What’s the Difference Between Cybersecurity and Information Security?
6 min read
In today’s modern office, you know how important it is to protect all of your data and information from cyber and real-world threats. You simply can’t afford to leave any weaknesses or vulnerabilities lurking in your IT Environment and most importantly data storage systems.
As essential as it may be, learning the many ins and outs of data protection can be arduous and confusing. It’s important to learn the basics around cybersecurity whether your office has an in-house IT team or a managed service provider.
The distinctions between cybersecurity and information security can seem especially opaque. They’re very similar terms that describe similar processes, but knowing the difference between the two can help protect your business’s data. So, what’s the difference between cybersecurity and information security? What about internet security vs cybersecurity? We’ll go over the differences—and similarities—between these important data protection methods when it comes to managed IT.
Also see our articles on:
- What Does Cybersecurity Do For Your Business
- Top Cybersecurity Threats
- What is Managed IT Services
- Benefits of Managed IT Services
What is Cybersecurity?
The simplest definition of cybersecurity is the practice of protecting electronic data and data systems from unauthorized access, disruptions, or alterations. It can involve many different lines of defense, including software tools and human intervention.
Cybersecurity is usually used to protect data that’s stored on or in:
- Computers and laptops
- Mobile devices like cell phones and tablets
- Online databases and digital files
- Computer network systems & servers
- Cloud Services
Cybersecurity includes all of the steps a business or other organization takes to protect their sensitive data, from implementing security protocols and cyberdefense software to properly training staff in individual security measures, like creating strong passwords and following approved protocol.
Cybersecurity includes defensive measures like:
- Network security – Network security refers to the protection of entire networks from unauthorized use, disruptions, or alterations.
- Application security – Any third-party hardware, software, or other applications your business uses should be protected under application security.
- Cloud security – In terms of data security, if your business uses any sort of cloud management or data storage system, implementing a cloud security system is key.
It also includes proactive measures such as identifying critical data, determining its location in the database system, and assessing its vulnerabilities and likelihood of being attacked.
Internet Security vs. Cybersecurity
Cybersecurity governs all digital data, including information shared, exchanged, and used on the world wide web—that’s where internet security, a subset of cybersecurity, comes into play.
Internet security protects users against cyber attacks like:
- Unknowingly downloading malware hidden in an online link
- Having your credit card information stolen from an unsecured checkout portal
- Phishing scams that use personal information accessed through internet breaches
There are often protections like encryption and additional authentication measures in place on your network, account log-in, or the websites you visit.
What is Information Security?
Information security, on the other hand, is a much broader, more expansive term that refers to the protection of data in general, regardless of how it’s stored. This includes digital data that falls under the jurisdiction of cybersecurity, but also information that’s stored in a physical form.
More specifically, information security is the practice of guarding all of your data from unauthorized access or use. This can mean cyber hacks as well as physical threats to your data. Primarily, information security is concerned with ensuring the data’s:
- Confidentiality – By implementing safeguards that protect against unauthorized access, information security ensures that sensitive or private information is never exposed to or accessible by unauthorized users.
- Integrity – Similarly, information security protects the integrity of data, which refers to interventions that prevent unauthorized changes to the data or destruction of it.
- Availability – The steps taken to protect data are meant to ensure that the data is always available to those with authorized access.
Although digital data storage can pose a unique cyber threat to businesses, it’s important to remember that your physical data is also at risk. From office thieves to accidents like fires or floods, there’s no shortage of ways your physical data can become compromised. Broadening the scope of your data protection to include its physical forms is crucial.
Where Information Security and Cybersecurity Overlap
For all their differences, information security and cybersecurity also share a lot of similarities—which is why the terms are sometimes used interchangeably. But what are their specific commonalities?
Largely, where information security and cybersecurity share common ground is with regard to their interest in the value of data. Both security systems are invested in determining the value of any given data based on the specific risks that a breach poses to the business.
In determining the value of data, security teams assess the information itself and determine how much harm the business might incur in the event of a hack or leak or if the physical data were to be lost, stolen, or destroyed. This is what’s known as information risk assessment.
Information risk assessment is critical to implementing an appropriate and successful information security framework. Risk assessment allows you to:
- Determine the most valuable information and its vulnerabilities
- Determine where the most valuable information is stored and how
- Distribute resources and funds effectively and efficiently
- Take a proactive stance with regard to securing your information
- Better protect yourself from future attacks
Assessing the value of your company’s data and allocating resources accordingly is only part of the overlap between information security and cyber security.
The umbrella of information security includes cybersecurity, at least in part, because even digital information requires a certain amount of physical protection.
It’s relatively easy to see how information security relies on physical measures to protect data. For instance, if you’re storing sensitive documents in a physical location like a filing cabinet, you’re likely to secure the filing cabinet with a padlock or access code.
But digital information is also protected by physical measures in ways that are less immediately obvious. These measures can include:
- Security guards who monitor server rooms or business premises
- Locks on drawers or rooms where company-owned electronic devices are stored
- Back-up measures in place in case of a power outage or network failure
Just as assessing data value is crucial to knowing which data is most important to protect, having the proper physical security measures in place is necessary to protect your data from unauthorized access. Both information security and cybersecurity take these points into consideration.
Information Security, Cybersecurity, and Industry Compliance
Due to the widespread use of both information security and especially cybersecurity, many industries have had to develop industry-wide compliance guidelines to protect data, businesses, and consumers.
Industries that have strict information technology compliance guidelines include, but are not limited to:
Depending on your industry, there may be certain rules and regulations you must follow when it comes to implementing or using information security systems.
Novatech: The Vanguard of Information Security
When it comes to protecting your business data, nothing is more important—or more effective—than an adequate security management system. From your physical files to those stored on your office hard drives to anything you upload to a cloud computing network, it’s all at risk, and it all needs to be protected.
That’s where Novatech comes in. Since 1992, we’ve pushed the industry forward by helping businesses secure and maintain all of their sensitive information and databases.
We can do the same for your business by taking a layered approach to security and risk mitigation, while strictly adhering to industry-specific guidelines that govern your line of work. Don’t let the ins and outs of information security torpedo the success and growth of your business. Partner with Novatech today for your managed security needs and protect your data with a dedicated cybersecurity professional.
Sources: University of North Dakota. 7 Types of Cybersecurity Threats. https://onlinedegrees.und.edu/blog/types-of-cyber-security-threats/