Cyber security aid for MSMEs by US consulate general and NGO
The US consulate general and Consumer Unity and Trust Society (CUTS) International, an NGO, have partnered to help micro, medium and small businesses combat cyber threats in Jharkhand and other parts of eastern India.
In this regard, the US consulate and CUTS International in collaboration with the MSME Development Institute, Ranchi, and the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC), Patna, organised a daylong workshop in Ranchi on Thursday for micro, medium and small enterprises to equip them with knowledge and hands-on training on how to identify and combat cyber security threats and become more cyber-resilient.
Arnab Ganguly, policy analyst, CUTS International, told the participants that the adoption of digital technologies has accelerated due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and many MSMEs went online without the required understanding and safeguards to combat cyber attacks, rendering them vulnerable.
“Given that MSMEs contribute roughly 30 per cent of India’s GDP, it is imperative to equip them with the knowledge and tools to become resilient to cyber security breaches and grow their businesses sustainably. We are happy to facilitate the MSME units in Jharkhand in combating cyber threats through experts from C-DAC. Any entrepreneur from Jharkhand can approach us at www.cuts-crs.org and we would facilitate interaction with experts from C-DAC,” said Ganguly.
He further said that they would be downloading documents on cyber security for the benefit of MSME units of Jharkhand and other areas on their website for the entrepreneurs.
According to the US consulate spokesperson, with growing digitalisation globally, more and more businesses are gradually shifting to digital platforms for doing business. There has been a concomitant rise in cyber crimes. Cyber attacks through malware, phishing, ransomware, etc, have become commonplace. According to a survey by Internet security firm Kaspersky (released in 2020), about 48 per cent of MSMEs faced data breaches owing to a lack of understanding of threats and the importance of cyber security.
Adrian Pratt, the new director of the American Center, Calcutta, in a media statement said: “The US Consulate, Calcutta, is happy to partner with CUTS International think tank on this key project titled ‘Cyber Safe East India’ to organise a series of workshops on cyber safety for e-businesses. This project will help the region to cope with the growing threat of cyber-crimes for e-businesses since many companies have moved online during the pandemic.”
Union MSME ministry director S.K. Sahoo said that while the Covid-19 pandemic has created considerable challenges for MSMEs, it has also created an opportunity for the MSMEs to expand their business via online platforms.
“However, cyber security remains an area of serious concern for the MSMEs. The vulnerabilities of MSMEs stems from several factors, such as lack of understanding of cyber security risks, less prioritisation for cyber safety, limited capital allocation to cyber security, etc. It is important to bridge these gaps by imparting the required skills and knowledge on how to react when faced with cyber security breaches,” said Sahoo.
Aditya Sinha, director and centre head, C-DAC Patna, said that there has been a drastic increase in cyber crimes due to limited awareness and cyber hygiene.
“The risk of SMEs increases manifold seeing their cyberspace vulnerability. C-DAC Patna aims to operate as a national resource centre to address pressing cyber security issues, accelerate the creation, deployment and use of secure, standard-based technologies and solutions,” said Sinha.
He said that C-DAC, Patna, has established a Cyber Security and Forensics Resource Centre to address the issues pertaining to cyber threats.
Around 40 representatives from various MSME units in Ranchi participated in the workshop.
As the next step, similar capacity building workshops will be organised in Guwahati during October. After the workshops, a compendium of cyber security best practices will be released to help MSMEs safely navigate cyberspace and mitigate cyber risks.
A similar workshop was held in Patna (Bihar) last week.