February 26, 2024

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New Zealand government must invest in cyber-risk education for citizens

New Zealand Tech Alliance (NZTech) whose purpose is “to connect, promote and advance tech ecosystems and help the New Zealand economy grow to create a prosperous digital nation”, feels that the government must be more proactive in educating the population on cybersecurity.

The body believes that New Zealanders must be educated about cyber risks through government funding to some extent. It’s time, they feel,  that the government allocate funds for educating people on avoiding becoming victims of cybercrime, much in the same way as there is funding for road safety.

NZTech chief executive Graeme Muller says as New Zealand businesses operate within an increasingly digital environment, cyber threats are growing in sophistication and magnitude. Organisations and businesses are facing increasing and rampant cybercrime threats and the situation is deteriorating. Almost a million New Zealanders are falling victim to cybercrime every year. According to a recent report, hundreds of the country’s businesses with online capabilities are now losing money to cyber-criminals.

In the third quarter of last year, 281 Kiwis’ businesses reported cybersecurity breaches and many others are likely to have suffered the same fate, without reporting it. The average direct financial loss for small to medium business is still relatively minor, only a few thousand dollars, so, it often goes unreported. However, it was also noted that at least 13 Kiwi businesses lost more than NZ$100,000 each near the end of last year.

According to Muller, about 87% of New Zealanders concede security of their personal information online is important, but 40% say safeguarding their information is inconvenient. Additionally, almost a third of New Zealanders do not regularly check the privacy settings on their social media accounts. Roughly the same number of people do not use two-factor authentication when logging into an online account.

He confirms that “the world of cybersecurity and attacks are rife, and CERT NZ, the government entity that tracks cyber breaches, says Kiwis are not protecting their digital systems. Ransomware has become the biggest threat, used by criminals to lock up people’s systems and data and then demand a ransom in return for their release. In the United States, agencies including the FBI have warned that the healthcare system is facing an increased and imminent threat of cybercrime. Furthermore, cybercriminals are unleashing a series of extortion attempts in the new frontier of crime aimed at locking up hospital information systems. Local businesses and organisations must act quickly to prevent future cyber hacks.

The government must do its part to encourage organisations and businesses to bring cybersecurity to the front of their digital strategy to ensure they are operating at their peak and to protect both customers and staff. As part of its efforts to promote cybersecurity education, NZTech had the biggest cyber risk summit in Wellington on February 24. Attendees heard experts and peers at the front lines of cybersecurity discuss the realities of cyber risk in the modern business environment.

Statistics released in the summit revealed that 66% of businesses attacked make no substantial changes to prevent future attacks. With criminals often only taking small amounts the individual cost feels small, whereas the collective economic cost is huge. What businesses do not normally consider is the risk of reputational damage if data is stolen and the public finds out about it. There are also costs of fixing systems that get damaged by hackers.

OpenGov Asia reported on a study done by a New Zealand cybersecurity firm that says as organisations accelerate their spending on cloud migration and digitalisation to manage the COVID-19 pandemic, many may be overestimating their ability to protect their systems and their processes. It is estimated that about 80% of cybercrimes could be prevented. Simple measures like using and updating complex passwords and installing updates go a long way in safety.

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Qlik’s vision is a data-literate world, where everyone can use data and analytics to improve decision-making and solve their most challenging problems. A private company, Qlik offers real-time data integration and analytics solutions, powered by Qlik Cloud, to close the gaps between data, insights and action. By transforming data into Active Intelligence, businesses can drive better decisions, improve revenue and profitability, and optimize customer relationships. Qlik serves more than 38,000 active customers in over 100 countries.

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CTC Global Singapore, a premier end-to-end IT solutions provider, is a fully owned subsidiary of ITOCHU Techno-Solutions Corporation (CTC) and ITOCHU Corporation.

Since 1972, CTC has established itself as one of the country’s top IT solutions providers. With 50 years of experience, headed by an experienced management team and staffed by over 200 qualified IT professionals, we support organizations with integrated IT solutions expertise in Autonomous IT, Cyber Security, Digital Transformation, Enterprise Cloud Infrastructure, Workplace Modernization and Professional Services.

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Planview has one mission: to build the future of connected work. Our solutions enable organizations to connect the business from ideas to impact, empowering companies to accelerate the achievement of what matters most. Planview’s full spectrum of Portfolio Management and Work Management solutions creates an organizational focus on the strategic outcomes that matter and empowers teams to deliver their best work, no matter how they work. The comprehensive Planview platform and enterprise success model enables customers to deliver innovative, competitive products, services, and customer experiences. Headquartered in Austin, Texas, with locations around the world, Planview has more than 1,300 employees supporting 4,500 customers and 2.6 million users worldwide. For more information, visit www.planview.com.

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SIRIM is a premier industrial research and technology organisation in Malaysia, wholly-owned by the Minister​ of Finance Incorporated. With over forty years of experience and expertise, SIRIM is mandated as the machinery for research and technology development, and the national champion of quality. SIRIM has always played a major role in the development of the country’s private sector. By tapping into our expertise and knowledge base, we focus on developing new technologies and improvements in the manufacturing, technology and services sectors. We nurture Small Medium Enterprises (SME) growth with solutions for technology penetration and upgrading, making it an ideal technology partner for SMEs.

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HashiCorp provides infrastructure automation software for multi-cloud environments, enabling enterprises to unlock a common cloud operating model to provision, secure, connect, and run any application on any infrastructure. HashiCorp tools allow organizations to deliver applications faster by helping enterprises transition from manual processes and ITIL practices to self-service automation and DevOps practices. 

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IBM is a leading global hybrid cloud and AI, and business services provider. We help clients in more than 175 countries capitalize on insights from their data, streamline business processes, reduce costs and gain the competitive edge in their industries. Nearly 3,000 government and corporate entities in critical infrastructure areas such as financial services, telecommunications and healthcare rely on IBM’s hybrid cloud platform and Red Hat OpenShift to affect their digital transformations quickly, efficiently and securely. IBM’s breakthrough innovations in AI, quantum computing, industry-specific cloud solutions and business services deliver open and flexible options to our clients. All of this is backed by IBM’s legendary commitment to trust, transparency, responsibility, inclusivity and service.

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