High-end labs with critical inspection capabilities be set up to bolster cyber security
Considering that multitude of homeland security solutions currently available in the market create lot of confusion for authorities during procurement, a recent ASSOCHAM-EY joint study suggested the government to come up with a formal national security strategy.
“To ensure that procurement in critical national security related projects is done in an efficient and transparent manner, a comprehensive set of guidelines, principles and policies should be made available,” stated an ASSOCHAM-EY joint study titled, ‘Homeland Security-Digital frontiers.’
It also suggested that a comprehensive, digitally enabled security strategy must be framed with a structured plan and framework to identify, analyze and operationalize digital tools to increase efficiency and effectiveness of agencies responsible for ensuring India’s security.
Currently, each critical sector (energy, telecom, transportation and others) is facing challenges with respect to absence of a well-defined security strategy and procurement processes while facing the daunting task of countering ever increasing attacks threatening national security.
Authorities face various challenges vis-à-vis procurement of homeland security projects in areas like – policy and regulations, process, technology and people, which is not only hampering government’s ability to deal with complex procurement needs in smart internal security projects but is also impeding overall growth of the sector, the study noted.
Additionally, the report stated, technological advancements should be utilized in changing existing public procurement model in national security. Continuous engagement of all stakeholders including internal security agency personnel, private sector and the citizens is essential as well.
The study suggested key steps for smart internal security procurement – Preparing procurement guidelines and model RFPs (request for proposals), creating a dedicated central agency to guide smart homeland security projects, promoting collaborative procurement model, mandatory use of e-procurement, smart HLS procurement database, effective engagement with industry, vendor community and change management programs.
The report further stated that intelligence-led policing through implementation of appropriate technology to capture and analyse data to counter challenges posed due to limited resources is need of the hour for government to strengthen homeland security.
It is equally important for our law enforcement agencies to develop operational models for providing transparent and fast citizen centric services that not only improves their internal operational efficiency but also instils confidence in citizens while reducing the overall cost of service delivery, the report added.
The study further said that LEAs need to develop a formal security strategy and organization-wide information management strategy that is capable of handling all types of security threats to the nation.
“The strategy should be able to institutionalize a set of common principles and must include policies, frameworks to help the cadres adopt the new comprehensive and structured model of information management for ensuring security across the nation.”
Considering that at every step security agencies are faced with gargantuan task of developing actionable insights from heaps of structured, unstructured data from internal and external sources, the study noted that analytics is the key technology that can help the government in understanding such huge amounts of information gathered by various government agencies from different sources like banks, telecoms, traffic information, social media, crime/criminal data records and others.
“Analytics can be used in citizen safety and security in four stages viz., prevention, investigation, prosecution and review/analysis.”
It also said that while there may not necessarily be a way to guarantee that information is impenetrable, but the government has an obligation towards its citizens to demonstrate that they have a serious and sufficient mechanism in place to safeguard their data.
As such, the ASSOCHAM-EY joint report suggested that to mitigate the risks, security needs to be built into devices by design instead of being retrofitted that tends to be imperfect and risky.
Highlighting the importance of cyber security as a key enabler to ensuring India’s internal security, it said, “Establishing high end cyber labs with critical inspection capabilities and continuous capacity building are key for ramping up cyber security.”
“Deployment of these cyber labs across all industry sectors and critical government infrastructure can address the ever growing threat to the economy, government departments and financial institutions,” it added.
As part of the holistic approach to cyber security solutions, the study suggested for technological revamp of existing cyber-crime labs, setting up open source intelligence monitoring and collection facilities along with cyber-forensic lab.
It further recommended for continuous capacity building and training for cyber-crime investigators and professionals engaged in homeland security.