Mako Networks was founded by two New Zealanders, Simon Gamble and Chris Massam, as Yellow Tuna Networks. 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.
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.
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 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.
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. 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, 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.
Today Mako Networks continues to expand its PCI DSS compliance solutions, and is active in the North American market.
Mako Networks was put into voluntary liquidation on August 20 2015, by its shareholders. A spokesman for Spark (formerly New Zealand Telecom) said "Mako's financial position has deteriorated to the point that Mako directors have decided Mako cannot continue normal business operations." Mako Networks reportedly owed Spark $26 million NZ dollars.
On October 6, 2015, US telecommunications service provider and Mako distribution partner D&S Communications acquired the assets of Mako Networks from the company’s receivers. D&S acquired the rights to all intellectual property relating to Mako’s branded network appliances and cloud-based Central Management System, including patents and patent applications, its trademarks and its beneficial interest in any contracts signed with customers worldwide. Earlier in 2015, D&S had become Mako’s primary North American distribution partner assisting with logistics and implementation for Mako's North American customers.
D&S restructured the assets and acquired companies to continue delivering products and providing support to distribution partners and enterprise customers, and operates wholly owned trading subsidiaries in each of its four territories: Mako Networks New Zealand, Mako Networks Australia, Mako Networks UK and Mako Networks USA. D&S continues to base research and development and compliance in New Zealand. It retained several of Mako’s senior managers, including company founders Chris Massam and Simon Gamble.
Mako Networks provides a hosted CMS where all a merchant’s PCI DSS compliance information is located.
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.
The website deals with the remaining aspects of merchant PCI DSS (documentation, policy and process).
The Mako System updates security and features automatically including: Software updates Security patches Product enhancements
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.
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.
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.
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 end-user appliances are based on the 6500 series hardware platform and offer the choice of multiple connection interfaces including 3G, Ethernet and ADSL2+. Mako 7582 and 8875 VPN concentrators link a number of remote sites back into a corporate network.