Digital India and the Cyber Security Industry

Posted in Operations & IT Articles, Total Reads: 1079 , Published on 25 July 2015
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We have come a long way...but we still have a long way to go. This is true in case of India’s Internet user base. In 2001, there were merely approximately about 7 million Internet users in India. This number is growing tremendously and today it has grown by 25 times in the last 15 years at a compounded rate of 30 percent year-on-year. Today India is amongst the largest and fastest growing population of Internet users. The year 2014 was a landmark year for a digital revolution nationally and worldwide.



According to a report published by ‘We Are Social’, a Global Social-media agency, India has 243 Million Active Internet Users as of January 2015 with 19 percent Penetration (Internet users as a percentage of the total population of 1265 Million).


*Image Source : India@Digial Bharat, BCG - IAMAI report


With just 19 percent Penetration, India is the third largest Internet Population in the world, after China with 620 million (45.80 % penetration) and the U.S. with 275 million (84.20% penetration). Also India is the second largest market for social networking sites like Facebook and LinkedIn. E-Commerce is encouraging users to shop online instead of the stores. What is perhaps most surprising behind this growth is the shift that is being taking place in the Internet Users Profile. The demographics of the Internet Users population is shifting surprisingly, these users are more older, more rural, more female, more mobile-led and vernacular. As per a report published by Boston Consulting Group (BCG) together with Internet and Mobile Association of India (IMAI), shows that the number of people accessing the internet in India will jump to over 550 million till 2018 with increase in urban & rural internet user population.



Digital India Initiative

The Digital India Programme is a flagship programme of the Government of India in order to create a participative, responsive and transparent government. The Digital India initiative aims at holistic and inclusive growth in areas like electronic services, products, manufacturing, job opportunities and much more. This initiative also includes plan to connect rural areas with high-speed internet networks. Digital India has three core components. These include : The creation of digital infrastructure, Delivering services digitally & Digital literacy. There are initiatives of increasingly digitizing government departments, their services and making information available at just a click of a mouse or touch of a finger.


Cyber Crimes: The Indian Scenario

Harnessing the power of internet in order to improve the life of citizens is a common notion that many governments share as they seek digitization of services in order to bring accountability and transparency of bureaucratic processes. A highly computerised and digitised country can often become a target of hackers and other related cyber security breach. Some of the challenges that can interfere in the digitization process of the nation are that India has poor regulations in the field of privacy protection, data protection, cyber law. The cyber security trends in India have exposed vulnerability of Indian cyberspace. India had no Cyber security policy before 2013. Despite the declaration of the National Cyber Security Policy 2013, India is still not cyber prepared.


*Image Source: ASSOCHAM – Mahindra SSG Report


As per the studies conducted by ASSOCHAM -Mahindra SSG suggests that Cyber Crime is increasing at alarming rate. According to the study, the number of Cyber Crimes in India may reach a figure of 3,00,000 this year (2015). The country has recorded a CAGR (Common Annual Growth Rate) of 107% in the number of Cyber Crimes registered. The statistics are the illustration of the increasing misuse of internet over the years. Expansion of cloud services and mobile networks could create additional targets.


Cyber Security Industry in India

Despite of the cyber security risks, the movement towards Digital India is inevitable. The government and organisations has realised and efforts are on for developing better systems and laws in order to provide digital services seamlessly along with maintaining security. As Digital India and Smart Cities concept takes shape, the data security needs to be considered as integral part rather than an afterthought.


The global Cyber Security market is estimated to be worth $77 bn in the year 2015 and set to grow at more than 8% every year, according to Indian industry body NASSCOM. Thus increased use of Smartphone, online transactions and the government's Digital India initiative are opening up opportunities in an industry that is worth $77 billion globally. Silicon Valley based Global cyber security company named ‘TaaSera’ launched its business in India in July 2015 in order to join a growing number of cyber security firms eyeing India as a growing market amid doubling of cybercrimes in the country. TaaSera India launch came days after attacks like the one on the commercial arms of space agency Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and on the website of realty portal Housing.com.


The number of Cyber Crimes reported in India is not a good measure for comparison also India does not have public disclosure law unlike in United States. The amount of cyber security breaches in the western countries may be two or three times of that in India. But since India is the I.T. back office of the world, the image needs to be kept intact. Since cyberspace is relatively new, legal concepts for “standards of care” do not exist. However Government needs to provide incentives for industry to invest in cyber security and encourage investments in Cyber Security Solutions.


This article has been authored by Sujeet Karande from Vivekanand Education Societys Institute of Management Studies and Research, Mumbai


References:

1. www.wearesocial.net/blog/2015/01/digital-social-mobile-worldwide-2015

2. www.bcgindia.com/documents/file180687.pdf

3. www.assocham.org/newsdetail.php?id=4821

4. www.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/defence/taasera-enters-indian-cyber-defence-security-market/articleshow/48102725.cms



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