“We’re not a cloud broker: we’re a skilled value-add cloud broker,” says Tjitse Kooistra, business developer in charge of fintech at Intermax, which is the most highly certified cloudsourcing company in the Netherlands. Besides fintech, they work in healthcare, government and complex managed services for software companies. They seek to build long-term relationships with clients through designing and managing cloud architecture that works for companies’ most important resource: it’s people.
Beginnings of a growth business
Founded in 1994 in Rotterdam, the company has grown to 70 employees and realises a 20-30% year-on-year revenue growth. “As a company, we’re in the trust business,” says Kooi
stra, locating the organisation’s core ethos and why it has an extensive network. Intermax has worked with multiple government ministries, Gulf, the NRC, Aon, Allianz, Securitas, Vivat, TNT, and a significant amount of the Netherlands’ hospitals.
“There’s a lot of demand for our services because security know-how in relation to managed cloud expertise is complex, and developments happen quickly,” Kooistra says, adding, “
“The risks of not getting this scarce expertise in time can be catastrophic for the business.” Here, their incident response services are growing by leaps and bounds. For example, when a technical security incident arises for a client, an Intermax ethical hacker will resolve the problem, reducing the risk of reputation damage or loss of turnover. This underlines their position as a single point of contact for their clients that takes care of the gamut of their clients’ needs. “We help customers manage tech,” says Kooistra, “so they can focus on their own business process.”
As an in-demand organisation, Intermax selects its own clients, which usually come from its exclusive network, with Kooistra adding that customers generally remain with the company for 10-20 years.
Getting technical: IT Expertise
Intermax cloudsourcing is part of the Intermax Group, which is composed of Bizway, Guardian360, and NFIR. All of these entities together build a complete IT infrastructure that offers managed and application hosting, managed security, forensic incident response, business continuity services such as disaster recovery, outsourcing of secured cloud workspaces, and security operating centre and security information and event management services.
“We’re the highest certified company in the hosting industry,” Kooistra adds, “For example, we’re one of only two or three companies in the Netherlands that are SOC2 certified scoping for all our services.” SOC2 is the highest security standard available, with certification guaranteeing providers can securely manage data and checked for process integrity. The organisation is furthermore certified in a number of other standards, including ISO 20000 for IT service management and NEN 7510, a Dutch standard for information security in health care.
All of these certifications are not only important for Intermax’s clients, but the clients of their clients, “because they too want to mitigate risks as much as possible,” Kooistra says.
Importance of cooperation
Intermax believes that one of the best ways to ensure cybersecurity in our digital world is through cooperation, which is why it is one of the founding members of the cybersecurity alliance. “This initiative is to help secure what we call the ‘National Vital Infrastructure’” Kooistra says, and it accomplishes this through working with other leading entities in ICT and security. In addition, Intermax is the founder of The National Scrubbing Centre, working with 70 of its competitors on combating denial of service (DDoS) attacks. Kooistra expresses frustration at the banking industry’s failure to embrace cooperation on this issue as Intermax has, stating that, “in the end everyone would benefit—except for the bad guys.”
Kooistra also mentions that finding highly skilled and qualified cloud architects is challenging, which is why Intermax is on the board of the Cloud IT Academy with other leading cloud companies to develop young talent so they can lead productive careers in this sector. Even with the Academy, though, Kooistra mentions that the high demand for their services means they are always on the lookout for talent.
Although the health care and government are important parts of their business, Kooistra states that, “Fintech will be a big part of our future.” Fintech’s technical disruption and growth in financial spaces presents a big opportunity for the company, particularly in secured managed hosting, Kooistra says. “In fact, our next-generation hosting directly builds on developments in fintech, like managing containerized software in a safe environment,” he says, adding, “by helping fintech companies with safe continuous deployment they can rapidly shorten the time to market for new offerings.”
By Elliot Lyons, Research Analyst