Cyber Security vs Information Security: Difference

Cyber ​​security and information security are often considered the same. Understandably, this creates confusion in the security world. With so many terms circulating and new technologies being introduced practically every day, it is not surprising that there is a debate about cyber security versus information security. Is Information Security A Subset Of Cyber ​​Security? It’s the other way around? What about information technology? Is information technology the same as cybersecurity? These are all valid questions.

First, let’s look at how both cyber security and information security are defined. According to the National Institute of Standards and Technology, cybersecurity is the “ability to defend or protect the use of cyberspace from cyber attacks.” The organization defines information security as the “protection of information and information systems against unauthorized access, use, disclosure, interruption, modification, or destruction to provide confidentiality, integrity, and availability.” In other words, the difference is in scope.

When it comes to data security, it’s about protecting your data from malicious users and threats. Now another question is what is the difference between data and information? So an important point is that “not all data can be information”, data can be informed if it is interpreted in context and given meaning. for example, “010700” is data and if we know that it is a person’s date of birth, then it is information because it has some meaning. Therefore, information means data that has some meaning.

What is Cyber Security?

Cybersecurity is a specific type of information security that refers to the ways that organizations protect digital information, such as networks, programs, devices, servers, and other digital assets.

Although it is only one aspect of information security (along with physical security), it receives the most attention because cyber threats are much more likely than physical ones.

Malware, hacking, and internal errors are the main causes of data breaches, so it makes sense to prioritize defenses that mitigate these risks.

That is not to say that cyber security and physical security are completely separate. Take the threat of stolen devices, for example.

You need physical security measures to prevent devices from falling into the wrong hands. This will come primarily in the form of policies that instruct employees on how to handle their devices, such as laptops, off-site.

However, these must be complemented by cyber security measures that protect the organization in the event of device theft.

Such measures may include password protection of the device and databases, encryption of sensitive information, and implementing a kill switch to remotely wipe stolen laptops.

What is Information Security?

Information security is a term for how organizations and individuals protect their valuable assets, be it business records, personal data, intellectual property, etc.

This data is stored in many ways; for example, it can be physical files, on servers and hard drives, in the cloud, or on personal devices.

The ways you protect it will be different; You cannot apply the same defense mechanisms for paper records as you do for digital files.

The former should be kept in a drawer and should only be accessible to authorized personnel, either by placing the files in a locked room or by closing the drawer itself.

In contrast, digital files require technological defenses, such as access controls, to ensure that only approved users can view them.

As you can see, the general principle remains the same: you are implementing controls that limit who can see the information, but the methods vary.

Information security refers to the general practice of protecting personal data and the approaches to achieving it.

Difference Between Cybersecurity and Information Security

Cybersecurity focuses on protecting data that is in electronic form so that it is not compromised and attacked. Cybersecurity professionals take a more active role in protecting servers, endpoints, databases, and networks by finding security gaps and misconfigurations that create vulnerabilities. They also identify what critical data is and where it is located, determine its exposure to risk, and evaluate related technology.

Cybersecurity Examples:

The following are some examples of cybersecurity:

  • Network Security – The practice of protecting networks from unauthorized access, misuse, interference, or interruption of service.
  • Application Security – A process that involves detecting, repairing, and enhancing application security to prevent data or code from being stolen within applications.
  • Cloud Security – A combination of policies, controls, procedures, and technologies that work together to protect cloud-based systems and infrastructures.
  • Critical Infrastructure – A set of core tools that provide security services such as virus scanners, intrusion prevention systems, anti-malware software, and more.

Rather, information security is concerned with ensuring that data in any form is protected in cyberspace and beyond. That is, the Internet or the endpoint device can only be part of a larger picture. Information security professionals focus on the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of all data.

Information Security Examples:

Information security includes cybersecurity and also involves:

  • Procedural controls: These controls prevent, detect, or minimize security risks to any physical asset, such as computer systems, data centers, and even filing cabinets. These may include security awareness education, security framework, compliance training, and incident response plans and procedures.
  • Access controls: These controls dictate who has permission to access and use company information and the company network. These controls establish restrictions on physical access to building entrances and virtual access, such as privileged access authorization.
  • Technical controls: These controls involve the use of multi-factor user authentication at login, firewalls, and antivirus software.
  • Compliance controls – These controls address privacy laws and cybersecurity standards designed to minimize security threats. They require an information security risk assessment and enforce information security requirements.

Evolution of Cybersecurity and Information Security

Over the past decade, we have seen a merger between cybersecurity and information security, as these previously isolated positions have come together. The challenge is that most teams do not have an information security professional on staff, so the responsibilities of a cyber security professional have expanded dramatically. Cybersecurity professionals traditionally understand the necessary technology, firewalls, and intrusion protection systems, but they weren’t necessarily raised in the data evaluation business.

But today, that is changing.

As this topic becomes increasingly important to businesses, the role of cybersecurity risk management experts is evolving so that they can adequately protect data. Business partners and investors are increasingly aware of the importance of this topic, and companies are regularly asked about their effectiveness in protecting data and managing physical and cyber risks.

Where do Cybersecurity and Information Security Overlap?

To be fair, there is some overlap between cyber security and information security, and that causes justifiable confusion on the two terms.

Most of the information is stored digitally on a network, computer, server, or in the cloud. Criminals can access this information to exploit its value.

The value of data is the top concern for both types of security. In information security, the main concern is to protect the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of the data. In cybersecurity, the main concern is to protect against unauthorized electronic access to data. In both circumstances, it is important to understand which data, if accessed without authorization, is most harmful to the organization, so a security framework with adequate controls can be established to prevent unauthorized access.

When there are dedicated resources on separate teams, both teams are likely to work together to establish a data protection framework, with the information security team prioritizing the data to be protected and the cybersecurity team developing the protocol for protection. of data.

Both take into Consideration: Value of the Data.

If you are in information security, your primary concern is to protect your business data against unauthorized access of any kind, and if you are in cybersecurity, your primary concern is protecting your business data from unauthorized electronic access. But in both scenarios, the value of the data is of the utmost importance.

Both people need to know which data is most critical to the organization so they can focus on putting the correct cyber risk management and monitoring controls on that data. In some scenarios, an information security professional would help a cybersecurity professional prioritize data protection, and then the cybersecurity professional would determine the best course of action for data protection. But with the changing security landscape over the past decade, things aren’t always so black and white.


In the end, the cybersecurity vs. information security debate may be the wrong way to approach two things that are so complementary to each other. Both roles protect data from being stolen, accessed, altered, or deleted. The main difference is the breadth of its focus.

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