Bharat Bytes: IT training shortfall; Industry 4.0; IT workers upskilling; ransomware attack increase; cities for data centres

Bharat Bytes is Computerworld India’s regular round-up of news from the world of IT.

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Study finds significant digital skills training shortfall

Over the next year, 27.3 million IT workers, or 7% of India’s workforce, will need digital skills training, according to a new survey conducted in 12 countries including India. Although 97% of Indian organizations say they need to train their workers on digital skills, only 45% have fully implemented training plans, the survey by Amazon Web Services and Alpha Beta found.

A majority of workers (88%) in the Asia-Pacific and Japan region say they need to learn more digital skills for their jobs since the pandemic started, however, but 93% face barriers to training.

The ability to use cloud-based or SaaS tools for work, including developer tools, emerged as the most in-demand digital skill by employers, but only 45% of workers have trained or are training in this skill. Cybersecurity skills will be employers’ second most in-demand digital skill by 2025. Technical or IT support, digital marketing, and cloud migration are the next three digital skills that will see increased demand.

Manufacturing IT spend shifts to Industry 4.0 technologies

With the adoption of Industry 4.0 technologies, India aims to build a $1.1 trillion manufacturing sector contributing 25% of GDP by the 2026 financial year. Indian manufacturers spent about half of their IT budgets on Industry 4.0 technologies, or $5.5 billion-$6.5 billion, in the 2021 financial year, according to Nasscom research. Of that sum, Indian manufacturers spent about half on foundational technologies such as IoT and cloud, with big data analytics, wireless, RPA (robotic process automation), AR/VR, and AI/ML accounting for much of the rest.

They plan ramp up investments in emerging network technology, big data analytics, central and remote-controlled monitoring, and automation in the next two years.

Nasscom also found that Indian manufacturers lag in maturity in foundational technologies, with 30-45% still at the proof-of-concept stages in technologies including cloud, IoT, and connectivity, and have less mature data and talent strategies.

For a successful Industry 4.0 adoption, Nasscom recommends leadership commitment, cross-skilling and continuous upskilling of teams, digital talent acquisition and reskilling, technology standards, and most critically, a company-wide data strategy.

Government takes measures to upskill IT workers

The National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) has established a ‘Future of Work’ initiative to reskill and upskill IT professionals in emerging technologies. NSDC has designed qualification packs in association with the IT-ITeS Sector Skill Council across technologies including AI, big data analytics, blockchain, cloud computing, cybersecurity, IoT, RPA, social and mobile application, and virtual reality. A qualification pack is a set of ‘standards of performance’ an individual must achieve in a job role.

The IT-ITeS Sector Skill Council has also launched the Future Skills platform through which a learner can seamlessly access free and paid content, assessments, and virtual labs and get certified on the skills of their choice. It focuses on over 155 skills across 70+ job roles on emerging technologies.

One in four Indian businesses experienced ransomware attacks last year

New research has revealed that 26% of Indian businesses have experienced a ransomware attack in the last year, higher than the global figure of 21%. Of these, 30% of them said it severely impacted their operations. A quarter of them also experienced data breaches in the same period.  The increase in the frequency of these attacks is attributed to the rise of cryptocurrency as the preferred ransomware payment method.

The new threat report by Thales reveals that 55% of Indian businesses have no plans to change security spending, even with increasing ransomware impacts, and only 47% have implemented a formal ransomware plan.

“Whilst organisations in India and around the world have continued to face challenges in securing their data, our findings indicate that urgent action is needed by businesses to develop more robust cybersecurity strategies,” said Ashish Saraf, Thales VP and country director for India.

Mumbai and Chennai are preferred cities for data centres

Mumbai and Chennai are the most preferred choices for data centre providers, according to a report from Nxtra by Airtel and Jones Lang LaSalle. The coastal cities have the advantage of connections to submarine cables offering low-latency connections to the rest of the world.

According to the report, India’s data centre capacity could cross the 1 GW mark by 2023. In the first half of 2021, the capacity was 499 MW, of which Mumbai accounted for 45%. It also has the highest number of cable landings.

Other cities including Delhi have seen growth due to regulatory incentives and great demand from government organizations, whereas Pune offers a good alternative to Mumbai due to its proximity to the city and lower risk of storm flooding due to its landlocked location.

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