Westpac buys 11 percent stake in security firm QuintessenceLabs

Westpac has invested in QuintessenceLabs in the hopes of giving its security capabilities a boost, as well as cutting down time and costs associated with encrypting confidential data.

Westpac Group has invested an 11 percent stake in security firm QuintessenceLabs to boost its online security capabilities.

QuintessenceLabs specialises in "quantum enhanced" online security that generates keys made up of random numbers to encrypt confidential data.

Westpac said its stake in the security firm will give the bank's security capabilities a boost, as well as cutting down the time and costs associated with encrypting confidential data.

At the same time, the partnership is expected to provide the bank with insight into the security techniques that QuintessenceLabs provides to other industries, such as aerospace, defence, and government organisations.

Westpac Group CIO Dave Curran said protecting customer information and sensitive commercial data is a priority, and the investment signals the bank's strategic approach to building its security capabilities.

"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," he said.

As part of the deal, Westpac Group general manager of technology and architecture Robert Wilson will be appointed to QuintessenceLabs' board of directors.

The deal comes off the back of Westpac CEO Brian Hartzer announcing during the first half of the 2015 financial year that the bank is planning to invest in additional resources to strengthen its security systems to counter "new and emerging threats".

Earlier this year, Westpac introduced Touch ID to allow customers to use their fingerprints to securely sign on to Westpac Live on their iPhones, iPads, and Samsung Galaxy 5 and Note 4 devices.

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