Published on February 13, 2021

AHMEDABAD: Cyber security is so much more than a matter handled by the IT department. And realising the importance of this, a Mumbai-based multi-billion pharmaceutical major has signed a Rs 90-lakh MoU with the National Forensic Sciences University in Gandhinagar to protect its assets from cyber attacks. The university will provide cyber security monitoring, audit and analysis as part of the collaboration, said officials.

Dr J M Vyas, vice-chancellor of the university, confirmed the development. “As part of the collaboration, the university will provide security operations centre and emergency operations centre to the firm,” he said. “We are also providing similar services to a state-based cooperative bank to prevent data breach, phishing attack or ransomware threat.”

NFSU officials said that the deal is a logical progression for the sector which has been under intense spotlight due to coronavirus pandemic. Top firms such as Dr Reddy’s and Lupin recorded cyber-attacks in November last year, whereas other firms also ramped up the cyber security framework with an eye on vaccine development and production of Covid-19 related medicines.

“Several pharmaceutical firms based in Ahmedabad and elsewhere did not even allow digital devices such as pen drives to be brought onto the premises in order to safeguard sensitive information like details of R&D projects, products under development, and intellectual property including formulations,” said Sunny Vaghela, CTO of a city-based cyber security firm looking after the security of a pharmaceutical major. “But Covid-19 changed the scenario with employees being forced to work from home. The firms had to deal with external traffic and ensure that communication remains secure,” added Vaghela.

“Involvement of external agencies helped pharmaceutical firms tap R&D in the cyber security sector and also engage experts for real-time threat detection and analysis.” In September last year, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology of Government of India had tabled a data in the Parliament, pointing at 7 lakh cyber-attacks in 2020. The officials had cited better reporting system and proactive alerts and advisories for rise in reporting the incidents.

(With inputs from Niyati Parikh)

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