Info-tech

As cyberthreats mount, India emerging as a global hub for cybersecurity products

Venkatesha Babu | | Updated on: Dec 13, 2021
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The cybersecurity industry in India is worth $10.82 billion growing at 27 per cent annually

 

On Monday enterprise software company Subex informed exchanges that the company websites were subjected to a targeted cyber-attack and around 10 per cent of the infrastructure and certain data and systems of the company had been impacted. Earlier in May, JBS one of the largest meat suppliers in the US, said that a hack had forced it to temporarily shutter five of its largest plants. The company eventually paid-up a ransom of $11 million to hackers to prevent further disruption.

A few years ago, Andhra and Telangana power utilities were subjected to a ransomware attack. Earlier this year, a large PC seller admitted that its systems had been breached and customer data stolen. These are not isolated incidents but increasingly common, everyday occurrences.

 

Over the last couple of years as the world has become more digital given the pandemic and how it has drastically changed the way we interact, such attacks have become even more familiar. With communication, information, work, entertainment all getting digital for individuals, enterprises, as well as government, through increased use of mobile phones, personal computers, and other e-devices, it has meant that a vast amount of data is being generated. The bulk of our information and financial transactions have all moved online.

Losses

That has also meant an opportunity for the bad guys. A 2020 estimate said that Indian enterprises alone might have suffered losses of more than ₹1.25 lakh crore due to ransomware, malware, and other security breaches. This is why there is a growing awareness about the need for cybersecurity. India, which sees $150 billion in exports in the software and services sector, is witnessing a slew of young, hungry, innovative start-ups in the cybersecurity space which are addressing this global challenge.

Last year, companies with operations in India generated $11 billion in revenues from cybersecurity--including $1.02 bn from about 230 startups in the space besides Global Capability Centres--and this revenue base is growing at 27 percent CAGR, according to the Data Security Council of India (DSCI), an apex industry body.India and India-based companies have the potential to emerge big on the global stage due to the wide-ranging engineering talent available here.

At a recent virtual roundtable co-hosted by BusinessLine and Nasscom, senior cybersecurity industry executives – Quick Heal Co-founder & CTO, Sanjay Katkar, Safe Security Co-founder & CEO Saket Modi, as well as Securely Share’s Founder & CEO Prakash Baskaran, apart from CEO of DSCI, Rama Vedashree weighed-in on the ever-growing threats but a more important opportunity for India and Indian companies to emerge as a global powerhouse in the cybersecurity space.

Growth

Rama Vedashree of DSCI pointed out that as of December 2020, the cybersecurity industry in India was $10.82 billion growing at 27 per cent CAGR with nearly 230 Indian companies innovating in the space. She said that DSCI had been evangelising about the potential of the sector to generate revenue, jobs, and expertise for the country, as well as handholding start-ups, even as they lobby with the government to ensure a favorable regulatory environment for the growth of Indian cybersecurity industry.

Sanjay Katkar, who along with his brother, co-founded Quick Heal, one of the few listed and a very early player in the space, said that growing the sophistication of cyberattacks, the intensity of cyber scams has meant that both individuals and enterprises have been forced to take cybersecurity seriously.

‘As our lives become digital, we also use a lot of IoT (internet of thing) devices which generate data and thus creates vulnerability. Quick Heal has been working with enterprises as well as individuals to protect them from such cybersecurity threats.”

Saket Modi of Safe Security said that this was a space where nimble innovative start-ups could really make a mark as unlike the inertia of some large organisations, they could move quickly. Pointing out that his company worked with some of the biggest names in the business like Facebook, Google, McKinsey or BlackRock, he said that unlike the conventional services play of Indian IT companies, this was a product play.

“We looked at the opportunity and said the traditional services model is not really a scalable model and we actually pivoted ourselves from a services company to a products company.” Modi felt that India’s biggest strength came from its deep technical and engineering talent.

Pointing out that while the global cybersecurity was around $150 billion growing at around 12-13 percent, Modi felt that with Indian companies growing at double that rate and innovating, the country had a good chance of emerging as a global powerhouse in this space.

Prakash Baskaran of Securely Share felt that Indian companies had an advantage because of the very price-sensitive nature of the domestic market. “Here people want a Mercedes Benz for the price of a Maruti. But what this does is it enables Indian companies to be super competitive on the global stage.”

He, however, felt that Indian IT vendors (like TCS, Infosys, Wipro, Tech Mahindra) could work more with some of the start-ups to bundle their solutions when they offer consulting and system integration services to customers globally. All of them felt that the cybersecurity market opportunity would only increase and given India’s tech talent, the country had a good opportunity to emerge as a global hub with world-class players in this space.

Published on December 15, 2021

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