“Should my organization focus on cyber security or information security?”
This is a burning question for virtually every cyber-ready, information-dependent organization. And since all organizations now function in a constantly expanding cyberthreat landscape, the question is entirely valid.
The simple answer is that you most likely need both!
For a longer, more nuanced answer, keep reading!
This brief blog explores the meaning and importance of cybersecurity and information security. We also unpack the differences between the two concepts. Knowing this is especially important because even seasoned security professionals use the two terms synonymously – and erroneously.
What is Cybersecurity?
An organization’s cybersecurity ecosystem would include a host of frameworks, tools, technologies, and processes to detect, prevent, and mitigate cyberattacks – that may come from inside or outside the organization.
These tools prevent adversaries from:
- Gaining unauthorized access to enterprise resources
- Damaging the IT infrastructure
- Viewing, stealing, or compromising sensitive data
- Engaging in corporate espionage
- Engaging in cyber extortion
Put simply, cybersecurity is about protecting the organization and its electronic assets from cyberattacks. These include the enterprise network and all the devices, servers, applications, software, and data connections.
The goal is to prevent threat actors such as data thieves, cybercriminals, financially-motivated cyber-attackers, and politically-motivated rogue nation-states from compromising the enterprise network or damaging its resources.
“Wait! Did you say data and data thieves? If cybersecurity includes the protection of data, isn’t it the same as information security?!”
The rest of this article will address this question and provide the answer.
What is Information Security?
Information security – also known as InfoSec – protects an organization’s information or data assets. Thus, it is not concerned with protecting mobile devices, cloud applications, or servers. Instead, it concerned focuses on protecting the data inside these devices, applications, and servers.
InfoSec processes and frameworks are designed to protect all the company’s information, regardless of whether it’s at rest or in motion and whether it resides in physical or digital form. Thus, if your business stores data in paper form and stores those documents in filing documents – it is the concern of InfoSec. And if you store all your data in electronic form – it is also the concern of InfoSec.
Why Does Your Organization Need an InfoSec Program?
You need InfoSec to preserve your information’s confidentiality, integrity, and accessibility. These three parameters are known as the CIA Triad, which forms the foundation of all InfoSec programs and frameworks.
- Confidentiality: Only authorized users can access your business-critical or sensitive information
- Integrity: The accuracy, trustworthiness, and reliability of your data is consistently maintained.
- Availability: Authorized users can access and use the information they need without interruptions.
Your InfoSec program maintains the CIA of your information systems, protects them from unauthorized access, and reduces the risk of a cyberattack that may compromise them.
Without this program, your information is vulnerable to data breaches that may damage your reputation, impact your customer relationships, and result in regulatory fines or legal action. Also, considering that the average cost of a single data breach has increased from $3.86 million in 2020 to the highest-ever $4.24 million in 2021, you will also see a negative impact on your overall costs and profitability.
An ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure. And here, prevention means InfoSec!
Now, you know why your organization needs cybersecurity and Information Security. The following section provides a quick lowdown of the differences between them.
What Is the Difference Between Cybersecurity and Information Security?
Cybersecurity is an extensive area concerned with defending the organization from attacks that may damage its IT resources. It thus encompasses network security, critical infrastructure security, cloud security, application security, and even business continuity planning and disaster recovery.
But here’s the thing – cybersecurity also includes information security! Thus, you can look at your cybersecurity program of tools, processes, and policies as a program that protects all your assets – including data.
Information security is only concerned with protecting your information and data assets. This information may reside on your organization’s:
- On-premises network
- Cloud infrastructure
- Physical locations that store paper, e.g., filing rooms, factories, warehouses
Your InfoSec program helps establish a security framework with strong controls to prevent unauthorized access to all this information and ensure its CIA.
“So, does my organization need cybersecurity or information security?”
The answer: you need both!
If your company only uses physical data storage methods (see above), you need an InfoSec program to protect all this physical data from unauthorized access. You may add locks to filing cabinets, employ security guards, control access to data storage areas, periodically shred old documents, etc. But, if you use both physical and electronic data, your InfoSec program should be robust enough to protect both.
But over and above InfoSec, you also need a robust cybersecurity program to protect all your other assets from cyberattacks. To this end, you need firewalls, Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) tools, antivirus and anti-malware solutions, as well as Artificial Intelligence-based security tools that provide consistent security even from advanced cyber threats.
In the modern-day tech-powered business landscape, threats to your organization’s assets and data can come from anywhere. To keep up with the bad guys, you can’t simply react to an attack. You need to be prepared to take the fight to them and get more proactive about strengthening your security posture. And this is only possible if you have strong information security and cybersecurity programs in place.
Benison Technologies has advanced security expertise in firewalls, malware protection, next-gen Intrusion Protection Systems (IPS), threat inspection, and more. We can help build and strengthen your organization’s security infrastructure to protect your assets and minimize the risk of cyberattacks.