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World Cloud Security Day a good reminder for Kiwi business
Wed, 3rd Apr 2024

As New Zealand recognises World Cloud Security Day, a team of experts has joined forces to shed light on the steady evolution of cloud computing and data privacy in the country. The group, which includes representatives from IAB New Zealand Data, Privacy, and Measurement Council and Paul Dearlove, Country Manager Google Cloud NZ, has taken a closer look at how these digital fields are changing within Aotearoa.

Emily Isle, Rachel Bayfield, and James Cartwright from the IAB, along with Paul Dearlove and Dr Phoebe Fletcher, Senior Lecturer in Digital Marketing at Massey University, highlighted the accelerated digital transformation of New Zealand businesses that was prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic and saw increased uptake of cloud computing. According to Dearlove, "The shift to digitisation is happening in every industry. Cloud, AI, and data are helping businesses big and small, and governments outthink large-scale problems and deliver more innovative and helpful solutions."

New Zealand's business landscape has shifted towards growth, cost management, innovation, evolving market conditions and rapid response to changing consumer needs. It's in these areas where cloud adoption has a crucial role to play. Dearlove further noted that "cloud enables businesses to rapidly spin up new collaboration tools, provision services up or down depending on their day-to-day needs."

However, even with the digital transformation surge, an AWS report demonstrated that New Zealand’s cloud adoption lags behind Australia, sitting at only about 40%. Despite this, as technology advances, more businesses are expected to integrate AI into their regular practices. According to Google's Economic Impact Report, NZD$4.2 billion in productivity benefits are predicted from Cloud development in Aotearoa between 2025 and 2030.

Regardless of the prospective benefits, companies face unique challenges when transitioning to cloud computing, mainly surrounding acquiring in-house technical expertise and ensuring privacy and legal compliance. Dr Fletcher revealed that the last update of New Zealand's Privacy Act in 2020 introduced greater regulatory powers and fines for non-compliance. She added, "Businesses need to carefully consider their choice of cloud provider and the risks associated with uploading information, including the provider's breach notification considerations."

It's anticipated that over the next few years, New Zealand's data landscape will focus more on personalisation and customer journey mapping powered by AI advancements. Effective cloud transformation will require commitment, not just from CIOs and CEOs but also from board members and department leaders. A significant number of New Zealand businesses believe that they lack robust security policies and offline data backup capabilities, hinting at the need for further development in these areas.

Policies such as creating a zero-trust environment, utilising encryption, checking for misconfigurations, and ensuring a cloud provider's platform is built on privacy by design principles, need to be at the forefront of businesses entering the data landscape in New Zealand. Paul Dearlove emphasised, "Businesses need to be confident they are partnering with a cloud vendor who will keep their data secure, comply with requirements, and give them visibility and control of their data."

As legislation overseas, like GDPR, evolves swiftly, New Zealand's data and privacy laws are likely to follow suit. Businesses conducting Privacy Impact Assessments should consider best practices from abroad. In addition, Dr. Fletcher reminded businesses of the importance of "Creating trust and transparency with consumers...It is critical to ensure that consumers have access to information on how their data is used that is easily understood and written in plain language."