Mako Networks

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Mako Networks
Type Private
Industry Network Management, Internet Security, PCI DSS
Founded 2000
Headquarters Auckland, New Zealand
Key people CEO: Bill Farmer
Founders: Simon Gamble, Chris Massam
Website www.makonetworks.com

Mako Networks is a network management company headquartered in Auckland, New Zealand, providing services via a range of managed appliances that connect businesses to the Internet and protect them from security threats. Mako Networks helps businesses comply with the stringent Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS) for merchants that process, transmit or store cardholder data. The company is PCI DSS-certified, and exports to markets in the UK, North America, Middle East and Australia.

History[edit]

Startup Years[edit]

Mako Networks was founded by two New Zealanders, Simon Gamble and Chris Massam, as Yellow Tuna Networks in 2000. Operating from the front room of a residential flat in Herne Bay, Auckland, the company began by offering managed firewall services for small businesses and enterprise clients. In early 2001, Gamble and Massam were joined by Dennis Monks. During this period of expansion the company moved premises to a windowless lower-level office on Parnell Rise, known affectionately as “The Cave” which served as the company server room and office.

Monks began development of a centrally managed firewall solution that would allow the company to scale more rapidly and administer many firewalls from a single location. This communication methodology would become the backbone of the future Mako Networks technologies, where many devices on disparate networks can communicate with a central management system for operating instructions and communication.

In mid-2002 Bill Farmer, a New Zealand entrepreneur, joined to form Mako Networks. Farmer remains with the company today as its CEO.

Work continued developing the communication protocols that would enable the firewall systems to communicate with a Central Management System (CMS). To support the continued operation of Mako Networks and the research and development work underway, Mako continued to provide managed firewall systems for corporate networks and systems integration work where needed. It was not until 2004 that the communication protocol was market-ready and the first Mako Networks device became commercially available: the Mako 1030.

Launch and Expansion[edit]

With a network appliance now available on the market, Mako Networks recruited Mike Copley and Chris Nation in 2004, increasing the number of employees to six.

By 2005, Mako 1030 units were purchased by Telecom, the largest telecommunications provider in New Zealand, for use at their commercial customer sites as a security layer. With commercial viability now established, the company began a series of expansion efforts to the Middle East and United Kingdom, opening channels and offices in each location.

Concurrently, the Ministry of Health (MoH) in New Zealand began a comprehensive overhaul of its information technology systems, commencing the Connected Health initiative [1] which would securely link healthcare providers and patient records in a central repository. The MoH selected the Mako Networks system as the primary connection method for use at pharmacies, doctors and hospitals to securely connect to the system.

In early 2007, Andrew Murray, a former Vice President for Cisco Systems in Asia Pacific, joined Mako Networks to bolster their sales division and business development. Later that year, NetComm signed with Mako Networks as a channel partner in Australia, marking a third international market for the company. Later in 2008, Mako began its first exploratory forays into the North American market.

PCI DSS and the Present[edit]

Mako Networks became aware of a need for solutions to meet compliance obligations from the credit card industry in 2009 after requests from customers for assistance.[2] In 2004, the five major credit card companies (Visa, MasterCard, Discover, JCB and American Express) created a set of security standards for all merchants that process, store or transmit credit card data in an effort to reduce fraud. These standards (known as the PCI DSS) represent a number of technical and procedural criteria that must be met each year by businesses in order to be considered compliant.

Mako Networks became aware that its devices could be easily modified with a software template to help businesses meet their PCI DSS compliance obligations using the communication methodology first developed in the early 2000s. That methodology, now subject to international patent protection, meant Mako could rapidly scale a network management system that would also help merchants meet the majority of their technical PCI DSS compliance obligations.

In early 2010, Mako Networks became PCI DSS-certified following a comprehensive business audit by Deloitte,[3] and began selling their PCI DSS-compliant network management appliances globally. Doug Frederick from the United States also joined Mako Networks as its chairman during this time.

In 2011 the New Zealand government granted Mako Networks $4.3 million NZD over three years as part of a program to boost Research Science & Technology activities in New Zealand.[4]

Today Mako Networks continues to expand its PCI DSS compliance solutions, and is exploring an entrance to the North American markets.

Services[edit]

Hosted Central Management System (CMS)[edit]

Mako Networks provides a hosted CMS where all a merchant’s PCI DSS compliance information is located.

PCI DSS Compliance[edit]

The Mako System segregates a merchant’s payment network from the rest of their computer system and continually enforces some of the most technical components of PCI DSS compliance The systems also prevents the introduction of non-approved payment terminals into merchants payment ecosystem. Mako’s QSA is Verizon Business.

Qualified Security Assessor (QSA) designed website[edit]

The website deals with the remaining aspects of merchant PCI DSS (documentation, policy and process).

Automated System Security Updates[edit]

The Mako System updates security and features automatically including: Software updates Security patches Product enhancements

Transitioning to Internet Protocol (IP)[edit]

Typical card payment systems connect to banks via dial-up connections to receive authorisation for a purchase. The Mako System transfers traditional dial-up payment solutions onto Internet-based networks, which support multiple terminals and payment lanes.

Proactive alerting[edit]

Any attempt to modify the network configuration in a way that will violate the PCI DSS generates a warning and requires an authorising password to proceed.

Terminal Management[edit]

The Mako System authenticates genuine payment terminals on a merchant’s network and locks out any non-authorised devices. Alerts are generated when non-authorised devices are detected, and the Mako System stops IP transaction redirections. It also allows terminal software updates to be completed remotely using the IP network.

Appliances[edit]

Mako Networks currently offers two types of networking equipment: routers installed on-site at customer locations, and Virtual Private Network concentrators, which can be managed on- or off-site.

Mako Networks Product Range[edit]

Product Name Description Dates Sold
Mako 1030 Network Appliance 2004–2006
Mako 6086 Network Appliance 2005–2012
Mako 6500 Network Appliance 2010–Present
Mako 7550 Network Appliance 2007–Present
Mako 8875 Network Appliance 2012–Present

Mako end-user appliances are based on the 6500 series hardware platform[5] and offer the choice of multiple connection interfaces including 3G, Ethernet and ADSL2+. Mako 7550 and 8875 VPN concentrators link a number of remote sites back into a corporate network.

References[edit]

  1. ^ [1] Ross McKenna, Connected Health-Progress Update, Ministry of Health (2008).
  2. ^ [2], PCI-Security Standards Council.
  3. ^ Coulson, Clare (February 5, 2010). "PM celebrates with Mako Networks". techday. Retrieved July 5, 2011. 
  4. ^ [3], New Zealand Government.
  5. ^ [4], Mako Networks Website.

External links[edit]