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York-based startup uses personality tests to tailor cybersecurity training regimens

York-based startup uses personality tests to tailor cybersecurity training regimens

  • Serial entrepreneur James Norrie's startup cyberconIQ offers a unique solution in the fight against cybercrime.
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James Norrie’s banking client was struggling. No matter what the bank tried and how much training it mandated, employees kept making poor decisions online ― decisions that left the bank vulnerable to cyberattacks.

“I realized it had nothing to do with training and everything to do with behavior,” says James, a serial entrepreneur and York College of Pennsylvania professor of Management, Marketing, and Entrepreneurship.

He began researching a link between personality type and an individual’s vulnerability to certain cybersecurity risks. Out of that investigation grew cyberconIQ, a groundbreaking platform that leverages personality to individualize training, empowering employees to develop cyber resilience and improved judgment.

Understanding the link

CyberconIQ is James’ fifth tech startup. His entrepreneurial roving has been driven by a passion for solving human-focused problems using technology while making a positive impact in the world.

Unlike traditional, one-size-fits-all cybersecurity training, cyberconIQ introduces an engaging journey tailored to an employee’s personality type. By making training relatable and personalized, James saw those using cyberconIQ willingly consume training material even when it was not explicitly assigned to them.

While cybersecurity training was the initial focus of cyberconIQ, James soon saw the potential to extend the concept to all types of training across industries.

“Any place where you have a lot of data you need to keep safe, those are our clients. Even people who don’t have to do this are beginning to realize how powerful this type of training is,” James says.

The title he wears most proudly

Since James launched cyberconIQ in June 2019, the company has grown steadily and expanded into several countries and languages. In a recent successful round of funding, the largest to date, cyberconIQ brought in a $500,000 investment from Ben Franklin Technology Partners and $300,000 from White Rose Ventures. In total, he raised $4.6 million this round and $7 million in total investment.

While his title at cyberconIQ is CEO, James is much more motivated by a different label.

“The title I’m most proud of is founder,” he says. “The intellectual property I developed has real value in the real world. I don’t think of myself as a boss. It’s not my job to be the boss; it’s my job to be a coach and mentor to the team.”

His passion lies in that mentoring and coaching. He recently hired six interns from York College and other area schools. With his guidance, many of his students have gone on to start businesses, a process that is one of the most fulfilling aspects of James’ entrepreneurial adventure.

“What brings me the most joy is helping students develop their own ideas,” he says. “Part of my responsibility as a professor is to help them do this.”

By bridging the gap between personality types and cybersecurity behavior, James has revolutionized training and empowered users to take a stand against cybercrime. At the same time, his passion for teaching and mentoring is helping to expand his impact beyond borders and across generations.