Posted by Tyler Chancey, GCFA on

Tyler Chancey is a seasoned cybersecurity professional currently serving as the Director of Cyber Security at Scarlett Cybersecurity Services, With a solid foundation in Computer Software Engineering from the University of Florida, Tyler holds a repertoire of certifications that underscore his expertise. These include the prestigious Microsoft 365 Certified: Enterprise Administrator Expert and Microsoft 365 Certified: Security Administrator Associate, showcasing his mastery in Microsoft's enterprise solutions. Tyler's commitment to comprehensive security is further evidenced by his CompTIA Security+ certification, demonstrating proficiency in core cybersecurity principles. Additionally, his GIAC Certified Forensic Analyst (GCFA) credential attests to his advanced skills in forensic analysis—an invaluable asset in today's complex cybersecurity landscape. Tyler's dedication to staying at the forefront of industry standards is evident in the active pursuit and maintenance of these certifications, making him a trusted authority in the field.

What is the Difference between a Cybersecurity Event and a Cybersecurity Incident_

Are you confused between cybersecurity events and cybersecurity incidents?

Many of us use the terms cybersecurity event and cybersecurity incident interchangeably. However, that is not the right thing to do. A cybersecurity event is not the same as a cybersecurity incident. You will find many differences, including some subtle ones.

Every cybersecurity incident is a cybersecurity event, but not all cybersecurity events qualify as cybersecurity incidents.

 A cybersecurity event is common, and may or may not have negative consequences. Here are the common traits of a cybersecurity event.

  • A cybersecurity event is anything that differs from normal behavior
  • It can happen countless times in a day
  • It is mostly harmless but may carry the potential of danger
  • Organizations use software to monitor cybersecurity events and create auto alerts
  • Some enterprises also use cybersecurity event response plans to prevent events

On the contrary, A cybersecurity incident, however, is rare but has damaging consequences. Here are the common traits of a cybersecurity incident.

  • Cybersecurity incidents always have negative consequences
  • They are rare and very few in numbers
  • Need immediate attention and remediation
  • Most organizations have a security incident response plan to counter cybersecurity incidents
  • You need to assess a cybersecurity incident to identify the threats and eradicate them
  • A review is needed to dissect a cybersecurity incident and strengthen your security protocols
  • You can prevent cybersecurity incidents by being more proactive and using reliable monitoring tools
  • Users should also be aware of cybersecurity best practices

We will take up the topics in detail, one by one, in our blog. Let’s start with the most basic question.

What is Cybersecurity Event?

A lot happens in the world of cybersecurity every day in an organization. You are running updates, people are downloading apps, someone flags a suspicious file- the list is endless.

However, not all of these activities are as per the expected behavior of your system or security policies. Someone flagging suspicious content is undoubtedly a change from your normal cybersecurity processes.

Any such activity that stands out from normal behavior is a cybersecurity event. Or anything is a cybersecurity event when it is an exception to the normal activities.

Cybersecurity events can be trivial or significant. Sending emails is a small event while updating your encryption is a big event.

What is Cybersecurity Incident?

Any cybersecurity event that brings negative consequences for an organization is a cybersecurity incident. The negative impact is a key differentiator of the concepts and demands quick attention.

Hacking of systems and data, activating phishing emails, and brute attacks are good examples of cybersecurity incidents.

cybersecurity incident penetrates the integrity of security policies and damages assets and investments. Most organizations have a cybersecurity incident plan in place to counter adverse cybersecurity events.

Now, let’s explore how both the concepts are dissimilar.

What are the Differences between Cybersecurity Events and Cybersecurity Incidents?

Every cybersecurity incident is a cybersecurity event. However, all cybersecurity events don’t qualify as cybersecurity incidents.

A cybersecurity incident has to bring negative consequences for an organization. On the contrary, a cybersecurity event may or may not have a negative impact.

A business or municipality can experience hundreds of cybersecurity events daily. Most of these are trivial and don’t lead to any harm.

Cybersecurity incidents are exceptions. They happen rarely and need immediate attention. Organizations use automated software to track cybersecurity incidents ad events and generate instant alerts.

For example, your monitoring software will raise a notification when it detects a data breach. However, your software may not generate a notification for attempts of data breaches that don’t succeed.

You can configure your monitoring software to detect the type of incidents you want. Additionally, organizations should identify, document, and resolve every cybersecurity incident to protect their investments.

What are Cybersecurity Alerts?

It’s important to know a few other terms to understand the differences between cybersecurity events and cybersecurity incidents fully. One of such terms is cybersecurity alert.

Organizations use security information and event management (SIEM) software to monitor cybersecurity events in real-time. You can set up the monitoring rules to track events as per your requirements.

SIEM software will generate an instant alert to notify admins of any system changes or breaches. These alerts are automated and sent to the person or team in charge of cybersecurity monitoring. You can also set up your software to deliver cybersecurity alerts to any person or device.

Cybersecurity alerts do what the name suggests- they alert admins that something is not right. You can then take quick action, find out what’s wrong, and implement a solution.

How to Combat Cybersecurity Events and Incidents?

Cybersecurity events may not always require attention. You can reduce the risks of events by using firewalls, scanning your systems for malware, creating employee awareness, and more.

Cybersecurity incidents require a more planned action. Most organizations have a security incident response plan that lays out the steps to follow. All plans have a few things in common-

Identification of Threats

The first step is to analyze the cybersecurity incident and the threats involved. You also need to find out the damages caused by the incident to your systems and data.

Based on the threats, you can implement a short-term or permanent solution.

Containment and Eradication

The next step is to limit the damages and prevent the incident from causing more harm. For example, you may change the passwords and assess remote access permissions to deal with unauthorized access.

Along with that, you have to eradicate the threat from its roots. Identifying the treats in the first step will help you come up with remedies.

Your incident response plan will cover guidelines to resolve cybersecurity incidents. You will be able to save time by using readymade solutions and cut your losses.

For example, your plan can recommend scanning systems to remove malware or updating your security protocols.

After you remove the threat, the next job is to recover your systems and devices. If there is no damage, you can make the security policies more stringent to avoid future incidents.


The cybersecurity team should sit down and review the whole incident to generate key takeaways. The review will help you identify gaps in your cybersecurity strategies and what went wrong.

Based on your review, you can take preventive measures and improve your protection.

What are Ways to Prevent Cybersecurity Incidents?

Being proactive can help you fight cybersecurity incidents efficiently. You need to set up the right tools and monitors to protect your assets and investments. Some measures that can help you are-

  • Installing a strong firewall to protect your network
  • Using reliable encryption tools to safeguard data and users
  • Strong password to prevent brute force attacks and unauthorized access
  • Monitoring tools to scan systems and networks for threats
  • Scanning tool for threats that exist online
  • Protecting devices with firewalls and antivirus
  • Creating awareness about cybersecurity best practices in users

You should also stay updated on the latest developments in the cybersecurity realm. Only then will you be able to prevent cybersecurity incidents before they cause damage.

Final Thoughts

Cybersecurity incidents always cause negative consequences. A cybersecurity event, on the other hand, may not always be damaging. You can create a cybersecurity incident response plan and use reliable monitoring tools to keep cybersecurity incidents at bay. Additionally, you need to be proactive and keep an eye on your systems and networks for more protection.

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