EY acquires AU’s Open Windows in push for AsiaPac cyber security advisory

Perception Point

Professional services firm EY announced Monday that it has reached a deal to acquire identity and access management (IAM) provider Open Windows Australia Pty Ltd in a bid to strengthen its cyber security service capability in Asia Pacific.

The deal comes at a time when cyber attacks and security are in the spotlight amid a ‘ramsomware’ attack last month, and EY said the acquisition of Melbourne-based Open Windows would strengthen its cyber-security advisory capabilities and put it in a position it to offer services from strategy to implementation expertise across Asia Pacific. The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The deal to buy Open Windows’ 45-person division also highlights the ongoing transition where the ‘big four’ are all taking steps to becoming strong players in the technology consulting space, and diversifying from their core businesses of audit, accountancy and assurance practices.

The acquired firm which is part-owned by former Victorian premier Jeff Kennett, will become the central platform for a new regional Identity Management advisory practice for EY, to be led by Open Windows CEO, Simon Adler. It will provide ‘Identity-as-a-Service’ (IDaaS) in addition to EY’s existing identity governance capability.

In recent months, there is a growing need around the world to protect infrastructure such as financial systems, power grids, telecommunication lines, transportation, commerce and health care systems from cyber-threats.

Connected infrastructure, growing networks and internet-enabled devices mean that communities are increasingly vulnerable to risk of attack from sophisticated cyber criminals, who often use weak identity management controls to compromise systems, said Richard Watson, Lead Partner Cyber APAC, EY.

Last month, there were cyber attacks focused on global organizations through ransomware, and at that time EY had urged organizations worldwide to take immediate action and engage effective response measures to mitigate the effect of these attacks and help protect themselves against future attacks.

In a May 15 note, Paul van Kessel, EY Global Advisory Cybersecurity Leader had said, “the recent wave of cyber attacks is proof that cyber criminals are becoming more aggressive and sophisticated, simultaneously targeting all kinds of interconnected organizations across the globe. A cyber criminal’s greatest ally is complacency.”

Last year, EY had acquired a consulting services firm with an expertise in big data and analytics. The 2008-founded Society Consulting that started as a five-person startup in Washington had grown to become one the largest analytics consulting firms in US with past customers including Microsoft and Gist.

“Open Windows gives us the foundation for creating a hub for our identity management capability across APAC and we will be investing in people and assets to build on this regional capability,” said Lynn Kraus, Oceania Managing Partner Advisory, EY on the acquisition.

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