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Lucid Security

Founded by network security experts, Lucid Security takes on the hackers, worms, viruses, and other threats to business environments.

Founded by network security experts, Philadelphia-based Lucid Security takes on the hackers, worms, viruses, and other threats to business environments. CEO Jonathan Palmer talks about intrusion prevention, appliances, and having fun.

What got you interested in heading a security company?

I’m a recovering programmer. Actually, I’ve had experience in technology-based companies for some time. Before coming to Lucid I was CEO at an electronic payment service provider, and before that I was a CEO at an employee benefits administration outsourcing company. So I had the CEO experience down already, and I just wanted to get into technology more because I’ve always liked it and thought it was a very exciting field. Also, it’s becoming more vital for companies to have proper security, so it seemed like there was a deep market need that I could help to address.

How did Lucid Security get started?

It was launched in 2001 as a managed security services company, focusing on managing firewalls, networks, that kind of thing. During the past four years, the company has progressed. In 2002, it changed its strategy, to focus more on delivering intrusion prevention software that could be installed by customers on their own computers. After that, the company progressed further, to the point where the software could be moved onto an appliance. So what we offer now is a line of intrusion prevention appliance-based gateway systems.

Customers buy the appliance, called ipAngel, then subscribe to Lucid Watch, a service that issues updates. The appliance dials home at least once a day and gets refreshed with anything that our security team has learned in the past 24 hours.

What kind of customers do you have?

The appliance and service are targeted at small and medium-sized businesses, as well as enterprise customers. We’re unique in the marketplace in that ipAngel adapts itself to its environment. Every day, it scans the customer’s assets for vulnerabilities, then tunes itself specifically to those assets. Nobody else does that kind of adaptive intelligence. And our offering doesn’t require propellerheads to run it, there doesn’t have to be an information security expert on staff. That’s especially appealing to SMBs that have limited tech resources.

Why did the company decide to create an appliance, rather than beefing up its managed services?

We think the market prefers appliances. Setting up an appliance is easy, and it’s simple to use. You don’t have to have any understanding of the underlying OS. the world is moving toward appliances because they’re just easier to use and maintain, and CIOs like that.

What kind of challenges is the company facing?

We know we have a good, unique solution, so there are no technological challenges. But we also know that we have tough competition. There are older, established companies in our space, and the challenge is to overcome and beat that competition. At this point, we’re relatively young, and we don’t have a great deal of brand awareness, so that’s something we’ll have to address as we go forward.

Where do you see the company going from here?

We’re addressing the brand awareness issue by investing in sales and marketing. We’re also improving our product and growing that. Our objective is to develop the market more fully, and put the word out that we’re unique. That takes hard work, but it’s fun at the same time.

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