Virtual cyber defender one of the first in NZ
Friday, 9 June 2017
Photo: Mandy Simpson
A fledgling, cutting-edge cyber security Wellington company has launched a virtual chief information security officer (vCISO) service aimed at helping New Zealand businesses to respond as cyber-crime begins to bite.
Cyber Toa chief executive and NZTech board member Mandy Simpson says cyber-attacks are a serious risk for all Kiwi businesses.
“To be honest, all indications are that cyber-crime is growing in New Zealand. Requests for assistance to the National Cyber Security Centre were up 66 percent in the year to April 2016 and global security provider Symantec put the cost of cyber-crime in New Zealand at $US200 million last year,” she says.
“Our virtual CISO service will help companies concentrate their resources where they can make the most difference in protecting them against this growing threat.
“It’s a growing problem for everyone. A security failure in a New Zealand company or organisation can cause substantial reputational damage and will almost certainly have financial consequences.
“But where a company is handing personal data, it can also have consequences for individuals too. Sensitive personal information can end up in the hands of criminals.
“It’s easy for companies to be overwhelmed with the number of things they must do to stay safe. While some companies can afford a full time chief information security officer (CISO) to deal with the growing risks, not every organisation has resources at their disposal. A virtual CISO allows companies to access our Cyber Toa expertise in a flexible way.
“A virtual CISO can work inside a company helping them to steadily improve their cyber-security stance. What that means is different for every company, but it might include a company-wide risk assessment, developing a response plan if a security breach occurs, or building a security awareness programme for staff.
“And of course, if an incident occurs, a virtual CISO can lead the response, including accessing our specialist team to help. We provide everything required for the virtual CISO to act quickly and protect the company.”
Simpson says the expertise to deal with cyber security incidents can be hard to come by in New Zealand.
Cyber Toa was set up by Chris Ward who has over 20 years’ experience in creating and leading incident response teams for the NZ Defence Force and before that the UK Ministry of Defence. He has represented New Zealand as chair of two executive International Cyber committees, she says.
“Our technical team is led by Tony Grasso, with decades of experience in the New Zealand intelligence community, and GCHQ. The virtual CISO service gives companies access to expertise that would be very difficult for them to directly employ.”
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