Prime Minister David Cameron will step up UK co-operation with India on cyber security on Tuesday in a bid to better protect data stored on Indian servers as well as share intelligence on breaking threats.
Cameron is in India as part of a three-day trade trip designed to build stronger business ties with the vast emerging nation.
The deal, set to be signed in New Delhi by Cameron and Indian PM Manmohan Singh will mark “an unprecedented level of co-operation with India on security issues”, Downing Street told the FT.
The joint task force to be announced will apparently see the UK sharing its expertise in tackling cyber threats in order to better secure the increasing amount of business and personal data stored on servers in India.
“Other countries securing their data is effectively helping us secure our data. I think this is an area where Britain has some real competitive and technology advantages,” said Cameron.
It’s unclear whether this sharing of expertise will come with a bill attached – after all, it is primarily a trade mission – or if the need to ramp up the security of outsourcing providers is the main goal.
The risk to UK data stored abroad has been highlighted many times over the years, most recently last year after revelations that Indian call centre staff were selling on the personal details of millions of Britons.
New Delhi-based Forrester analyst, Katyayan Gupta, told The Reg that although the deal should give Indian firms much needed access to advanced security skills and resources from the UK, the insider threat will persist.
"That is why there is a need for stricter SLAs between the Indian outsourcing firms and their international clients. Moreover, its essential that there is a regular audit of these SLAs," he added
"Plus, Indian outsourcing firms should be pushed to achieve higher/highest levels of information security certifications, including ISO 27001 and others."
The deal will also apparently see the UK and India sharing threat intelligence to thwart cyber attacks on their systems.
However, India’s attempts to secure its own infrastructure have been less than convincing over the years with government sites often taken offline or defaced by hacktivists.
Most recently, news emerged in December that the government and military had suffered one of its worst ever breaches after 10,000 email accounts belonging to top officials were compromised.
Symantec also warned last year that consumers and SMBs in the country were under increasing risk of targeted threats as attackers looked to exploit piecemeal security and low levels of awareness. ®