Earth Sec. sells to IT firm

Executives extol cross-selling possibilities, government work
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Sunday, February 1, 2009

GLEN BURNIE, Md.--In another sign of security and IT’s convergence, long-time security integrator Earth Security has been purchased by Brian Holsonbake, owner of networking firm Skyline Network Engineering. Earth owner Joe Gabriszeski will stay on as president of Earth and the two firms aim to move into a new building together by April.

The combined companies will have roughly 50 employees and will leverage both companies’ previous experience working with government entities and companies doing business throughout the Mid-Atlantic states.

“The two companies now provide a portfolio of services that are exceptional,” said Holsonbake, “from the physical labor, the cabling for large-scale network deployments, to voice, data, media all converged for security and communications, up to the servers, network monitoring, and other services. Our focus [at Skyline] has been connectivity related - virtual meeting places, unified communications - and that has historically been voice, video, and data, but now we can bring in the surveillance and access control and make that work as one system.”

He said there are a number of cross-selling opportunities right off the bat. “We’ve already been talking to many of our longtime customers, and all of them have needs, whether it’s cabling or security-related, and they already trust us with the network,” Holsonbake said. “So, when we say, ‘We’ll show you a way to lower your costs and improve your security,’ the deal’s almost done. And on the flip side, we go to the Earth customers and inject very high-end, very competent network engineering services.”

Gabriszeski is looking forward to leveraging Skyline’s experience with selling service and staying close to customers. “One of the holes in the current industry,” he said, “is that a lot of integrators, especially the larger companies, the sales people are commissioned to sell a new system, but aren’t talking with customers about the service, because they often don’t even get commission for the service, but we like the service business. We’re not going to put in anything that we can’t service. So the IT director and the facilities guy and the security director can all call the same phone number to place a service call.”

Earth already has a great deal of experience with IP-based products from Milestone, Axis and Panasonic, for example, said Gabriszeski, and Skyline is very familiar with Cisco networking products. Further, the new location will allow both companies to expand their demonstration areas and do more system testing.

While the focus for the short term will be on integrating the two companies and generating organic growth, Skyline vice president Jason Ross said, “our eyes are always open. With the economy the way it is, there are a lot of companies that are struggling, and we are very strong right now.”