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EY launches cybersecurity centers in NZ amidst rising cyber threats

By Jessie Chiang
Wed 27 Jul 2022

EY says its launching two of its globally recognised cyber security centers, one in Auckland and the second in Wellington, with a potential third in Christchurch. 

The move comes off the back of several local market successes, including pioneering work with Fonterra, as well as a continued rise in cyber threats.

The newly established capability will offer around-the-clock cyber security services, supported by Microsoft Azure Sentinel, and will make use of the deep relationship between the two businesses after EY was named Global Security Partner of the Year by Microsoft in June this year.

Through its collaboration with Microsoft, EY teams will help to deliver a Unified SIEM and SOAR, Modern Security Operations Center, with Extended Detection and Response (XDR) capabilities covering Operational Technology, designed to provide intelligent, automated, and integrated security across domains. 

XDR prevents, detects, and responds to threats across identities, endpoints, applications, email, IoT, infrastructure, and cloud platforms, helping defenders connect disparate systems and alerts, all while allowing defenders to get ahead of attackers. Services also include red and purple team testing, advance exercising and incident response.

EY NZ cyber consulting lead Nicola Hermanson says New Zealand has experienced unprecedented levels of cyber-attacks in recent years. 

“Businesses are now embracing hybrid work more than ever, and while that has been great for flexibility, it’s also increased workers exposure to cyber threats,” she says.

“Many of our clients are just too busy in the current environment to invest time and resource into detecting and responding effectively to a modern cyber-attack, let alone proactively working to reduce risk.”

EY NZ cyber consulting lead Nicola Hermanson.

The new cyber security centers will offer predominately enterprise and government customers access to the knowledge and experience of a large international network with world-leading cyber security. EY says the importance of running the Security Operations Center from New Zealand shores was pivotal.

“Too often we talk to clients whose cyber security provider runs everything from offshore or small onshore capabilities. However, a security provider based exclusively overseas will never understand the intricacies of the New Zealand market, or be fully across all of the threats we’re exposed to,” says Nicola.

“By having local professionals, along with our capability across the globe, we’re able to keep our finger on the pulse locally and provide a personalised service. At the same time, having a global network to tap into means we can also be available at all hours of the day. We’re already working with some well-known New Zealand companies, and they really like having a local team.”

Fonterra chief information security officer Thomas Willig agrees and says EY has helped the company pioneer some innovative and creative cyber security solutions that put it at the forefront of protecting our data, people, partners and farmers. 

“We’ve always felt like the EY cyber security team is an extension of our team, and we’re really excited about what the creation of these new cyber security centers will bring for both Fonterra, and other Kiwi businesses,” he says.

Microsoft New Zealand managing director Vanessa Sorenson says it’s great to see substantive investment by EY and the ongoing development of their relationship.  

“In the rush to digitise and move to cloud, security continues to be an afterthought for many businesses, so having more experience and access to world-leading managed services would make a real difference to local businesses’ resilience,” she says.

Recent Microsoft research found just 12% of organisations in Aotearoa had conducted an organisation-wide security transformation to protect customer data and ensure ongoing resilience.

“We’re excited about our ongoing work with EY because it will mean more Kiwi organisations have access to services that will help improve their security, protect customers’ privacy and data, and make New Zealand an even more attractive place to do business,” says Sorenson.

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