Cyber security, data privacy critical for growth of Digital India


As India continues to leapfrog into the digital revolution and brace the dream of Digital India that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has for the nation, it is also time to take into cognisance the threats that are surrounding us. One of the major challenge that India is currently facing are related to data security and addressing the privacy issues.

The need of the hour is to ensure growth of the digital economy while keeping personal data of citizens secure and protected. Data is being considered as the new oil and in the current economic climate all organisations are looking to exploit the information it holds as much as possible. While many organisations are looking at how they can make most of the data that they have, there are also concerns on how to protect their business data. With data breaches multiplying in frequency and scale, the importance of addressing cyber-security at the highest levels of corporate leadership cannot be understated.

Acknowledging the importance of data in the digital revolution, Bharat Exhibition organised the fifth edition of ‘Cyber Security and Data Protection India Summit 2018’ in New Delhi on June 22, 2018. The event brought around the best minds in Cyber security under one roof to create an interactive milieu for exchange of knowledge and ideas and addressed the emerging and continuing threats to Cyber security and its changing landscape, as well as respond to increasing risk of security breaches and security governance, application security, cloud based security, Network, Mobile and endpoint security and other cyber risks in the India and abroad.

While giving the special address, Maj. Gen. Sandeep Sharma, VSM, NTRO agreed that the cyber attacks were seeing an upward trend and almost every sector are affected by the same. He said, “As the data breaches increase in scale and frequency, business today must prepare to ensure an effective, swift and well orchestrated response.”

Adding a whole new dimension to the discussion, Vinit Goenka, Member Governing Council of CRIS, Ministry of Railways and Member Taskforce IT, Ministry of Road, Transport and Highways and Shipping, Govt. of India shared how Railways had started harnessing the data that they had at their disposal and that has lead to an increase in operational efficiency and more tickets getting confirmed. He suggested, “Why not convert this data into an opportunity for the country. We could have created data sovereignty patterns. The data that we have capitalised, monetised and we should not be restricting our conversation only around protecting the data.”

Amit Verma, Senior Manager, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu India LLP, said, “India has had an amazing growth in the digital space. As of June 2018, 62 percent of urban population and 53 percent of rural population access the Internet daily. Digital transactions touched $25 billion last year, is expected to cross $50 billion this year. We have150 million social media users, 1 billion mobile connections and 400 million smartphone users in India.”

India’s cyber security market size is about $4 billion, which is expected to grow to $35 billion by 2025.Broaching the topic of GDPR, Golok Kumar Simli, Chief Technology Officer, Passport Seva Project, Ministry of External Affairs, Govt. of India, said, “GDPR has given more power to the consumers. It has brought back maximum focus towards the users. It has also brought an open kind of environment for the lawmakers to investigate.”

Anand Pande, Senior Vice President and CISO, Goods And Services Tax Network said, “People do understand the importance of security, privacy I think we are still catching up with the overall concepts and its importance as a nation.” He further added, “In GSTN, Data privacy and data security are the critical key pillars for designing the system.”

Dr. Prashun Gupta, Deputy Director, CCTNS and CISO, National Crime Records Bureau, Ministry of Home Affairs, Govt. of India said, “There is a need to relook into the cyber security strategy. Every day we find at least 2-3 cases of cyber crimes.” He even mentioned that the maximum cases are that of ATM frauds and suggested that before dispensing any money, the ATM machine can be programmed to ask for an OTP and that can help eliminating this fraud.

Saurabh Jain, Vice President, Paytm, said, “There are many challenges that we are facing in the security front, one of which is phishing. Phishing attacks are becoming very common and as a nation we will have to do something in a very comprehensive way to tackle this issue such as public awareness campaigns”. Talking about IoT, Jain said. Organisation engaged in IoT are talking about solutions and not really thinking about the security aspects. He even broached on the challenge about storing data and in his point of view that the data of the country should remain within the country. If there is some cyber crime using that data and it is stored within India then there is some probability of that crime being solved.

Pavan Duggal, Advocate, Supreme Court of India and President, said, “The only remedies that the consumer today have are under the Information Technology Act. There is a need for a stronger law as the IT Act on its own is not sufficient. Cyber crimes are the new normal and all users should do their own due diligence.” He even spoke on how implementation of GDPR in EU is a big boon for users in India.

Rohit Singh, Country Manager – Asia Pac and India Region, Telesoft Technologies said, “Cyber Security at large scale for protecting the critical network infrastructure with Open Source, FPGA based, Small Footprint Technology.”

All the panelist agreed that the increasing data privacy issues were a challenge and there is a need for greater security measures. The partners for the event were Syniverse, Telesoft and Savitri Telecom services. It was supported by Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, Govt of India, Broadband India Forum, Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur and Cyber Watch and Surveillance Forum.

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