The State of 'Make in India' SecurityUniken's Deshpande: Defense Involvement a Must for Innovation
Amidst the government's drive for "Make in India," security experts have discussed what it will take to build greater capacity and innovation in the country's information security sector.
Sanjay Deshpande, co-founder and CEO of Indian digital security firm Uniken, believes India can achieve these goals. But unless demand-creation in the defense and government sector catches up, then the innovation workflow required for "Make in India" to become a reality will not materialize for InfoSec.
"The biggest consumption of security in any shape and form is with defense organizations, because the problem statements are extremely complex and the impact is very high," Deshpande says. "Unless the linkage between the defense organizations and the innovation/R&D ecosystem is bridged, the ecosystem for security products will remain unstructured."
While Indian-made security products are seeing an upswing, innovation in India is a task in itself, Deshpande says. If the government is serious about "Make in India," then fundamental issues in the ecosystem need to be addressed, he adds. India does not have an economy with an appetite for innovation consumption. Add to this that financing models are still centred on grants and are not equipped around innovation. The third spoke in this wheel is the talent to execute innovation. Given India's extreme focus on providing IT services, the talent for innovation has been eroded, Deshpande says.
"We have the raw talent, but it's not being applied to fundamental problems," he says. "Succeeding in this environment will require a lot of experimenting - a lot more than the Israelis may have had to do."
In this exclusive interview with Information Security Media Group, Deshpande shares insights from his journey as a successful entrepreneur in the security domain and what up-and-coming security start-ups in India can do to attain critical mass. He chronicles some of the challenges faced by Uniken on its journey, outlining lessons for the next generation of security product companies.
Deshpande also discusses:
- What the government can do to overhaul innovation in security in India;
- Building a sustainable ecosystem around security product development;
- The challenges of taking Indian security products global.
Deshpande is CEO, chief innovation officer and the founding director at Uniken Inc. In his role, he is continuously engaged with research and development and also heads the innovation center. Prior to setting up Uniken, he served leading organizations in various capacities. He led Infosys' mobile computing initiative in Europe and was responsible for business development for life sciences vertical in US. He has also served Tata Research Center as a scientist and worked for C-DAC as a research associate.