You wouldn’t be the first to wonder why we’re called Penfield.AI. If you’re familiar with Montreal, Penfield might be a recall the street, Docteur Penfield, that pulses through the city and weaves along Victorian homes. We selected this name to honour this famous Canadian doctor and scientist, paying homage to him and aligning our work as an extension of his.
For those of us who haven’t spent time in Montreal, you might be wondering – who is Dr. Penfield and why should an AI cyber security company feel connected to his work?
Wilder Penfield was Montreal’s first neurosurgeon in the mid 20th century. He was a recipient of some of Canada’s highest honours and accolades for mapping out functions of the brain. Penfield was able to map how the brain sees the body, from the brain’s perspective. By understanding how the brain saw the body, and how its activity affected the body, scientists were able to identify exact areas within the brain that required treatment, whereas prior to this knowledge, it was a guessing game. In other words, he unlocked parts of the human brain.
And now back to us: we are positioned in the next generation of mapping out human functions by mapping out skillsets by leveraging Artificial Intelligence. Dr. Penfield mapped out parts of the brain to unlock new treatments; meanwhile, we pull a similar lever by mapping out skillsets of the employees to unlock new efficiencies and augment accuracies. We accomplish this through human-in-the-loop machine learning research conducted by our co-founders as well as other AI experts based out the University of Waterloo.
We’re harnessing this technology to fill a gap in cybersecurity, supporting analysts in security operation centres, because our founders, Tahseen Shabab and Dr. Hassan Khan, uncovered in their extensive cybersecurity careers a fitting application in the cyber industry.
By way of background, hackers are creative, willing do whatever they can to break through security measures. It is an ongoing battle as evolving to use new methods to break in, so technology can’t be solely relied on to stop them. Human Cybersecurity Analysts are our last line of defence against hackers. Human analysts can use their skill sets and contextual awareness to make on-the-fly decisions regarding the severity of a threat, and the best means of stopping it. They work in high-stress, high impact environments 24/7 to ensure they keep us safe. While we have been able to use technology to automate just about everything else in the world, human decision-making abilities are still, and will continue to be, our best means of protecting our society from advanced threats.
So, here is the gap and opportunity we are seizing: when threats come in, they are often either randomly sorted to analysts, or the line manager will hand them out based on who they think is good at solving each specific problem. On any analyst team, one analyst may be exceptional with stopping one type of attack, while excels in the face of another type of attack.
Problems are compounded by the fact that hacks are multiplying, while cybersecurity talent shortages worsen. A few stats: 2020, phishing attacks are up 350%, it only takes 19 minutes for a hacker to get a foothold in an organization, and there is an cyber talent shortage of over 3 million in North America. Thus, there are ever-increasing cyber threats with insufficient talent available to address them, so increased efficiencies and accuracies are crucial for companies to protects themselves, their assets, and customer trust.
Here is our solution: we map out your analyst’s unique skills in order to make sure that the analyst for the job is handling any given threat to achieve fast and accurate threat resolution.
The human side of cybersecurity is an area that has been completely manual – until now. Analysts are doing an excellent job, but we can help them continue improving, while helping SOCs see the return on their investment with their existing set of tools. We aren’t here to replace analysts, but rather to we replace the manual process that connects the analysts and the tools in order to make your organization more secure.
Dr. Penfield once said: “The brain is the organ of destiny. It holds within its humming mechanism secrets that will determine the future of humanity.” At Penfield.AI, we believe that analysts are the organ of SOCs, and supporting them by unlocking automation opportunities is vital for the future of cyber-secure organizations.
Written by: Rachel McGonigle and Madeleine Gottesman
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