Published at: The Daily Star, February 27, 2019
Non-resident Bangladeshi (NRB) experts in the fields of cyber security and digital processes at a seminar yesterday expressed deep interest in developing the country’s digital ecosystems and make service delivery processes easier and secured.
In a session styled “Secure Connected Government” following the launch of a two-day conference of NRB engineers at Pan Pacific Sonargaon Dhaka, they sought support from the public and private sectors to help build the country.
The conference, the first of its kind, has been jointly organised by the Bridge to Bangladesh, Economic Relations Division and Access to Information. Five NRBs gave separate presentations seeking to set up projects focusing on cyber security and cloud services.
Abdul Alim, vice president of Technology AABGM Inc, said the Bangladesh government was taking up large scale projects to tackle cybercrime but most of those could not meet global standards.
The country needs at least 10,000 certified cyber security professionals having top industry certifications over the next 10 years, he said.
Alim also expressed his interest in setting up a cyber security training centre, estimated to cost about $15 million, on a pilot basis involving multiple government and nongovernment organisations. He suggested running it under a public-private partnership.
Citing a cybercrime report of 2017-18, he said such criminal acts cost the world $3 trillion in 2015 and the figure would be $6 trillion in 2021.
There are 400 new attacks occurring every minute, 70 percent of which go undetected, and identifying such a strike takes 172 days on an average for countries like Bangladesh and India, added Alim, who said to be implementing a lot of successful government projects in the US.
Azfar Hossain, who works for the IBM US while running a company called Lead DevSecOps, also wants to set up an ICT venture aiming to provide cloud support.
Quazi Zaman, chief executive officer of CiricketPoint, said his company plans setting up a centre for artificial intelligence.
Faisal Quader, president at Technuf LLC which works with the US revenue authority, wants to set up a lab on a pilot basis to provide world class cyber security solutions.
Tahmeed Rab, managing partner at Kaizen Solutions Group, said a secure banking sector would further encourage foreign investment and provide greater assurance to NRBs on the protection of their remittance.
Some NRBs questioned the event’s chief guest, Science and Technology Minister Yeafesh Osman, how the 2016 Bangladesh Bank cyber heist could take place and what measures the government took afterwards to prevent a recurrence.
Instead of giving a direct reply, Osman sought their suggestions.
Tapan Kanti Sarker, president of Chief Technology Officer Forum, said the government’s preventive measures were at the final stage of being put in place.
Syed Almas Kabir, president of the Bangladesh Association of Software and Information Services, said while enhancing security systems, the government also needs to enact some policies such as ones barring the storage of data abroad.
“Data security is a very important component for protecting institutions and the people and for that local data should be stored within the territory of the country,” he said.
Construction of the Tier 4 national data centre, which can store a huge amount of data, will be completed within this year, he added.
NRB engineer from the US Nazmul Ula moderated the event where NM Zeaul Alam, secretary to the information and communication technology division, also spoke.
Earlier at another session, Hosne Ara Begum, managing director of Bangladesh Hi-Tech Park Authority, urged the NRBs to return with their expertise and invest as the authority had already completed building three hi-tech parks and 25 others were on way to completion.
“You can go back taking along your profit and there are policies providing support in this regard,” she said.
Non-resident Indian and Chinese nationals have done a lot for the development of their countries and now NRBs need to play their part, she added.