Securing The Fifth Domain

As per military parlance the other four domains are land, sea, air and space. Internet is all pervading and deservedly stakes a claim here as the fifth. It’s a curious case of how the very same technology and protocols which are used for what we commonly understand as progress, can also be misused and result catastrophically in regress. The world of cyber crime, espionage and cyber weapons feed on each other to give an impression of a symbiotic relationship, only to keep the internet safe and free from attacks as far as possible.

Earlier this year, on 1st March, the Hon’ble Prime Minister in a rousing address to NASSCOM members, made certain remarks, which proved to be a precursor of sorts to the idea behind formation of the Cyber security Task Force. Shri Narendra Modi, voiced his deep concern on Cybersecurity. After being sworn into office, he met close to 50 premiers from different countries and they have all been unanimous in their response to the lurking threat of cyber attacks. He appealed to NASSCOM, to initiate a process so that in future, any product / service coming out of India would automatically bear the hallmark of security. So why not have a taskforce that can be set up and driven by NASSCOM? Threats come laced with opportunities as well. The young entrepreneurs of today can focus on building solutions around cybersecurity, and build robust businesses around it.

In 10 years, the IT BPM industry is likely to generate 350 – 400 billion dollars in revenue, of which, the cyber security market size is envisaged to be around 10%. A rushed, back-of-the-envelope calculation pegs the market size between 35 – 40 billion dollars, signalling a quantum leap from the present share of 1%. This is also likely to foster 1 million skilled jobs, warranting a very systematic approach to nurture this opportunity. There are four working groups – Industry Development, Technology development, Skills Development and Policy Development. The threat to cyber security is a multi-dimensional and straddles a complex set of issues, disciplines and field of studies. Moreover it is not a threat to be bracketed or dealt in isolation. To combat this new-age terror would entail joint efforts by all governments.

Industry Development:
This working group would be tasked with creating a conducive environment for cyber security products and services that can be created out of India. Once we have enough of such success stories, we would want to position India as a global hub for cyber security. Varied stakeholders would have to contribute accordingly with roles and responsibilities clearly defined. To make this a reality, the workforce will have to be skilled accordingly. Education and skill development would then have to be re-engineered.

Technology Development:
Naturally this initiative would be tech-intense. Firstly, it would be about identifying the niche technologies that are required, and after which a road map would have to be put in place, on how to develop these capabilities. This would also entail a heavy investment on R&D to leverage the govt.-industry-academia linkages.

Skill Development:
This would be two-fold. Developing skills in the private sector and also within the govt. A mechanism needs to put into place where the govt. can source talent from the industry.

Policy Development:
Finally, it will all boil down to the appropriate policies that have to be put in place in order to make the country a global hub. Moreover, such policy must also be able to build trust between private and public sector. There’s tremendous learning to be had from international experiences as well. How can we leverage all that to build it into our policies.

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