Online security

Spark attracts NTT’s cybersecurity chief to lead its MSSP business

Patrick Balmer (Spark)

Credit: provided

Patric Balmer, formerly of NTT New Zealand, is officially Spark’s new Head of Managed Security Services.

Before going on a three-month probation, Balmer was NTT’s general manager of cybersecurity go-to-market. Over a 24-year career, he has accumulated experience in designing security solutions for clients and providing perspective on security challenges and threats.

The capability within Spark’s cyber defense team was “one of a kind” in New Zealand, Balmer said.

“Spark’s experienced team of specialist threat hunters, combined with unique threat intelligence platform, provide the perfect ingredients for our new managed detection and response (MDR) services,” Balmer said.

Josh Bahlman, chief information security officer at Spark, said Balmer brings a wealth of experience and credentials to the role and will strengthen Spark’s marketability by 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,” said Bahlman.

The rise of a cloud-connected, mobile, and remote workforce has placed visibility and control of users and devices outside the enterprise, Balmer said.

“One of the biggest hurdles facing IT security professionals is developing, implementing and maintaining a modern cybersecurity program to secure this future of work. However, the available time, resources and access to the required skills remains a constant challenge.”

Complex threats and cybersecurity resource shortages have prevented many organizations from effectively detecting and responding to threats.

“Our approach to MDR means we operate as an extension of your in-house team with 24/7 detection and response based in New Zealand.”

Spark’s solutions relied on what Balmer described as “unique cyber threat intelligence” and Microsoft security solutions delivered using MDR services, which launched last November.

According to the company‘s website, Microsoft Sentinel and Microsoft Defender for Endpoint are used to provide MDR.

In February, Spark announced disappointing results from its cloud, security and services management unit. However, the company said Reseller news that the security revenue line encompassed what it described as “autonomous security products and services,” which made up less than 10% of the cloud portfolio.

This usually resulted in small increases and decreases in income over time.

Beyond that line, however, Spark had a more extensive cybersecurity operation supporting the full range of managed services it provided, offering “security by design”.

“We have the largest security capability in the country, more than 100 subject matter experts, and we place a high value on security in our customers’ business operations,” Spark said.

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Tags MSSPManaged Security Service Provider (MSSP)NTTSparkManaged detection and responseMDRcyber security