I dream of a Digital India where cyber security becomes integral part of national security, says Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The first time when I heard that Narendra Modi speak of his idea of Digital India, the Network Security side of me went on an overdrive thinking about the possible security inclusions that is required to be put in place to realise this dream. A lot of valuable monetary and infrastructural investments have been committed to this project. The initiative that seeks to build a full-fledged IT infrastructure by adopting technological innovations that would help host information on the cloud. At the same time what needs to be understood is that such an initiative demands an entire support system in terms of cybersecurity.
The digital locker system aims to transfer documents online in order to reduce the use of physical documents and ease of accessibility. This is an excellent idea, however, only the best security solutions can ensure that cybercriminals do not breach these systems and misuse public information. Cyber security issues have become a regular feature and we would be naïve to underestimate its potential to harm an enterprise. Security cannot be an afterthought in such a plan. The complex convergence of high-end technologies and information makes this idea even more susceptible to cybercriminals, who will look to stir up confusion and chaos by hacking into networks.
The most important component of having a robust cyber security system in place is trained talent. There is a major talent crunch in terms of trained information security professionals. There are challenges associated with an initiative of this scale as it requires an entire ecosystem of support for implementation that has to be developed and matured over a period of time.
Let’s look at the positive side of the program –
The Impact Of Digital India On Next Gen
The government has allocated Rs 50 billion to build high speed broadband highways that connect Gram Panchayats, Government Departments, Universities, R&D institutes, etc.,alongside theGovernment is also investing on National Knowledge Network to connect higher learning institutions to a high speed digital network. With the government providing opportunities to connect across platforms will increase economic competitiveness that will meet future economic and social needs. For a developing country such as India, with 1.2 billion population, connectivity will be the key driver for growth and development.
Ease Of Doing Business And Ease Of Keeping The Data
As more and more people are connected, data traffic is expected to grow exponentially and with the proliferation of the mobile devices the bandwidth demand will increase at an unexpected rate. Newer technologiessuch as machine-to-machine and smart cities will need reliable high speed connectivity. Explosion of online ventures for job search, shopping, classified, ticketing, etc. are testimonial to the new digital ecosystem available for venture capitalists and young entrepreneurs to reach new customers. The connectivity and data transfer are now key performance indicators for many businesses, small or large. These new services have diverse requirements, ranging from real-time interactive high availability to non-real time, from low to high bandwidth, and from mission-critical to noncritical services. Enterprises both big and small have begun to realize the benefits of mobility and digitization; this is likely to increase accelerated adoption of broadband.
India Becoming A Green Nation
Greening the nation As per Smart 2020 report , Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) based solutions can contribute towards the reduction of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 15 per cent by 2020 and in the process also deliver energy savings to the tune of over €600 billion to global business.
Hence operators will be motivated to move towards zero emission technologies reducing the carbon footprint and mitigate high energy costs. Electronic conferencing can eliminate 20 per cent of business travel which reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 1.08 million tons a year as per World Wide Fund. Video-conferencing facilities will be able to reduce both road and air traffic as it is a substitute to transport.
Framework For Cyber Security
The framework will entail both technological expertise and legal compliances.
Digital India will make the country more and more relying on digital services and on priority; it becomes imperative that the cyber security problems of India is to protect the critical infrastructure of India that is dependent upon information technology. The Indian infrastructure is vulnerable to cyber-attacks; one big reason being on cyberspace does not recognize any boundary and cyber-attacks can be launched from any part of the world.
The national imperatives of securing operational technologies like smart grids, oil and gas, public utilities, etc. are too essential to be ignored by Indian government. Today protecting key economic assets like securing financial backbone and stock exchange, payment infrastructures and financial switches is need of the hour.
Monitoring and building security infrastructure at each level will be crucial in making sure of continued availability of the services as the data passing through the networks will be of commercial value.
Security must be strengthened to beat sophisticated malware and customized malware targeting critical infrastructures around the world, India of course. The scope to develop both offensive and defensive cyber security capabilities that must be robust enough to detect and nullify all possible threats.
The author is Managing Director – India at Blue Coat Systems