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Budget expectations for a ‘Safe, Secure and regulated’ cyber world

As privacy debates rage from one country to the other, and as policies are framed to protect the privacy of individuals and protect them from cyber-fraud, the entrepreneurial and technological ecosystem is also gearing up to counter the criminals that lurk behind the data veil

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Like many other cyber-security professionals, Neha is eagerly waiting to see if the Union Budget holds something for cyber-security. Over the years, her conversations with colleagues and industry leaders, has been on similar lines – cyber-security should get a larger portion of government’s spending and focus, considering that India is a country driven substantially by digital payments. With Digital India as a stated mandate of the government, the challenges associated with a digitally driven country are quite apparent and substantial.

As privacy debates rage from one country to the other, and as policies are framed to protect the privacy of individuals and protect them from cyber-fraud, the entrepreneurial and technological ecosystem is also gearing up to counter the criminals that lurk behind the data veil. And India, with its growing footprint of individual ecosystems is placed well to ride the cyber-security wave. India’s start-up ecosystem paired with the technical experience from traditional firms blends in a firepower that can rival any global technology hub.

A recent media report mentioned late in 2020 mentions how the Indian cybersecurity startup ecosystem revenue had doubled in 2020. This should not come as a surprise.

The government’s Atmanirbhar Bharat call backed by generous funding for startups registered with government programs is further giving a push to Indian products and services in the cyber-security space global and pretty quickly at that.

Cyber education and awareness
The ecosystem still requires more to be done from a policy point of view, not just from the perspective of businesses but also from the perspective of the citizens of the country. While there are public messages to educate the citizens about the perils of a wrong move in the cyberspace, a concerted cyber security education program with cyber security solution providers should be a viable option for the government to explore.

Cyber funding
Automated fraud detection is another field where Indian enterprises have been providing solutions globally and can build their presence in a better manner through support from the diplomatic channels. One of my aspirational wishes is for the Union Budget to apportion a substantial amount for providing seed funding to newer and smarter start-ups that can build robust and scalable fraud detection solutions.

Accelerated Innovation
That brings me to another wish, which is to establish a start-up focused think-tank that takes Indian start-ups and solutions to the world. It’s something that needs to be driven by start-up founders who have made exits and have themselves become investors in various start-ups. Their prowess combined with the government’s access to open doors would become a potent collaboration that the Indian technological space, especially the cyber-security space requires.

Regulating Privacy
The third and the most important wish that I have from not just the Union Budget but from the policymakers at large is to implement the protection of individuals’ privacy laws. In times where cyber warfare has taken centerstage, private data of individuals at scale in the hands of malicious actors can quickly turn into a national security risk. Think about social engineering unrest through access to a large percentage of the population’s political leanings, for instance.

It is our responsibility to protect the elderly from the prying hands of cyber criminals and a widespread partnership with solution providers and product creators in creating a safe environment is the way forward. Impressive B2B products from India are already ruling the roost and it’s a path to success for the cyber-security industry to fly high, with just a little bit of help from the government to add wind to those wings.

Authored by Deepa Seshadri, Partner, Deloitte India


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