Step2 Plastics Manufacturer Saves Time and Money with Long-term Cybersecurity Partner

Step2 Kitchen Cyber Security Partner
“I love eMazzanti, and I’m glad that over the years I’ve been able to keep them along for the ride. I see many more years of working together and expanding what Step2 is doing with them. It just goes up from here.”
Tom Petkoff, Senior Network Manager, Step2 Company

The Step2 Company, LLC (Step2) is a rotary plastics company that manufactures and sells products for children. Knowing the cost of a data breach, Senior Network Manager, Tom Petkoff, depends on eMazzanti Technologies to supply essential cybersecurity hardware. With deep product knowledge and inventories of critical items on hand, eMazzanti delivered a new WatchGuard firewall within a week during the pandemic. And Petkoff figures that Step2 saves time and at least $4,000 per year from being directed by eMazzanti’s cybersecurity experts towards the correct products and renewals.

Step2 Business Needs

step2_logoPlastics Manufacturer Enriches Families

The Step2 Company, LLC (Step2) is a rotary plastics company that makes popular children’s toys, mailboxes, outdoor chairs, and other products. The company aspires to be the leading innovator of children’s products that build imaginations and enrich the family’s celebration of childhood.

Step2 values cybersecurity. “I know how much it would cost if Step2 had a security breach,” related Tom Petkoff, Senior Network Manager. “It could be upwards of the high hundred thousands to millions of dollars. And especially with being a manufacturing company, we are a target.”

Long-term Partnership

Fifteen years ago, Petkoff worked as a consultant and placed a lot of WatchGuard cybersecurity equipment. At one point, WatchGuard told him he should look at eMazzanti Technologies, an award-winning WatchGuard Partner. Then, a problem Petkoff had with some WatchGuard hardware purchased elsewhere helped to cement a long-term partnership.

“When the vendor said we can’t help you, I called eMazzanti, and Carl said, I tell you what, I’ll send you another piece of equipment,” reported Petkoff. “And ever since then, with Carl taking that type of initiative, I’ve kept him as a partner through multiple career changes.”

Full Circle

Because of how Carl handled the situation, Petkoff introduced Step2 to eMazzanti back in 2007. “And from that point, they started doing business with Carl because he was treating them with the same type of quality service and partnership,” continued Petkoff.

In 2019, Step2 invited Petkoff to be full time. “When I came on staff, Step2 was still doing business with eMazzanti,” he related. “And since then, we’ve been doing a lot of work with them. Carl and his company are awesome—everyone that works with me—just top notch.”

Step2 Plastics Manufacturer Saves Time and Money with Long-term Cybersecurity Partner


Knowledge and Good Service

Step2 has more than 10 WatchGuard Firewalls in its system, from Firebox T35s all the way to Firebox M470s. All of those, including the support agreements, have been purchased from eMazzanti. And this year, they signed up for a block hour agreement for additional engineer resources.

In addition to hardware and resources, eMazzanti provides Step2 with good service and knowledge of the WatchGuard equipment. “They stay on top of warranty renewals for us,” explained Petkoff. “And if a renewal is not appropriate for that type of equipment, they may recommend a replacement.”

“They’re very detail oriented and explain the reasoning behind it,” added Petkoff. “And if we need a tier three engineer to back me up, they have that service available. We’re also looking at multi-factor authentication and possibly antivirus deployment. eMazzanti is just a great partner.”

Hardware Delivered Without Delay

Although difficult with the pandemic, eMazzanti inventories critical hardware to take care of customers in situations like the following:

“I met Jessica Brown at eMazzanti this year when I had to buy a WatchGuard Firewall for one of our new divisions,” reported Petkoff. “An unexpected purchase, I was worried about global supply chain delays, but she was on top of everything.”

“When I called Jessica, I said I’m worried about turnaround time. She said, not a problem. I have the WatchGuard here. As soon as I get a PO, we’ll get it shipped out. She took care of everything, and we had our WatchGuard within a week. She’s been fabulous!”

Step2 WatchGuard M470

Support Available as Needed

Petkoff hasn’t had to use eMazzanti for support yet. “With me being a contractor, I was highly exposed to WatchGuard,” he explained. “So, I would take care of a lot of tier-one to tier-three work. And if it was beyond me, I’d go directly to WatchGuard.”

“But now that I am a department head at Step2, I may not have the time to concentrate on different issues,” he continued. “And that’s why we purchased the block hour agreement so that if something does happen or if I’m on vacation or sick, we can then use Carl’s team to take care of it.”

“As we progress, my goal is to efficiently use all the features that WatchGuard has and employ Carl’s team to help us.”


Better Value vs Larger Vendors

Petkoff say that he uses eMazzanti because of the value and the savings. “If comparing with CDW and all the others, we have been saving more than $4,000 a year with eMazzanti just from being directed towards the correct products and renewals,” he relates.

“We deal with a lot of vendors in our company. And often management says to go with the bigger vendors, like CDW, MicroAge, and Insight. But the problem with that is the prices are not always great. And when you talk to the salesperson at any of those organizations, they don’t know the product.”

Product Knowledge Saves Time and Leads to Better Usage

eMazzanti provides Step2 with an accessible knowledge base for WatchGuard Technology. “When I call Carl and Jessica, they know the product right off the bat,” Petkoff continued. “And with us not being WatchGuard engineers, we need to work with a partner that is very knowledgeable and caring about how that product is deployed. And that’s how we use eMazzanti.”

“It comes down to value and efficiency. Because not having to deal with these other companies, I can spend my time doing other things. I call Carl and he orders what I need because he knows my functions and renewals. So, it saves my time and we’re getting better usage out of the equipment.”

Step2 Cybersecurity Maintained

Cybersecurity continues to be very important to Step2. “That’s why we have engaged more with Carl here in the past month,” related Petkoff. “Our biggest threats are malware and intrusions. And eMazzanti has already set up meetings with WatchGuard to discuss their antivirus products.”

“Over the years, with the WatchGuard equipment, we haven’t had a successful penetration with the intrusion testing. We’ve had to make adjustments, but we have done very well with the penetration testing.”

Part of the Family

Petkoff describes a recent conversation with Carl Mazzanti like this, “I felt more like family than a customer,” he related. “Before we even started talking business, he was asking how my family was and how things were going, which makes it a lot easier to work with a partner.”

“It means I have a friend, somebody that cares how our business is using the products. My loyalty to Carl will be for many, many years,” Petkoff concludes. “Honestly, all partners should look at Carl’s company to get inspiration on how to do this, because a lot of companies out there do not take pride or take the time.”

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