Cyber Toa was launched in late 2016 out of the cybersecurity division of Total Risk Management (TRM). The name Cyber Toa was chosen to connect with the New Zealand market but equally to provide a proud ‘Kiwi’ brand to the world. ‘Toa’ is a Maori word which means: warrior, brave, to win.
TRM was founded by Lisa Turner and Duncan Holland in 2006 under the umbrella of the Total Group of Companies. TRM provides a wide range of critical issues management services for companies (e.g. forensic investigations and settlement negotiation). As early as 2007 cybersecurity issues were beginning to arise during these engagements and TRM began to investigate possible services in this area.
Some 8 years and several false starts later, the Directors were introduced to Chris Ward. Discussions with Chris introduced the TRM team to the increasing threat of cyber crime, and how this will impact more areas of our lives as our dependence on technology increases.
At the time Chris was the Strategic Information Assurance Manager for NZDF. He had previously established the computer security incident response team in the UK (UK CERT); advised on the NATO and Homeland Security CERT’s and had been the Chair of the International Five Eyes Cyber Committee. Chris joined TRM to establish the cybersecurity division, and then lead the spin out of Cyber Toa.
Cyber Toa’s deep expertise and specialisation provided an immediate point of difference in the growing cyber security market and it was clear to the board that the company needed a strong, innovative leader to drive the business to the next level. Mandy Simpson, the former COO at NZX joined the company in November 2016 as Chief Executive. The company has expanded rapidly, employing additional experts from the defence and intelligence communities, as well as its first graduate employee.