Though investments in cybersecurity are on the rise, this space needs special attention from the government if the country were to catch up with peers on this front, said Rama Vedashree, Chief Executive Officer, Data Security Council of India (DSCI).
“Our (cybersecurity) start-ups are at a disadvantage compared to other geographies where there is so much happening,” Vedashree said.
The Government support for cybersecurity should come in areas such as funding, skilling and providing an environment for cybersecurity firms to thrive, experts said.
While the US had always been the leader, Israel took the lead long time back. Of the 500 top cybersecurity firms in the world, around 130 companies are from the US followed by Israel at 42.
Esti Peshin, Vice-President and General Manager, Israel Aerospace Industries-Cyber Division, who was here recently said in a recent separate interaction with BusinessLine that Israel’s robust cybersecurity ecosystem could be in part attributed to the strong support from the government in terms of funding and skilling. Israel has close to 500 cybersecurity companies, robust governing authority and collaboration between industry and academia that enables capacity building.
Vedashree said that in India too there is a need for such involvement from government. “Cybersecurity should be declared as a strategic sector by the government. If you make that, strategic investments will comes in,” she added. This would meant that apart from funding, government institutions such as C-DAC or defence labs, she said, “There is a need to have a stream where private entrepreneurs can tap into the government funding, which is happening globally.”
“It is tough for us since lot of start-ups have difficulty in getting funds at early stage,” Vedashree said. To address this DSCI is working with investors, large enterprises and government.
With the threat landscape growing in terms of numbers and sophistication, large service companies are increasing their investment in cybersecurity. DSCI is working with these service companies and helping product start-ups get market access.
DSCI is working with the Technology Development Board (TDB) under the Department of Science & Technology to open their commercialisation programme for cybersecurity. TDB called for applications from cybersecurity companies in the growth stage last year and are evaluating applications now. Under this programme TDB offers loans at a simple interest rate of 5 per cent per annum.
Atul Kumar, Senior Consultant at DSCI, said one of the advantage for start-ups is that the companies do not have to dilute their equity. Additionally the companies can start repaying loan one year after the project is successfully completed and can be repaid in four and a half years. – The Hindu Business Line