Government projects boost security awareness, says RSA

New Zealand's Government Logon Service (GLS) and Identity Verification Service (IVS) have done a lot and will do more to raise awareness of security in New Zealand, says Mark Pullen, Sydney-based Australia/NZ country manager of security firm RSA.

GLS and IVS are world-leading, he says, and have a particularly strong influence given the focus on security and identification for services from the public sector in the near future. The New Zealand public sector's awareness of modern security thinking, as a matter of business risk management rather than simply protecting a perimeter, is as much as two years ahead of Australia's, he says and this must filter through to private industry.

New Zealand's small size means "it's easier to turn the ship", he says.

Pullen expresses surprise that the government is rethinking the Government Shared Network (Computerworld, December 1), but says this is unlikely to detract from the GLS, which is directed at the public and web-based.

The traditional security landscape was about threats and hacks, Pullen says. But, in 2009 it will be different, with attention focusing on business challenges, the economic practicality of security measures and risk management.

One impact of the economic downturn will be an increase in fraud of all kinds, including, of course, computer-related fraud. In previous international recessions, he says, "organised crime" was not as well organised, nor as computer-aware.

As threats increase, the recession will also put pressure on the budget available to take countermeasures. This will require more careful thought about affordable, effective security.

Another effect of the downturn will be redundancy -- a large number of employees will be walking out of the door and in the absence of sufficient security could take a lot of company information with them, Pullen says.

"In the last recession, we didn't have 8GB memory sticks."

NZ channel to get RSA support

RSA now has a fulltime staff member to support its New Zealand customers and resellers.

François Marais has held a number of security roles with other companies and with RSA overseas. His title is information security specialist.

He comes originally from South Africa and is based in Auckland.

The company needed someone to support and advise clients and channels in the fast-growing New Zealand market, says ANZ country manager Mark Pullen.

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