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General News

Good questions, better answers

By | General News

News and developments from Spark-sponsored Lightning Lab GovTech

Lightening Lab GovTech is a Spark-sponsored accelerator programme for public sector agencies to build, test, and validate new approaches and technologies for government. Ten teams are working side-by-side in the Lightning Lab facility over three months, before lifting the lid on their handiwork at a demo day showcase event on 5 November.

Stuart Van Rij coached teams participating in this year’s edition of Lightning Lab GovTech – Van Rij, a coach with the Camp Negotiation Institute, says the science of a good question involves knowing your mission and purpose – you’ve got to know why you’re asking the question and what you aim to find.

Ten teams have been working side-by-side in the Lightning Lab facility and will lift the lid on their handiwork at a demo day showcase event on 5 November.

Maggie Ford, a member of the Department of Conservation’s team exploring improvements to waste management practices at DOC sites, put the theory to test in a problem discovery sprint – a process designed to pinpoint the nature of problems and how they map to opportunities.

Learn more >>

Mental Health Awareness Week

By | General News

This week is Mental Health Awareness Week and CCL Together with Revera is focusing on the Five Ways to Wellbeing – Connect, Keep Learning, Take Notice, Be Active and Give. There is a lot happening this week, starting off with a wee treat on everyone’s desk encouraging team members to take a break and focus on the Five Ways to Wellbeing.

Explore your way to wellbeing – Whāia te ara hauora, Whitiora.

Meet the CCL, Reseller News Innovation Awards 2019 Finalists

By | General News

CCL has been shortlisted for three awards at this year’s Reseller News Innovation Awards:

Josh Penfold – finalist for Management Excellence

Karl Moore – finalist for Sales Excellence

And, CCL is a finalist for the Mid-market Partner of the Year award (CCL has won this award in 2018 and 2017).

The awards ceremony will be held on 23rd October. Good luck team.

CCL appoints Suzanne Miller – Director, Central Region

By | General News

Suzanne Miller has been appointed Director, Central Region, spearheading the newly-merged CCL’s business across the greater  Wellington and lower-North Island regions.

Completing CCL’s top-table line-up, announced in May this year, Miller joins CCL from Spark, where she held the position of Customer Unit Lead.

A former general manager of Datacom’s government cloud services, Miller’s track-record in the IT industry includes roles for a slew of top-tier organisations, including HPE and, client-side, IRD, Capital Coast District Heath Board, and Westpac Bank.

CCL CEO Andrew Allan said he was delighted with Miller’s appointment. “Suzanne has a formidable CV, with technical and leadership skills tested and proven in some of the country’s most dynamic organisations,” he said. “Her experience in cloud services, transformational change, and central government make her ideally placed to lead CCL in the central region.”

With 700-plus employees and 11 offices nationwide, CCL is the country’s largest New Zealand-focused IT services company, providing end-to-end IT management and multi-platform expertise to some of New Zealand’s most important organisations.

Since announcing the merger late February, the company has maintained a head of steam, winning significant transformation project work for New Zealand’s primary workplace health and safety regulator WorkSafe, and Children’s charity Barnados, as well was adding muscle in the public cloud arena with new accreditations from Microsoft and Amazon Web Services (AWS).

Workers still falling victim to old cyber tricks

By | General News

Fraudsters prey on busy execs’ impulsive email behaviour  

Few people these days fall for unsolicited emails from Nigerian princes offering juicy commission to transfer funds from a multimillion-dollar inheritance. But still plenty of Kiwis are being sucked in by a rising number of email phishing scams – and you can blame their impulsive email behaviour.

CCL’s security awareness service, which each week sends phishing look-a-like emails to thousands of employees working in organisations across the country, is registering a phishing success rate of 20-to-30 per cent among participating employees presented with their first duplicitous email.

CCL’s Head of Security, Tim Sewell, said analysis showed that while people in all job roles fell victim to phishing attacks, certain personality types, especially Type-A personalities, often found working in sales and leadership roles, appear more inclined to click duplicitous links and attachments.

However, personality type wasn’t the only factor to determine susceptibility, he said. “Personal workloads, stress, timing and context also influence the success rates of phishing attacks. For example, receiving a phishing email that looks like a courier company when you’re expecting to receive a parcel – bingo.”

Sewell said CCL’s training and education programme had reduced phishing success rates to around five per cent, with well-trained employees now regularly reporting phishing scams and being part of the solution.

In the meantime, real-life phishing incidents were likely to remain high as phishermen got more sophisticated, launching scams from previously compromised email accounts and impersonating trusted providers, such as Microsoft Office 365, Amazon, Google, even the IRD and NZ Post, he said.

“More people are working in the cloud and using browser-based logins to access services. As this behaviour becomes routine, people tend to let their guard down, providing an easy in for fraudsters to steal user login credentials,” said Sewell.

A report published by cloud security firm Avanan shows one in every 99 emails is a phishing attack, using malicious links and attachments as the main vector.

Closer to home, CERT NZ figures show the number of malware reports from Kiwi organisations more than doubled to 43 in the three months ended 31 December.

Phishing campaigns containing malware and targeting business customers of some New Zealand banks contributed to the increase. And in three incidents reported to the NCSC this year, New Zealand organisations lost nearly NZD$800,000 to ‘successful’ fraudulent invoice emails.

Sewell said multi-factor authentication (also known as MFA) helped reduce credential theft – one of the main prizes from phishing attacks – by requiring users to authenticate themselves to a website by another method, in addition to the standard username and password login procedure.

However, he said the additional cost of MFA and the inconvenience to users who are quick to moan about laboured access discouraged adoption, increasing the “attack surface” for criminals.

“And that’s a big problem, because once the bad guys have captured a user’s credentials their behaviour goes largely unnoticed – because there isn’t anything to trigger a security alert,” said Sewell. “That gives the crims time to watch and learn, email customers with revised payment details, send out mocked-up invoices, gain the trust of contacts linked to the compromised email account, and reply to existing emails.”  

He said regular, friendly phishing exercises, multi-factor authentication, and anti-phishing technology were essential steps in the current cybersecurity landscape, though tweaking existing policies in some cases was the fastest way to bolster defences, he said.

“For example, financial policies should ensure requests to change payment details are authorised and properly validated, without relying on email. Don’t accept emails as authorisation of payment method. And if someone keeps taking the phishing bait, maybe they’re in the wrong job,” said Sewell.

CCL scoops Dell Solution Provider Workforce Transformation Award 2018

By | General News

CCL’s delivery of Dell solutions has been recognised at the vendor’s annual A/NZ partner event held last week in Nouméa, New Caledonia.

The Spark-owned provider took home the solution provider workforce transformation award 2018.

CCL was the only New Zealand partner to win among the 13 categories in the regional award.

The awards recognise the ways in which partners are growing their businesses within the Dell Technologies Partner Program, unlocking limitless possibilities for their customers with innovative transformational solutions, the vendor explained.

Read the full story.

CCL-Revera appoints executive leadership team

By | General News

CEO Andrew Allan appoints leadership team to extend company’s cloud and IT services leadership.

Seven executives from the ranks of Revera and CCL pre-merger have been appointed to the executive leadership team of the now merged entity, called CCL.

Joining CEO Andrew Allan at the top table is:

  • COO – Sri Gazula, who held the same position at Revera
  • CFO – Chris Fairfield, previously Revera CFO
  • Troy Myer – Technical Director (formerly Revera General Manager Business Development)
  • Cherie Roache – Director Southern Region (formerly CCL General Manager, Southern Region)
  • Guy Inglis – Director Northern Region (formerly CCL General Manager, Northern Region)
  • Rik Rogers – Director Client Delivery (formerly CCL General Manager Managed Services)
  • Richard Hansen – Director Enterprise Sourcing (formerly CCL General Manager Strategy).

The company is currently recruiting for an executive to fill the role of Director Central Region.

“The formation of this team is a significant milestone in what is a new beginning for two established businesses,” said CEO Andrew Allan. “Now we can leverage our collective strengths to accelerate our success in cloud and IT services.”

Allan oversees more than 700 employees, in offices across Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Nelson, in additional to Blenheim, Dunedin, Invercargill and Queenstown.

“The merger was conceived to create a single organisation providing end-to-end IT management and cloud technology services unrivalled in New Zealand,” he said. “Work continues apace as we streamline processes, culture, and customer experience – the results of which will bubble to the surface without too much fanfare.”

Since announcing the merger late February, the company has maintained a head of steam, winning significant transformation project work for New Zealand’s primary workplace health and safety regulator WorkSafe and Children’s charity Barnados, as well was adding muscle in the public cloud arena with new accreditations from Microsoft and Amazon Web Services (AWS).

Allan said the Spark-owned entity had full license to write its own rules for success  but was remodelling aspects of its services portfolio to support Spark Group’s strategy in the cloud.

Jolie Hodson, Customer Director at Spark, said the new CCL was the best form to leverage the company’s investment in the two businesses – a move that effectively created Spark Group’s IT managed services and cloud delivery engine.

“We want to extend our position as arguably the leader of IT management and cloud technology services in the country,” she said at the time of the announcement. “Combining these two businesses delivers the seamless end-to-end services and expertise more clients demand, and ensures we put a panoptic lens to their businesses.”

WorkSafe gears up for cloud transformation

By | General News

WorkSafe New Zealand has kicked off a transformation programme to deliver workplace systems from Microsoft Office 365, SharePoint, Azure, and Windows 10, supporting 500-plus staff with a single cloud platform to work and communicate.

WorkSafe, New Zealand’s primary workplace health and safety regulator, is working with CCL-Revera to deliver the project, slated for completion later this year.

WorkSafe’s move to a public cloud platform lays the foundation to deliver against the government’s vision for health and safety at work over the next 10 years.

Mike Foley, chief digital and information officer at WorkSafe, said the transition is consistent with government’s cloud first policy to improve services and deliver substantial cost savings.

“Smart cloud platforms provide the enterprise agility we need to become a world-class regulator,” said Foley. “The less time we spend on administration and bending legacy systems to new forms of work, the more focus we bring to improving health and safety performance.”

VMware’s Workspace One Digital workplace platform will provide secure multi-device access to WorkSafe applications.

Foley said CCL-Revera ticked all the boxes, including migration planning, platform setup, staged transition, user support, and ongoing management.

Andrew Allan, CEO of CCL-Revera, said his company won the competitive tender in a joint bid with Revera late last year. “The tender process confirmed the complementary nature of our businesses and the value clients place on a broad mix of services and capabilities delivered from a single engagement and support engine.”

Announcing the merger last month, Allan said the move was motivated by a market shift that saw more clients seeking out a single supplier to cover all their bases.

Barnardos takes first steps to Microsoft cloud services with CCL-Revera

By | General News

Barnardos has taken its first steps to Microsoft’s cloud in a move to drive a Microsoft-centred as-a-service transformation.

Working with long-term partner CCL-Revera, New Zealand’s largest children’s charity has kicked off phase one of a staged migration that will see the organisation’s 650 users across 65 sites up and running on productivity and collaboration services from Microsoft Office 365 by the middle of the year.

Other work currently underway includes the deployment of Azure identity and access management services, and a reconfiguration of the organisation’s on-premise Microsoft CRM in Microsoft Dynamics 365 Online.

The organisation’s switch to Microsoft cloud services is the continuation of a strategy to drive down costs and leverage as-a-service technologies, Barnardos chief technology officer Jaco van der Lith said.

“Four years ago we outsourced and virtualised our infrastructure on Revera’s Homeland IaaS platform,” he said. “The move delivered a sensible format for a technology refresh and consolidation, and paved the way for public cloud services.”

While Microsoft’s non-profit pricing plans offered Barnardos a strong incentive to adopt cloud services, a number of the organisation’s business applications, including financial, payroll, and file sharing systems, will continue to run on CCL-Revera’s Homeland IaaS platform for the time being.

The role of both local IT partner and in-country platform services remains a core part of Barnardos’s operation, with the Spark-owned IT services provider continuing to deliver service desk, support, and a wide area network.

“CCL-Revera’s IaaS platform continues to do good work for applications unavailable in Microsoft’s cloud,” van der Lith said. “There’s no real financial benefit to change.”

Working with both CCL and Revera prior to their recent merger announcement, van der Lith described the development as a “good surprise offering complementary strengths”.

“Revera has a great engineering legacy – they build stuff really well and are supported by strong technical teams. Combined with CCL’s detailed customer focus, the merger is a good thing for both organisations – and from the customer perspective,” he said.

Commenting on the merger, CCL-Revera CEO Andrew Allan said client feedback confirmed the complementary nature of the newly-merged businesses.

“Clients place a high value on a broad mix of services and capabilities delivered from a single engagement and support engine,” he said. “We call it the safe hands of a custodian.”

CCL-Revera boosts public cloud creds with Microsoft and AWS

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Newly-merged company covers public cloud bases with Microsoft M365 Fast Track ready partner status and AWS advanced partner status

CCL-Revera is flexing its newly-formed muscle in the public cloud arena with new accreditations from Microsoft and Amazon Web Services (AWS).

One of a handful of local providers to secure Microsoft M365 Fast Track ready partner status, the Spark-owned ICT services provider is moving quickly to increase its public cloud footprints, signing up 100-plus clients to Microsoft-funded training and support to take advantage of the full M365 portfolio.

The announcement follows the addition of two heads to CCL-Revera’s Microsoft practice, with David Osborne appointed M365 practice lead, and Kath Tate taking the role of programme administrator.

On the AWS front, CCL-Revera has been awarded advanced partner status following a recent run of customer migrations to AWS, certification across a range of AWS business and technology competencies, and the continued growth of the company’s public-cloud practice, Radar.

CCL-Revera CEO Andrew Allan said the company continued to add public cloud horsepower to support clients’ growing appetite for public cloud services. “You can’t argue with the price, performance and scale, but redefining legacy applications in the cloud is harder than it looks,” he said. “That’s why we say that it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to choose public cloud, but you’ll want a cloud rocket scientist to get you there and keep everything running smoothly.”

Commenting on the company’s new Microsoft credentials specifically, Allan said demand had spiked following the retirement of Windows 7, the shift to the Windows 10 subscription model, and recently released Microsoft security and collaboration services.

“The desktop is often forgotten in the hype surrounding new technologies and especially cloud – but it’s still a key driver in business performance and an important productivity enabler for all clients,” Allan said.

The company’s newly-combined public cloud practice, which comprises 40-plus heads split evenly across cloud architects and engineers, is fast forming as a major spearhead in the company’s strategy to function as the “custodian” of IT management and cloud technology for its clients.

Announcing the merger last month, Allan said the move was motivated by a market shift that saw more clients seeking out a single supplier to cover all their bases.

“The merger is based on the thing clients tell us they value most: the safe hands of a custodian. Combining Revera’s deep platform experience with CCL’s professional services delivers expert focus at every step in the management and modernisation of our clients’ business technology,” he said.