There are several information security challenges that need to be considered by the government for Digital India and smart city projects, says Maheswaran S, Regional Specialist – DLP & APT, APAC, Websense, in an interaction with Elets News Network (ENN).
What are your views on the ‘Digital India’ campaign of the Central Government and their focus on embedding security technology in various policies and projects to be rolled out under the campaign?
The ‘Digital India’ campaign is a great initiative that has resulted in the convergence of technologies and, at the same time, convergence of various government departments to work in unison under this initiative to realise the dream and vision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
A lot of work is going on especially in the three vision areas as identified under Digital India: one is infrastructure to citizens, second one is governance and services on demand electronically and the third one is digital empowerment of citizens. It is, thus, connecting with every touch point of citizens’ interaction with the government. The various aspects of the project have various information security challenges that were identified by us, and that the government needs to consider and defend.
With the concept of 100 smart cities becoming a reality in India, what are the security aspects that should be embedded in a smart city to ensure safety for citizens’ data?
We have highlighted some major information security challenges that need to be considered by the government for the Digital India as well as smart city projects. Th e first one is that a lot of critical citizens’ data will be available on Cloud or in an electronic form that the government would need to protect. In addition, according to recent reports of data breach, we have also observed that almost 50 per cent of the data breaches reported by the government are because of the human element, as users were not aware of the safeguards. Th us, with more electronic records being available with the department, there is a big challenge to create awareness amongst the staff and ensure that they are not just equipped to handle those services efficiently, but are also concerned about the security aspect of it.
Another observation was that the Digital India campaign is going to embrace social media significantly. So, it is important to have a robust social media policy to ensure that there is a proper framework that addresses the concerns with respect to it.
The key steps of preparedness include performing a comprehensive risk assessment, which includes people, projects and technology aspects of evaluation of risk before these projects are launched in the public domain
And lastly, be it smart city project that the government implement through Digital will be critical infrastructure or any other is trying to India, there and critical information available for the hackers to attack. So, it becomes even more important to have a comprehensive framework to defend them from these attacks. These are the major challenges that a government needs to be aware of while designing and working on Digital India projects.
What are your key recommendations to equip the Digital India project with security preparedness?
The key steps of preparedness include performing a comprehensive risk assessment, which includes people, projects and technology aspects of evaluation of risk before these projects are launched in the public domain. These should have a periodic schedule of re-evaluation. Secondly, it is important for the government to have content and context way towards their security framework and should also have data analytics embedded in it. Th ere are many available or existing technologies that have become outdated with the changing threat environment.