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US Consulate partners with CUTS Intl to mitigate cyber threats of MSMEs

Ranchi, September 23: The U.S. Consulate General Kolkata and CUTS International, in collaboration with MSME-Development Institute (MSME-DI), Ranchi, and Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC), Patna organised a day-long workshop in Ranchi, for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) to equip them with knowledge and hands-on training on how to identify and combat cybersecurity threats, and, become more cyber-resilient. 

Representatives from various MSME units in Ranchi, participated in the workshop.

With growing digitalization globally, more and more businesses are gradually shifting to digital platform for doing business. There has been a concomitant rise in cybercrimes. Cyberattacks through Malware, Phishing, Ransomware, etc. have become commonplace. According to a survey by Kaspersky, about 48 percent of MSMEs have had data breaches owing to lack of understanding of threats and the importance of cyber security in the MSMEs. 

Adrian Pratt, the new director of the American Center Kolkata said, “The U.S. Consulate Kolkata is happy to partner with CUTS international think tank on this key project titled “Cyber Safe East India” to organize 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.”

Arnab Ganguly, the Policy Analyst, CUTS International, mentioned at the workshop 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 percent 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  

S K Sahoo, director, MSME ministry, Government of India, 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 MSMEs. 

He opined that vulnerabilities of MSMEs stem from several factors, such as – lack of understanding of cybersecurity risks, less prioritization for cyber safety, limited capital allocation to cybersecurity, 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. 

Aditya Kumar Sinha, director and centre head, C-DAC Patna told that there has been a drastic increase in cybercrimes due to limited awareness and cyber hygiene. The risk of SME’s increases many folds 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.

He further added that the C-DAC, Patna has established a Cyber Security and Forensics Resource Centre to address the issues pertaining to Cyber Threats.

As the next steps, similar capacity-building workshops will be organized in Guwahati during October. After the workshops, a Compendium of Cybersecurity of Best Practices will be released to help MSMEs safely navigate cyberspace and mitigate cyber risks.

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