Technology has, in recent times, significantly influenced in the way we live. With the advent of the internet, the advancement of technology has been rapid. So much so that today digital technologies are defining how organizations look interacting with their stakeholders. Organizations today have leveraged digital technologies to better their performance capacities and provide services in ways that indirectly, and in many ways directly, impact their bottom line performance. The benefits of such adoption have meant many are in a rush to adopt newer technologies. In addition, many companies have started experimenting with the Internet of things (IoT) leading to the creation of more connected devices.
Recent times have also been a witness to the growing adoption and usage of digital platforms by the government. There has been a gradual shift in creating a digital economy. One the reasons for demonetization which was announced later on was the intent of the government for India to shift towards a ‘cashless’ India. This in addition to growing need of computerized records like AADHAR cards, has led many individuals willing put up data on such networks which often have been found to be vulnerable.
To enable such developments, both within the public and private sectors, a complex technological architecture is required. With such architectures getting increasingly complicated with layers on top of layers being built, it necessary to have cybersecurity professionals to support the networks which are vulnerable to cyber attacks.
Industries looking for cybersecurity
The rush to transform business has been pivotal in modern-day economy. Even within the country, many organization across the sectors are waking up the reality of creating better linkages between their different drivers of growth. Sectors like BFSI are increasingly shifting to online payments and credit services while many start-ups in the fintech sector are developing nuanced products like digital wallets. And this is just the tip of the iceberg. With significant advantages, many sectors of the economy are adopting newer ways to be connected.
As India develops into a primary hub for growing smartphone penetration and digitization, it would soon mean that users would increasingly use online channels to interact and avail services. Such channels and networks which host critical data without the right care, often become a gold mine for hackers and people with malicious intent. As a result, more and more companies are now looking at building a robust cybersecurity framework within them. All this has led to an increase in the demand for cybersecurity professionals.
With the scope of cyber attacks becoming increasingly significant, many within big corporate houses, government agencies, banks, and research institutes are in a search for professionals that can help avert such attacks. According to a report – ‘Redefining Insurance – The future ahead’ a study by CII and Deloitte, cyber threats have evolved from virus attacks to sophisticated malware, and phishing, including spear phishing and advanced denial of service attacks.
“Businesses in India will continue to face increasingly sophisticated and destructive cyber threats in this evolving digital landscape,” the report noted. A different perspective on the problem is offered by looking at how the number of companies looking for cyber insurance has gone up, both at global and country level. The global cyber insurance market is pegged at $1.3-1.5 billion growing at a CAGR of 35 percent, according to a Fitch Report.
According to report in Hindu BusinesslineBusiness line, “Close to 150-200 companies in the country across vulnerable sectors have taken such cyber insurance products, with the current gross premium written, being merely around 200 crore. This points to the increasing problem of cybersecurity that many within different industries anticipate facing in the coming years. The report also notes that such cyber insurance products were traditionally bought by e-commerce firms and financial institutions in India, are now finding favor among manufacturing entities as many begin to experiment with newer technologies.
Such sectors have seen a surge in demand for good quality talent to help build teams that can protect their work from cyber attacks. Companies within the BFSI, IT, healthcare and retail are in a position to shell capital in hiring people with the right skill set.
The availability of cybersecurity professionals
Although in recent times, there has been a surge in demand for cybersecurity professionals, the availability of technically capable professionals still lags behind significantly. The increased recognition within industries on the importance of cybersecurity professionals has shifted talent preferences. But the change in demand for such specific skillsets is yet to be felt in a big way within tech talent pools, which are slowly but surely responding to such a shift. Do deal with such issues, a more robust framework for cybersecurity is required. Although many players within the IT security market are rising to meet the needs, the demand still outstrips the supply of qualified professionals.
There are several problems when it comes to hiring the right talent in the space. The first concern among many HR professionals is that there exists a big skills gap between what the companies expect from cybersecurity experts and what they can deliver. Due to ever-changing nature of the work, many cybersecurity professionals themselves agree that they require updating their skills. Ethical hacking as a means to create cybersecurity professionals is also slowly finding its foothold in a country like India.
NASSCOM in its 10-year cybersecurity road map of India mentions that policy and financing incentives along with opportunities for skill development emerge as pivotal factors to ensure the growing demand for cybersecurity is met in India. The report also adds in order to “promote the growth of cybersecurity start-ups, SMEs, and large players through numerous funding and financing initiatives, tax breaks, incubators and accelerators and provisions to promote R&D.” In order to meet the growing demands, NASSCOM in a separate report back in 2015 mentioned how it aims to take the cybersecurity industry market share in India from 1% of the IT-BPM industry to 10% by 2025, with a trained base of 1 million certified cybersecurity professionals, as well as build over 100 security product companies in India. Such would be a bandwidth of required cybersecurity services in the country.
Another NASSCOM report highlights that of the group including the developed countries and the BRIC nations, India was pegged quite low in investing cybersecurity measures but also mentions that growing penetration of mobile devices offers quite a few growth opportunities.
With the push to create a digital economy comes the need to have people in charge of protecting the nuanced technological architecture that goes beyond sustaining such an economy. As an increasing amount of consumer and citizen data available on integrated networks online, many of them are prone to cyber attacks today. The recent ransomware attacks come in a long list of similar cyber attacks that which have sought to expose the fragilities within such networks. As there is a rise in demand for such technical professionals, investing in such skill building initiative can help create jobs while ensuring a critical need for the modern economy is met.