Indian CIOs shift gears amidst pandemic: Prioritise investments in cyber sec, data
Published 11 February 2021
IT decision makers from leading Indian companies have zeroed in on cyber security and data-backed decision making, as their key priority areas in 2021.
Coming in the backdrop of a pandemic situation, businesses the world over have had to take a fresh look at the way they do business. With social distancing norms, remote working, frequent lockdowns and restrictions on travel, behaviour patterns of end-consumers are undergoing a change of sorts.
Digital transactions are the new normal. CIOs and IT decision makers that W.Media spoke to have outlined certain key areas and cyber security seems to be the most important one.
“In 2021, we can expect cybercriminals to define their attack strategies focusing on the “work-from-home economy”. Less secured home machines will become very easy targets, and, in turn, these easily compromised machines will become the pivot point to allowing advanced persistent attacks,” opined Bharat Panchal, Chief Risk Officer for India, Middle East and Africa for FIS.
Also, post COVID-19, as the cyberspace real estate increased in size, opportunity for fraudsters to play has gone up simultaneously. In effect, this makes it very difficult to deal with new cybersecurity threats.
Chirag Boonlia, Chief Technology Officer, Information Technology, Embassy Property Developments Private Limited is of the view that Cybersecurity has got a significant focus on account of Covid. “Customer Experience now also includes Contactless Experiences,” he said.
To put it in context, during the pandemic, number of targeted ransomware attacks has at least doubled worldwide and India is one of the most targeted countries in terms of a ransomware attack, stated Panchal.
With businesses shutting down and the social upheaval caused as a result of this, law enforcement agencies across the world are staring at increasing instances of frauds. A quick look at recent instances of cyber breaches amongst government agencies as well as private institutions substantiates this viewpoint.
“These complex attacks would be the main threat to critical infrastructure, supply chain, financial institutions, and the pharma industry. While lockdowns have created more vulnerabilities, criminals are more organized, equipped, creative, capable, and opportunistic. So, they will carry on expanding their attack strategy of ransomware techniques,” said Panchal.
Ransomware attacks will include not just a demand for organizations to pay a ransom but threats of data being exfiltrated and leaked. These double-threat attacks will reduce the effectiveness of disaster recovery and business continuity for protection against ransomware.
At the same time, data-driven decision making, using AI, Machine Learning will be the way forward, even as raging debates over the ethics and efficacy of technologies are doing the rounds globally. Sayed Peerzade, Group CIO, Reliance Entertainment is a firm believer in data.
“Data driven decision making will be our top priority. We are collecting 65 million events per day as a data from various stages and progress from our products like OTT and gaming. However, more emphasis in now on using that data to build more of automation of products by using the technologies like of AI & ML,” he says.
Where is the budget, honey!
This raises the most important question- where is the money for tech going to come from, considering businesses globally are under so much stress and in certain sectors such as a hospitality, aviation have taken a severe beating. Cybersecurity has to be an additional budget. Digital Transformation with contactless experience too should be from additional budget and rest as a part of the roadmap,” avers Boonlia.
Peerzade of Reliance Entertainment opines that budgets will have to be created through a combination of cost takeouts and fresh ones. “Its balanced approach for us. We constantly monitor and tweak transformation projects for cost savings. At the same time we are investing money in automating projects,” he says.