Cyber security is not a technology issue but an organisational need

Monday, 9 October 2017 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Airtel CEO Jinesh Hedge declared that cyber security is a business investment concern as opposed to a challenge to a company’s IT division.

Bharti Airtel Sri Lanka Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director Jinesh Hegde

Smartphone usage in Sri Lanka, Hedge told the Daily FT-CICRA Cyber Security Summit, is growing at 30% year-on-year, and two years from now, practically every phone will be replaced by a smartphone, resulting in a ‘real change’ in the industry.

He said 96% of internet users in Sri Lanka access the web through a mobile device, he said, 80% of whom are young people. 72% of web traffic are via mobile phones.

Hedge said that challenges have been identified in three board areas: namely, potential data theft, identity theft, and malware and other viruses.

“As a company, what’s our approach? We believe cyber security is not an issue of technology; nor is it an issue of IT. We believe it’s an issue or challenge for business,” he said. The telco considers the end-user as a key element, said the Chief Executive, noting that online connectivity does not happen through mobile networks alone, with customers increasingly connecting via WiFi and Bluetooth.“These are some of the challenges we face,” he said.

The Airtel chief dwelt on the culture prevalent at his company, where every employee is required to sign an information security policy.  “Our strategic partners are also bound by this contract,” he said. “The awareness comes from the top.”

Airtel also has a strategic partner management, information security calendar, ISO standard adherence and access control mechanisms, he said.

“We conduct processes to safeguard our information so we’re ready for any attack,” said Hedge.

Multiple level firewalls and protection against botnet authentication is also a priority.

“We believe in creating infrastructure with sufficient resistance to these attacks,” said Hedge, adding that security should not be an expense for the customer, noting Airtel’s continuing investment in security.

“This is not an IT investment, it’s a business investment,” he said. A continuous review an organisation’s processes is also critical, noted Hedge.

“Cyber security is not a technology issue but an organisational need.”