“We work in binary parameters, either it’s secure or it’s not”

Vishwajeet Singh, Vice President and CIO, Aptech, discusses developing an end-to-end security application to safeguard sensitive operations and data. By Satyaki Sarkar

As an IT strategist, Vishwajeet Singh has a successful history of leading enterprise-wide IT initiatives that make the most of innovation to increase company profits, providing a seamless blend of business and technology. During his 20 years in business he has worked with various industry giants and this has resulted in him having extensive knowledge of a number of sectors including Dotcom, Software, and Hospitality. Currently, Vishwajeet is the VP and CIO at Aptech, and speaks to us about a recent project to completely revamp the organisation’s security infrastructure.

The need for increased, foolproof security
“Aptech is completely centred on education, with training institutions. It is headquartered in Mumbai and has presence over 42 countries. We have a number of brands under our domain including animation and multimedia. We are also one of the oldest partners for the Ministry of External Affairs. We are handling end-to-end assessment for recruitment, promotions, admissions, semester exams for public sector, public limited and government organisations.

“When it comes to assessment, especially for government bodies, it is a highly sensitive portfolio involving recruitment, promotion programmes, etc, which require the highest level of security and compliance throughout the process. Every event is like a fresh rollout, where you have to always be alert and paranoid. Everything runs in a 100 per cent controlled environment.

“These examinations are being conducted across various states and cities, sometimes 100 to 300 cities at a time with a candidate volume of over a lakh in a day. On top of that these infrastructures are not owned by us, these are mostly hired on  temporary assignment basis. We have to set up our own servers, make sure the network is isolated, hygiene is maintained, etc; this is our routine activity before any exam. All communication between the client machines and our servers are secured with 256 bit encryption. Our job is to remain hungry and keep innovating new techniques to remain ahead and secured. So to ensure all of this and prevent any sort of tampering or security breach, we have developed an application called ApTest that provides complete end-to-end security in all these stages.”

How it works
“Our primary focus was to stop access to the sensitive, confidential data, including the examination questions, assessment records, etc. We have created an application launcher that communicates with our servers on a secured layer. Any user who had previously gained access is completely incapacitated by the application, by shutting off his controls, preventing him from copying, deleting, or editing data, or even performing any functions.”

Application development
“We are currently on Windows and gradually migrating on to open source platform. We are running various monitoring tools along with real-time analytics. Our in-house solutions team keeps on exploring and upgrading our tools on regular basis. This way we focus on finding the best possible framework that is suitable for business requirements.”

Success story
“So far customer feedback has been quite satisfactory and they’ve greatly appreciated the increased security, which has helped us increase customer acquisition. The assignments we handle includes all the prestigious government institutions, public sector companies, private sector and various universities. Our success story is our customer satisfaction, which has increased significantly.”

Other projects in the works
“Besides ApTest we have also developed a number of other applications that provide a range of security services. For instance, ApMark helps universities or boards digitise offline examinations by using OMR sheets, which makes result processing a whole lot faster. We have already completed three successful deliveries on it, and all of ApTest’s security features and safeguards are included in AppMark. We are also working on number of new innovations including new application layer.” 

Categories:   People, Interviews


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