Channel Times Bureau

Mumbai: In the emerging ‘cashless economy’ and advent of the ‘digital age’ dominated by social media, e-commerce, analytics, cloud and IoT it is imperative not only for SME ICT Partners to themselves adopt robust security solutions, but also educate their customers and help them choose and implement appropriate systems and safeguards. In a bid to sensitize its members on cyber security and enhance their capabilities to mitigate cyber threats, Trade Association Of Information Technology (TAIT) recently organized a Knowledge Series Workshop in Mumbai.

TAIT event The workshop was conducted by Joel Divekar, Chief Technology Officer, Creative Antenna who talked about issues such as safe and secure usage of the Internet, threats from phishing and Ransomware and techniques to avoid them, Bitcoins, Cryptocurrencies and Blockchain technology.

Addressing the TAIT members Joel Divekar, Chief Technology Officer, Creative Antenna said, “As we try to implement digitization initiatives that help to expand business and increase revenues, we are moving towards cloud storage. In this scenario, protecting business against cyber crime or data threats is critically important. Consequences of ignoring security risks can be disastrous for current business transactions as well as long term brand image and reputation. It is therefore important not to underestimate the scale of a phishing or ransomware attacks. These can penetrate organisations in many different forms via spam, malvertising or malicious domains. Ransomware is indiscriminate and targets anywhere it can.”

Divekar further discussed the advent of Bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies and of encryption algorithms that have created a favourable context for development and proliferation of Ransomware. Hence, organisations must educate their employees about the evolving risks, maintain patches on desktop users’ systems, as well as critical data servers, reduce the automatic mapping of drives and regularly monitor infections to prevent spread of a contagion.

Divekar also talked about Blockchain Technology - which is a secured public ledger of all Bitcoin transactions that have ever been executed. A block is the ‘current’ part of a blockchain which records some or all of the recent transactions, and once completed goes into the blockchain as permanent database. This new development has the potential to increase secure data exchange and make transfer of authenticated information simpler and easier between entities and/or individuals.

Cyber crime cases have surged worldwide, making Indian users also vulnerable to cyber threats. A joint study conducted by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM) and consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) stated that India has seen a rise of nearly 300 percent in cyber crime cases registered under the IT Act, 2000 in the period from 2011 to 2014. SMEs are more prone to cyber-attacks as they usually do not have a systematic, institutional mechanism for review of the extent of their vulnerabilities.

Founder CEOs and Owner-Managers typically lack the experience or expertise to assess the cyber security risks to their business. Very often cyber security threats are put on the back burner, and investments made in basic security solutions such as anti-virus software and firewalls to keep their accounting and financial transaction data protected. However, most SMEs tend to underestimate the value of their data.

“The negligence of SMEs in designing and adopting robust IT security policies may serve as the proverbial ‘Trojan Horse’for a major cyber breach, negatively impact the affected organizations’ business operations and expose their customers to vicious ransomware,” said Rushabh Shah, President, TAIT.

“TAIT members feel it is not only a business opportunity but a duty they owe themselves and their customers to engage with experts to carefully assess their threat vulnerabilities and devise and implement effective safeguards to defend against pervasive security threats,” Shah reiterated.

Around 300 ICT partners pledged to enhance capabilities, expand adoption of multi-platform security solutions in the event.

“Going forward, TAIT will coordinate with members to periodically review existing security solution vendor OEM relationships. The aim would be to identify gaps and prepare a roadmap for increased business tie-ups, training and upskilling of staff, and adopt systems and processes that can serve as a ‘best practices’ guide. The IT partner SME community would continue to create upstream and downstream linkages as well as long term engagements with customer organisations across key industry verticals and the public sector,” Viren Bavishi, Director, TAIT.