Mission Multiplier: Using Behavioral Science to Revolutionize Cybersecurity and Employee Engagement

Jamie Miller is shaking things up by setting aside traditional corporate structure for innovation. His venture, Mission Multiplier, is engaging employees in a new way and growing a stronger local community all while working to change the way we approach cybersecurity.

Still a growing industry, cybersecurity has gone from almost non-existent to becoming a pretty big deal over the last several years.   Gaining exposure from the recent Federal Office of Personnel Management hack, and other security breaches like those experienced by Target and Anthem, “every week in the news there is some new hack,” said Miller.  “People are starting to ask key questions like, “Is my personal information at risk of being stolen? What do I need to do to secure that information online, and what does all this mean to me?’”

Growing A Strong Community

gg_community_iconMiller, who has been involved with the cybersecurity industry from its infancy, relocated to Huntsville two years ago from the DC area looking to settle down.  “We had always wanted to come back to Alabama, my wife’s from Alabama, and so we were very thoughtful and intentional about wanting to come back here,” said Miller.

But settling down close to family wasn’t his only goal for relocating, “I always had aspiration to have my own company,” stated Miller.  “I wanted to do something different, so I thought, ‘if I’m going to start my own company, I want to do it my way and I want to be very thoughtful about it.  I want to do more than just driving profit, building pipeline, building revenue, I want to make a difference.’”

And a big part of that difference for Miller is helping to build a stronger community here in Huntsville. “If we were going to move here and put down roots, raise our kids here, I wanted to make sure we were part of the community and that it was going to be a rich environment for them and for us.  So I started thinking, what can I do to help enable that?”

Innovating Employee Engagement

photo8636Inspired by his mission to create a company that not only built revenue, but also grew community, Miller developed an innovative new business model that is changing the way his employees interact with the company.  “The business model is built around the idea that a small percentage of every employee’s billable hours gets directed to the charitable organization of their choice,” explained Miller.  “So you’re not just working for the mission of the client, you’re working for your own personal mission. You’re inspired because you’re not just working to get your salary, but you’re helping somebody else.”

Miller went on to explain that because of this new business structure that “the people that I get are super motivated and energized. They realize that our approach is different, and moves away from the old archetype of work hard and get paid more.  Science says it doesn’t work like that.  You actually get more engaged if you feel like you are valued, like you’re helping others, you’re giving back, you’re gaining some mastery over something that you like; so that’s why my business model aligns with highly motivated individuals.”

Through his employee’s designated donations, Mission Multiplier now supports several different local community non-profits in the Huntsville area. For example, “People have family members that have down syndrome, so they’re able to support an organization that they are passionate about; so when they’re working they’re not just working for “the man,” (and hopefully I’m not “the man”) but they feel like, ‘every hour I work I’m helping somebody else, I’m helping a family member, I’m helping the community’. I feel like employees and clients are more likely to be engaged and inspired,” said Miller.

Revolutionizing Our Approach to Cybersecurity

think_orangeAnd as if that wasn’t enough for one company, in addition to his innovative new business model and strong desire to help build and grow the Huntsville community, Miller is also revolutionizing the way we approach Cybersecurity, not only just here in Huntsville, but around the world.

“We’re doing some really cool stuff around the nexus of behavioral science and cybersecurity; and how do you get people to change their behavior to focus on information security?” said Miller. “Security is often seen, especially in the government, as a compliance checklist. You’re doing security for security sake, but you’re not incentivizing the right behavior,” he explained.  “So what we’ve done is we’ve created an customized process and supporting algorithm that ties together aspects of behavioral sciences and cybersecurity feeds to help organize people’s (and organization’s) workload or priorities.  We use what we call a risk economy where basically we score different people on how well they are doin within that economy, and then they compete against each other in a friendly competition, with the end result of improving overall cybersecurity..”

In essence, what Miller has done is to take cybersecurity from a dry task to be checked off on a daily basis, to a fully interactive experience in which the users can feel motivated and encouraged to be proactive in their cybersecurity efforts through an advanced understanding of not only cyber security but more importantly, of people and how they can be motivated to change their behavior toward cybersecurity itself.

What Should Businesses Do To Start Upping Their Cybersecurity?

When asked what individuals and businesses can do to up their cybersecurity game, Miller had this to say, “Generally, I think people don’t really see security as a priority.”  He went on to say, “If you’re building a product, or delivering a service, it’s all about getting it done fast and meeting a market need, but there is not enough attention and awareness of what’s going to happen with the sensitive information that I collect (or share).  Whatever life-cycle you’re in, if you’re developing a product or service, cybersecurity needs to be embedded in that life-cycle.”

And if you’re just getting started taking steps to up your company’s cybersecurity, Miller recommends that small to medium-sized businesses conduct a self-assessment.  There are several government products you can use, or you can hire a company like Mission Multiplier to conduct an assessment of your existing cybersecurity capabilities – to identify potential weaknesses and gaps, so you can make sure that you address those.  “There are also some self assessment questionnaires online. NIST, The National Institute of Standards and Technology, has some free guidelines and assessments that you can take and it will give you some really good baseline recommendations for things to do.”

To learn more about Mission Multiplier and to see how they could help your company, visit their website: http://www.missionmultiplier.com


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