Promising career in Cyber Security

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Amit Kumar,
President, Cyberfort Technologies

IT is playing dominant role in the current economy and trade. As IT has simplified our daily work in all aspect, it has also called for cyber threat. Cyber criminals have found a new way to invade the economy and terrorise the nation with the use of IT. It has shaken many nations in the past and has made the government to think seriously about this unknown terrorist and secure and preserve the prosperity of their nation. To combat this cyber crime, nation need cyber security expert to work and secure the existing platform so that prosperity flourish in the livelihood of individual people. Though how, India has proven its IT super power across the nation, still it require five lakh cybersecurity professionals by 2015 to support its fast growing internet economy as per an estimate by the union ministry of information technology. These jobs will come up across industries. The financial sector alone is expected to hire over two lakh people while telcos, utility sectors, power, oil & gas, airlines, government (law & order and e-governance) will hire the rest. A large number of these jobs will be around cyberpolicing and ethical hacking, to check for network vulnerabilities. The need for cyber experts has grown exponentially as the country is heading towards an internet explosion mostly fuelled by e-Commerce, e-Banking, e-Governance and the social media.
Today, there are more than two billion people online, who need to be protected. Cyber attacks are already happening on a daily basis in the world and as we grow more and more ‘connected’, the threats also become more complex and difficult. On Facebook, there are 50 million Indian users and even if a small fraction of them click unsuspectingly on a malevolent but seemingly ordinary link, you have that many computers opened up to risk and infection. The freedom of cyber space is just as crucial to the debate as its protection is.
The University Grant Commission (UGC) and the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) have asked Universities and Technical Institutions to introduce Cyber Security and Information Security as a subject at the Under-Graduate and Post-Graduate levels. This was stated by Minister of State for Human Resource Development, Dr Shashi Tharoor in Lok Sabha.
Based on the recommendations of the Task Force on the National Security System constituted on the direction of the Cabinet Committee on Security, the UGC has requested the Vice Chancellors of all the Universities to ensure that Cyber Security/ Information Security is introduced as a subject in the universities and technical institutions at the under-graduate and post-graduate levels. AICTE has intimated that following the recommendations of the Task Force, it has made provisions in the Approval Handbook that out of the two divisions allotted at the Post-Graduate and Post-Diploma levels, one shall be on Cyber Security or in Cyber Security related courses in the Computer/ IT branches of Engineering/ Technology.
Quoting a Gartner report in its letter,UGC said, “The country’s information security market is expected to grow by 18% to reach `1,415 crore in 2013 on the back of increased spending by companies to secure their information assets. Despite a continuing economic slowdown that has been putting pressure on IT budgets around the world, cyber security spending globally would continue on an upward trajectory, reaching $86 billion in 2016, up from $60 billion in 2012.”

India needs five lakh cybersecurity professionals by 2015 to support its fast growing Internet economy

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National Skill Development Council is also working with partners to develop cyber security talent. Nasscom along with DSCI currently operates eight cyberlabs in Bangalore, Chennai, Pune, Thane, Mumbai, Gurgaon, Delhi and Hyderabad. We train the police on forensic, cyber crime detection and tell them how to register cybercrimes, secure evidences as per the IT Act.
If combating malware, hackers and cyber crimes are your passion, this is the right time to be a cyber security expert. Amidst this cloud of cyber crimes, there is a silver lining that comes in the form of job opportunities for students in the field of information security. Recognising the dearth of trained cyber security experts, the Indian government has expanded the career prospects in this field by announcing to train five lakh cyber warriors in the next five years to boost e-Defense. A government-private sector plan, this initiative aims at beefing up India’s cyber security, as we face a shortfall of five lakh such experts, despite our reputation of being an IT and software powerhouse. The government also intends to introduce specialised cyber security-related curriculum in engineering and management courses and establish Institute of Cyber Security Professionals of India.
Security stats
Contrary to the importance given to network security and threat prevention in countries like the UK, US and China, India is lagging behind in identifying the need for this scarce skill-set. The rising spate of cyber attacks has alerted government and private organizations, thus generating a huge demand for information security professionals to safeguard and monitor their network and systems.
“Be it an organisation or an individual, everybody wants to ensure the safety of their system, thus, relying heavily on information security experts. Government departments and security agencies too demand large number of cyber security professionals,” says Gaurav Raj, a certified Ethical Hacker. As per industry experts, job opportunities in this field have outnumbered trained professionals. IT security with ethical hacking skills is the most promising career to be in, with challenges and excitement every day of the work. IT is the back bone of any nation in now days. There is a huge shortage of IT security manpower, only 556 professionals are available with respect to five lakhs of jobs in IT security field in India. Recently, government has floated vacancy for the recruitment in Intelligence Bureau for cyber security expert. It shows and opened up the vacancies in this emerging and most promising career in the field of Cyber Security.”

Quick Facts about IT Security Market in India

• Indian IT security market to double in five years
• RSA’s November 2012 Fraud Report ranked India as the third most targeted by phishing attacks globally.
• Indian IT security market will be more than double over the next five years – a CAGR of around 16% – giving increased growth opportunities across different industries in the country.

Major drivers that are contributing to the growth of the Indian IT security market include:

• Increased penetration of IT services in different verticals in India such as telecom, banking and insurance industries
• Increased awareness and takeup by SMBs
• Hike in government spending in IT infrastructure within PSUs
• The vulnerability of Indian IT infrastructure to hackers

Required skills

Elaborating on the skill-set required to succeed in the field of information security, Bezawada Bruhadeshwar, International Institute Information Technology, Hyderabad, says, “It’s a field that requires your keen interest, professional training and thorough knowledge of operating systems, programming, networks and protocols. Cyber criminals strike through virus attacks, destroy systems, modify and steal data from your system without your knowledge. The first and foremost job as an information security expert is to detect and analyze the vulnerabilities and then plug the loopholes to protect the system, network and data. Cyber security experts need to know about coding of some basic languages and database handling skills.”

Career ahead
If you are a trained professional in this field, you can find placement as network security systems manager, network security administrator, network security engineer, web security administrator, web security auditor, application security tester, ethical hacker, information security analyst, database and software developer, data security specialist, and chief information security officer.
An information security specialist can also start his own venture to provide security solutions to a variety of companies and government departments. Cyber security experts are a desired lot in banks, energy sector, hotels, airlines, healthcare, telecom companies, infrastructure, transportation, law enforcement, defence, emergency response systems and ITES companies, among others.

Required certifications
Graduates with a degree in computer science or engineering can opt for various full-time and short-term courses in information security, like MTech and MSc in Information Security, degree and diplomas in information security and network administration. You need to be trained and certified from a reputed organisation. International certifications like Certified Ethical Hacker (EC-Council) and GPEN can do wonders to one’s career as a cyber security expert. Salaries in this field range from `3 to 5 lakh per annum. With experience and desired expertise, the package may go up to 10-12 lakh per annum, and even to a crore.
(Cyberfort Technologies, a venture by IIT alumni, is a leading IT security consultancy and training firm in this arena.)

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