Understanding the Difference Between IT Security and Cybersecurity
Understand the difference, work together, keep your organization safe.
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As businesses increasingly rely on data to fuel their daily operations, the need for protecting this data is at an all-time high. Systems, processes, and physical assets all need to be secured as part of a company’s overall data security plan.
There are many ways through which business information can be protected against threats. Some techniques involve securing data from cybercriminals, while others involve offline processes such as locking file cabinets, maintaining access control to specific rooms, and setting up employee guidelines during daily operations.
These differences in data security methods are what separate IT and cybersecurity. While IT security covers all activities that protect information and systems from unauthorized access and/use, cybersecurity specifically applies to keep data safe across the internet. Therefore, cybersecurity is essentially a subset of IT security.
Knowing the differences between these two processes can help you seal any loopholes and create a robust data security plan for your entire business.
What Is IT Security?
Information Security (IT) is the process of protecting both physical and electronic data from unauthorized access, use, or modification. IT security is a larger approach that covers networks, company policies, resource allocation, data accuracy, and information access. When working in IT security, you may find yourself managing file cabinets where company reports are stored, while at the same time, building firewalls that can keep away phishing attacks.
The broad scope of IT security means that this process extends beyond the internet. Indeed, IT security also covers how company data policies are put in place, how information is shared, and where such data should be stored. IT security also involves verifying data accuracy, accessibility, and recency.
In some cases, IT professionals may advocate for more resources to handle a company’s data security plans and future goals.
What Is Cybersecurity?
Cybersecurity is the process of protecting data from internet threats. Professionals working in this field will focus on designing and operating networks, software, and servers that can detect and mitigate online threats. From phishing to malware and data loss, hackers are increasingly using the internet to access sensitive company data and cause significant financial loss. And because many businesses now use online channels to carry out their daily operations, the need for cybersecurity is at an all-time high.
Cybersecurity consists of many different elements that apply to the internet. For example, professionals in this field may set up firewalls that block the entry of malicious messages, monitor networks for any vulnerabilities, and train employees on the importance of data security. Cybersecurity also applies when businesses encrypt sensitive data, manage access to servers, and set up two-factor authentication to prevent hacking attempts.
The Relationship And Differences Between IT And Cybersecurity
In the real world, IT and cybersecurity professionals work hand in hand to secure your company’s data from threats. Such threats may occur in many different ways. For example, an employee who gains unauthorized access to printed customer records may share this information with a third party and cause leaks.
On the other hand, an internet hacker may send a phishing email that causes malware to spread in your company’s systems. Preventing such risks is a collective responsibility for both IT and cybersecurity personnel. This is why both professionals work together to monitor, detect, and prevent any types of threats that may compromise your company’s information.
However, there are important differences that apply to IT and cybersecurity. These differences are evident when you consider the scope, approach, techniques, and outcomes of each security plan. To begin with, IT security covers a wider scope than cybersecurity. While cybersecurity is mostly concerned with repelling threats on the internet, IT security is a broader approach that also applies to offline elements. Both physical and electronic data needs to be considered when implementing an IT security plan. IT security professionals also need to secure interconnected devices such as printers, tablets, mobile apps, and storage rooms.
The approach between IT and cybersecurity also varies. Cybersecurity mostly follows a risk management approach where threats are identified, assessed, analyzed, and mitigated. On the other hand, IT security is more of a company policy approach that governs the daily handling of data. Every business should have an IT security plan ingrained within their core business proposal even before they begin operating.
While IT and cybersecurity are often used interchangeably, they do vary in terms of approach, scope, and application. However, these two processes work together to protect your company data from threats- both online and offline.
Opinions expressed by DZone contributors are their own.