Information security and cybersecurity are often used interchangeably. But they really should not be. They are two different forms of security and hugely interconnected. It is important to know the difference and to understand how applying both to your organization can help protect the business long-term.
What Is Information Security?
Information security is the overarching way that organizations (or individuals) protect valuable data. This data may be in the form of personal information or business records, and it can be stored in an analog way or digitally. (For analog think physical file folders or a safe.)
What Is Cybersecurity?
Cybersecurity is a component of information security, and it focuses on the ways in which organizations protect their digital information. Digital information may be devices, databases, servers, networks, and other digital assets.
Wait, what? Yep, that one word, digital, is what starts to cause all the confusion – understandably so. Think of information security as the foundation – it protects all data. Then think of cybersecurity as a pillar holding up the information security foundation – it focuses on protecting digital information. They work together but are also distinct.
The Role of Information Security
Information security is focused on three objectives: provide confidentiality, ensure integrity, and allow access to data (all kinds of data). More specifically, its role is to ensure the process of transferring data is confidential, regardless of the method. In addition, the integrity of the data must be maintained in the correct order. And lastly, the data must be accessible to authorized users when they need it.
Examples of information security include:
- Procedural processes and policies (ex: work from home policies, or using personal devices for work policies)
- Access control and documentation
- Operations plans
- Password policies
- Compliance controls
- Technical controls (ex: firewalls, multi-factor authentication)
A lot of information security focuses on policies and procedures because its job is to protect data.
The Role of Cybersecurity
Cybersecurity will focus on defending digital tools and preventing breaches. And, let’s be honest, with the amount of ransomware, phishing attacks, and cybercriminals out there trying to gain access to our digital data, this is a big job.
Examples of cybersecurity include:
- Network security
- Cloud security
- Endpoint security
- Server and database security
- Mobile device security
Which Do I Need?
To successfully protect data and prevent cyber-criminal activity, you need both. Information security will help you put the essential procedures in place, and cybersecurity will protect your data if a hacker sneaks through.
Not sure where to start? We can help – we have been focused on supporting information and cybersecurity needs for organizations for years.