Security has to be built-in into Smart Cities, Digital India, other e-governance schemes: Intel Security Group’s Christopher Young
In September 2016, Intel and TPG announced an agreement under which the two parties will establish a newly formed, jointly owned, independent cyber security company. The new company will be called McAfee following transaction close, planned for this month. “When we spinoff as McAfee, we will be one of the largest cyber security players in the market,” says Christopher Young, senior vice-president, general manager, Intel Security Group. With smartphones becoming an integral part of our connected lives, it is important consumers realise threats that exist in the digital world and understand how to safeguard their valued data, he tells Sudhir Chowdhary in an interaction. Excerpts:
What is your perspective on the Indian market because the government is pushing to streamline public service offerings? I think it’s exciting in a lot of ways because it’s going to digitise many different aspects of life which will help the Indian consumers in some ways leapfrog more developed economies in terms of what they can do. You can already see that some of the payments and financial transactions, e-commerce capabilities that are available on the mobile device here in India are more forward-looking compared to what we have in the West. How can Intel Security Group partner with the government in these initiatives?
We spend a lot of time with the government and in some cases, we are a trusted adviser to the government. We work with them around the threat landscape and we also sell to the government as well. We had a good growth business, we grew 20% last year here. I expect we will see double-digit growth in this market for the course of the next several years.I think security has to be built into some of the government initiatives, such as Smart Cities, Digital India and a host of e-governance progammes. As we build our digital infrastructure, whether its cloud infrastructure and the data center or mobile infrastructure, security has to be part of it. It has to be part of the architecture and has to be part of the product set.
It’s one of the reasons why we just made the Micromax announcement. As the mobile device is becoming more core to the user experience in India, we just believe that integrating security into that experience out of the box makes a big difference on protecting the consumer. What are some of the biggest security threats perceived by consumers globally? Consumers are worried about viruses. They worry about malware. Increasingly, they are worried about ransomware. The problem is most consumers aren’t that well aware of what the risks really look like. So they rely on security providers. They rely on governments and on others to anticipate what could go wrong for them and to find ways to protect them.
That’s a good example of what we are doing with Micromax, what we generally do across our portfolio and consumers. We try to bring security to the experience that they already have. We try to integrate it in as many places as we possibly can, because we know that consumers are not security experts. India is ranked fairly high as vulnerable to cyber attacks. Any suggestions to overcome these challenges? Every country has critical infrastructure vulnerabilities and India is not unique in that respect. We are all chasing and fighting against the cyber security problem and it’s a dynamic model. I think that there is no silver bullet answer; there is not a specific thing you can do to fix every problem.
The most important thing is leadership paying attention to it, rewarding good decision-making, and emphasis on cyber security is the first step to improving everything across the board. Tell us something about Intel Security, its growth globally in recent years and in India as well. When we spinoff as McAfee, we will be one of the largest cyber security players in the market. I like to joke that we will be an over $2 billion start-up because we will be a new company, but relatively large in size. We have a robust portfolio. One of the things that makes us unique is we protect consumers as well as businesses and government. So we cut across the entire spectrum of people and places to protect and we are one of the best in the industry doing that.