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Bengaluru, NFAPost: Till recently, India has not given much importance to Cybersecurity. Lack of favourable policy framework, right talent, right guidance and lack of confidence are some of the key areas that the country needs to focus according to the panel discussion on Cybersecurity R&D: Role of Academia, Industry & Government Balancing privacy and Public Good on day 2 of Bengaluru Tech Summit 2020.  

Dr. Rajeev Gopalalakrishna, Group Lead, CySecK, Prof. Vinod Ganapathy, Associate Professor, Computer Science and Automation, Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Prof. Sandeep Shukla Professor of Computer Science & Engineering, IIT Kanpur and Dr. Dattatraya Kulkarni Consumer Chief Technologist, McAfee participated in the panel discussion.Research and Development (R&D) Investment in cybersecurity continues to rise yet the Indian innovation ecosystem has a long way to go when it comes to cybersecurity.

There are a number considerable challenges associated with supporting innovation and bringing new security privacy technologies to market. Few studies have engaged key stakeholders to understand views on what is and is not working and how we can collectively go forward to add challenges associated with making R&D more successful.

Prof. Sandeep Shukla pointed out that if India must make leaps in cybersecurity then we need changes from top to bottom. Policy makers, academia, industry not doing enough for the cyber security in the country.

“Lack of trained manpower is one of the major hurdles in cybersecurity, we do not have people qualified to teach cybersecurity in our institutions. We need to have right set of people to create and teach practical real-life situations to the students. When compared to US, Europe, or Singapore there is lack of confidence in major companies to set up their cybersecurity operation in India,” said Prof. Sandeep Shukla.

He also said creating right infrastructure for cybersecurity research and development and innovation should be the top priority in India.

“Government has kept aside funds, but our leaders don’t know how to utilize them properly and institutions do not understand the problems, so they cannot come up with solutions.He also said that the main goal of an Indian engineering student is to get into a company with fat salary package and they are not interested in going deep into a particular subject and research. They study for certificate and not for knowledge. To become innovative, we need to change the attitude of the students, parents, teachers, and government,” said Prof. Sandeep Shukla.

According to Dr. Dattatraya Kulkarni, there is no lack of raw talent in the country, but the key skill an engineer needs to have is the ability to think what the problem is and what solution industry, government and people will want to see. Cybersecurity is an everyday challenge and the ability to think ahead and solve the problem is vital in the industry. We need to make our youngsters think from the school level.

“Indian innovation centers should be able to make and give solutions to the world. Indian companies should be able to attract talents from abroad or bring back Indian workforce from abroad so that these people can be mentors for youngsters and create a large talent pool for future,” said Dr. Kulkarni.

Prof. Vinod Ganapathy said that only through research India can be leaders in cybersecurity. 99.5% of Indian institutions are about teaching and training and focus on research is just half a percent.

“We need to increase the depth of research, increase number of faculties, and start dedicated courses on cybersecurity. We need to teach practical skills, need more video courses. Students needs to be motivated to take up research and go deep in the subject. Industry needs to collaborate and participate in research in the institutions and if we can showcase the research to students there is a chance that more students will take up research. Engineering students should feel the joy of being an engineer,” said Prof. Vinod Ganapathy.

The panelists explored a range of issues at the level of markets, firms, and individuals, which ran from new skill sets required for commercialization, national initiatives and funding for technology and market development active and integration into existing infrastructure.

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