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Interlink Networks

When you are zooming through a network, who else is lurking in there? Interlink Networks is determined to make sure the answer is: authorized users only.

When you’re zooming through a network, who else is lurking in there? Ann Arbor-based Interlink Networks is determined to make sure the answer is “authorized users only.” The firm creates security software for Wi-Fi, mobile, and wired networks, protecting them from hackers and trespassers. President and CEO Mike Klein chats about keeping the bad guys at bay.

What got you personally interested in doing this work?

I am fascinated by Internet connectivity in general and wireless networks in particular. Wireless technology is making life easier for all of us because we can get online and communicate with far fewer hassles, but there is a drawback. Because Wi-Fi comes out of the box with security turned off, it’s easier for “ordinary” users who don’t have a Ph.D. in computer science to ignore security than learn the technology required to protect themselves against hackers. You read stories every day about people who are victims of wireless eavesdropping.

That’s why I am interested in demystifying wireless security. Even if you’re not a big company, you should be able to defend your wireless network with a simple plug-and-play strategy. That’s what led us to develop LucidLink, and that’s what makes me excited to go to work every day.

Why do you feel there’s a need for what you provide?

Let’s face it, wireless networks were designed by engineers for engineers. They require users to be comfortable with technical terms like ad-hoc and infrastructure mode, SSID, WPA, PSK, WEP, and 802.1X. This makes it very difficult for mainstream users. It also leads to potentially serious dangers associated with unsecured wireless networks. Many users don’t realize that their unsecured wireless networks are probably listed on hackers’ Web sites and can be accessed and monitored from over a mile away with low-cost antennas.

Small business and home office professionals need an easy way to set up and secure their networks to protect themselves against information theft that can ruin their businesses. We’ve designed LucidLink for non-technical users who want to set up their wireless network very quickly with the same level of security that Fortune 500 companies use, but without the technical gyrations that these large companies go through. This is a first.

Why did the company choose to focus on SMBs and home office users?

The reason is simple: there was no good wireless security solution for these two groups. Most small businesses and home offices have little or no IT staff, but they need the same wireless security as a company with billions of dollars in revenue. Until we introduced LucidLink, they had two choices: adopt consumer-oriented security strategies such as WEP and pre-shared keys that provide inadequate protection and are very difficult to manage; or invest a week in technical training and installation of expensive enterprise-level security solutions that require ongoing technical support.

Neither option was desirable, so we created an “intelligent” product that offers the same security technology used by big businesses but hides the complexity behind a simple, plain-English interface. For the first time, SMBs and home office users can set up and secure their wireless networks in minutes without technical expertise in wireless networking or security.

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