With Forcepoint, we could launch the program, watch it live, and discover what was causing the issue. We could then make changes and push configurations in order to solve the problem—that alone was worth buying this product. Luckily for us, Forcepoint NGFW offers so much more.

Jonathan Pate


Premier Cooperative is an Illinois farmer-owned cooperative providing agricultural commodities and energy products. It serves the world food economy with solid resources and modern facilities, functioning as the first step for farmers seeking to enter into the grain marketing channel. Founded with the goal of enhancing the business of farm owners while supporting their surrounding communities, Premier Cooperative offers outstanding service that is fast, technologically advanced, and delivered with integrity. 


Premier Cooperative houses customer information on-site, data that includes how many farmers own crops in the area, price points, and so on. Head network security administrator, Jonathan Pate, explained the importance of maintaining a quality solution after dealing with crypto locker malware not once but twice. “Had something gotten into our system, it could have impacted all of our customer credentials and valuable data stored on our network.”

According to Pate, agriculture is not the most technologically advanced industry. Software is typically run on Java or on Flash, which can make it difficult to figure out why a program is malfunctioning. “We have a grain-hedging software,” Pate said. “Because of dated technology, it is hard to understand what keeps causing issues with this program. This makes a security administrators job extremely difficult.” 

For years, Premier Cooperative had implemented a solution with minimal oversight; it wasn’t until renewal time that Pate began to realize its shortcomings. “Dell SonicWall did not meet our needs,” Pate said. “You can’t configure the gateway easily and the visibility is practically nonexistent. I spent so much time filtering and taking packet captures, yet I couldn’t see any of it happening live.” He also mentioned SonicWall’s deficiency in the customization department. “It was hard to tell what each rule was trying to accomplish.”


Needing a change, Pate spent about six months researching other vendors. After settling on CrowdStrike for antivirus, Pate needed a firewall that could fuse itself into an existing security architecture. Forcepoint immediately stood out, first for its seamless integration with other vendors and then for its industry accolades.

In 2017 alone, Forcepoint NGFW had been the recipient of awards from two major third-party analysts: Gartner and NSS Labs. Gartner had placed Forcepoint NGFW in the Visionary quadrant in their 2017 Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Network Firewalls report, citing the solution for its stellar security performance and manageability. On the other hand, NSS Labs had given Forcepoint NGFW their highest security efficacy score for the third time in a row in their 2018 NGFW Test. For Pate, the results of these reports were impossible to ignore.

During Forcepoint NGFW’s trial phase, Pate found an ally in his dedicated Forcepoint Sales Engineer, David LePage, who carefully guided his transition to the new Forcepoint firewall. “Together, David and I would check the logs to figure out what was going on. I was not used to a product with such helpful logging. David went out of his typical role responsibilities just to help me accomplish what I needed.”


With Forcepoint, the advantages were glaring. Network activity could now be viewed live and changes were made on the fly and without lag. Forcepoint NGFW’s color coded logs and up-to-the-minute reporting helped resolve Pate’s once cumbersome issues in mere minutes. “We probably gained 10% of our bandwidth back,” Pate said. “Before, we could not see what applications were being used. Now I can throttle the traffic to give bandwidth to specific programs or limit traffic on social.”

Pate quickly discovered what he views as one of Forcepoint NGFW’s unique differentiator: enhanced usability. Forcepoint NGFW offered Pate and his team customization via simple drag-and-drop functionality—right click to create a rule. No other solutions offered that type of user-friendly experience. “With SonicWall, it took me an hour to diagnose and resolve an issue. Now with Forcepoint’s color coded logs and effective reporting, I can solve a problem in minutes.” 

“It’s easy to block something related to policy but solving an issue in real time is so important in today’s security environments,” Pate said. “With Forcepoint, we could launch a program, watch it live, and discover what was causing the issue. We could then make changes and push configurations to solve the problem—that alone was worth buying this product. Luckily for us, Forcepoint NGFW offers so much more.”