By Rakesh Kharwal
The long-awaited moment is now upon us as the Budget 2020 has finally been announced. This year, a majority of sectors were looking towards the Hon'ble Finance Minister with scores of expectations, especially in the light of weakening demand. On the other hand, the Hon'ble Minister had to operate with a tight bandwidth due to the shortfall in tax collection this fiscal. Still, she seems to have navigated her way quite brilliantly. But how is the Budget 2020 for the burgeoning segment of cybersecurity in India? Let's quickly analyze.
Eyeing the Global Market
To begin with, let us understand the current global cybersecurity landscape. Currently, the global IT industry is staring at a massive dearth of cybersecurity professionals. Industry estimates indicate that there is a shortage of around 4 million professionals across the globe. Well, this shortage also has certain costs linked to it. According to an Accenture report, the global economy can lose up to $5.2 trillion over the next five years.
Perhaps, this is the core issue that Budget 2020 has tried to resolve. The government has announced the launch of a specialized cyber forensics university. This is the need of an hour as there is a shortage of over 1 million cybersecurity professionals in the domain in the country today as per DSCI.
This initiative can help the nation in equipping its IT sector with professionals having hands-on experience. It will be a big leap from the 'Baptism by Fire' approach that is currently prevalent within the industry. A good way to do this is by using avant-garde approaches such as Cyber Range-a simulation-based cybersecurity training program-to resolve the core issue. What such approaches do is that they create real-life scenarios of a cyberattack with the in-house tools and infrastructure of a typical organization. It enables the cybersecurity professionals to learn about the wide-ranging dynamics of a cyberattack without putting any network component at risk.
Out of the Rs 99,300 crore budget for the education sector and Rs 3,000 crores for skill development, the government might want to create a positive environment for relevant cybersecurity apprenticeship courses. It will enable Indian engineers to land better job opportunities and, in doing so, also address the key challenge of employment. Above all, it will eventually position India as a hub of global cybersecurity training and development.
The government is also planning to set up 150 higher education institutes. They can be latched on to this vision to create a world-class cybersecurity training infrastructure in India for global students. Another key takeaway is the allocation of Rs 8000 crore for the National Mission on Quantum Computing which will receive a boost in the field of cybersecurity, simulations, securing communications and financial transactions with a focus on the creation of a high-skilled job, human resources development, startups and entrepreneurship leading to technology economic growth.
Military-grade cybersecurity tools and Cyber Range can turn out to be a game-changer for India. Since a whopping Rs 99,300 crores of funds have been allocated to the education sector, the government must incentivize higher education institutes to incorporate such practices. Doing so will enable India to tap a lion's share in the burgeoning global cybersecurity market.
Rakesh Kharwal is the Managing Director – India/South Asia & ASEAN of Israel-based Cyberbit. Views expressed are the author's own.