Following a December 2022 acquisition, Ankeny-based cybersecurity firm Pratum has been transitioning its brand into Heartland Business Systems, a Wisconsin-based technology services provider with an Iowa office in Urbandale.
Pratum has kept its name in the Iowa market but will move the brand entirely under HBS in the coming months, a spokesperson wrote in an email.
All of Pratum’s employees were retained in the acquisition, former Pratum President Jordan Engbers told the Business Record. The firm’s cybersecurity team now reports to Kyle Wacker, vice president of cybersecurity at HBS. Engbers has transitioned to the role of director of marketing and business development, a newly created position at HBS.
“The difference [is] where I was focused completely on cybersecurity; now I have the opportunity to serve across the company. … I get to expand in all these different areas and work with the team to help bring it all together and communicate it and bring it to market,” Engbers said.
Pratum founder and CEO Dave Nelson retired after the acquisition.
Founded in the 1990s as Heartland Label Printers providing packaging labels to grocers, HBS has grown from one office in Little Chute, Wis., to 10 locations across the Midwest.
The Iowa office opened in 2014 and is now HBS’ largest branch. Wacker, who had been considering starting an independent practice, joined the office in an engineering role.
HBS has increased its offerings and capabilities through acquisitions throughout its history, Wacker said. He said HBS looked to Pratum to help increase its presence in the cybersecurity market as it is one of the few Iowa cybersecurity companies with strong brand recognition.
When Wacker reached out to Pratum’s then-CEO Nelson, the cybersecurity firm had already announced it would be acquired by Infinite Group Inc. But that deal didn’t happen, and by summer last year the companies had reconnected and “it was a sprint from there,” Wacker said.
“There were a lot of reasons for why [the acquisition] made sense. I can tell you from the Heartland perspective, Pratum brought cybersecurity relevance to our practice,” he said.
HBS’ strength in the relationship is having the resources to solve problems in addition to identifying them, Engbers said.
“We were helping [clients] identify their security risks, and now we have the ability to help them remediate those through the additional supporting technology resources that HBS has,” he said.
All Pratum clients moved to HBS after the acquisition, a spokesperson said in an email. Engbers said given Pratum’s national client base, there will be an emphasis at HBS on expanding the rest of the organization across the country.
Wacker said the cybersecurity team at HBS grew from eight to 14 employees in 2022 and saw significant year-over-year revenue growth, and the acquisition of Pratum only further “amplified” the activity. The acquisition sparked interest from HBS’ internal selling team and marked that cybersecurity is now a mainstay at HBS, he said.
He said one factor helping drive growth is more businesses looking for an all-in-one technology provider.
“I think what we’re seeing is that more and more customers are looking for companies that can do everything for them, where five, six years ago, I think it was the opposite,” he said. “They had a company that would do security for them, a company that would do infrastructure, and they wanted to keep it separate.”
With heightened awareness around cybersecurity risks, Engbers said having fewer vendors also reduces companies’ exposure to external risks.
“If they have one organization that’s taking cybersecurity very seriously and that organization also offers a breadth of IT services and products, then they don’t need to go anywhere else,” he said.