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Smart Security Tool Brings Peace Of Mind

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Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Smart Security Tool Brings Peace Of Mind

A smart security tool developed by a Wellington company is providing affordable, world class IT surveillance for a growing number of Kiwi businesses and organisations.

Dubbed the RedEye, the system offers a total security solution, remotely and automatically scanning networks once a day or more frequently if required. If a problem is detected, IT security experts at Aura RedEye Security contact customers to discuss risks and provide solutions.

The RedEye, developed with investment of $50,000 from TechNZ, the business investment programme of the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology, has been sold to 20 customers, less than a year after its launch, and has recently signed its first Australian client.

"The RedEye is delivering an outstanding return on our investment," says Foundation Senior Investment Manager Joseph Stuart. "Aura RedEye Security's product is providing high quality, round-the-clock IT security to both small and large organisations and has strong potential to be sold internationally."

Aura RedEye Security Managing Director Andy Prow says the RedEye can scan networks from both the inside and the outside with the latter service most in demand.

"Historically, there has been limited technology available to help organisations monitor their network from the outside. The products that do exist tend to be expensive, designed for large networks and deliver long complex reports that only an IT expert would understand.

"Part of what got us thinking about the RedEye is that, as Internet security specialists, we were often called in to help clients make sense of reports their existing security systems were generating, which they didn't understand."

With the RedEye, information from regular scans of clients' networks is analysed by the "Red Brain" which will alert Aura RedEye Security staff to any faults. "We report the problem to the client the next day, or immediately if necessary, and help them decide what actions to take."

At a starting cost of $200 a month for a daily, external scan, Andy Prow says the service has, for the first time, made it possible for smaller businesses to access rigorous IT surveillance.

The RedEye was developed in 2007 by Aura RedEye Security's parent company, Aura Software Security Ltd. The company used a commonly available secure system as underpinning architecture, added the best available open-source scanning tools and used the TechNZ investment for in-house development of capability to operate remotely and to build tools for intelligent data mining and analysis.

Andy Prow says the TechNZ investment gave the company the impetus to proceed with its R&D.

"We may not have done it without the TechNZ dollars," says Mr Prow. "It's hard for a small company to fund research and development from cash flow and easy to put it off. The investment gave us a window of three months and some dedicated funds to do the work."

Organisations already using the RedEye include Xero, the online accounting company, Audit New Zealand and the Ministry of Research, Science and Technology (MORST).

Grant Riley, MORST's Director of Knowledge Management, says the RedEye performs a daily scan of the ministry's network, ensuring security and reducing the costs of ongoing IT audits.

"We have outsourced the hosting of our servers and have many third party vendors supporting our business systems. Our hosting vendor ensures we have a secure network, but multiple vendors supporting our business applications can create potential security risks. Previously we were carrying out an audit once a year but RedEye is like having our own IT auditors on the job every day. It has cut our IT audit costs significantly."

Export growth is the next goal for Aura RedEye Security. Andy Prow says the first Australian customer has been signed with the company's business model proving highly attractive.

"That client has been using a United States product to provide a similar service but is switching because of the added value we offer through the analysis we provide.

"The RedEye has given us the ability to grow our business quickly. Previously, we could only grow by taking on more experts but we now have technology to provide our service globally, backed up by our technical consulting team."

Aura Software Security has a team of just five IT experts who, Andy Prow says, have capacity to service hundreds of customers. "With the Red Brain analysing all the scanning reports, our staff can focus on what really matters - identifying problems that occur and advising on the best solutions."

Those IT experts are also specialists in penetration testing, attacking client's IT systems with real-world hacking tools, and some of its own inventions, to analyse robustness and identify vulnerabilities. They are what's known as "Certified Ethical Hackers", legally allowed to use hacking tools to penetrate computer networks and systems.

Proof that they are top of their game has come this year with one of the company's security consultants, Graeme Neilson, being invited to present at three international security conferences, including the world's biggest, held in Las Vegas in July.

"It's a great endorsement for us. It shows our customers that we are serious about IT security and really know what we are talking about," says Mr Prow.

Aura Software Security Ltd has its head-office in Te Horo, north of Wellington, and an office in central Wellington. From here they "hack" customers through-out New Zealand as well as Australia and the UK.

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