The first thing that popped into my mind was when I first came across Check Point. It was over the spring of 2007, and I was two years into my undergraduate degree in Computer Networking at Birmingham City University, where I managed to bag myself an interview with Thomson Reuters. For the interview, I travelled to Canary Wharf for the very first time, which unfortunately didn’t go too well as my exposure to networking and firewalls outside of Cisco PIX and ASA was very limited.
I completed my degree as the financial crash of 2008 struck and the job market wasn’t the best. I was fortunate enough to be able to secure a place for the master’s degree (still at BCU) which was more network security focused rather than just networking. That still meant a big focus on PIX and ASA – it seems that at that time, the only vendor considered in education settings like that was Cisco…
As I was completing the final six months of my master‘s and focusing on my dissertation, I began looking for jobs in the Information Security industry (as it was then known) and was lucky to find an entry-level support engineer role at a company not too far from my hometown. This is where I was first really introduced to Check Point, at the time when version R60 was commonly in use and R65 was the next best thing. The geek in me remembers that the minimum hardware requirement for R65 was a Pentium III at 300Mhz or more and 256MB of RAM. We had a number of customers running a Check Point version as far back as 4.1 on platforms that, even at that time, were less powerful than the smartphone in my pocket!
Over the next 16 or so years, a lot has changed for me, but one constant in that time has been Check Point (I should also probably say one of the other constants in that timeframe is that my now business partner and our CEO, was then my boss’s boss, Paul Starr).
A key phrase that is now used by Check Point is “Not just a firewall”, and that really resonates with me, having worked with Check Point from the time when they were just a firewall, I’ve seen first-hand how their continued expanse into the wider information cyber security industry has happened. This has been through a number of different acquisitions of other companies and a fair amount of their own research and development.
Check Point has always been an Intel based technology, running on the same x86 (now x64) architecture. That has allowed Check Point to run on a multitude of different hardware platforms – Check Point’s full company name is actually Check Point Software Technologies; they have always been a software development company whose focus has been on cyber security.
Check Point has always been leading in the development of new cyber security technologies, whilst also still being recognised as the industry leader in Network Firewalling. We’ve gone through a number of buzzwords over the years that capture the features that Check Point and others provide. From a NextGen firewall, through to a Unified Threat Management solution, as well as less sexy terms such as just Enterprise Firewall, Check Point has been a market leader in that space across my entire career.
In the more networking-focused world, the saying “You’d never be fired because of buying Cisco”, or in a more general IT sense with Dell/IBM etc, I would certainly say that from a network-based cyber security perspective, “You’d always be secured because of buying Check Point” would be a true statement. Of course, there are times when a different vendor has released a feature sooner or has a new platform that can do a certain thing very very well, but Check Point has always been the reference point that others are compared to. Still today the phrase “Industry standard in centralised management, logging and reporting” rings in my ears. That saying is still just as relevant today as it was in the early 2010s, even more so when the sprawl of modern-day cyber security encompasses multi-cloud, containers, serverless, code-as-a-service and all of the modern buzzwords, but still also the traditional network perimeter, having the ability to apply the same security controls and have a central place to manage and report on them is possibly more important now than it has ever been.
One part of Check Point’s messaging is “You deserve the best security”, and their marketing behind that expands on a play on the word BEST –
- Blocking threats in real-time, not just detecting and reporting.
- Everywhere; regardless of platform, across networks, clouds and users regardless of where they are
- Smart; using cutting edge of AI and ML-powered prevention and operations
- Trusted; by customers, industry experts, and independent reviewing organisations
The Check Point R&D team is one of the key things that have, in my opinion, set Check Point apart from their competition. Whilst they haven’t always been the first to release a new feature or area of product coverage, one thing that they are leaders in is the ability to quickly react and provide Threat Detection signatures for newly found threats. It’s often the case that the CP<R> team are actually the ones that find new vulnerabilities in third-party software, and so their ability to write a detection rule to block such a vulnerability being exploited is second to none. This echo’s the concepts of BEST security, ensuring that your cyber security needs are covered.
This little history lesson of my experiences with Check Point over the years directly relates to why now SEP2 focus so heavily on the Check Point ecosystem. When we started SEP2, Check Point was the vendor that we had the most experience with and was our go-to platform for many elements of cyber security. That continues through to today, with Check Point and the associated SEP2 services being around 70% of our business.
As an Elite partner, we are recognised by Check Point as one of their top accredited partners in Europe. This recognition provides a reference point to our customers that we are a safe pair of hands for their Check Point requirements, and we have the size to scale our services to any potential need.
Working with a leading vendor such as Check Point certainly fits into the first part of our tagline “Tech Driven. People Powered.” But to us, whilst working with industry giants is of course important, it’s just as important that we consider the People Powered element of that. Our work as a Check Point partner is not just about selling the technology or being a software catalogue to our customers. A big part of our reputation as a leading Check Point partner is the service that we provide, and that service is driven by our people.
The SEP2 Technical Services team that focuses on Check Point consist of a number of highly accredited and experienced engineers and consultants. Check Point’s highest technical accreditation is the Check Point Certified Security Master – Elite. At this moment in time, SEP2 have 5 engineers at that level, with more expected in the coming months. All of our technical team are trained on Check Point products and platforms, with the aim for our whole Technical Services department to be working towards the CCSA, CCSE and CCSM certifications whilst also getting the product specialisations that Check Point offer across Endpoint, VSX, Maestro, MDM, Cloud etc.
At an organisation level, SEP2 focus heavily on our People development. Numerous graduates from our apprenticeship scheme have progressed into senior roles within our Technical Services team as a result of our dedication to development, and are now highly accredited in Check Point and other vendors.
It is that team that demonstrates daily our experience with Check Point. One of the most important stats to me is our ability to self-resolve Check Point tickets. That demonstrates that we know what we are doing, and validates that Check Point recommend us to their customers who need a good, safe pair of hands. To that end, as per the stats that our Head of Technical Services James Woodward supplies on a quarterly basis:
“In Q2 2023 we had a total of 1119 Check Point tickets raised with SEP2, both from Customers, automated monitoring and proactive tasks we perform. Of these, only 48 ended up with Check Point.
But not all tickets are created equal, of those 48 tickets:
- 4 were for RMAs
- 1 was an advanced upgrade notification
- 6 were for SaaS platform issues
- 15 non-technical cases (account issues)
Leaving us with a total of 22 total technical SRs being raised.
This puts us at an incredible 1.96% of our total tickets that needed to be escalated to Check Point TAC for further support.”
SEP2 are one of a select few UK-based partners that have a direct alignment with the Check Point Customer Advocacy team. This gives us access to a pool of resources and experience to bring to our customers. You can read more about the benefits that this relationship brings here – https://www.sep2.co.uk/news/check-point-partner-advocacy/
It’s also important that I think about and capture the relationship between SEP2 and Check Point which is not technical-focused. We have an amazing relationship with the Check Point sales, account management, marketing and channel teams. We have monthly activities with different teams, in our office or in the Check Point offices to work collaboratively to spread the message that Check Point are more than just a firewall, and that you deserve the BEST security.
If you would like to discuss how Check Point solutions could benefit your organisation, get in touch with us today.