Credit score

You have your credit score. Now an NC startup wants to give you a cybersecurity score.

Our Call to Founders Edward Carroll and Jeremiah Smith started with the little talk you might expect from those in the boot space: there just aren’t enough hours in the day.

But while discussing their new venture, Asheville, NC-based Edison Marks, I’m pretty confident that they’ve managed to alter our understanding of time and add a few hours to the day.

It seems like the only possible way to go from idea to product in just a few months. This, or both, has stumbled upon a timely and important problem to be solved in the field of cybersecurity.

Carroll and Smith, who grew up as childhood friends in North Carolina, saw a “pretty interesting opening to leverage behavioral science to make [small businesses] aware of the cybersecurity issues they face,” Carroll told Hypepotamus.

This “ah!” The time came in July 2021 as Carroll was looking for ideas for his master’s capstone project. The two won an NC IDEA grant in October, which Smith said was “validation that the concept had weight. That’s when we recruited our CTO and started executing a series of steps. We moved very quickly during these three months.

At the heart of Edison Mark’s mission is to make managing cybersecurity as easy as monitoring your credit score. “Our real secret sauce is not just presenting a score to someone, but presenting it in a way that properly drives that individual to action without creating a heightened stress scenario,” Smith added. “All we do is care about your cybersecurity health. We want to give you a place to go to continuously monitor and improve that health without overloading. »

It’s like giving you peer-to-peer comparisons so you can see how similar companies fare on cybersecurity or give you quick tips (like how to enable a password manager).

From left to right: Ed Carroll, Jeremiah Smith, Nick Hristov

Using behavioral science in a professional environment is already familiar to many people. “Credit Karma is a fantastic example of behavioral economics being used for good every day,” Smith said. “People stress about their financial health and financial well-being, but Credit Karma tries not to give you too much [information] all at once, but gives you exactly what you need and will be most valuable to you right now, given where you are in your financial life cycle. We do the same for cybersecurity.

The concept is based on The research and writings of Dr. Robert B. Cialdini, which have been implemented in commercial and consumer spaces for decades.

The team is rolling out its first group of beta users in the coming weeks, which will focus on managed service providers as a way to help the team test and scale to small businesses more quickly.

“Cybersecurity is a long game. So taking small actions every day or once in a while to help improve your position are all opportunities,” Smith added.

The team also ensures that the behavioral science approach to cybersecurity is a positive addition to small business owners, many of whom have struggled during the pandemic and cannot afford to take on costly cybersecurity attacks. “We want to be able to give back to the community and make small businesses safer,” Carroll added.