India needs more warriors in the cyber space

by Sohini Bagchi    May 03, 2013

digital warrior

The government of India along with private organizations is launching several initiatives to combat cyber attacks. However, the biggest challenge currently facing the country is the lack of cyber security professionals. According to recent data, India currently has around 22,000 certified cyber security professionals, which is miniscule when compared to China having nearly 25 million cyber experts or commandos. Experts note that the country would need 500,000 cyber security experts by 2015 to protect its IT infrastructure. As a result, they believe that the country should gear up to create a strong pool of cyber security experts to strengthen its cyber security space.

Earlier this year, the government announced its plans to establish a National Cyber Security Architecture that aims at checking sabotage, espionage and cyber attacks originating from within or outside the country. Likewise, the University Grants Commission (UGC) had written to the vice chancellors of all the major technical universities to introduce information security as subjects at the undergraduate and post-graduate level. While very few universities like that of University of Madras already have such programs and some others have initiated the process, the absence of an authorized course curriculum is delaying this effort in most technical schools, believe experts. Their concern is that India needs to work towards building a strong cyber security ecosystem if it has to protect its cyber space.

There are of course a few exceptions with some organizations across the country actively working towards this initiative. A good example is the recent announcement by the International Council of E-Commerce Consultants (ECC) that partnered with Institute of Advanced Network Technology (IANT) to train nearly 10,000 students ethical hacking, security analysis, penetration testing and other infosec programs across their 100 centres in India.

“The inspiration to take up these subjects should be inculcated from the school level,” mentions Eugene Kaspersky, Founder and CEO-Kaspersky Lab. At a recent cyber security summit, he mentions that it is important for respective governments to partner with engineering and computer schools to offer courses in information security. The awareness however should be created at an even preliminary level to combat the evils of cyber space. Like, recently the Gurgaon police organized a series of cyber security campaigns to sensitize students about threats of cyber crimes and make them aware of safe Internet practices and security measures to minimize this concern.

Debasis Nayak, CIO, Asian School Of Cyber Laws believes there are ample opportunities in the cyber security space. He also highlights the need of public private partnership to respond to the recent cyber security challenges. “IT security is an interesting subject and we can see a growing interest among students to take up these topics. technical and law schools should partner with the government to offer subjects related to cyber security,” he says.

The need of the hour for India is to create a cyber security ecosystem, where government agencies, private players including large enterprises and SMBs, students, legal entities, researchers and academicians can actively participate to strengthen the space, says Nayak.

But experts also point out that in India cyber security as a subject is still evolving and may take another 2-3 years for the country to build a strong pool of cyber warriors.