Govt and industry to work together on cyber security

The joint working group proposes creation of information sharing and analysis centres, training for law enforcement agencies and establishment of an institute of cyber security professionals

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Pratap Vikram Singh | October 15, 2012



The joint working group (JWG) on collaboration between public and private sector on cyber security, chaired by deputy national security advisor Latha Reddy, has recommended setting up of a permanent JWG under the aegis of national security council secretariat to act as "an advisory body and coordinate public private partnership on issues of cyber security". The JWG has also proposed setting up of a joint committee on international cooperation and advocacy (JCICA) which would act as a permanent advisory committee of the JWG in promoting country's national interests at various international fora on cyber security issues. Both the bodies, the JWG and the JCICA, will have representatives from the government and the private sector.

Releasing the JWG report on Monday, national security advisor Shivshankar Menon said that cyber security can't be achieved in isolation by either government or industry alone. "Much of the critical information infrastructure is in the private sector, which makes it natural for us to work with the industry. Moreover, given the risks involved, it is in the interest of the private sector as well to work in collaborative fashion," he said.  

Commenting on the use of social media by communal forces, he said, "We have recently  seen use of social media for disturbing the communal harmony. This kind of new phenomenon is something we need to learn how to deal with. What is more important for a democratic society like us is how do we maintain our freedom while exercising restraint. To start with, we have planned four pilot projects. We propose to set up a pilot testing lab, conduct tests audit, study vulnerabilities in a sample critical information infrastructure and set up multi-disciplinary centre for excellance."

Elaborating on the guiding principles of PPP in cyber security, Latha Reddy said the report includes creation of a institutional mechanism to promote convergence in public and private domains, use of existing institutions and organisations and if needed creation of new institutes and organisations to enhance cyber security and set up a permanent mechanism for PPP.

Identifying bodies which can play wider role, areas for collbaboration to build capacity, putting policy and legal framework and ensuring compliance, formulating India’s position on global cyber security policies, establishing  country as global hub of development of cyber security products, services and manpower and promote indegenisation and work on joint R&D project to meet cyber security requirements of the country are key objectives formulated in the report.

Delivering his address, J Satyanarayana, secretary, information technology, government of India, said that the country requires five lakh professionals to protect the cyber space. "However, what we have is a small fraction of this. And so it is an imperative to build the capacity, which can be done through collaboration between industry and government. There is an immense need for collaboration with the  private sector in the cyber segment, as in the case of software," he said.

"As department of electronics and information technology is rolling out e-services, which is based on national information infrastructure, the need for securing cyberspace becomes all more important," he noted. 

He also stated that while working together with industry, the focus should be to maintain a balance between keeping the strategic control  of the critical infrastructure in the hands of government and ensuring the efficiency, effectiveness and service orientation, which comes from the industry.

Ashok Mukherjee, special secretary, ministry of external affairs, said "India has initiated bilateral dialogues with countries such as US, UK, Japan, Russia and European Union (EU), on norms to reduce collective risk and protect critical international  and national information  infrastructure.

“Protecting India’s cyber space will require all entities work as an integrated team with a single focus.  Along with strengthening the domestic framework there is a need to focus on building global alliances, international cooperation to advance India’s interests and shaping global policy,” said Virat Bhatia, chairman of FICCI’s communications and digital economy committee, and co-chair of cyber security subgroup on international advocacy and cooperation under the JWG.

Creation of information sharing and analysis centres (ISACs) in various industry verticals by the industry, incoordination with sectoral computer emergency response team (CERTs) and CERT-In, training to law enforcement agancies in cyber crime investigation and cyber forensics and establishment of an institute of cyber security professionals of India for capacity building in security testing and auditing are the other recommendations proposed by the JWG.

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