Centre for Internet & Society

On 2 and 3 December 2010, the DSCI Information Security Summit 2010 took place in the Trident Hotel, Chennai. The two day summit included a broad spectrum of speakers/panels and topics, ranging from Securing Data & Systems to how to leverage the Cloud. The key speakers were Mr. Gulshan Rai, Director General, CERT-In, DIT, Mr. Rajeev Kapoor, Joint Secretary, DoPT, Govt. of India, Mr. Vakul Sharma, Advocate, Supreme Court of India and Dr. Kamlesh Bajaj, CEO, DSCI. Elonnai Hickok attended the summit.

Day one commenced with keynote address given by Jeffery Carr, Principal, GreyLogic, US who spoke about the gravity and risk that businesses and countries are facing in the digital age. A prominent theme in every presentation throughout the day was that India is facing both serious changes and challenges in light of evolving technology and global standards.  A few specific challenges addressed were: encryption standards, the cloud, and securing business transactions. During the panel on encryption standards it was pointed out that India desperately needs a clear and comprehensive policy on encryption standards. Not only will this serve to facilitate transactions in India, but it will increase trade as foreign countries will have an enforced policy to ensure them that India is a safe destination to export to. The panel addressing the cloud focused on the challenges that businesses are facing in terms of the cloud in the Indian context. The three main challenges to the Cloud are: 

  • data security and privacy
  • compliance requirements
  • legal and contractual requirements 

It was pointed out that in particular the Indian legal environment is serving as an obstacle to businesses wishing to move to the cloud, because of policies such as 40 bit encryption, and the Indian Telecom licensing policy which do not permit data transfer outside the cloud. Discussed also were measures that organisations have adopted to address data protection challenges in the cloud including: Including security & privacy clauses in the contractual agreement, making the Cloud service provider liable for a data breach, and auditing the services of Cloud service providers. Further information about the Cloud in the Indian context can be found in the DSCI report on Data Protection Challenges in Cloud Computing: An Indian Perspective. In the session on Securing Business Transactions, the challenge of protecting data and transactions was addressed. Many approaches were presented which explained how securing systems has moved away from using security enables software to security embedded hardware. The first day concluded with a presentation of DSCI Study Reports, including their recent study on the State of Data Security and Privacy in the Indian BPO Industry, Service Provider Assessment Framework – A Study Report, and the DSCI Security Framework.

The second day included presentations and panel discussions on privacy, the economics of security, and security technologies.  The presentation on privacy presented many different viewpoints which ranged from the stance that India has been taking the right steps towards securing individuals privacy, and in contrast, that India has seen a dilution of privacy standards in the recent years. Contributing to the panel on privacy, Vakul Sharma, Supreme Court Advocate created a timeline of privacy in India, dispelling the popular belief that India does not have a history of privacy. Mr. Sharma closed his presentation with a challenge to those who believe that India does not have adequate privacy protections - to return to the clauses in the ITA, see if they are indeed being followed, and then assess if India does not have adequate privacy protection. The panel on the Economics of Security spoke about the rising costs of security in the wake of cyber crime, and the rising cost of not adequately protecting one’s business. In the session on Technology Challenges to Fight Data Breaches and Cyber Crimes a debate evoked on current measures taken by industry and government to fight cyber crime, and steps that still need to be taken. Opening the session was a presentation by Mr. West, member of the National Cyber Forensics Training and Alliance. His presentation introduced a new approach taken by the States in which key stakeholders including students and local law enforcement were engaged when tracking down cyber criminals. Mr. West demonstrated the success of the program, and explained how such an approach could be easily adapted in India. From different comments made by the panel and audience it was clear from this session that there is a need for the Indian government to be more invested in funding and supporting smaller cybercrime initiatives. Closing the day was a panel on E-Security for the next five years including the application and enforcement of DSCI’s best practices for a Security and Privacy Framework. 

The event was sponsored by: Trusted Computing Group, Computer Associates, McAfee, Verizon Business, Tata Consultancy Services, Deloitte, (ISC)2, BlackBerry, ACS, CSC, Microsoft, RSA, and Intel.

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