​NZ cybersecurity boost as Victoria University of Wellington unites with global experts

“Cybersecurity has been identified as one of the greatest commercial threats facing New Zealand..."

Victoria University of Wellington has entered into an agreement with local firm Total Risk, a partner of the Software Engineering Institute’s CERT Program at Carnegie Mellon University in the United States, in what is considered to be a major development for cybersecurity in New Zealand.

“Cybersecurity has been identified as one of the greatest commercial threats facing New Zealand, with business and government largely lacking the individual expertise to protect themselves against this ever-developing danger,” says Geoff Todd, Managing Director of Viclink, the University’s commercialisation office.

“The collaboration with CERT means Victoria is working with the gold-standard organisation in the field. This isn’t just good for the University, it’s good for New Zealand.”

Todd says the Software Engineering Institute is a not-for-profit Federally Funded Research and Development Centre (FFRDC) at Carnegie Mellon University, specifically established by the United States Department of Defense to focus on software engineering and cybersecurity.

For Todd, the relationship with Total Risk means Victoria will be aligned with one of only nine CERT-certified partners globally, and the only one in New Zealand.

“The significance of this collaboration cannot be understated,” adds Dale Carnegie, Victoria’s Dean of Engineering Professor.

“It gives Victoria the impetus to push on with a multidisciplinary cyber programme, and a CERT-certified one at that, which should prove very attractive for both local and international students.”

In addition, Victoria’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Grant Guilford has thrown his support behind the agreement.

“This initiative presents an extremely exciting prospect for Victoria University and Wellington in particular,” he adds.

“However, it also translates into a highly valuable asset for the wider Asia-Pacific region and sits well with the University’s strategic objective of contributing to New Zealand’s digital future.”

Guilford says the collaboration gets underway in the near future with a series of events in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch, with Kristopher Rush, a Technical Director from CERT, addressing CEOs and CIOs on cyber vulnerabilities.

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