Vani Doraisamy

Measures to deter attacks and build confidence among employees

Tier I companies made security measures stringent after warning earlier this year Metal detectors and other equipment deployed, background of employees checked Plan to bring Bangalore, Hyderabad and Chennai under ombudsman organisation

CHENNAI: The tragedy at IISc, Bangalore, has a positive side. Chennai's IT sector honchos are putting their heads together to evolve a common security platform, which will bring together all players.

Wake-up call

"The Bangalore incident is a wake-up call. Though the industry received information six months ago that terrorists might swipe at the country's economic might, by attacking the IT sector, the IISc incident took us by surprise. The time has now come for across-the-industry integrated security measures, including counter-terrorism training for our security guards and greater interaction with the Government. A series of measures have been put in place to deter further attacks and build confidence among employees and customers," R.K. Raghavan, former CBI director, and now global security advisor, Tata Consultancy Services, told The Hindu .

The industry, especially tier I companies such as TCS, Wipro and Infosys, discreetly and promptly made security measures stringent after the warning earlier this year.

Access control measures were taken and fresh employee ID cards issued. Metal detectors, closed- circuit cameras and background checks of employees became the norm.

Review meetings

Over the past few days, most IT firms in Chennai held exhaustive review meetings and "all breaches in security have been plugged, though there is still no room for complacency. Our security officers are in close liaison with the Police Department, and vital information has been exchanged. Our personnel will soon undergo further training by qualified experts," industry sources said.

Customer confidence

The industry, however, seems to rest uneasy with the continued presence of policemen in their facilities.

"Overseas customer confidence may be dented if it is made to appear as if there was an explicit terrorist threat. Most of us have made extensive investments in our own security apparatus, and the interface with the police will, hopefully, be only temporary," said the chief security officer of a top-notch facility on Old Mahabalipuram Road.

Adds Ravi Viswanathan, vice-president, TCS Chennai operations: "We are as fortified as can be. After the Bangalore incident, we are working with organisations such as the CII for capacity building and a benchmarking of best practices to benefit even tier II and III companies as an attack anywhere will bring disrepute to the entire industry."

Small firms

For the smaller players, however, the dice is still loaded. "We are extremely vulnerable, since we cannot hope to compete with the super players in massive security outlays as our investments are returns-bound. However, equally sensitive work is being done in our establishments too, and unless a top-down platform is mooted, security may still be inequitable," said the vice-president of a Vadapalani-based firm.

The long-term strategy, industry experts say, will be to form a regional security grid, bringing Bangalore, Hyderabad and Chennai under an ombudsman organisation.