According to the United States Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (or the “CISA”), Cybersecurity (also known as information security or information technology security) is the art of protecting networks, devices, and data from unauthorized access or criminal use and the practice of ensuring confidentiality, integrity, and availability of information.
As technology has progressed throughout the years, cybersecurity has become a more intricate web of moving parts. So much of our daily personal and professional lives are now reliant upon computers, smartphones, tablets, and even smart TVs. Privacy and security are crucial to make sure any sensitive information is adequately protected.
More individuals have become aware of the cyber security industry in the last decade because of high profile attacks, including attacks that have threatened the work of the United States federal government. Just as attacks will always increase, cybersecurity companies will continue operating for as long as technology is a constant in business and personal lives.
Cyber security aims to protect personal, confidential, and financial information from landing in the hands of a cyber criminal through the convergence of people, processes, and technology.
So, you may still be wondering what exactly information technology security entails? There are many types of cybersecurity and there are numerous methods employed by cyber security professionals to protect networks from a breach. But first, it is important to understand why you need it.
Why is cybersecurity important?
Cybersecurity protects the financial, confidential and goodwill value of a business. As the number of gadgets with internet access increases and the number of daily tasks we complete via the internet rise, our personal and professional information would be out there waiting to fall victim to a cyber attack without the protection afforded by proper Cybersecurity Services. This simple act of defending vulnerable systems and data is the core importance of cybersecurity.
1. The Importance of Cyber Security for Individuals
For individuals, the most common data breaches usually occur when the person enters his or her credit card information to an e-commerce website or is the victim of a phishing email.
A phishing email is a form of online communication by which a cyber attack seeking usernames, passwords, or financial information is disguised as a legitimate communication from a trusted source, such as a bank or employer.
They usually request that the recipient click a link or download a PDF; these otherwise benign actions give the cyber criminal access to the data he or she desires.
The risks to an individual vary and include identity theft, significant financial harm, and theft of medical or other private or confidential personal materials.
For this reason, many people are hesitant to do business entirely online, only choosing the most reputable businesses to provide personal or identifying information.
2. The Importance of Cyber Security for Businesses
Playing off the importance of data loss prevention to an individual, it is imperative for organizations to employ adequate cybersecurity measures to protect their information and the information of the consumers that have entrusted financial and other personal information to the business.
A data breach at a business could have the effect of not only negatively impacting a business but also its customers in a negative way.
For a business, there are severe ramifications of a data breach. Some of these ramifications include the loss of financial information and/or actual money, loss of goodwill, and loss of confidential or proprietary information. This information in the hands of the wrong person could result in irreparable harm to a business.
With cybersecurity and threat detection services, a person or business can be spared from an information security threat.
See Also: 8 Reasons Why Is Cybersecurity Important
What are the Core Elements of Cyber Security?
Cyber security is not just one “thing.” It is an amalgamation of various techniques aimed to prevent data breaches that result in data loss. These efforts must be coordinated through the entire information system. An adequate cybersecurity plan must include the following elements (where relevant) to appropriately protect an organization and its consumers:
Network security is the practice of protecting the integrity of a network and its data, including both hardware and software, from unwanted users, attacks, and intrusions. Network security targets various threats and works as a method of data breach prevention to disallow access and spreading on a network. Network security is important for both home and business networks.
Application security is the method used to prevent the code or data within an application from being compromised or stolen. The goal is to make an application more secure by finding, fixing and preventing security breaches. This requires regular updates to ensure that the programs are up-to-date and secure from attack.
Endpoint security protects business networks that are remotely bridged to an employee or consumer’s device. Access to a network by remote devices such as smartphones, laptops, tablets, and TVs provide a unique security threat as each provides a potential entry point for a cybercriminal. Endpoint security aims to adequately secure every endpoint connecting to a network to block access attempts and other risky activity at these points of entry; endpoint user education is also imperative.
Data security is the process by which data is protected from unauthorized access and data loss or corruption throughout its lifecycle. It includes data encryption, hashing, tokenization, and key management practices that protect data across all applications and platforms. The primary goal of data security is to protect the data that an organization collects, stores, creates, receives or transmits.
Identity management, also known as access management, is the framework for ensuring that only people with permission have access to data within an organization. It manages user identities and regulates user access within an organization to protect against data breaches. This is accomplished by associating user rights and restrictions with user identities.
Database and Infrastructure Security
Database security includes a range of security measures designed to protect an organization’s database management system. The purpose is to protect the underlying infrastructure that is home to the database (network and servers), securing configure the database management system and access to the data. This guards against a potential breach or compromise of a business’ database.
Cloud security or cloud computing security is a broad set of technologies used to protect intellectual property, data, applications, services, and the associated infrastructure of cloud computing. Cloud security disallows users who have not been granted access from infiltrating the cloud, protecting the data stored within the cloud.
Mobile security is the practice of protecting smartphones, tablets, laptops, and other mobile devices from cybersecurity threats. The goal is to keep the device protected from access by unauthorized users. In businesses today, work from home or business on the go is quite common, making mobile devices a high-risk target for data breaches.
Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity
Sometimes, despite the best efforts, there is a cyber security attack. In the event of such a data breach, it is important for an organization to continue on with the work of its business and recover from the breach quickly. These are the services of disaster recovery and business continuity, which require expertly drawn up plans to recover lost data and continue on with business operations.
What are the Most Common Cyber Security Threats?
The constant evolution of technology is both a blessing and a curse. While information technology advancement allows us to do, be and create things we were never able to accomplish before, it also opens doors to new forms of data breaches. Simply put, the more advanced the technology becomes, the more advanced the threats are.
To stay ahead of cyber threats, it is important to understand the various forms in which the threats may arise so that an appropriate plan can be executed.
Phishing is the practice of sending fraudulent emails that look and read like legitimate emails. The goal of a phishing attack is to steal sensitive information such as passwords or bank account/credit card information. To protect from a successful phishing attempt, there are various softwares that filter malicious emails; but it is always best practice to confirm with the alleged sender that the email is legitimate prior to clicking on a link or attachment.
Ransomware is malicious software that an attacker installs on a device with the intent to extort money by blocking access to files or data until a ransom is paid. And once paid, there is no guarantee that files or data will be returned or restored. Ransomware forensics is required to discover how the breach occurred and how to prevent a ransomware attack from happening again.
Malware is a malicious software installed on a device that allows an unauthorized user access to the device for the purpose of causing damage to the device. There are a wide variety of malware that exists, including computer viruses, worms, Trojan horses, ransomware, spyware, adware, rogue software, wiper, and scareware.
Social engineering is the practice of tricking users into divulging personal information, including access to personal information or the solicitation of fraudulent payments.
How to Prevent a Cyber Security Breach
Because of the tremendous harm data loss can cause to a company, preventing cyber attacks should be at the forefront of an organization’s priorities.
There are many methods that can be employed to safeguard cyber infrastructure, including the following:
- Employee training on cyber security and risk management;
- Risk assessments that evaluate the organization’s valuable assets and the cost of loss of or breach to them;
- Identify, classify, remediate, and mitigate vulnerabilities within all software and networks;
- Allot the least amount of permissions necessary to individuals within the organization;
- Require strong, secure passwords for all employment-related online activities;
- Implement an all-encompassing business continuity plan;
- Design networks with security in mind; and
- Use secure coding.
The world of cybersecurity can be confusing and burdensome for organizations that are focused on their own line of work and have little experience in the information technology realm.
A cybersecurity agency offers security solutions that are capable of walking business owners through the ins and outs of cybersecurity threats and needs, and setting up all-encompassing cybersecurity plans fit for each individual business.
The Bottom Line on Cybersecurity
Cyber attacks can be designed to access, delete, or extort an organization’s or consumer’s sensitive data. All businesses must do what is in their power to protect their business and its consumers, including taking the appropriate measures to protect the business’ technology solutions from unauthorized access or attack. This is especially true for any organization that keeps vital personal information (such as medical records, financial information, or confidential records) on its technology systems.
In a continually changing field, it is important to be constantly revising information security measures to ensure that the security needs of the business and its consumers are being met. This can be implemented through cybersecurity tools, training, and risk management approaches, and continually update systems as technologies change and evolve. For too many years, businesses have let cybersecurity fall to the back burner, either due to cost, inexperience, or lack of understanding. Those businesses have suffered repercussions for cyber attacks.
A business must protect its computer systems to protect its privacy. Protect your business and its consumers through cybersecurity efforts.