There is nothing that captivates an audience like a well-composed dance routine. Every step is counted, every movement in control, and every sway in accord with the rhythm and tempo of the music. Dancing and its basics develop and teach creativity, teamwork, confidence, critical thinking, self-discipline, physical health and the ability to work collaboratively—all qualities that must reflect in any 21st-century leader. Just as the lead dancer would provide direction, space the stage wisely, ingenuously improvise when others make a mistake, and be the face of the routine with their perfection, a corporate leader must provide opportunity, give direction, set up an expectation, delegate and empower others to perform, followed by timely support and recognition. Dr. Lopa Mudraa Basu is once such incisive leader.
A Cybersecurity evangelist, Dr. Lopa believes that people are the key assets that make a difference in security. “Every individual is unique with certain capabilities and limitation. We need to identify the same; stitch them cohesively with accountability, vision and mission and provide a conducive environment. Boost them with continuous learning to create the value chain that will earn a win-win equation.”
Dr. Lopa holds that Sensitive Manware Orchestration and Utilization is the key for the best outcome. “Security is a team game and every player an important role. Even an individual contributor is an integrated part of a bigger team and acts as an enabler. The best result comes when we allow each player to play their natural game.”
Currently, the Executive Director of Cyber Security and Risk at Sysinnova Infotech Pvt Ltd, Dr. Lopa was the Global Head of Cyber Security, Risk Governance and Compliance at NISSAN Motor Corporation. Needless to say, her vast repertoire of experience and her acumen makes her an invaluable asset to the corporate world, especially the Enterprise Risk & Cyber Security domain. She observes that with the rapid technology advancement, disruptive innovations, digital transformations, changing social ecosystem, increased compliance needs, exponentially enhanced technology risks, and new challenges are emerging manifold. “The key,” she says, “is to understand the risks and strike a balance between business and compliance keeping the business security and reputation utmost in the mind in a cost-efficient way.”
Always Have a Game Plan
A security and risk professional, Dr. Lopa is faced with several challenges in a day. “As a value appropriators, it is imperative to strike the balance between customer delight and business security by identifying the technology risks proactively in collaboration with Business, IT, Operations and Compliance followed by addressing them effectively in-time. Some practices which I stand by are: Flag the issue in time and understand what it is. One must also look at it from a business lens and have clarity of management expectation. Having a strategy and plan is fundamental, so is your confidence, decision capability and directive competency. However, it is always wise to be open to different viewpoints. How you communicate your game plan is also of importance. Be transparent and as direct as possible, keeping your stakeholders informed. Be attentive to the time frame and avoid surprises. In the end, get it done and own your action irrespective of the result.”
Dr. Lopa states that with disruptive innovation and adverse situations imposing a huge techno-cultural shift, impacting government, public, and private sectors and citizens, Cyber has emerged as 5th warfare. She observes that since India is one of the major users of the internet and early adopters of new technologies, the country is experiencing both the pros and cons of early adoption. India is ranked 47 in GCI (Global Cybersecurity Index) out of 175 countries published by ITU in 2018. This indicates that as a country, India is committed to cybersecurity and has significant growth opportunity both in domestic and global markets. However, with cyber threats increasing manifold with the proliferation of digital technologies, securing cyberspace becomes an utmost priority. The increasing sophistication, scale, complexity and upshots of cyber-attacks in recent years impose a huge challenge, which, if tapped effectively, is going to unplug an ocean of opportunities that will transform and catapult India as a Global Hub for Cyber Security Services and Products.
According to Gartner, the global cybersecurity market is estimated to touch USD 200bn by 2025. ‘NASSCOM–McKinsey Perspective 2025’ study forecasts that Indian outsourcing industry will achieve a size of USD 350-400bn by 2025 with special mention of Cyber Security as one of the four prominent service lines that will contribute significantly, to this industry growth. Knowledge and Speed are the key differentiators in cyber. The need is to break the myth and visualize cyber beyond hacking and tools and establish the service lines to cater to global needs. For that, it is important to create an environment that nourishes the skills and allows them to flourish and contribute to Cyber Security. Policies need to be relooked in the light of cyber, to mitigate skilled resource crunch.
Thriving in a Challenging Environment
Grateful to Mr. Prabhakar Devdas Mallya, Mr. Bruce Geddes, Mr. Burgess Cooper, Capt. Sivakumar V, Dr. K Santosh Iyer and Nritya Samraggi, and Kathak Queen Guru Bandana Sen, Dr. Lopa explain that she chose this profession out of her passion to welcome new challenges and step up her game. A trained Kathak Dancer, conferred with Prestigious “Nritya Ratna”, Dr. Lopa says that she always looked for versatility, speed, rhythm, balance, all of which are also the key elements of the Security and Risk domain. “Ensuring security is like orchestrating an opera, where you need to fine-tune individual functions and people like instruments without impacting their uniqueness and efficiency and then blend them with the power of technology, statutory requirements and deliver a seamless composition to achieve the business objective securely- all while the compositions keep changing. Being a security leader, we perform a very dynamic, versatile and demanding role by nature. It allows one to contribute towards strategy and shape the future of the business that gives immense satisfaction as a professional. Being a multifaceted role it provides the opportunity to work with different stakeholders in and out, in a different capacity – Business Leader, Governance Leader, Influencer, Board Advisor, Strategy Enabler, Compliance Enabler, Technology Enabler, Security Officer, Execution Officer, Change Agent, Innovation Catalyst and Value Appropriator.
Mentoring next-gen cybersecurity professionals and industry peers, Dr. Lopa says that Security and Risk is a high-velocity domain that is dynamically changing. “To match the pace, a high learning curve is the necessity to success for both Organization and individual. Proactive knowledge sharing and gathering using different mediums is important. Teaching and Learning is a continuous process. Right now, IoT and RPA have my attention.”
As a parting note, Dr. Lopa states that we are in a digital era witnessing the emergence of new age of consumers and Netizens driving the adoption of digital technologies to transform their selves. In this scenario, for business to stay ahead, Collaboration and In-time Advisory is their game changer. It helps to unfold security as a business USP that not only helps the business to achieve objectives safely but also capable of opening the new avenues for business to generate the revenue.
Like all Masters of trade, Dr. Lopa keeps polishing her fountainhead of knowledge and skills by extensively reading professional articles from trusted sources. She is currently engrossed in the book, ‘The Luminous Sparks’ by Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam. “The poems are inspiring, gently cascading down, boosting the mind with passion and purpose. In his own words, ‘Successful leaders can never be defeated by problems. They become masters of the situation and defeat the problems.’ The book is just a reflection of that,” she conveys.
Awards and Accolades
Member of Prestigious International Judging Panel for The IFSEC Global – Top Influencer of Security 2020
- Esteemed Jury Member for Women Leadership Influencer 2020
- Esteemed Member of EC Council Global Advisory Board
- Member of Cloud Security Alliance APAC Research Advisory Council
- Program Advisor of CISO Platform Flagship Program “CISO Fellowship”
- Esteemed Member of “Cyber Security Hub” Executive Advisory Board
- Featured on ET CISO Wall
- Featured as Epic Women in Cyber
- Global Top 20 Security Influencer 2020 on peer voting over CISO Platform
- India’s Top IT Security Influencers and Community Contributors Award 2020, 2019 and 2018
- Top Women in Cyber Security in India 2019
- CSO 100 AWARD 2019 and 2018 from IDG
- CISO MAG Award – InfoSec Leader of The Year 2019
- Cyber Sentinel Award, 2018
- IT World Change Agent Award 2018
- Extra Miler Award at SLK Global
- Most Consistent Performing Leader Award at SLK Global
- Academic Excellence Award from APTECH Computer Education
A Doctor(hc) of Excellence in Cyber Risk Management, Dr. Lopa holds a master degree in IT. She is a Certified Global CIO from ISB Hyderabad. She also has the required industry certifications – C|CISO, CRISC, CISM, CHFI, ECSA, CEH, DCPLA, DPO, Certified HIPAA Officer, QSA PCI DSS, CPISI, LA ISO 27001, RSA Archer Certified Administrator, CyberArk Certified Trustee, Certified in ITIL foundation, CobiT & Val IT Foundation Certificate, Certified SAFe 4 Practitioner (Scaled AGILE), Six Sigma Yellow Belt, CCSA NGX, CCNA, ADSE from APTECH and Diploma in Hardware.