Cybersecurity has become top priority of corporates over the past year. Thanks to the pandemic that has led to shift from physical to virtual workplaces, cybersecurity concerns have really gone up within organisations of different sizes. Sundar Balasubramanian, managing director at CheckPoint India, a cybersecurity solutions firm, says that Indian companies go through three times of the global average attacks in cyberspace. "There is fine line between cyber warfare and cyber terrorism. What we see in the media is the physical line of control, but what really happening is also the interstate actors pounding on our assets, and these assets are public assets, governmental assets as well as private assets," he says.
Over the past year, companies have been facing challenges on two fronts: one is the challenge thrown up because of the pandemic. Second is because of the geopolitical tensions with China. This has woken up companies to realise the importance of cybersecurity. Balasubramanian says that through his interactions with CIOs (chief information officers) and CSOs (chief security officers), especially in the banking and IT/ITeS sectors, over the past three quarters, he can sense that there's heightened sensitivity around.
"At one end, they need to make that progress towards digital transformation. At the same time, they need to look into the real mirror, and make sure that they are not leaving the path of vulnerabilities behind. There are two things that we do. Not just solutions but also services are equally important in this current context. We extend our help both proactively and reactively. We have something called an instant response team which jumps in. That is like an ambulance service. Something goes down, we have to jump in there we have to get it up and running. We have to detect it and then eliminate the threat," he says adding that the shift towards 5G is going to make the telecom networks more vulnerable. How?
That's because when the technology transitions from 4G to 5G, the networks, which used to be well-protected and proprietary, will leap into software-defined infrastructure and some parts of these new networks will be on open source code. "Moving to the open stack comes with a set of challenges. It's a good thing moving onto SDN (software defined networks) but not so good thing is the exposure for the entire infrastructure. With 5G, the promise of getting all your devices connected to the network is very high. IoT (Internet of Things) is the Achilles Heel. We are going to have millions of devices across multiple verticals - pharmaceuticals, healthcare, manufacturing, and banking. It's going to give that level of surface area exposure that telecom operators need to be worried about. Nowadays hacking is more sophisticated. They do not come to the data center. They come through the perimeter and these all perimeters are connected to the telecom network. That is one of the biggest challenges I see with 5G," he says.