TrustELI, Mount Laurel, N.J., was founded in 2004. The vision: to provide an all-in-one plug-and-protect Internet security appliance that caters to consumers and small businesses, said Susan Lutz, CEO of the company. When the companyâ€™s chief marketing officer began looking into vertical markets, he zeroed in on Guardian Protection Services, Pittsburgh, Pa. Partnering physical security with Internet security was a complimentary fit, Lutz said.
Guardian Protection Services signed on with TrustELI and will offer its new and existing customers the opportunity to add the ELI Internet security hardware and services to their contracts.
The ELI hardware appliance is installed by Guardian Protection Services and monitored by TrustELI. It provides anti-virus, anti-spam, anti-phishing and content filtering controls, along with a firewall, DSL modem, wireless connectivity and a four-port Ethernet switch all-in-one. Security features are automatically updated several times daily by TrustELI. In addition to the monitoring, TrustELI provides the support and management services.
â€œThere are a lot of Internet security applications out there such as free software or purchased software. This is a commercial-grade piece of hardware managed remotely through ELI. It is Internet security at its best and this is something that is not readily available in the marketplace,â€ said William Graham, senior vice president of sales and marketing at Guardian Protection Services.
Graham said that because part of Guardian Protection Servicesâ€™ business already includes low-voltage wiring for new contruction, going a step further and installing an Internet security appliance for its customers made sense. â€œWe were already providing the physical backbone, so it only makes sense to get into the security side of networks,â€ he said.
But, although many other dealer companies have yet to offer Internet security or other non-physical security add-on services to their contracts, Guardian Protection Services doesnâ€™t necessarily see the step as unique.
â€œItâ€™s a natural progressionâ€¦this is a unique product. I donâ€™t know that this would be something for every security company,â€ Graham said. â€œYou have to have a depth of customer service and we are providing a lot of the backbone already [in new construction installations].â€
Aside from network protection and recurring revenue, another positive feature of the ELI product, is that there is no training involved, Lutz said. â€œYou take it out of the box and plug it in,â€ she said. The only training Guardian Protection Services received is sales training, so that they can educate their customers on the benefits of the technology.
According to Lutz, TrustELI is currently working with other top physical security providers to forge similar partnerships and increase its presence in the vertical market. Lutz believes that an increasing number of physical security providers will offer services such as Internet security in the future.
â€œWe are starting to see the convergence of voice, video and even data,â€ Lutz said. â€œThere are a lot more physical security providers in that too and they are looking to provide a lot more incremental revenue. Guardian Protection Services is an early adopter. A lot of other [physical security companies] will see what we are doing and they will start to follow. I am thrilled about it,â€ she added.
Sandra Jones, principal consultant with Sandra Jones and Co., Chardon, Ohio, foresees this and other types of non-physical security add-on services as the future for the industry.
â€œBefore, we assumed that piece of mind was something from a burglar alarm. The threats are different today,â€ Jones said. â€œ[Security companies] are looking for more value-added services that delight the customer and provide non-alarm recurring revenue.â€
Jones said that a step such as Guardian Protection Servicesâ€™ is a very logical one and demonstrates that dealers and integrators are homing in on the needs of the customer base. â€œStill, I think itâ€™s relatively new in the residential market for a security company,â€ she added. Jones predicts that â€œmore and more companies will find new technologies, not to take the place of what they do, but to enhance what they do.â€