CyDeploy is using artificial intelligence and machine learning to create a cloud-based replica of a company’s systems. This can be used to test cybersecurity updates to IT systems and Internet of Things devices, like a Google Home or health and medical devices like a pacemaker.
Cybersecurity is continuing to rise in the public conscious. Recently, the metro area has seen high-profile incidents against key systems, like the 2019 ransomware attack against the City of Baltimore, or more recently the November 2020 cyber attack that stopped online learning in Baltimore County Public Schools for a day.
“In the newspapers, a lot of times it can sound like there’s these savvy adversaries that are coming up with genius hacks to compromise a system, when in reality it’s because the organizations weren’t making certain security updates, configuration or design choices in the beginning that could have been pretty simple,” said Tina Williams-Koroma, founder of CyDeploy and University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) alum.
Williams-Koroma is also the founder of TCecure, a Harbor East-based cybersecurity risk management company. It was through that company’s work that she often heard the question, “What will break if I make this security change?” The question didn’t have any easy answer, and it made clients avoid making security updates.
In 2019, CyDeploy was born to be that easy answer. In 2020, Williams-Koroma had worked out the paper prototype. Now, in 2021, she is planning to start piloting the product, and is looking for enterprises and management systems to test it.
Williams-Koroma’s five-year plan for the company estimates a need of about $1.5 million to stay on the development and commercialization track. The $90,000 grant from the MIPS program will enable the company to do the functional work at UMBC and create a prototype is a first step along that path.
“Being able to explain the business case and the market,” said Willams-Koroma about what set her company apart and got her the grant. MIPS, she said, is “looking at not only, is this a cool idea and cool tech, but is it something that will ultimately result in new jobs being created in Maryland. New jobs and a successful company also means additional tax money coming into the state.”
Williams-Koroma is working with Anupam Joshi, a professor and the chair of computer science and electrical engineering at UMBC, to bring the novel cybersecurity tool to life. Management service providers to small businesses and large enterprises can reach out by email to Williams-Koroma at email@example.com to be a part of the pilot.
Donte Kirby is a 2020-2022 corps member for Report for America, an initiative of The Groundtruth Project that pairs young journalists with local newsrooms. This position is supported by the Robert W. Deutsch Foundation.