Both the terms, cybersecurity and information security, are associated with the security of computer systems and are often used as synonyms.
For those who are not aware of the difference — the definition and understanding of the terms vary a lot and should not be interchangeable as it is done often. Putting it in a single line, one deals with the defending of data in cyberspace, while the other one deals with the security of data in general. Simple yet complicated for beginners to grasp.
In this article, we will begin with the definition of both the terms and then will dive into explaining the differences between them.
The activity can be defined as the defending of computers, servers, mobile devices, electronic systems, networks and data from malicious attacks which range from business organisations to personal devices. The attacks are divided into different categories such as network security, application security, information security, operational security, and disaster recovery along with business continuity. Network security and application security focuses on securing computer networks, along with software and device free from threats and vulnerabilities, respectively. Disaster recovery is associated with the reaction of an organisation in case a loss of data takes place and tries to restore its operational capabilities in order to continue the functioning of the organisation.
Understanding the definition of cybersecurity will not suffice unless the different types of attacks are known to a certain extent. Attacks can be divided into four categories, such as cybercrime (targeting financial gain), cyber-attacks (mostly political attacks) and cyberterrorism. These attacks are often regulated through the use of different mediums such as malware which includes virus, trojans, spyware, ransomware, adware and botnets. Moving forward, SQL injection, phishing and denial-of-service attacks are some other ways to be named.
According to a report, cyber threats have increased rapidly in the last few years, stating a data breach of more than 7.9 billion records in the year 2019. The threats are increasing every day; as per another report, the world will spend close to $133.7 billion by the year 2022 on cybersecurity solutions and services.
With this, the basic ins and outs of cybersecurity have been covered, let’s take a look at information security, shall we?
Information security in a simplified manner can be described as the prevention of unauthorised access or alteration during the time of storing data or transferring it from one machine to another. The information can be biometrics, social media profile, data on mobile phones etc. due to which, the research for information security covers various sectors such as cryptocurrency and online forensics.
Information security is created to cover three objectives of confidentiality, integrity and availability or as commonly known as CIA. Data, including personal information or information of high value, has to be kept confidential, and it is important to block all unauthorised access. Moving on to integrity, the stored data needs to be kept in the correct order, and hence, any unorderly modification by an unauthorised person needs to be cancelled out immediately. Lastly, it is imperative that the data stored can be accessed anytime by authorised personnel. A denial-of-service attack is likely to jeopardise that action.
To ensure efficient operation of information security, organisations put in several policies such as access control policy, password policy along with data support and operation plans. Measures can also include mantraps, network intrusion detection systems and regulatory compliance, to name a few.
Cybersecurity is meant to protect attacks in cyberspace such as data, storage sources, devices, etc. In contrast, information security is intended to protect data from any form of threat regardless of being analogue or digital. Cybersecurity usually deals with cybercrimes, cyber frauds and law enforcement. On the contrary, information security deals with unauthorised access, disclosure modification and disruption.
Cybersecurity is handled by professionals who are trained to deal with advanced persistent threats (APT) specifically. Information security, on the other hand, lays the foundation of data security and are trained to prioritise resources first before eradicating the threats or attacks.
In an era when online threats are lurking over organisations every second, the culmination of information security and cybersecurity is a must to ensure a secure environment. Due to growth in threats and attacks, the need for security professionals has increased as well as the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that a growth of 28% in the cybersecurity and information security space. One with interest in the domain can also have a look at different job roles present in the industry such as information security analyst, information security officer, cryptographer and penetrations testers.