Transition to Digital is not an option but a need of the hour: Parag Arora, Country Head – India Subcontinent, Citrix

Parag Arora, Area VP & CountryHead, India Subcontinent, Citrix

Typically complex organizations, such as government organizations, face a challenge of providing efficient services quickly and securely. With an end to end portfolio of solutions, Citrix is betting big on the huge opportunities in the Indian government sector. The company believes that with its solutions, government agencies will be ready to deliver and receive digital information and services anytime, anywhere, and from any device—safely, securely and with fewer resources. In an extensive interview with EC’s Ankush Kumar, Parag Arora, Area Vice President & Country Head – India Subcontinent, Citrix, shares his perspective on why the company is bullish on the opportunities unfolding due to the government’s Digital India initiatives

Some edited excerpts:

How do you think the Digital Infrastructure of the country can be made more robust so that it is easily accessible to every citizen?
We believe that going forward network availability and robustness will be a major contributor business growth. Customer satisfaction and usability will play an ever increasing role in growth in success of organizations and platforms. India is a geographically dispersed country and our connectivity infrastructure must evolve to meet the needs of Digital India. Over the last few years the reliability of broadband/4G has improved significantly and approaching the availability offered by MPLS. Technologies that can aggregate multiple types of networks and accelerate application and data access across the country will play a big role in accelerating digitization. Digital India needs a highly available network to take off and software defined networking technologies will help in delivering this in the next few years.

How can implementation of advanced technologies transform India into a digitally empowered society and a knowledge economy?
Transition to Digital is not an option but a need of the hour. If we have to stay competitive on the global platform harnessing the power of our demographic through skilling is absolutely necessary. Delivering tools and applications to enable skilling is the role Digital India can accelerate. At the same time we have to start looking beyond devices and network. The real game changers for Digital India are going to be technologies that deliver device independence, network independence and location independence. If we want to make the leap from a developing country to a developed country, then simplified and easy access to government platforms is going to be crucial.

Do you think PPP is the best model for India’s digital transformation?
The world of IT is a fast moving one. Devices and technologies can change and be replaced every few months. We believe organizations perform best when they focus on their core competencies and leave the supporting roles for specialists in the relevant fields. Government bodies should focus on regulatory and compliance actions and leave out supporting tasks like network management, application management and endpoint management to entities who specialize in their field. This way technologies and platforms deployed by the government bodies can stay at par with the technological shifts happening in the industry. We believe a best of breed solution stack outperforms an in-house developed solution on most occasions.

Why do you think cyber security is critical for Digital India?
We believe that technology can be a great liberator. It has the potential to enable business to focus on the apps and data people need to be productive, and eliminate the tremendous resource costs needed to manage the range of devices, platforms and tools. However, in today’s highly digitized environment attacks come from anywhere. With every step that India takes towards being a digital economy, the hacking targets go up exponentially. The threat actors themselves are growing more sophisticated and more organized. From a business perspective, a ‘new normal’ of security is required – one where IT risks are communicated in business terms and IT safety is backed up by the right technology infrastructure and installations. Absorbing best practice from industry leaders allows companies to increase sales, save time, cut costs and foster better connections with customers. One way is network separation, countries like Japan and Korea have brought in regulations to ensure organizations data center traffic and Internet traffic do not mix.

In the ever evolving threat landscape, is the country well prepared to tackle large scale cyber security issues?
Indian organizations need to do more to protect themselves against attacks. In fact, Seventy-two percent of businesses in India say it’s time for a new security framework. According to a survey by The Ponemon Institute conducted for Citrix. The recent incidents in the news where reputed institutions were impacted due to cyber-attacks, only furthers this point. Hacks like the 3.2 million debit cards being compromised, the SWIFT application hack and DC network compromises point to the need of a more comprehensive solution. When it comes to IT protection, the more security layers an organisation has in place, the more difficult it is for criminals to gain entry to their systems, apps and data. We need to take steps to drive organizations to isolate core apps from non-internet based apps. We need to act fast to bring in stringent regulations for organizations to address cyber security.

How do you associate with Digital India initiative, what kind of opportunities and challenges that you foresee?
I feel digital India is opportunity to skill and harness the power of over 1.2 billion Indians. Just imagine what would happen to our GDP if we had over a billion strong workforce in this country. To begin with we need to bite the bullet and start taking concrete steps towards creating and delivering skilling platform for the masses. Platforms must be highly available and accessible to everyone irrespective of location, network and device used.

With prominent technology players already existing in the market and working extensively on Digital India project, how are you planning to position your company?
We believe creating the platforms and applications is the easy part and the difficult part is delivering these platforms to the remotest part of this country in a usable manner. Citrix has put its engineering and R&D teams at work to develop a delivery platform that can address this challenge. We are today able to deliver applications, data and even entire desktops virtually to users over low bandwidth, high latency links.

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