Workshop organized in Guwahati aiming to equip NE MSME with cybersecurity knowledge

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Guwahati: The US Consulate General Kolkata and CUTS International, in collaboration with the Federation of Indian Chambers of 10 Commerce and Industry, North-east Council, and Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC), organized a day-long workshop in Guwahati for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).

The aim was to equip the MSMEs with knowledge and hands-on training on how to identify and combat cybersecurity threats and be more cyber-resilient. Representatives from various MSME units in Guwahati participated in the workshop that is a part of the project titled ‘Cyber Safe East India’, implemented across East and Northeast India.

During her first visit to Assam, US Consul General in Kolkata, Melinda Pavek, said, “This Cybersecurity Awareness Month we recommit to doing our part to secure and protect our internet-connected devices, technology, and networks from cyber threats at work, home, business, school, and anywhere else we connect online.

“The United States and In dia is committed to continued partnership on cyber security, to include efforts to promote critical infrastructure resilience, collaboration to counter cyber-enabled crime such as ransomware, and cooperation to address shared cyber threats, including through workforce development, and exploring common cyber standards and promoting secure software development.”

Bipul Chatterjee, Executive Director, CUTS International, mentioned 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 cyberattacks, rendering them vulnerable. Given that MSMEs make up roughly 30 percent of India’s GDP, it is imperative to equip them with the knowledge and tools to become resilient to cybersecurity breaches and grow their business sustainably.

KK Dwivedi, Principal Secretary, Department of Industries & Commerce, Government of Assam, underlined the need for strict enforcement of laws and regulations to stop cybercrimes, which would need to be complemented with procedures geared towards fast-tracking resolution of complaints pertaining to cybercrimes. He also urged the business associations to develop a helpdesk to guide their members on the best course of action to redress their grievances pertaining to cybercrimes.

Additionally, he also suggested building a team of experts in the area of cyber security within the police force who should be made responsible for dealing with cyber breaches in the best possible manner. Akash Deep, Commissioner, and Secretary, Public Health Engineering Department and Director, Department of Information Technology, Government of Assam, underlined some of the important initiatives undertaken by the Department of Information Technology, Government of Assam.

Biswajit Chakrabarty, Director, FICCI, North-east Council, mentioned that while the COVID-19 pandemic has created considerable challenges for MSMEs, it has also created an opportunity for them to expand their business via online platforms. However, cybersecurity remains an area of serious concern for MSMEs.

Aditya Kumar Sinha, Director & Centre Head, C-DAC, Patna, said, “There has been a drastic increase in cybercrimes due to limited awareness and cyber hygiene. The risk of MSMEs increases manifolds seeing their cyberspace vulnerability. C-DAC, Patna aims to operate as a national resource centre to address pressing cybersecurity issues, accelerate the creation, deployment, and use of secure, standard-based technologies and solutions.”