“The internet is the first opportunity in a long time that provides India a chance to transform the country.”

—Uday Om Pabrai Vice Chairman and CTO, Prosoft, USA


With more than 12 years of
experience in the technology industry, Pabrai has been a consultant on network, web,
security and related application technologies. He joined Prosoft in 1998 as Executive VP
and CTO when the company acquired Net Guru Technologies, an internet skills and training
company he founded in 1992. Pabrai spoke to DATAQUEST about internet security threat and
the other issues that India needs to look at. Excerpts:

  •  How critical is the issue of security in e-commerce
    today?

Earlier, a business which
wished to connect to the internet just needed a web site to establish its presence. Now
more businesses are trying to leverage on the internet for internal operations and
communication with partners or suppliers. The traditional solution that companies deploy
for security, the firewall system, is a good barrier for entry in terms of transactions
coming from outside, but it doesn’t take into account what is happening inside the
organization. And 60-80% threats are internal, how do you secure against them!

  • In what ways do you
    think one can tackle it?

I think you can’t
prevent threats unless you are knowledgeable about your environment and the vulnerable
points. The first step is to go through a thorough risk assessment. There are a lot of
products that expose your network and systems. A combination of firewall and intrusion
detection technology allows you to tackle that.

  •  What kind of a
    role is your organization playing in this area? What is e-security all about?

I have been working on the
board of directors of Prosoft since they bought the company that I started. I had built a
security methodology and now they own the rights to that. At the same time, I am also
starting my own business ‘ecfirst.com’ and e-security is one of the key services
that we will be offering.

What we regard as a
well-rounded approach to security starts with risk assessment. It analyzes the counter
measures that are already deployed. The initial discovery phase, which is a two-week
exercise, brings to the forefront all the vulnerable points and what can be done to
prevent these threats.

  •  When you compare
    the scenario in India with the US, what are the other problems that you foresee here?

If I look at the mass
consumer, someone who has used the internet, there is a tremendous amount of reservation
among Indians while buying things using their credit card or giving information over the
net. When you compare India with the US, this is one of the key differences. So, trust has
to be built and security needs to be more visible.

Another thing that I noticed is that
India’s biggest liability, the population is actually India’s biggest asset.
Indians are intelligent, knowledgeable individuals and they like to get into new
businesses. This is something we’ve not been able to exploit and harness. So, in that
sense, I feel the internet will be a first opportunity in a long time that really provides
India the chance to transform the country. 

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