Indian Education Dairy, November 07, 2022

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.

In this regard, CUTS International, in collaboration with the Directorate of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, Government of West Bengal; and Darjeeling Chamber of Commerce and with the support of the US Consulate Kolkata, organised a day long workshop for MSMEs, especially women-led enterprises to equip them with knowledge and hands on training on how to identify and combat cyber security threats, and become more cyber resilient. Representatives from more than 70 MSME units, including more than 60 women-led enterprises in Darjeeling, participated at the workshop.
Arnab Ganguly, Policy Analyst, CUTS International, mentioned that adoption of digital technologies have 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% of India’s GDP, it is an imperative to equip them with the knowledge and tools to become resilient to cyber security breaches and grow their businesses sustainably.

Dawa Lhamu Phinjo, Executive Director, Department of Industries, Gorkha Territorial Administration, and Darjeeling underlined the need for organising a greater number of similar workshops for the entrepreneurs, especially women entrepreneurs who are already facing cyber security challenges.

Melinda Pavek, Consul General, US Consulate, Kolkata mentioned that the Biden-Harris Administration has brought a relentless focus to improving U.S. cyber defenses, by building a comprehensive approach to “lock our digital doors” and take aggressive action to strengthen and safeguard the nation’s cyber security. She also mentioned that October was a Cyber security month in the U.S. and the theme this year was “See yourself in cyber”. She further added that this year’s campaign theme — “See Yourself in Cyber” — demonstrates that while cyber security may seem like a complex subject, ultimately, it’s really all about people. In the US, focussing on the “people” part of cyber security, requires providing information and resources to help educate Cyber security & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) partners and the public, and ensure all individuals and organizations make smart decisions whether on the job, at home or at school – now and in the future.

Vimal Mintri, President, Darjeeling Chamber of Commerce, mentioned that there are many entrepreneurs in the rural areas who depend on digital systems, without knowing the risks. Therefore, it is an imperative to impart the relevant knowledge and awareness among those entrepreneurs on the risks of cyber-attack and how to combat with those threats.

As next steps, similar capacity building workshops will be organised at Gangtok, Itanagar and Shillong. After the workshops, a Compendium of Cyber security of Best Practices will be released to help MSMEs safely navigate the cyberspace and mitigate cyber risks.

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