Nathan Britton works as a Principal Security Consultant in the UK for a security solutions provider called NTT Security, part of the NTT Group. They work with customers to design and implement security solutions and his team specializes in application delivery and security in particular. His specific role is focused on solution design and technical governance. Nathan is a BIG-IP ASM SME, a DevCentral MVP and our Featured Member for November!
DevCentral: You are a very active contributor in the DevCentral community. What keeps you involved?
Nathan: Hands down it’s the best community forum I’ve ever participated in and, over the years, I’ve taken a lot from it. As such, I like to ensure that, time and my knowledge permitting, I give back to the community whenever I can. Also, there are always new things to learn, so being active on DevCentral makes sure I see what other community members are doing to solve other peoples’ issues and I keep on top of new features of the products.
DC: Tell us a little about the areas of BIG-IP expertise you have.
NB: My main background has been BIG-IP LTM and ASM. I was a customer of F5 for around 5 years where we had a number of BIG-IPs load balancing internal applications, and also a pair of ASMs protecting our internet facing web applications. I still recall the day I joined the team and was asked to look after the BIG-IP that had been a little bit neglected and not knowing my F5 from my BIG-IP and what was an application delivery controller anyway! Fortunately, some free F5 University training and some lurking on DevCentral soon got me on track.
DC: You are an Engineer at NTT Security. Can you describe your typical workday and how you manage a work/life balance?
NB: As a consultant there is no typical working day. One day I could be onsite at a customer workshop going through a solution design on the whiteboard, the next day could be working on proposals which we hope will turn into a new customer engagement and other days I could be assisting colleagues with technical governance on one of their projects. Part of the enjoyment of being a consultant, rather than an end user, is the exposure to varied work on a day by day basis.
DC: You have a number of F5 Certifications including Technology Specialist (LTM) certifications. Why are these important to you and how have they helped with your career?
NB: As a consultant working for an F5 partner it is vital for us to have certified members of the team, in fact NTT Security attained the highest partner status in F5’s Guardian Professional Services program. On a personal note I think the certifications have been vital in ensuring I have a breadth of knowledge as you never know what feature or module a customer may choose to implement. To that end, the self-study and lab work needed to achieve the certification has been invaluable. I’ve also helped design questions for the 401 exam so, as you can see, I’m very invested in the certification process. I think Ken and his team, especially Heidi, have done a great job.
DC: Describe one of your biggest BIG-IP challenges and how DevCentral helped in that situation.
NB: My first challenge was the fact that I did not know anything about F5 or BIG-IP when I first got my hands on them. DevCentral, with its 101 series back in the day was a great starting point, and for that I need to thank the likes of Jason, Colin and Joe. Since then the security sessions with Josh and now John are invaluable and useful to my everyday work. Since being more comfortable with the technology DC has helped enormously when presented with very specific use cases to solve by customers, especially if iRules are required, there’s always a codeshare item that can be used as a basis for a custom solution. It saves a lot of time and head scratching.
DC: Lastly, if you weren’t an IT admin – what would be your dream job? Or better, when you were a kid – what did you want to be when you grew up?
NB: Growing up I was fascinated by true crime books and TV shows. So if I had my time again I would definitely be a lawyer, a barrister perhaps…although I’m not sure how the wig would look on me!