What follows is a Q&A with Piotr Kulicki, Business Development and Infrastructure Services Director at Nexpertis.
Nexpertis is a fast-growing, Warsaw, Poland-based cloud services provider using Forcepoint NGFW to help its customers integrate Microsoft SharePoint, Office 365, and other cloud-based productivity and collaboration platforms.
Forcepoint: Nexpertis serves customers across a range of industries in both the government and private sectors. You’ve really grown your customer base in the last couple of years. What are some of the challenges you’ve faced on that journey?
Piotr Kulicki: We first really expanded our customer portfolio when we signed a very important contract with a Polish bank. That forced us to get better in terms of the service levels we were delivering and of course, in our security capabilities. We had an existing firewall solution but we needed a better one and we also needed to build really robust, secure site-to-site VPN capabilities between our data center and our headquarters, as well as to customer sites.
We wanted those VPNs to be very secure and very high performance because we were now responsible for protecting sensitive financial data. So, we wanted to use a very special kind of reverse proxy, which it turns out is only provided by Forcepoint. And after we signed this agreement with the Polish bank, we started looking for a new solution for VPN and firewall. And because our strategy is to always buy best-in-breed solutions for all of our infrastructure, we did Proof-of-Concept testing.
The process of choosing a VPN and firewall actually took a very long time. Forcepoint became a crucial partner to us in this process as we did our PoC. Forcepoint’s flexibility in working with us was a big factor in our decision. We discovered over the course of the PoC that Forcepoint NGFW had the right combination of features and capabilities we needed, especially for VPNs and reverse proxy configurations.
Forcepoint: Are there compliance requirements with GDPR and other regulations?
Piotr Kulicki: Financial records are especially important for us because of our contracts with banks. And we could be audited at any time by Polish financial regulatory authorities, so we need to be perfect in terms of compliance. Our public sector customers also have very strict requirements about compliance with data privacy regulations and some of our private sector clients must comply with standards like PCI-DSS. Forcepoint is really great at providing out-of-
the-box policies for complying with many different kinds of rules and standards. We can also customize those policies very easily as needed.
Forcepoint: Can you elaborate on the kind of cloud services you deliver to customers?
Piotr Kulicki: We provide Business Process Management (BPM) and content management solutions for businesses as hosted services over VPNs. These includes project servers, project and workflow management solutions, invoice management systems, payroll and expensing systems, and Microsoft solutions like Sharepoint, Office 365, and Power BI integrations as well.
Forcepoint: And you also do on-premises installations …
Piotr Kulicki: Yes, but even when sell a system that is placed within the customer’s infrastructure, we are still replicating that system in our own data center infrastructure, so we can service it and support it the right way. Providing that level of support is really important because for some of our contracts with banks and some public sector organizations, we've got to protect databases containing some very sensitive data. That's also why the level of security in any solution for firewall and VPN we use is crucial.
Forcepoint: Nexpertis is growing really fast. Has Forcepoint helped you to grow the business in any way?
Piotr Kulicki: You know, two years ago we were a 20-person company. Now we've got 50 people building and selling and servicing our solutions. We’ve moved into a new, bigger office and in the next year, we’re going to double in size again to about 100 employees.
So, a big part of how we’re able to do that is by choosing good partners. Building great relationships with those partners has definitely helped us grow. And that’s how we treat our customers, too. We provide business value to the customer, not just technology. We want to talk to customers to understand their business goals and figure out how we can help them get there. For us, it’s not just about IT… IT is just a tool to help them get to where they want to be as a business. We’re not interested in simply solving a problem. We strive to be a partner with them on their business journey.
And Forcepoint is like that for us. A partner and not just a vendor. So, the price-performance levels are nice, but what we really value is that if I have a problem with the technology, Forcepoint Poland gets us an answer and help really fast. That local support is very important in helping us maintain our business service levels. And our customers like the local connection as well.
Forcepoint: Why is local support so important to your customers?
Piotr Kulicki: When they’ve got a problem, they want someone they know to be available to help. And it’s the same for us as customers of Forcepoint. So, if I need to know how to get the
right functionality out of a Forcepoint product or I want help in choosing the right solution for a new thing I need to do, I can call Forcepoint Poland and they’ll give me an answer really fast. That’s just really nice to have and it’s very good for our business.
Forcepoint: Are there any other specific ways we’ve helped you grow and succeed?
Piotr Kulicki: The SD-WAN capability in NGFW makes it easier to make sure our network security keeps pace with the expansion of our network. And we’ve also been happy with NGFW for our own internal network security, not just for the VPNs we do for clients. We are filtering traffic and catching malware much better than we did with our old firewall. And, we can safely let people work remotely now, for example, from home or from a customer site.
We would still be able to expand without Forcepoint NGFW. But it would be much more difficult and expensive to do so.
Read more about Nexpertis’ customer story here.