As govt gears up against digital attacks, #Mukesh Ambani’s RIL bets big on cyber security sector

cyber-attack-indiaAfter building world-class capacities in petrochemicals and petroleum refining, and working towards creating similar size and scale in organised retail and digital telecom services, where does a Rs 3.7-lakh-crore conglomerate look next for growth — growth that fits in with India’s largest private sector corporation’s four decades’ old obsession with all things large and scalable?

The opportunities for such growth for Mukesh Ambani, the 56-year-old chairman of #Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL), are many. Just one of them: a billion-dollar game plan for aerospace and homeland security, headed by Vivek Lall, the former Boeing head honcho.

Lall may find himself once again burning midnight oil — along with Ambani and his core team — over yet another new venture, one that dovetails swimmingly well with homeland security and RIL’s strategy to deliver digital content, applications and services through a pan-India broadband network.

Cyber security is the newest blueprint on Ambani’s drawing board. And it is still getting its finishing touches. “After all the RIL chairman knows only too well the Chinese proverb that a journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step,” says a person close to the matter who vouches for the fact that RIL is pursuing opportunities in the cyber security sector, both at home and abroad.

believe India’s future is digital. Indeed, mankind’s future is digital. I envisage a new India in the nottoo-distant future, where almost everything we do is digitally transformed…I see a new India which will use digital currency instead of paper money, for a more secure and convenient way to transact.

— Chairman Mukesh Ambani at Reliance Industries’ 39th annual general meeting in June 2013

“This is yet another single step for him,” says this person who emphasises that the billionaire had helped the company his father Dhirubhai built take many such “baby” steps before making giant strides in oil and gas exploration and production, refining and marketing, petrochemicals, retail and telecommunications.

Ambani’s reasoning for entering cyber security is as simple as simple can get, argues this person who didn’t wish to be named. As a company which is among the most vulnerable ones in India to cyber attacks thanks to the nature of businesses it is in, RIL will continue to aggressively build a cyber security network to protect its own assets and will then look for selling those security solutions in the market.

RIL, the operator of the world’s biggest oil refinery complex at Jamnagar in Gujarat, may launch a “cyber vertical” for this purpose, the person adds without giving details of what he calls Ambani’s “ambitious new” plan.

“All I can say is he has a vision in this segment and at a time when businesses are increasingly getting connected to the internet and in the process confronting challenges to secure their networks, it makes perfect business sense to be there,” he notes. An RIL spokesperson declined to comment on specifics of the cyber-security plan.

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