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2021 iSANZ Awards winners announced at online ceremony

By Zach Thompson
Fri 18 Mar 2022

The 2021 iSANZ Awards were held this evening at a live online ceremony and included awards in six categories and a special Hall of Fame Award.

The presentation of the 2021 awards comes after COVID-19-related delays put the ceremony on hold.

iSANZ is a non-profit organisation created to formally recognise the achievements of outstanding New Zealand InfoSec professionals, companies, initiatives, and events.

The annual iSANZ Awards acknowledge those who are contributing to information security and helping keep Aotearoa's digital networks safe from malicious computer activity. 

iSANZ Board Chair Kendra Ross says the awards are an important opportunity to inspire, promote and reflect on the hard work that goes on behind the scenes in New Zealand's world-class information security industry.

"As the digital world spreads its roots ever deeper, the risk and impact of cyber attacks increases," Ross says.

"This only reinforces the importance of our talented and hardworking community of cybersecurity professionals who protect our connectivity as we enjoy our daily lives.

"We've again been highly impressed by the accomplishments of all our iSANZ entrants, finalists and winners, especially during the past two years with the coronavirus pandemic creating new challenges for cyber security businesses as they've helped New Zealanders adapt to an operating model in which working from home has become the new normal."

The winners in the 2021 iSANZ Awards are:

Best Security Project or Security Awareness Initiative

GCSB for development of its baseline security templates. 

The judges commented that GCSB's baseline templates help with the most challenging part of security: translating the 'what' into the 'how'.

The "high leverage project" provides a solution for continuous assurance with government security requirements and benefits of all New Zealand's cybersecurity.

Best Security Leader

Josh Bahlman from Spark.

The judges commented on Bahlman's personable approach and commitment to increasing awareness of cyber security, saying that in a field of truly impressive candidates, he has demonstrated an ability to take quick, decisive action in the wake of major cyber security events.

Best Start-Up or New Business

Onwardly.

The judges commended Onwardly for taking on a part of the market where upskilling is a barrier to cybersecurity hygiene. The company is helping small to medium business owners better contend with the reality of digital dependency, letting them understand their security posture in a straightforward, non-technical way.

Best Security Company of the Year

SafeStack Academy.

The judges commented on SafeStack's innovative approach to solving the issue of lack of resource in the security industry and its approach of "baking in" security at an early stage in the design and development process to make products more secure.

Best NZ Security Product or Service

Darkscope for its CIQ360 cyber risk insurance rating service.

The judges were impressed with Darkscope's innovative cybersecurity tools, commenting that these help to assess risk based on evidence rather than assumptions. 

Up-and-Coming Cyber Security Star

Casey Cooper from BNZ.

The judges commented on Cooper's compelling achievements since joining the industry, especially the impact he has made in securing BNZ, his work on Zero Day cybersecurity vulnerabilities, and his recognition from management, colleagues, and customers.

Hall of Fame Award

The Information Security Interest Group (ISIG) was inducted as the 2021 iSANZ Hall of Famer.  

Established in 2003, ISIG is a professional interest group for people working in information security. It has membership chapters in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, Dunedin and Hamilton.

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