Securing the border for New Zealand's Department of Conservation

For New Zealand’s Department of Conservation – Te Papa Atawhai (DOC), the cloud-based SMX Email Security platform, offered as part of DOC’s IT service provider Fujitsu’s managed services portfolio, ticked all the boxes. 

The locally hosted and supported solution provided DOC with reassurance email would be safely and securely managed within New Zealand borders; easy helpdesk access and also provided better protection when it came to data compliance and sovereignty.

When SMX approached DOC about migrating the organisation’s email security to Fujitsu’s new SMX-powered email security platform, DOC’s Technology & Outsourced Services Manager Ken Walker was initially sceptical. 

As an 'early adopter', Walker had already moved DOC's email security to a cloud-based provider as a measure to better protect the organisation's border. However, the off-shore solution, hosted in the US and backed by remote US-based support, had proved a bit of a challenge for DOC. Ken Walker was open to improvement.

After considering the risks, implications and realities of DOC's existing situation, Walker agreed to look into the recommendation to adopt the SMX's cloud based solution as part of Fujitsu's managed services and made the decision to bring DOC's email security back to New Zealand.

In due course, the email security for DOC's approximately 1,900 users based in Wellington head office and 11 conservancy offices across New Zealand was quickly transferred to the SMX platform.

Mature, market-proven solution

“When we compared the experience of SMX with that of our current solution and others in the market, SMX stood out as the most mature and had significantly more resources than any other provider. They also demonstrated solid business continuity processes and are local,” Walker says.

“What’s more, SMX has a proven track record in the New Zealand market. They already filter email for a significant portion of council, crown research institutes, agencies, district health boards and state-owned-enterprises – which is reassuring.

“Also, the SMX solution uses two security vendors – this dual-vendor model means we aren’t reliant on only one security vendor, which is a plus. Essentially, choosing SMX was the low-risk option for us,” Walker says.

The SMX Email Security platform integrates industry-leading email security engines, providing SMX with one of the largest real-time intelligence networks of any email security provider globally. This ensures email protection evolves in real time to filter spam and viruses to better than 99.9 percent accuracy with extremely low false positives. 

Local infrastructure and support

Another key differentiator for DOC is that the SMX solution operates in-country. This means that DOC email is kept inside New Zealand’s borders. Competing services route email offshore.

SMX has multiple datacentres distributed throughout New Zealand. The underlying network infrastructure provides built-in redundancy via multiple network routes. Should an issue arise with any site, data is automatically routed around it, giving 100 percent service availability. Having no single point of failure put Ken Walker’s mind to rest: “It’s one less thing I need to worry about,” he says.

Local support was a further selling point for DOC. Prior to switching to Fujitsu's SMX-powered email security platform, DOC had to rely on reaching a US-based operations centre for escalation, which had often meant a delay in issue resolution.

As part of the service, SMX provides first, second and, most importantly, third level support all within New Zealand – and because the support team is local, support hours align with business hours. While other companies implement additional support agreements to ensure they have a specialist on hand, this additional cost is removed by implementing SMX.

"In an environment where organisations face cyber threats on a daily basis, having my support team in New Zealand means everything to me. I can reach the operations team within seconds and I don't have to go through a complex array of business units to get accountability," says Ken Walker.

Data sovereignty

Finally, there was the issue of data sovereignty. With DOC's email data stored in a US-hosted cloud, SMX and Fujitsu advised Walker to consider the legal compliance, privacy and data sovereignty implications of off-shoring business data. Data stored offshore may be subject to that country’s laws and jurisdiction, yet the New Zealand organisation is still responsible for data integrity and is liable if a security breach occurs.

Paul Bourke, General Manager MS New Zealand for Fujitsu New Zealand Limited says: “In our role as a strategic partner we explain to our clients that off-shoring data isn’t just about network latency and complexity. Decisions made by IT about off-shoring data impact the internal organisation and third-party stakeholders.” 

Based on his understanding of data sovereignty, and recent research from the New Zealand Privacy Commissioner and Law Commission, Walker made the decision to bring DOC's email back to New Zealand.

As SMX operates in-country, email is filtered and managed in New Zealand under local laws and jurisdiction.  This means there is no impact on internal policy based on The Public Finance Act, the Privacy Act and the Public Records Act.

In addition, SMX’s cloud-based platform architecture is designed to ensure complete data integrity for clients.  The SMX service is multi-tenanted, with specific, secure data silos for each client; meaning individual clients’ data is treated completely separately from other clients’ email.

"Something I didn't realise when we started out is that SMX has a presence across the Asia Pacific region and they have a global mindset," says Walker. "They offer a sophisticated, best-of-breed, email security service that is truly world class – and, importantly for us, it is locally managed."

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