Consider this: no other nation anywhere has seen an explosion of internet, usage powered by accessible telecom infrastructure, in such a short span of time across several consumer, enterprise and government domains. India with a healthy demographic dividend along with evolution in the telecom sector and ably supported with a robust economy has triggered an exponential growth of digital consumers over the past few years.
- We are a young nation with a median age of 27 years. This aspirational and burgeoning young population is technology savvy and has been a part of the ongoing digital revolution riding the mobile / telecom wave. 930 million telecom subscribers, 250 million Internet subscribers, affordable smartphones (approx. 250 million smartphone users) and data services (3G, broadband etc.) have ushered a digital revolution in the country. Young India is fully geared to take maximum advantage of the information and services superhighways created by the government and private sector.
- Global economy – India is increasingly becoming a key player in the global economy, with our global trade increasing over 10 fold in the past decade. ‘Make in India’ theme is a big step towards achieving India’s global aspirations in the manufacturing sector. It is poised to usher in and grant positive gains to the sector and bring it on par with other sectors of excellence such as IT, Services etc.
- Domestic E-economy – Through a series of Government of India mission mode projects like e-Courts, e-Procurement, computerization of tax and land records, citizen services are moving to the Internet in its objective to achieve the ‘Citizen Charter’. In the private sector, the e-commerce boom is evident with Flipkart, Snapdeal, MakeMyTrip and similar players making a mark. Even traditional brick and mortar businesses like banks, telecom companies and retail sector are making serious foray into the digital space.
Nowhere in the history have we seen a populace that has been exposed to technology at such a breathtaking pace with a large portion of them being digitally illiterate and in some cases literally as well, creating circumstances for a Perfect Storm for consumers.
For our businesses and Government, the Global and National Threat landscape is continuously evolving. Almost every day one hears of cyber breach impacting retail, banking, consumers and government sector. Protecting the nation’s critical infrastructure has assumed a very high significance. Advanced persistent threats, cyber espionage, well funded and highly sophisticated attack campaigns against sovereign governments and large enterprises have become daily headlines. A lot has to do with the limited understanding of the cyber environment that we operate in.
Governments and organizations have to re-architect their security model to combat these advanced attacks. Organizations need the ability to detect threats in real-time and put in place the appropriate remediation mechanisms to contain and resolve them in order to ensure minimum impact.
It is not that the attempts are not made to mitigate these circumstances, however; they are hampered by several constraints that we operate in such as:
- A plethora of complementary and competitive security products make it difficult for users to make optimum use of technology in today’s connected age.
- Security is an evolving subject and in today’s context of a connected world, it assumes a complexity of vast proportions. Most technologies / products approach the problem through a series of patch solutions. The earliest products in this space are over 25 years old, and that architecture and code base still continues. This leads to products, which are not integrated and make execution difficult as the scenarios and threats change.
- Most security products aim to solve the least common denominator problem. Today’s threats need a continuous monitoring and protection model. This means that the user specific needs are left to either the end-user or system integrator to remediate.
- A lack of security aware professionals to support these above complex needs add to the challenges in mitigating the risks. The same lack of security awareness among end users also is a big contributing factor.
- For India and its ambitious growth goals, the lack of indigenous core security technologies and framework platform is an added risk. Over dependence on foreign products and technologies only allows potential cyber threat scenarios as has been seen in certain cases. Questionable, allegiance of International OEMs on account of potential interference from host governments in this space adds to the complexity.
Cyber security risk is the biggest threat that our country faces on account of converging trends and threat landscape evolution creating the Perfect Storm for enterprises. These potential threats and breach scenarios have the capability to set the country’s development back by several years if not decades.
There is an urgent need for creating a security framework, which is accessible and affordable, and also takes into account India specific threat intelligence to provide a secure environment for protecting our digital assets as well as interactions for all our users – citizens/consumers, business and Government.