My Dear Government of India,
I truly respect you, your ideas and your initiatives but with a lot of misgivings because I think there is a lot of hot air, and, while I do want to believe that there is substance here... my mind does not take me where my heart wants to go.
There are many Indicators of Crap (IoC) but I want to focus on only one area now - "all the kings men" (ATKM)
Yes sir - ATKM means departments within the Govt of India, it means the top officials responsible for policy making and thought leadership in the cyber domain, it means PSUs, it means Indian enterprises which stand by you and wave flags at events where we celebrate Make In India and Startup India.
Yes sir - I mean everyone who is somehow or anyhow connected.
While you are promoting Make In India (MII) across India and the world these ATKM are putting up roadblocks for the very entrepreneurs who have developed products and are meant to be promoted.
I wrote about this last month when an associate spoke about this injustice with me Holy Cows of Information Security and all else...
Now I am seeing this IoC again - a subversion of the spirit of India by another one of your PSUs itself! Mind you this is not the first one, remember I had been told of three others which had prompted me to write the above blog.
OK now this PSU has issued a tender for SIEM which says that you can qualify to bid for the tender only if you are in the leaders quadrant as per the Gartner or Forrester report of 2015
This means only the following five companies can bid:
Five companies and there is no Indian company. Do these PSUs know that there are Indian companies who have also made SIEMs but cannot afford to be assessed by the analysts. I personally know two SIEM creators in India who have pretty good products ... no they have very good products.
Another fact is that these Indian entrepreneurs cannot even afford to buy these reports and all of us have access these reports thanks to the leaders and others who are featured in these quadrants and waves.
My statements are made with great respect to the intelligence and knowledge of the analysts at Gartner and Forrester, and the developers at IBM, HP, Splunk, Intel, LogRythm. I have a great admiration for the people and friends who work there and the work done by these firms, and have no intention to belittle the achievements of the geniuses who are at work in these organizations.
I do have intention to belittle those evil geniuses sitting in offices of the Government of India and ARE WORKING AGAINST the vision of the Prime Minister. He is the PM who has kindled dreams of entrepreneurship in the minds and hearts of thousands of developers and supporters of MII and StartUp India programs.
Has any one of these PSUs or any of the other GoI departments created their OWN set of specifications for an SIEM or any other security product? Or visualized their own business based use cases?
Is that the reason why ATKM are saying that the Gartner or Forrester report is a standard for evaluation .. hey where did this come from? How can an analysts report be put up as a standard - has any DEITY, DOT, CERT, NCSC, NSA, NTRO, RAW, NIA, CBI etc etc ... has anyone evaluated these reports and stated officially that it can be used as a standard specification for a purchase by a Government department??????
If yes, then I am sorry to have come so far and request to please share a copy of the order and I shall happily withdraw my letter and unconditionally apologise for any inconvenience or grief.
Over the years I have observed that Indian entities have NEVER accepted anything other than ISI mark or STQC or FSL or NAAB etc stamped goods/reports/ services. Then where did these PSUs discover this global standard and use it as a yardstick to declare all Indian goods as sub-standard; It will be a real pleasure to meet the genius who has influenced the insertion of this clause in these tenders.
It may not be too difficult to do a 1 + 1 = 11 math and come up with a name.
There can be another question that needs to be addressed - do these big purchasing bosses at any of these 'navratna' PSUs think it is below their dignity to purchase products which are made in India?
The BIG QUESTION is - if the GoI does not support the Indian developer HOW THE HELL DO THEY EXPECT GROWTH OF THE STARTUP ECOSYSTEM? People will crystallize ideas - then they migrate overseas - then they will outsource development back home - and we will raise the Tiranga and chant "India is an IT superpower" ... hahahah
No Sir, No Mr. GoI - we are not going to be the Information Security superpower or IT superpower this way.
You gotta change yourself and just hanging a frame with Gandhiji's advice in your office does not mean you are actually "Being The Change" because you are actually being an impediment to the change.
For example how many of you Government entities aggressively support CDAC Trivandrum for their forensic tools? Or NIELIT for their training programs? or CDAC Hyderabad for their awareness programs? These institutions have great stuff but none are aggressively pursued and they are not glorified or talked about in any glittering conference because they do not spend dollars on sponsorships.
You say the Indian product is sub-standard - who told you? Did you test the Indian product somewhere (whether hardware or software). Do you have a framework / specification sheet against which you can test (or compare) and declare a product sub-standard? Sorry sirs, you don't.
BTW don't you still use the Ambassador car - all ministers and your PSU / Bank top honchos have them? It was the pride of India along with the Premier, Bajaj Chetak and so many other items which were Made In India. And... inspite of the obvious deficiencies they were accepted and used all over the country and the country was not messed by evil geniuses creating barriers for the progress of their own country people (privately). Even today one remembers the spaciousness of the Ambassador while driving any of the high end cars.
BTW I do know a number of these desi manufacturers of Information Security products personally. And the best part is that NONE OF THESE GUYS IS ASKING YOU FOR A FAVOR, NONE EXPECTED EITHER. And, neither am I asking you for any favor through this open letter.
All I am saying is - stop being a slave to your avarice and face up to reality. The reality is that there are world class products being made in India and that is what is scaring the world in technology and security. While we may not be making hundreds of products we will soon be there, whether you support the entrepreneur or not. And this scares the world MNC more than ever.
However, you need to wake up to the fact that our PM and many good folks are working round the clock and trying to clean this sort of shit and take the country ahead and there is no stopping this juggernaut.
What you will get is global products at local prices.
Check this banner at London Heathrow airport and feel proud of the vision for the country - level the playing field and stop putting clauses which you yourself do not understand.
My advice to you is ... LEVEL THE PLAYING FIELD and see the fun.
Of course if you want to tango it's a different story - but remember you were born to do a bhangra or a bihu so you are bound to fall and get hurt.
Coming back to Make In India - it is your responsibility as Government, as Indian enterprise - to support the Start Up culture and entrepreneur. If you don't do this then please do make sure you have made the correct, sensible comments in the file relating to the tender. Of course if you want the file(s) to do the vanishing trick a few years later it is a different story ;-) (a la Ishrat Jahan files getting lost in the MHA).
Again, at the cost of repeating myself, I have great respect for all the analysts of the world (whatever people may say about analysts who are the reason we have had the privilege to observe great events like Enron, Satyam, Worldcom, Lehman Bros etc etc). The reason is very simple - I am a common illiterate person and not a genius by any yardstick - I have grown with utmost respect for the learned folks - black, white, brown, yellow, pale, whatever.
As I conclude, I want to share this article with you
Does Gartner Group Matter?
If you want to know some अंदर की बात about the subject please drop me a line and call me for a f2f.
So dear GoI please spare a thought in your prayers for the poor entrepreneur who is racking his / her brains to come up with the next best solution for the country and make a mark on the global map.
Please do not kill national entrepreneurship based on ill-advised, ill-thought, ill-everything clauses and policies. These desi entrepreneur guys are survivors and you will be shocked when they will stand up and delight you with their patriotic zeal, enthusiasm, ingenuity, inventiveness, genius and what-have-you.
You and your global player friends will be shocked when the local bhelpuri wala will do better for every product and not just the SIEM... just open the door and हवा आने दो !
The सोने पे सुहागा will be the price at which you will buy and save tons of money which can be used elsewhere... and the thought that due to your support the local genius will not migrate to a foreign country ... then return to India ... to sell you that same Indian invention .... but with a फिरंगी name .... at a dollar price.
I hope this will make you see that "YOU" NEED TO BE THE CHANGE and this change is needed at every level. I pray that when I write my next letter to you I will be reporting the joy and pleasure of my friends on a level field and the success of the Indian davids in the commercial fight with the international golaiths.
So, dear ATKM - please listen and support our leader, our PM, please support the vision for the country and let us all walk in the same direction - in spirit and not just for the sake of doing it.
मेक इन इंडिया की भावनाओं को समझो और दिल की सुनो
Labels: forrester, gartner, india, make in india, prime minister, sci, shipping corporation of india, siem, start up india, tender