A technology startup born out of the University of New Brunswick’s IT department announced last month it has received $1.5 million in a second round seed investment.

Beauceron Security, a cybersecurity management platform, was founded on the UNB Fredericton campus in 2015. The company uses threat assessments, awareness programs and unique security technology to manage cyber risks for companies and organizations. The latest investment will allow the rapidly expanding company to increase its sales and marketing and recruit new partner firms worldwide.

“When you educate and empower people, they go from the passive victims of cybercrime to the active defenders,” CEO David Shipley said in an interview with The Brunswickan.

Educational institutions have increasingly become the focus of organized cyber attacks after the University of Calgary paid $20,000 in ransom to hackers in 2016. Shipley, who was in charge of cyber threat intelligence and cybersecurity awareness at UNB at the time, realized that something needed to change.

Email-based attacks at UNB increased from $149,000 a month to 1.79 million a month following the Calgary incident. In response, the university worked to educate staff to reduce response rate to phishing emails.

It was from these ideas, experiences and concepts – created by the IT department and tested at UNB – that Beauceron Security emerged.

Instead of having to manually manage threats, Beauceron’s unique technology automates many security processes while simultaneously collecting and storing as little personal information about users as possible. Through CyLon, a cybersecurity accelerator, the company has connected with over one hundred potential customers, partners and investors in London. Beauceron’s technology is currently available in English and French and a Swedish-language beta version is in development.

The company not only manages threats directly; they also offer resources with which employees and employers can learn how to minimize their contributions to the cyber risk of their organizations.

“We called this the sheepdog effect,” Shipley said. “Our clients go from being a sheep to becoming a sheepdog. In honour of that effect, we named our firm and our technology after a sheepdog from Northern France, the Beauceron.”

Shipley said Beauceron uses this to help people protect themselves and their organizations from cyber threats. “We believe in using knowledge to empower people and put them back in control of technology,” he said.

Beauceron’s growing success and status as a rising star in the cybersecurity sector serves as an example to current students at the university that hard work and research can pay off.

“If we hadn’t had the chance to experiment and learn at UNB as students and professionals, if we didn’t have the support of Terry Nikkel, and of UNB’s senior management, we wouldn’t have been able to pursue this project and wouldn’t have been able to create nearly a dozen jobs here in Fredericton,” Shipley said.