What is the difference between cybersecurity and information security?

The issue might seem picayune, but actually it’s a great question — and one we’ve had posed to us many times by organizations hoping to develop a robust compliance and security program. 

While cybersecurity and information security are often assumed to be synonymous, the terms do have some important differences in the protection of data that a compliance professional should understand. 

In today’s post, we’ll define both terms clearly, review how they affect your organization, and share tips on how you can leverage both to form a robust, holistic security stance.

What is Cybersecurity? 

Cybersecurity is a method of IT security that focuses on preserving and protecting all the data housed within electronic information and communication technologies (ICT). ICT can include computer systems, mobile devices, networks, servers, hardware, and cloud-based infrastructure. 

Part of a cybersecurity expert’s job is to identify critical data, take note of where the data is stored, understand the risks associated with it, and implement electronic and physical security measures to prevent unauthorized access.

Cybersecurity is considered a subset of information security.

What is Information Security?

Information security (also known as “infosec” or data security) is concerned with maintaining the confidentiality, integrity, and availability (also known as “the CIA triad”) of physical and digital information within an organization’s information systems.

Modern businesses house most or all of their information within electronic sources. But years ago, before the proliferation of computing resources, many businesses kept their information in filing cabinets. Some still do!

The main distinction from cybersecurity is that information security professionals are focused on protecting all company data, whether that data is physical or electronic. 

What is Network Security?

Network security, another subset of information security, focuses on the policies and practices employed by an organization to prevent, identify, and monitor unauthorized access or abuse of a computing network. 

Networks can be both private and public, as well as on premises or cloud computing information systems. 

Cybersecurity vs Information Security vs Network Security: What do I need?

The answer to this question depends on the information systems your organization uses. 

If your business uses only physical data storage methods and never touches cyberspace, you need an information security system that focuses on preventing unauthorized access to your physical data.

On the other hand, if your business uses only electronic information systems, then a cybersecurity and network security program is the best way to protect your sensitive data and prevent unauthorized access to your computing environment. 

If, however, your business uses both physical and electronic data, then a more broad-ranging information security and cybersecurity program is the best route to prevent data breaches.

The best way to protect cybersecurity, network security, or information security

As the rate of innovation in information technology continues to increase, so does the volume and effectiveness of cybercrime tactics used to infiltrate information systems. 

Malware, phishing, spyware, ransomware, and cyber frauds are all avenues criminals use to take advantage of unknown loopholes in your environment to obtain and exploit sensitive information.

Governance, risk management, and compliance tools that incorporate automation capabilities are rapidly becoming the industry standard for organizations looking to develop a comprehensive security program to protect their data whether it lives onsite or in cyberspace. 

While using artificial intelligence and machine learning, tools like ZenGRC can enable you to develop a comprehensive security program, identify your gaps in coverage, and provide solutions to fit your needs so you can fill those gaps. 

We built ZenGRC to enable your CISO, security analyst, or other cybersecurity professionals to meet your compliance requirements and to create a solid security program that prevents cyberattacks and facilitates the protection of information.

ZenGRC’s workflow management tools are intuitive and easy-to-understand. Our central dashboard allows you to view your entire security stance through a single window, showing you where you’re most at risk and what you can do to perfect your incident response methods and better protect your company’s data.

Worry-free compliance management is the Zen way. For more information on how ZenGRC can help your organization, contact us for a demo.