The digital age presents both opportunities and challenges in cybersecurity. As connectivity increases, so does the vulnerability of systems, data, and infrastructure. As we observe Cyber Security Awareness Month, it’s essential to understand the integral role each individual and organization plays in bolstering cyber defenses. This article delves into insights from industry leaders, highlighting the path IT leaders should consider for a secure digital future.
The widespread impact of personal cybersecurity decisions
Visionet’s Vice President & Head of Cloud & Infrastructure Delivery, Bijo Chacko, underscores the essence of this year’s theme, ‘Cyber Safety Starts With YOU.’ He fluently remarks, “In this era of interconnectivity, our online choices shape our personal cybersecurity and have a ripple effect across the digital network, impacting the collective safety of the online world. Empowerment starts with awareness.”
Chacko’s statement brings to light the streaming effect individual actions have, reinforcing the idea that a single click or a secure password choice can be the difference between a secured and compromised system. His emphasis on simple but crucial practices, like cautious email handling and responsible online behavior, serve as a potent reminder for IT leaders about the importance of fostering a culture of cyber awareness.
Organizational resilience in an inter-connected era
The conversation shifts gears when looking at the broader organizational framework. Samir Kumar Mishra, Director of Security Business at Cisco for India & SAARC, talks about the readiness gap that businesses face today. “A Cisco study indicates that only 24% of organizations in India have the mature level of readiness needed to be resilient against today’s modern cybersecurity risks,” he states. While the figure is alarming, Mishra’s words bring hope. He underscores Cisco’s belief that security is, indeed, a collective responsibility. Cisco’s vision champions the integration of cutting-edge technologies and expertise to construct resilient security architectures that empower individuals and protect organizations.
The hybrid world we operate in demands a comprehensive understanding of the network’s nuances. Mishra rightly says, “If a device is connected, it needs to be protected.” For IT leaders, this reiterates the importance of an all-encompassing approach, integrating both point tools and platforms to achieve resilience without complicating the security infrastructure.
Ripu Bajwa, Director and General Manager of Data Protection Solutions at Dell Technologies India, posits, “In this age of connectivity, where the internet has become an integral part of our daily existence, protecting our online privacy is paramount. As a country progressing rapidly towards a digital future, we need to respect and understand the significance of preserving the privacy and security of our personal data.”
DPDP Bill 2023
With the introduction of the Data Protection Bill 2023 in India, the emphasis on cybersecurity has peaked, urging organizations and individuals to be more vigilant than ever.
Guardians of cyber trust
Mr. Joy Sekhri, Vice President, Cyber & Intelligence Solutions, South Asia, Mastercard, stresses the non-negotiable essence of cybersecurity and data privacy. He said, “Protecting sensitive information, both customer and internal, is not just a legal requirement but a fundamental trust-building measure.” The risks of cyberattacks are multi-dimensional, spanning financial losses, reputational damage, and more. Sekhri emphasizes that protecting data is about maintaining the trust of stakeholders and ensuring the integrity and confidentiality of operations. On the preventative side, investments in encryption, multi-factor authentication, and regular security audits are indispensable. Collaborative approaches, staying abreast of threats, and adhering to industry standards remain pivotal.
On the verge of a cyber-resilient world
Venkatesh Subramaniam, Cybersecurity and Privacy Head at Mindsprint, drives that cybersecurity isn’t just an IT issue—it’s a brand differentiator and an enabler for businesses. He underlines the importance of adopting a security-by-design mindset in an age where AI, IoT, and Cloud drive innovations. Subramaniam praises the Data Protection Bill 2023, emphasizing that it symbolizes both an opportunity and a collective responsibility. “We must ensure frictionless security and promote cybersecurity education to empower our users.”
Navigating the digital defense landscape
Madhusudan Krishnapuram, Vice President of Engineering and Managing Director, India at GoTo, emphasizes shared responsibility for cybersecurity. “It is imperative for businesses to prioritize cybersecurity awareness and invest in technologies such as Zero Trust Network Architecture.” He believes in fostering a cybersecurity culture that starts with simplification, arming IT leaders with tools to navigate the intricate world of digital defense.
A clarion call to ‘secure the world’
Aladdin Elston, Head – Information Security at Altimetrik, paints a stark picture of the growing cyber threats, with India witnessing an alarming rise in attacks. He sees the Data Protection Bill 2023 as a significant move towards shielding data. Yet, Elston emphasizes that the task isn’t solely technological—it’s a collective endeavor. “The formidable task of thwarting cyber threats can be overcome with a highly skilled team of cybersecurity professionals.”
Towards a proactive cybersecurity stance
Balaji Rao, Area Vice President, India & SAARC, at Commvault, comprises the significance of Cyber Security Awareness Month. He speaks to the evolution of cyber threats and highlights the need for a proactive approach. “Enterprises must shift from a reactive to a proactive approach towards cybersecurity.” Rao believes in the potential of new-age technologies like AI in early threat detection and emphasizes the value of automation in cybersecurity processes.
Data storage and recoverability
While privacy remains a cornerstone, the dialogue in cybersecurity is rapidly evolving, with an increasing emphasis on data storage and recovery. Mr. Sandeep Bhambure, Managing Director and Vice President for India & SAARC at Veeam Software, reminds us of the gravity of the situation, “Data breaches are not only a threat towards reputation, but attackers can also encrypt data, making it unrecoverable. Businesses should no longer think ‘if we get hacked’ but rather, ‘when we get hacked, what is our recovery plan?‘”
Veeam’s recent report points to a rising trend in cybersecurity investments across the Asia Pacific. However, mere investment isn’t the panacea. As Bhambure aptly points out, bridging communication gaps between IT and senior management, coupled with an emphasis on employee upskilling, is essential to fortifying cybersecurity strategies. Having a proactive business continuity plan, choosing the right backup solutions, and constantly evaluating new technologies will be pivotal in navigating potential cyber threats.
In assessing the perspectives provided by industry leaders, it’s evident that the cybersecurity landscape in the digital age is multifaceted, requiring attention at both the individual and organizational levels. Individual actions in the digital space have cascading effects on broader systems, emphasizing the importance of personal cybersecurity awareness. Organizations, on the other hand, face a readiness gap, with many not adequately prepared for modern cyber threats. The introduction of the Data Protection Bill 2023 highlights the legislative emphasis on cybersecurity, but it’s equally crucial for organizations to internalize this emphasis and integrate it into their operations. The dual focus on data protection and recovery underscores the importance of having both defensive and responsive measures in place. Collaboration, a shift from reactive to proactive strategies, and continuous education and upskilling are all integral components of a robust cybersecurity approach. The insights provided reaffirm that while technology plays a pivotal role in cybersecurity, the human element remains at the core of building a secure digital future.
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