of launching the brand in the UK was to retain autonomy over the pricing, believing that the flexibility to offer the right price to the right customer is key to success in the UK. “The financial conditions are tougher in the UK, so pricing has to be flexible and according to client.”

“I saw a gap. So much business was being lost because people didn’t have the money or the time”, he told me. By bringing Netwrix into the market, Aidan believes he is able to offer an attractive solution.

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