EY acquires Australian cybersecurity firm Open Windows IDENTITY

22 August 2017 Consultancy.uk

Big Four firm EY has bolstered its Asia-Pacific cybersecurity services offering with the acquisition of Melbourne-based Open Windows IDENTITY. The acquisition sees former Open Windows CEO Simon Adler lead the new EY Identity Management Advisory Services arm. 

Established over twenty years ago, Open Windows is a Microsoft GOLD Application Development Partner, having also previously won the Microsoft ‘Innovation Partner of the Year’ award. A subsidiary focused on contract management software, Open Windows IDENTITY quickly grew into one of Australia’s largest providers following its 2012 launch, supplying a modular procurement suite which is presently used by over 150 of the country’s largest organisations and government departments, both in the cloud and on premise. Having built a significant client base of top tier organisations over the past five years, along with a strong team of identity specialists based all over Australia who are engaged in some of the largest and most complex IAM projects in the country, the company became targets for acquisition by Big Four consulting firm EY, with discussions concluding in Summer 2017. 

IDENTITY hopes its purchase, which will not affect Melbourne-based sister company Open Windows Software – continuing to operate under the Open Windows brand name as providers of eSourcing and Contract Management software – will enable Open Windows IDENTITY to access the support and resources required to continue to grow the business.

EY's acquisition of Open Windows

The acquired business will meanwhile form the central platform for the new Asia-Pacific EY Identity Management Advisory Services offering. The new service will be led by the former Open Windows CEO, Simon Adler, and will provide “Identity-as-a-Service” (IDaaS) in addition to existing EY identity governance capabilities. The deal meanwhile enables EY member firms to offer an integrated suite of cyber advisory services across the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region, from strategy through to assistance in implementation capability across Asia-Pacific.

EY is a global leader in assurance, tax, transaction and advisory services, as one of the Big Four accounting and professional services firms alongside Deloitte, PwC and KPMG. Each of the major rivals have been engaged in large-scale campaigns of diversification in recent years, through acquisition and investment, particularly in the fields of Digital Consulting, FinTech use, and cybersecurity. In 2014, KPMG bought both P3 and Qubera Solutions to strengthen their cybersecurity capacity, while Deloitte backed a new cybersecurity MSc programme at DMU in 2015. PwC Ireland meanwhile launched a cyber-centre aimed at protecting clients from hacking in 2016.

The insights and quality services EY aim to deliver will hopefull help build trust and confidence in the capital markets, according to the firm’s release following the deal for IDENTITY. Earlier in 2017, EY released a six step programme for companies to insulate themselves from hackers following the global WannaCry cyberattacks which hit the NHS among many other global institutions.

Richard Watson, EY’s Asia-Pacific Leader for Cybersecurity, said, “The need for organizations to protect infrastructure such as financial systems, power grids, telecommunication lines, transportation, commerce and health care systems from cyber threats has never been more important. Connected infrastructure, growing networks and internet-enabled devices mean our communities are increasingly vulnerable to risk of attack from sophisticated cyber criminals, who often use weak identity management controls to compromise systems. With an end-to-end cyber advisory and assistance in implementation capability, EY member firms are even more well-positioned than ever to help clients protect critical systems.” 

Simon Adler, former Open Windows CEO, meanwhile said, “This combination puts us on enterprise footing, which opens up significant new opportunities for the team and our clients.”

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