Bringing security from vision to reality.
There’s no question that corporate security has become the issue du jour for many companies, as hack attacks, internal threats, and virus alerts have put IT staffs on call. To help companies feel safer, Houston-based onClick is touting its biometric devices, and finding more than a smattering of interest in its products. Founder Wasif Khan chats about what happens when security goes from being a state of mind to a state of reality.
How did onClick get started?
When most entrepreneurs were running to venture capitalists to fund companies with no business plans, I was busy creating a self-funded company. Named by my wife, onClick was initially headquartered in one of our bedrooms, and generated $200,000 in revenue its first year. Today, it’s a multimillion dollar company and has clients in six different countries. It has three focused divisions–onClick Consulting Services, onClick eLearning Services, and onClick Biometrics–and three product lines.
How does onClick differentiate itself in such a fast-growing biometrics arena?
We love a good challenge. It helps us remain realistic. There are many companies that make trucks yet Ford has created loyal customers. What does onClick have in common with such a brand name? We sell what we know and we know what we sell. Unlike many other players in the market, we manufacture our own hardware, write our own software and support it ourselves. We have an ability to build a bridge between business and technology rather than creating a gap. Because we own our hardware and software we can address the unique requirements and concerns of our customers.
Do you think companies are beginning to realize the value of security in their enterprises?
Security is state of mind. Unless violated and jeopardized, it’s not an important issue in society. I remember calling some major corporations prior to 9/11 and being told that gadgets such as our BioMouse and BioScan would not be mainstream for another 10 years. As you have seen, it took our society only one tragedy to change that. So, security is the hottest issue in any company today. Companies are spending more on security than they ever did in the past.
What are effects of this heightened interest in security?
Since security has reached the attention of executives, it is becoming part of strategic initiatives. Diverse data islands, mergers and acquisitions, strategic alliances, and remote employees create a web of networks along with high security threats. Implementation of security in this situation must be corporate wide, and service diverse technological components.
Are there still some areas of security that companies might be overlooking?
Today, the majority of companies put most of their efforts in implementing security for their networks from hackers, intrusions and viruses. Few of these companies actually secure their information from their own employees.
What kinds of challenges did you face when making your biometrics products?
How you turn a vision into a product brings logistical challenges. We had to think about things like how and where the R & D should be done, what areas of biometrics we should focus on, who in our client base would be willing to be part of a pilot project, and how fast we could turn such pilots into real deployments. We chose to manufacture our products in China because we felt that it would be one of the major players in the technology industry. And we decided to focus on fingerprint technology, since our data showed that people were more willing to adopt this technology versus facial or iris recognition.
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