EY launches New Zealand cyber security centres to tackle increasing online threats

An illustration of online security
The centres will offer around the clock security services, the company said. Photo credit: Getty Images

A new way to tackle online threats is being introduced in Aotearoa after EY announced it was opening new cyber security centres in Auckland and Wellington.

A potential third may be opened in Christchurch, the company said.

It comes after "pioneering work" with Fonterra as well as the ongoing rise in cyber threats.

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

"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.

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

The centres will offer around-the-clock security services, supported by Microsoft Azure Sentinel, EY said.

They are predominantly aimed at enterprise and Government customers, giving them access to the knowledge and experience of a large international network while increasing protection.

It was also important to have the new operation centres operating from Kiwi shores, EY said.

"Too often we talk to clients whose cyber security provider runs everything from offshore or small onshore capabilities," Hermanson said.

"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.

"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," she said.

Thomas Willig, chief information security officer at Fonterra, said EY had helped the business pioneer innovative and creative cyber security solutions.

"We're really excited about what the creation of these new cyber security centres will bring for both Fonterra and other Kiwi businesses," he said.

Vanessa Sorenson, managing director at Microsoft New Zealand, said it was great to see the investment in Aotearoa.

"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 said.

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

The new centres will mean more Kiwi organisations have access to services that will help improve security, protect customers' privacy and data, and make New Zealand an even more attractive place to do business, Sorenson concluded.