Patric Balmer, formerly of NTT New Zealand, is officially Spark's new lead for managed security services.
Before working through a three-month probation, Balmer was general manager for NTT's cyber security go-to-market. Over a 24 year career, he accumulated experience in designing security solutions for clients and providing a perspective on security challenges and threats.
The capability within Spark’s cyber defence team was "one of a kind" in New Zealand, Balmer said.
“The experienced team of specialised threat hunters combined with Spark’s unique threat intelligence platform provides the perfect ingredients for our new-to-market managed detection and response (MDR) services,” Balmer said.
Josh Bahlman, Spark’s chief information security officer, said Balmer brought a wealth of experience and credentials to the role and would strengthen Spark’s go-to-market in providing modern and innovative security services.
“Patric is dedicated to driving our managed security strategy to help our business customers implement strategies for their security operations to protect sensitive data, detect any imminent threats and respond accordingly,” Bahlman said.
The rise of a cloud-connected, mobile and remote workforce has put the visibility and control of users and devices outside of the enterprise, Balmer said.
"One of the major hurdles facing IT security professionals is developing, implementing and maintaining a modern cybersecurity programme to secure this future of work. However, available time, resources and access to the required skill sets remain a constant challenge."
Complex threats and cyber security resource shortages had left many organisations unable to effectively detect threats and respond.
"Our approach to MDR means we operate as an extension of your in-house team with 24/7 New Zealand-based detection and response."
Spark's solutions were powered by what Balmer described as "unique cyber threat intelligence" and Microsoft security solutions delivered using MDR services, which were launched last November.
According to the company's website, Microsoft Sentinel and Microsoft Defender for Endpoint are used to deliver MDR.
In February, Spark reported disappointing results from its cloud, security and service management unit. However, the company told Reseller News that the security revenue line encompassed what it described as "standalone security products and services", which represented less than 10 per cent of the cloud portfolio.
This typically delivered small increases and decreases in revenue over time.
Beyond that line, however, Spark had a more extensive cyber security operation supporting the full range of managed services it supplied, delivering "secure by design".
"We have the largest security capability in the country, 100-plus security subject matter experts, and we put great emphasis on security across our customers’ business operations," Spark said.