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Cyber security project puts NZ on the map

18 Sep 2014

A $12 million project could lead to a new software niche for New Zealand, says Dr Ryan Ko, head of New Zealand’s only cyber security lab.

The six-year Security Technologies Returning Accountability, Transparency and User-centric Services in the Cloud (STRATUS) project will create tools that will return the control of cloud-based data to users.

However, it is the creation of jobs and a new market that is the most exciting aspect, Ko, leader of the project and senior lecturer in the Faculty of Computing and Mathematical Studies at the University of Waikato, says.

“Hopefully we can create a new niche for New Zealand in software - and we can create jobs, contribute to the economy and increase demand for more research.”

The project has funding of $12, 223, 770 from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

It is a collaboration between the University of Waikato, Auckland University, Unitec and the Cloud Security Alliance, a not-for-profit organisation which promotes the use of best practice for providing security within cloud computing.

Industry partners include Aura Information Security, Gallaghers, Green Button, LayerX, Mako Networks and Wynyard Group, who have committed funding to the project.

The STRATUS project will be tested using Cloud8, the lab’s cloud computing test bed. It was set up in 2013 so that experiments could be run in a realistic environment.

Ko plans to meet with the other organisations for a brainstorming workshop and to establish how the team is going to work together to meet the key performance indicators.

He estimates that it will be two years before the first breakthroughs are ready for industry technology transfer and adoption. While it’s an aggressive timeline, Ko says they have been working on some features of the project since the lab was established.

“It will be a series of tools that enhance the transparency of data in the cloud,” he says. “We want users to be able to control their own security of their data in the cloud, and to give companies the tools to sell.”