As human lives are increasingly orbiting around technology in the digital space, the entire spectrum of things ranging from our businesses to entertainment is going online. However, on the flip-side of this massive transformation is a dark space of cyber threats that run on the heels of all our online activities. More importantly, shielding ourselves from this ever-looming threat requires constant endeavours and updates. Incidents of the Aadhaar data leak, recent video leaks of popular entertainment shows on the HBO and the latest Game of Thrones’ Twitter account hack exposes how vulnerabilities piggy back on digitization.

It was in this context that Manipal ProLearn conducted an event on Talent Imperatives for Cyber Security, on August 17, 2017.

Dr. Yogesh Kumar Bhatt delivering the welcome note at the event

The event started with Dr. Yogesh Kumar Bhatt, Director of Academy, Manipal ProLearn, delivering the welcome speech, where he briefly emphasized on the cyber-driven world and how security is under threat round the clock. He then called on stage, Dr Gulshan Rai, National Cyber Security Coordinator, GoI to inaugurate and mark the beginning of the discussions.

Policing the world of ‘Cyber Insecurities’

Mr. Sanjay Sahay, IPS, ADGP, Karnataka State Police, was the first speaker to throw light on the world of dark net, a world full of ‘Cyber Insecurities’. In this session, he focused on how, the threats to society and humanity is dominated by cyber criminals. He focused on how each and every smartphone user is exposed to threats right from the moment they go online. Continuing to share his thoughts on it, Mr. Sahay said, despite knowing that our identity and businesses are facing a constant threat, we simply cannot pause our activities online. This is where the need to create a fresh pool of talent who are empowered with the latest and evolving technology becomes so imperative.

Mr. Sanjay Sahay addressing the audience at the event

He pointed out the penetration of social media in human lives and how people are falling prey to online scams, identity theft, radicalisation and financial losses due to the easy availability of personal data. He said, – “Today, social media is the biggest threat”. Further on this note, Mr. Sahay emphasised on the vastness of the internet. Substantiating his point, he said, – “Less than 1% of the internet can be Googled”.

“Today, Social media is the biggest threat!”

-Mr. Sanjay Sahay, IPS, ADGP, Karnataka State Police (on the vastness of the internet)

On Talent Imperatives

While addressing the audience, Mr. Sahay pointed out that we talk about various aspects of cyber security, we talk about hacking and ways to prevent it but we hardly ever talk about the most important thing – the human resource. He revealed the increasing gap in the human resource space in the field of cyber security. He said there will be 1.5 mn unfilled positions globally, by 2020. In India, this number is pegged at 1 million. He then emphasized that out of the total 40 mn IT workforce, globally, “the number of professionals required only to handle cyber security will be around 2.5 to 3 mn by 2020.” However, considering the entire IT ecosystem, it will be around 40 mn IT employees who will have to be taught cyber security!

 “The number of professionals required only to handle cyber security will be around 2.5 to 3 mn by 2020.”

-Mr. Sanjay Sahay, IPS, ADGP, Karnataka State Police

On Hacking and the Way Forward with Technology

Establishing the extent of hacking that affects our daily lives, Mr. Sahay said that “97% of the fortune 500 companies have been hacked”. Further in his address, he said that when an attack happens, the primary duty of those handling cyber security is to bring back the system, at least to a skeletal level. However, even that doesn’t happen quickly as “nobody is hands on”, which is the biggest problem. So, in order to develop that kind of “capability” among professionals, it is imperative that they do their daily drills and “play around” with the system day in and day out. Everything in today’s world has been disrupted by technology and it has become all-pervasive. So, “security” has become the buzzword of the day.

The lively speaker winded up his session by stressing on the importance of collaboration among various stakeholders in creating a safer cyber atmosphere.

Pearls of Wisdom

Sanjay Sahay’s session was followed by a brief session from the Coordinator of National Cyber Security – Dr. Gulshan Rai. He talked about the reforms in our education system that needs to be made to equip a strong and skilful workforce with the necessary skills to deal with ever-evolving cyber problems. Dr Rai said that, – “India is the software factory of the world” and added “as a country we do not have problems in filling up the quantity of professionals required, but quality is of concern.” On this note, he lauded Manipal ProLearn’s vision and endeavour in delivering the best education in latest technology domains. Drawing his focus on the importance of academics, he said, – “In the coming days, the industry and the academicians will have a bigger role to play”.

On Tech Disruption

Speaking on how technology disrupted everything, Dr. Rai pointed out that over the last two decades, five technologies have made a big difference. These are the Social Media, the Mobile Technology, Virtual Reality, the Internet of Things and the Cloud Computing. Emphasising on the importance of IT in businesses today, he said that “businesses have two parts today, the domain part and the IT part.” Though IT is much smaller as compared to the domain but that is what drives businesses today across industries and companies should invest more in this part.

Manipal’s Vision for the Future

Post the address by the guests, Dr. Yogesh Kumar Bhatt presented Manipal’s futuristic approach in filling these gaps with empowered IT professionals. Referring to the gap of 1.5 million by 2020, he said – “these are mind boggling numbers” and the larger question is “where will these people come from?” Talking about a survey that Manipal ProLearn conducted recently on the various top managers apart from CISOs on the top business needs, he revealed that ‘Cyber Security’ was not listed among the top 10 business needs. This is why Dr. Bhatt termed it as a “latent talent demand”.

“Companies need to work proactively to create a Cyber Security culture”

-Dr. Yogesh Kumar Bhatt, Director of Academy, Manipal ProLearn,

Establishing the need for cyber security in businesses, he said that “companies need to work proactively in creating a cyber-security culture” by training their employees. He concluded by sharing the Manipal ProLearn’s foray in this space by offering quality education and sharing Manipal’s plan of collaborating with Deakin University, Australia in setting up Centre of Excellence (CoE) in Cyber Security to work on industry projects.

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