How the Indian government will hit security skills target

The Indian government has its work cut out hitting its ambitious target of creating half a million cyber-security professionals, with a shortage of specialized courses in institutions across the country

The Indian government wants to create half a million cyber-security roles, but there is a shortage of specialized courses in institutions across the country.

The government revealed a target of having 500,000 professionals skilled in cyber-security in the next five years through capacity building, skill development and training.

In July, as part of the National Cyber Security Policy Notification, the government said: “In the light of the growth of the IT sector in [India], ambitious plans for rapid social transformation and inclusion growth, and India’s prominent role in the IT global market, providing the right kind of focus for creating a secure computing environment and adequate trust and confidence in electronic transactions, software, services, devices and networks has become one of the compelling priorities for the country.”

But what are the challenges that may hamper the government’s task of creating such a pool?

Mohan Ramaiah, senior manager at Wipro’s security business, said the government faces an uphill struggle. “India lacks adequate infrastructure, tools and framework for developing cyber security expertise pool, testing and training the skilled professionals through academic and hands on experience models.”

He said government alone cannot achieve this and has to involve private sector for ensuring that a proper framework is put in place for skilling and certifying the workforce.

IT service providers based in India, such as Wipro, support the largest global corporations with IT services including security. This experience can be utilized in India.

According to Ramaih, private companies in India have already been investing in security as part of their journey towards compliance. With digital government on the increase,  projects such as Aadhar and the Passport Seva scheme, the government needs to ensure there is an adequate security skills base.

“As the technologies evolve and become more effective, we have seen new vulnerabilities and challenges cropping up making it absolute necessary to constantly update security measures, infrastructure and technology,” said Ramaiah.

However, looking at India’s past record pertaining to cyber security, this may be an extremely daunting task. In 2010, Department of Telecom (DoT) decided to build a security lab to test network this security lab is still only on paper.

Manatosh Das, senior analyst, security at Forrester said that developing cyber security skills should not be limited to classroom training and the government must invest in establishing security labs.

“One needs to have an access to advanced security labs with the latest tools, skilled trainers and technologies which cost millions. Setting up such training facilities will be the biggest challenge for the government of India,” said Das.

“To train 500,000 security professionals, the government of India needs to setup multiple labs spread across the country, which labs will be a major uphill task for Government of India. They must work on the strategy and definitive action plan to achieve the objective,” said Das.

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