‘The Future CSO Needs to Look at Integrated Security Across Physical, Electronic & Cybercrimes’

We spoke to Col. Ajay Bakshi, Corporate & Offshore Security, Cairn Oil & Gas, Vedanta Limited to understand the changing role of a CSO, his views on how security strategies are taking shape in Indian organizations, how much have Indian organizations matured in understanding the importance of securing their information using the latest technology tools, the extent of penetration of AI in the security devices and systems and how organizations are benefiting from it and his views on the IFSEC India Expo and the role played by it in enhancing awareness around security technologies.

Interviewed by Adeesh Sharma

Col. Ajay Bakshi, Corporate & Offshore Security, Cairn Oil & Gas, Vedanta Limited

How has the role of a CSO changed in recent times?

While there is no change in the core domain knowledge, the expectation now is that the CSO must add demonstrable value to business like other support functions. The digital revolution has transformed the world that we see. It has not only enabled Security professionals to work with more speed, accuracy and efficiency; it has given equal or even more opportunity to increase the threat levels to miscreants, criminals and conspirators with a ‘never-seen-before’ pace. On the one hand we, the Security professionals are bound by ethics, law of the land and compliances, these ‘new age criminals’ are not going to stop at anything.

The discourse of security now has a paradigm shift from physical guarding to Risk based & Intelligence led, traditional approach to adopting technology. Technical & Socio-Economic developments, changes in threat perception, natural as well as manmade crises have changed the expectations from CSO’s. They are now expected to be security cum continuity leaders, they must be part of the bigger picture & can support in achieving business goals.

With gender diversity taking the front seat in most of the organizations Women safety is not just a tick in the box. Last but not the least AI, IoT, machine learning, big data analysis is here to stay & CSO must adapt to it as the earliest.

Future CSO

  • Needs to look at integrated security across physical, electronic & cybercrimes.
  • Will have heavy involvement in organizations risk management, insurance & ability to offset specific threat areas.
  • Will have strong involvement with HR, IT, Ops & strategy of the organization.
  • Should be adaptable to new practices, capabilities & be proactive.
  • Should be a master of Man – Tech combination to an optimum cost-effective mix.

How do you foresee security strategies taking shape in Indian organizations in future?

Technology has changed the nature of crimes as well as dimensions of the same. Security professionals must embrace technology which is similar and beats them at their own game. AI & machine learning can help develop many security tools & applications to combat cyber threats. Since technical solutions don’t come cheap, decisions should be based on risk & intelligence. Predictive policing, Proactive actions, Collaboration with industry peers & Man -Tech Combination is the future of security strategies.

The threat landscape is changing where social media & messaging platforms are unintentionally providing new ways to plan & orchestrate mass casualty incidents.

Catastrophic climate events are also new security challenges.

Without doubt the future security strategy must be –

  • Innovative Risk management
  • Dynamic Identity management (Access card/Biometrics/ facial recognition/ Retina Scan etc)
  • Robust threat detection & Investigation
  • Digital thought solutions
  • Unification of physical & Cyber Security

How much have Indian organizations matured in understanding the importance of securing their information using the latest technology tools?

India’s cyber security landscape is going through an interesting phase as businesses are keenly looking at innovative tools to protect themselves from cyber-attacks and threats. While India’s cyber security needs are not different from that of the rest of the world, there are a host of areas which require unique approach. Keeping in mind India’s business landscape and her needs for cyber security tools & solutions, cyber security trends for the Indian market are-

  • Privacy and personal data protection
  • Machine learning (ML)/Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Cyber security will mature and become integral part of the security suite
  • IoT security
  • Cloud security
  • Blockchain will become mainstream to prevent fraud and data theft

           If you look around you will find most of your friends, colleagues, family members and acquaintance hooked on to the Internet. The Govt. of India is planning to convert many major cities into smart cities & planning to have them completely connected via Wi-Fi. This truly calls for a safer, secured, stronger and robust security and governance framework for the various networks and systems all across the country. Large businesses also need to have their systems and data networks to be protected from the various Cyber threats such as-

  • Malware attacks
  • Virus attacks
  • Data thefts
  • Information security breaches
  • Web application security hacks
  • Data privacy invasion
  • System hacking
  • Network security issues etc.

Thus, arises the need of a stronger Cyber Security team supported by Information security professionals who understand the importance of securing their information using the latest technology tools.

What is the extent of penetration of AI in the security devices and systems and how are organizations benefiting from it?

             The speed with which development and progress is happening in the field of AI is tremendous. Physical Security is also not untouched with proliferation of AI. Implementation of AI in verticals like smart phone, automotive & healthcare has further aided the security industry. When it comes to penetration in physical security, AI is mostly concentrated in video analytics-based video surveillance systems with deep learning on top of it. In fact, the deep learning enabled recorder market is forecast to account for over 30 percent of total video surveillance recorder market revenues by 2022.

Deep learning has demonstrated its capacity to increase the effectiveness of a computer to reliably classify objects and behaviour. It is also improving the processing and analysis of increasing volumes of video footage. A combination of more powerful CPUs, and the ability for analytics to automatically detect, recognize, and classify objects has made video searchable. Companies are now marketing analytics that can leverage deep learning to turn vast amounts of video footage into usable information in a fraction of the time compared to what it would have taken in the past.

Increasingly safe city projects are being deployed in conjunction with traffic monitoring and traffic management solutions. One of the many benefits of deep learning analytics is their ability to more accuracy detect and recognize images. Solutions can also go one step deeper recognizing that a license plate and vehicle do not match based on classifying the car and checking against the country’s registrar of automobiles.

Predictive analysis tools have come a long way since the first products and solutions. Police agencies can now make use of a wide range of data inputs and advanced data mining techniques to predict where criminal activity is likely to occur. This approach is called the predictive crime center and it is becoming an important part of modern policing. Data from video surveillance, traffic management cameras, audio analytics, gunshot detection, weather systems, and other public safety systems are analyzed in parallel to identify patterns and potential threat events. Over the past few years, social media has also become a viable tool in public safety. In many cases, incidents are first reported on social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook. Analyzing the data “hose” is challenging but can support quicker emergency response times when applied successfully.

The future predictive command center will be reliant on powerful analytics software to extract intelligence from the unstructured data sources routed into command centers. The solution must be open to ensure that enough data is fed into the big data solution.

Artificial Intelligence will play a key role in navigating data, recognizing patterns and making intelligent decisions independently of the human operators.

Your views on IFSEC India Expo and role played by it in enhancing awareness around security technologies.

IFSEC India 2019 was a very well planned & executed event. Despite change in venue, bad weather & traffic disruptions due to CAA, it was heartening to see huge crowds.

This proves the fact that IFSEC is an important platform for security industry, be it vendors or practitioners.

It is a great hit with the CSOs for following reasons-

  • Display of latest security related equipment & gadgets from across the world
  • Enlightening panel discussions on security related issues for increasing awareness of security personnel
  • Awards in various categories to encourage enhancing security measures in support of industry
  • Yearly event for networking & interaction between stalwarts of security industry.