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We’ve got the national initiative and creativity to look under the hood of IT systems, but the country’s missing an opportunity to collectively sell its IT security expertise to the world.

“If we took a pan New Zealand concept of IT security, we could export it and charge accordingly,” says Lateral Security sales director, Ratu Mason.

The kiwi attitude to delve into software and its security’s depths, as well as legislation that while not exactly encouraging such behaviour, also doesn’t forbid it, is an advantage for this country Mason says.

“It is intellectual property that we have, and Google’s willing to pay for it because they realise that we’re good,” he says. Three of Google’s top IT security specialists are New Zealanders.

“We’re creative, and we need to foster and use that to our country’s benefit.”

Mason envisages that New Zealand IT security companies could virtually come together, and target a country by setting up a small branch office of five or six people in the United States, Europe, Canada, Australia or even China.

“This would be a commercial set up, with service offerings that are different from someone else,” he says.

Such an overseas front office would use a New Zealand back-office to test and monitor for IT system vulnerabilities.

Mason says he’s had difficulty convincing government departments of the opportunities for a collective NZ approach to such IT security challenges, but he points out that such opportunities are only going to grow larger.

With more online transactions, there’s more privacy and monitoring of privacy requirements, as well as increased opportunity for fraud to be carried out.

The huge rise in mobile applications will only see these risks grow for companies, and banks in the first instance he says.

“New Zealand’s recognised as world leaders in IT security,” says Mason. “We could be the next Nokia in this field, and we wouldn’t even have to carry out manufacturing. That’s because it is all in your head knowledge.”

He says the opportunity exists for a collective New Zealand approach to offering and serving the IT security field, but that a shared and planned approach to providing such a service could create a vibrant industry and new wealth for the country.