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NZ information security award finalists revealed

By Ryan Morris-Reade, Wed 17 Nov 2021

The 2021 iSANZ Awards have been announced with specialist cybersecurity businesses, a big bank and experts from across the public and private sectors among the 18 finalists.

The annual iSANZ Awards were established seven years ago. They recognise the achievements of New Zealand people and organisations in the cybersecurity and information security (InfoSec) fields.

"The iSANZ Board was inundated with a record number of high-quality entries this year, including in a new category IT Security Leader of the Year," says iSANZ chair, Kendra Ross. 

"We're strongly encouraged to have received entries from across the public and private sectors, as well as from the InfoSec community itself. The breadth and depth of the work done by our 2021 entrants was incredible, and our judges found their job challenging." 

She says the quality of entrants this year is proof that New Zealand's cybersecurity ecosystem is in fine shape.

Three finalists have been selected in each category. From a total of 57 entries, the independent Awards judges have recognised the following finalists:

Best Security Project or Security Awareness Initiative
Education Arcade for its interactive, story-driven cybersecurity games and content. BNZ for its sustained cybersecurity awareness campaign targeting staff, customers and partners. GCSB for the development of its baseline security templates.

Best New Zealand Security Service or Product
DarkScope for its CIQ360 cyber risk insurance rating service. SafeStack Academy for its online cybersecurity and privacy awareness education platform. SafeToOpen for its anti-phishing verification tool.

Best Security Company of the Year
ZX Security, SafeStack Academy, MindShift.

Best Startup or New Business
Datamasque, MindShift, Onwardly.

Best Security Professional CISO, Security Manager, Leader
Josh Bahlman, CISO Spark. Hilary Walton, CISO Kordia. Richard Harrison, CISO HealthAlliance.

Up-and-coming Cybersecurity Star
Anna Thomson, Casey Cooper, Ankita Dhakar.

"The technology landscape has changed beyond recognition in recent years, and good information security practice is now more important than ever," says Kendra.

"The contributions of New Zealand individuals and organisations in helping secure individuals and organisations against escalating cyber threats is immeasurable. Feedback from our local and international judges is that it's clear this country possesses InfoSec capability the equal of anywhere in the world."

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, there will be a delay of some months before the winners will be announced. Originally set down for this month, a gala awards dinner at the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, Wellington, is now scheduled for February 2022. It's hoped by this time that the country will have achieved its vaccination targets and that regional travel restrictions and restrictions on event and hospitality gatherings will have been relaxed.

Next February's gala awards evening will also see a person, event or organisation crowned in a special nominated Hall of Fame category.

The 2021 iSANZ Awards are sponsored by Datacom, Quantum Security, McAfee, Spark NZ, Kordia, SailPoint, Check Point, NEXTGEN Group and CyberCX. Supporting partners are Duo, NZITF, Duo Services, SiteHost and 1st Tuesday.

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