Westpac has acquired an 11% stake in Canberra-based cybersecurity outfit QuintessenceLabs as it bids to shore up its defences against hi-tech hackers.
QLabs majors in "quantum" security, generating secure cryptographic keys using quantum-derived random numbers to lock up confidential data. The company's customers span data-sensitive industries such as aerospace, defence, and government organisations. In early 2014 the Australian Information Industry Association named QLabs as Australia’s most innovative small company.
In making its investment, Westpac says it wants to learn from QLabs experience with other industries and expose the tech team to the skill-sets of QLabs engineers. The bank will initially use the technology internally to boost security of employee desktops and devices and explore its use in protecting customer data.
Westpac group CIO David Curran says: "As we deliver the bank's digital transformation, it is essential that we maintain the resilience and security of our systems. To do this, we need to continually evolve our solutions to help protect our confidential data, and we see the relationship with QuintessenceLabs as a significant next step on this journey."
As part of the deal, Westpac general manager of technology and architecture Robert Wilson will take a seat on QLabs' board.
The cost of the investment has not been disclosed. Westpac has an option to increase its stake to 16%.