Cybersecurity and information security are often assumed to be synonymous terms. They’re not. On the contrary, they have several critical differences that security professionals should understand, if you want to deliver the best protection and risk management possible to your organization.
This article will explore those differences, review how they affect your organization, and provide tips on how you can leverage both to create a robust, holistic security posture.
What is Cybersecurity?
“Cybersecurity” refers to an ecosystem of technologies, methodologies, and processes, such as firewalls and antivirus software, best practices, and cybersecurity frameworks. The objective is to protect an organization’s information and communication technologies (ICT) from cyberattacks. These ICT assets include:
- Enterprise on-premises networks
- Cloud-based infrastructure
- Computer systems, mobile devices, endpoints, servers, and other devices
- Software programs and applications
Cybersecurity frameworks and practices aim to protect these assets from cyber threats that originate from or via the Internet. Cybersecurity strategies are comprehensive, including:
- Network security
- Application security
- Cloud security
- Operational security
- Critical infrastructure security
- Physical security
- Stakeholder awareness and education
Cybersecurity tools and practices aim to prevent cybercriminals and data thieves from gaining unauthorized access to enterprise resources and data, since that unauthorized access can damage business-critical information technology infrastructure, disrupt business and operational continuity, or allow cyber extortion and corporate espionage.
Why is Cybersecurity Important?
As the cyber threat landscape expands, robust cybersecurity is more important than ever.
All organizations are vulnerable to cyber threats and attacks, such as phishing, malware (malicious software), ransomware, man-in-the-middle (MitM) attacks, and distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks. Many organizations are also at risk of password theft and compromise due to brute force attacks, hash cracking, and keyloggers.
To stay safe from such attacks, all organizations need robust cybersecurity, regardless of their size, type, or industry.
In 2021, the cost of cybercrime topped $6 trillion. In the future, cyber attacks will increase in scale, scope, and frequency as digital technologies evolve, global supply chains become more complex, and the number of interconnected and internet-connected devices increases. By 2025, the cost of cybercrime is expected to surge to $10.5 trillion.
The bottom line: Every organization needs strong cybersecurity processes, tools, and practices to protect assets and data from determined cybercriminals and data thieves.
What is Information Security?
According to one survey, security professionals needed 228 days in 2020 to identify a security breach and 80 days to contain it. That’s more than seven months just to identify a breach and almost three months to remediate it! To identify threats and breaches quickly, and to mitigate them before they can cause too much damage, organizations need a robust information security program.
The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) defines information security as: “The protection of information and information systems from unauthorized access, use, disclosure, disruption, modification, or destruction in order to provide confidentiality, integrity, and availability.”
Modern businesses house most or all of their information within electronic sources. Before the proliferation of computing and digital resources, however, many businesses kept their information in filing cabinets. Some still do!
Information security – also known as “infosec” or data security – is concerned with protecting all of this information, both physical and digital. This information may be “at rest” or “in motion.”
What is the CIA Triad in Information Security?
Confidentiality, integrity, and availability are known as “the CIA triad.”
Confidentiality means assuring that only authorized users can access enterprise information and preventing unauthorized access or disclosure. Integrity is about maintaining data accuracy, trustworthiness, consistency, and reliability. Finally, availability means information is easily accessible to authorized users without disruptions to enterprise systems.
Why is Information Security Important?
Infosec practices and security operations encompass a broader protection of enterprise information. Without infosec, we would overlook the proper disposal of paper information and the physical security of data centers. Cybersecurity also neglects risks coming from non-cyber-related sources, such as fires and natural disasters.
The combination of the CIA triad is also an important feature of infosec. For instance, integrity covers malicious data manipulation along with innocent typographical errors. Categorizing threats and safeguards into the CIA triad helps organizations to evaluate risk from a different lens.
Cybersecurity vs. Information Security: What Do I Need?
Honestly, you need both. The extent of each will depend on the IT resources and information systems used in your organization.
You need a robust cybersecurity program focused on threats coming through the internet to damage your network systems and steal your digital data.
Modern hackers use all kinds of threat vectors, including malware, ransomware, phishing, as well as cyber frauds to attack devices, Internet of Things (IoT) systems, cloud computing infrastructure, and data. To prevent cyber-attackers from exploiting your resources and obtaining sensitive information, you need comprehensive cybersecurity.
An information security program considers non-cyber threats, which can also be devastating to your organization. Even if you don’t store paper documents, do you have a printer in the office? You need information security policies defining which print-outs must be shredded versus thrown in the trash.
In general, most businesses use both physical and electronic data, so you need a broad-ranging information security and cybersecurity program to:
- Protect your ICT assets and sensitive data
- Prevent unauthorized access to your computing environment
- Prevent unauthorized access to physical documents
- Reduce the size of the cyber attack surface and minimize the risk of cyber attacks
- Prevent data breaches, information theft, and compromise
- Prevent long-term advanced persistent threats (APTs)
- Protect information during non-cyber events, such as natural disasters, power outages, or fire
As part of this program, you need strong cybersecurity and information security tools, as well as robust practices around governance, risk management, and compliance. Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning tools are also available to “learn” from threat data, identify cybersecurity threats faster, and minimize their harm.
Protect Your Business Assets and Information with Reciprocity ROAR
Reciprocity ROAR enables information security and cybersecurity professionals to create a solid security program to protect enterprise information and minimize the threat of cyber attacks.
With Reciprocity ROAR, you can view your security stance through a centralized, integrated platform. You can also streamline risk assessments and identify critical threats to your assets. Protect your resources and data by first understanding where risks and vulnerabilities exist and how they are changing.
Leverage Reciprocity ROAR’s rich suite of intuitive tools and dashboards to improve risk management in your organization. To see how Reciprocity ROAR can guide your organization to infosec and cybersecurity confidence, schedule a free demo today.