Take on the world with international standards

Silverstripe CEO Wayne Yarr and RedShield cybersecurity CEO Andy Prow explain how they are unrecognisable to a global market without standards.

One standard to rule them all.

That’s the wish of leaders in the tech world using multiple standards for global reach. Silverstripe Digital Services Business CEO Wayne Yarr and RedShield cyber security CEO Andy Prow lead two of New Zealand’s biggest internet-based businesses using standards to build customer and business partner trust, and support their businesses to mature and expand into international markets.

With ‘more human interactivity now happening at the digital layer, than the human layer’ (ex CIA Director John O. Brennan), consistent, safe and accessible online data exchange, privacy and security is something many users take for granted. Standards are the glue that helps keep countries together on one page to meet these requirements.

‘People underestimate the work that has to be done in building infrastructure and application software and the compliance integration required across these’, says Wayne. ‘You need to factor these things into your business model so you have a company that works across countries seamlessly and is scalable; so I can go and work for a New Zealand company, in the United Kingdom or Singapore and only worry about the time difference.’

Everything in our daily lives and business interaction is reliant on security within a global market; from government, healthcare, power and energy use, banking and logistics to ecommerce, education and insurance. All of these need one thing from international web platform providers and cyber security – to be certified against standards! Why? Simply because this offers an assurance of trust.

‘We are unrecognisable to a global market without standards,’ says Andy Prow. ‘As a New Zealand tech company expanding globally, we don’t win work because of standards and compliance. But without them we do lose!’

Standards within the digital sector are diverse including international standards for accessibility guidelines, health and safety, data privacy, cyber security and cloud security, information management systems. Keeping across these can be a challenge. ‘Developers doing the work need to evolve with changing recommendations and have the knowledge to incorporate them in the work they do,’ says Wayne. ‘What was relevant yesterday isn’t relevant tomorrow.’

The importance of digital economy to New Zealand means we should be staying close and participating in relevant technology, and digital and data-related international standards development committees to ensure New Zealand are able to contribute to and shape the standards that matter most for New Zealand’s benefit.

‘We would love to see one standard to rule them all,’ jokes Andy. Participating in international standards development – something Standards New Zealand facilitates – offers a great opportunity to be involved in unifying guidelines and recommendations that ultimately support international business. When the world needs to stay connected – especially important in times of pandemic – barriers and inconsistencies would not help.

Wayne advises, ‘When you’re developing your new business and thinking about what business model you want, as much as thinking about adopting an employee-centric philosophy, you also need to think about what standards you’re going to need. You will need them for growth not just in New Zealand but further afield, so standards need to be a part of your strategic process right up front.’

‘Compliance needs to be integrated into best practice, so that if you do things really well for security, for accessibility, for privacy etc you don’t need to think about including compliance as an add on or nice to have. It will be your standard approach and you’ll be better prepared to conquer the international market.’

International standards play a crucial role in facilitating and enabling international trade, and supporting businesses into export markets by lowering barriers to trade and avoiding other risks. Benefits to New Zealand business come through awareness of and participation in the work of international standards development committees, so we are at the forefront of agreed best practice.

International standards support many other sectors. Standards New Zealand is responsible for coordinating the involvement of New Zealand experts on international committees, in particular the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) and International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC).