Solving New Zealand Police's restricted data challenge with a secure solution

New Zealand Police work with local communities to keep New Zealanders safe, and feel safe. This is done by providing policing services 24 hours a day, every day of the year.

New Zealand Police work with local communities to keep New Zealanders safe, and feel safe. This is done by providing policing services 24 hours a day, every day of the year. The data that is collected, and shared by New Zealand Police with other agencies is key to their fulfilling those policing services in assisting with crime prevention.

One such example is the Child Sex Offender (CSO) Register, which is the key tool to help fulfill the purpose of the Child Protection Act 2016, by reducing reoffending and the risk posed by serious offenders. The CSO Information is highly sensitive and shared with the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) via Secure and Encrypted Email (SEEmail), but MSD will no longer accept information via that medium from early 2022.

This presented a problem for New Zealand Police was essentially two-fold; An appropriate method for sharing highly sensitive and restricted data must be identified. The older, and traditional  methods of sharing data, such as SFTP and email were not appropriate options given the restricted nature of the data being shared. Second, the problem was time critical. An appropriate solution needed to be found quickly.

The approach

The data that is shared between the CSO and MSD is highly sensitive and classified as up-to ‘Restricted,’which meant that the security and privacy of the solution was vital.

Eightwire, known as New Zealands’ leading data integration platform as a proven record for securely connecting New Zealand Government agencies together through its revolutionary cloud-based Data Exchange. Eightwire is currently used by MSD and Department of Corrections to share sensitive data with other Agencies.

Furthermore, the system needed to be easy to use as it was required that the New Zealand Police ICT would initially perform the initial Eightwire setup, and then handover the day-to-day management of the job transfers to the business users.

Eightwire’s out-of-the-box connectors meant that data sharing could be set up in a matter of hours and did not require much ICT resources to get started. An Agent, a small piece of Eightwire software was to be installed in the New Zealand Police network, and would only have access to the ‘staging area’ (a shared drive within the New Zealand Police network in which the file that is shared with MSD would reside). For extra security, the file’s were to be encrypted by New Zealand Police before being moved to the staging areas.

The benefits

Security and speed. These were the two key considerations for the data sharing solution.

With the Eightwire Data Exchange in place, New Zealand Police was enabled to make a major change to their data sharing practices in sensitive environments, and to do so within a fraction of the time that is usually required. Through Eightwire’s existing certifications and its Secure-by-Design development principles, it met Police security requirements out of the box. This removed the need to build and test various security settings as they are all built into the platform. 

At the same time, Police team members could be quickly onboarded through a simple and intuitive user interface. When transitioned team members from a common communication method such as email, it was vital that they can operate to the same effectiveness without undergoing lengthy training and change management processes. 

Following this trial, New Zealand Police are currently looking into other opportunities to leverage the power of Eightwire across the organization, and to make better use of its scalability.