NZ Fry Up: Public cloud spending to jump 26%; RealMe outage causes concerns; Auckland Council exercises group buying muscle; Five Eyes issues warning

New Zealand IT, tech, and telco news and views from our correspondent in the Central North Island.

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NZ public cloud spending set to jump by 26%

Spending on public cloud services in New Zealand is expected to increase by 26.3% this year,reaching $2.6 billion, according to the latest forecast from Gartner.

The fastest growing segments of the cloud market in 2022 are expected to be platform as a service (PaaS) followed by infrastructure as a service (IaaS).

Gartner said its 2022 CIO survey found 44% of CIOs in New Zealand had earmarked cloud platforms for new or additional funding this year, ranked fourth behind cybersecurity, data and analytics, and integration technologies such as APIs.

Meanwhile, cloud providers continue to increase their presence in the region, with Amazon Web Services (AWS) announcing new local zones in Perth, Brisbane, and Auckland, and Microsoft’s Azure data centre development in New Zealand underway, adding to three currently operating in Australia.

Gartner expects the acceleration in cloud spending seen during the pandemic to continue, as organisations respond to a new business dynamic.

RealMe outage highlights cybersecurity concerns

A temporary outage of the New Zealand government’s digital identity system in early April 2022 created concerns by some that a Russian cyberattack was underway, said NZTech CEO Graeme Muller.

RealMe is used to log into various New Zealand government services like Inland Revenue and My Covid Record.

The Department of Internal Affairs, which runs RealMe, confirmed the issues weren’t related to a cyberattack. However, Muller said concerns continue to escalate over the ever-growing cybersecurity issues that New Zealand businesses face. “While the threat of Russian cyberattacks could be a possibility, the reality is most cybersecurity issues faced by Kiwis stem from a lack of understanding of how to operate safely online,” said Muller.

Citing figures from CERT NZ, Muller said there was a 1,000% increase in reported issues with malware in the last quarter of 2021, while 138 businesses reported they had been victim to phishing or credential harvesting attacks in the final quarter of last year. “The implications of not investing in training and educating your staff is the loss of real money, with CERT NZ reporting that in the last quarter of 2021 more than $6 million was lost by Kiwis to cyberattackers.”

To improve cybersecurity, all businesses should have processes in place to help staff manage and update passwords, automatically deploy software updates, back up their systems daily, and use two-factor authentication when logging in, he said.

Auckland council organisations join forces on Microsoft licenses

Auckland Council and two of its council controlled organisations — Auckland Transport and Watercare — are set to go to market as one to renew Microsoft licenses, Reseller News reports.

Although Auckland Council has been a signatory to the New Zealand Department of Internal Affairs’ all-of-government Microsoft licensing framework agreements since 2012, it, Auckland Transport, and Watercare have each had their own supplier arrangements up to now.

This comes after Auckland Council formalised a group procurement policy for it and the organisations it controls in June 2021. The policy aims to ensure the group “maximises value and reduces duplication of effort in procuring activity”, Auckland Council said in a statement to Reseller News.

With millions of dollars of spending on the line, the group could secure big savings by negotiating together.

According to Reseller News, Auckland Council disclosures show it spent $7.1 million with its incumbent Microsoft license supplier, Insight Enterprises, in the year ended June 2020 and $5.5 million in 2021. How much of that is related to Microsoft licenses is not known.

Meanwhile, Auckland Transport reported it had signed two Microsoft license contracts totalling $8.5 million with Spark so far this financial year. Watercare reportedly spent $4.1 million with NTT between April 2021 and March 2022 but did not specify the goods or services provided.

All six members of the New Zealand all-of-government Microsoft cloud, software, and service agreement (MCSSA) panel will be able to bid for the new licenses. This includes three respective incumbent suppliers, as well as Cyclone Computer, Datacom, and Fujitsu.

New Zealand issues cyber warning over Russia-Ukraine war

New Zealand and the other Five Eyes nations—Australia, Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom—have issued a cybersecurity advisory warning organisations that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine could expose organisations both within and beyond the region to increased malicious cyber activity.

The group believes Russia could retaliate against sanctions imposed by the Five Eyes nations.

Five Eyes have urged critical infrastructure network providers to prepare for and mitigate potential cyberthreats—including destructive malware, ransomware, DDoS attacks, and cyberespionage—by hardening their cyber defences and performing due diligence in identifying indicators of malicious activity.

Copyright © 2022 IDG Communications, Inc.

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