Mark Brown, Founder at Psybersafe and Cybersecurity40 Judge, Explains What He’s Looking For From Entrants

Hey Mark, tell us a bit about yourself

Before setting up Psybersafe, I spent my career working for global banks in all the major financial centres: New York, London, Singapore, Hong Kong, Sydney, Amsterdam.  At some point my roles became more about managing and influencing people.  Having had the benefits of an executive coach to help me deliver a major organisational culture project in Sydney, I studied coaching and followed it up with a psychology degree. 

In 2016, whilst working at ING Bank in London and Amsterdam, I was able to take a project into an innovation hub, which led to looking at how we could help people and companies with their cyber security issues.  We quickly realised that training employees was a major issue, not well served by existing products. 

I could apply my psychology and behavioural science training to develop a cyber security awareness programme that actually delivers real positive results.  This ultimately led to setting up Psybersafe, which is now used by governments and banks, as well as small SMEs, schools and charities.

I love being able to take psychology and behavioural science research and applying it in practice, with, if I may say so, very encouraging results.  When it comes to the human factor in cyber security, it’s all about behaviour and culture.  
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What are you looking for from this year’s CyberSecurity40 entrants

Innovation does not have to be a radically game-changing product or service.  Innovation can come in small changes that have a big impact.  I’d like to see ideas brought to life that really can make a difference. That is, it’s not a solution looking for a problem, but really meets a need – so demonstrable product market fit.

Which means they understand their market and target audience.  And then I like to see user centric design.  That means that the entrants have really thought about the people using the product or service and offer something that is designed with the target audience in mind in terms of usability.

What advice would you give to companies wanting to stand out from the crowd?

To stand out you either have something unique, or you need to highlight the features that make your product or solution different enough such that you cannot get your combinations of features anywhere else. 

That also creates uniqueness.  This is linked to the behavioural principle of scarcity: you can only get these great features here. So ask yourself: have I shown the unique differences or differentiators between what we offer and what my competitors offer?