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IT Security vs. Cybersecurity: Are They The Same?

Mark Lukehart

Cybersecurity team

IT security and cybersecurity are two terms you may come across as you take steps to protect your company’s data. While these two concepts may seem very similar, some key differences between the two are important to understand. 

Both cybersecurity and IT security measures are essential to protecting your company’s most sensitive information. Understanding the differences can help you choose the best possible data security services for your company. In this article, we’ll look at the differences between these key terms and what you need to know about each one. 

Key Takeaways

  • Cybersecurity focuses on protecting your systems from cyber attacks. Hackers and cyber threats are ever-present and happen through the internet. 
  • IT security focuses on protecting all of your company’s data and information systems. IT security protects both digital and paper data, and addresses both internal and external security threats. 
  • Cyber security is often considered a subset of IT security. Both types of security are essential to protecting your organization. 

What Is Cybersecurity?

Cybersecurity is the protection of systems, networks, and assets from internet-based attacks. These attacks are engineered and conducted by hackers and can vary in terms of strategy. Some common examples of cybersecurity attacks include ransomware, phishing, spyware, SQL injections, and more. 

Cybersecurity attacks have increased in frequency over the last decade. Ransomware has quickly become the most common type of cyber attack, but all forms of it have increased in frequency. Hackers have also gotten creative with their cybersecurity strategies and are regularly finding new ways to compromise existing technology. For example, many hackers have been increasingly creative with social media messaging to gain unauthorized access to valuable information. 

It’s not just large organizations that are vulnerable to hackers;  small businesses and individuals are at risk as well. A cybersecurity attack could have serious financial repercussions and damage your company’s reputation. 

An effective cybersecurity strategy will implement firewalls, network monitoring, and other solutions to block potential attacks, and it will update these solutions regularly to account for the latest security threats. Company employees will also need to use cybersecurity best practices throughout their work to protect sensitive data and personal information from outside attacks. Basic cybersecurity education for your team can help them recognize and avoid online threats so your organization won’t become an easy target. 

Components of Cybersecurity

There are many different components of cybersecurity, all of which address external cyber threats online.

Protects Data in Cyberspace

Storing data online using the cloud has become a popular alternative to on-premise servers. For many companies, storing data online is essential due to remote work policies. However, storing your company’s confidential data online comes with added security risks.

Additionally, you’ll need to protect customer data that flows through your website. This digital information has become very valuable, and hackers are constantly looking to exploit it. 

Cybersecurity efforts protect these important pieces of data so they can exist safely online. A cybersecurity professional can monitor traffic through your website and internal systems to keep your data safe. 

Monitors Risks, Including Malware and Network Attacks

There are many different types of cybersecurity risks that business leaders need to be aware of. Cybersecurity strategies monitor your systems for a variety of different network attacks.

Malware is also very common, so cybersecurity professionals will need to be vigilant to protect against it. Malware is a type of malicious software that can damage your computer systems and gain access to confidential information. Some of the most common types of malware are spyware, ransomware, and adware. Malware is often disguised as legitimate software to make it seem less suspicious. 

Encryption of Data

Encrypting your digital data is a very effective way to protect it from hackers. Encryption translates your data into a code that makes it unreadable. The only way to access the data is with a key or password that will unencrypt it, providing an extra layer of protection. 

What Is IT Security?

IT security or information security is a broader approach to protecting your company’s most valuable data. IT security is the act of protecting data assets and information from becoming compromised. IT security addresses both digital and physical security needs, and focuses on building a robust information technology network across your entire company. 

Cybersecurity is often considered a subset of information security, but hackers are just one threat that needs to be addressed. Data can easily be lost, misused, or changed internally, and IT security measures protect against this threat. Information security professionals also take steps to prevent unauthorized people from accessing your systems. 

IT security provides protection for your in-house systems in addition to your online assets. While your in-house systems are not at risk for traditional cyber attacks, they can potentially be compromised in other ways. Your IT security system will consist of a variety of different components that work together, including your computers and other hardware, your software programs, and your network. 

Components of IT Security

There are many components of IT security that organizations will need to address to keep their data safe. These components work together to create a safe information management structure for your company. A comprehensive risk assessment can help you identify where your organization’s security weaknesses are so you can implement effective solutions. 

Secures Potential Data Access Points

For every piece of data your organization has, there is at least one access point. These access points need to be fully secured against unauthorized users. This typically means making your data password-protected and encrypted and can involve additional security measures. 

Organizations will need to take steps to ensure that only qualified individuals can access the data. There are also instances where customers, suppliers, or investors may need access to one part of your system for some reason. IT security ensures that these users can only access the parts that they need and not the entire system. 

It’s also important to secure access points to any paper data your company may still have. You can do this by requiring identity verification to enter these spaces. 

Prevents Data Misuse and Loss

IT security measures should also protect against data misuse and loss. Even the most well-intentioned employees can make mistakes, but your IT security system can help prevent serious consequences. For example, regular data backups can help protect against accidental losses.

Internal system monitoring is an important way to protect against data misuse. This discourages your employees from misusing your data in the first place. It also ensures that if any improper conduct occurs, you will be able to catch it and stop it before any damage happens. 

Follows Industry Compliance and Internal Security Policies

Many industries now have strict compliance laws for certain types of data. Your IT security practices should ensure that your organization continues to stay compliant. The healthcare industry is one example of strict compliance standards, as companies need to continually review their internal systems to make sure they are compliant. 

Additionally, many companies have their own security policies to adhere to. It’s much easier to enforce your company’s security policies when you have a well-designed network and an IT security team on board. 

What Are the Similarities?

The biggest similarity between cybersecurity and IT security is that both are necessary to protect your data and your business as a whole. If your data is compromised in any way, it could negatively affect your business operations, your financial stability, and your reputation. 

Cybersecurity and IT security go hand-in-hand to form one broader security strategy for your company. Computer security professionals are typically well-versed in both cybersecurity and IT security, so you can have the same staff members handle both strategies. Many companies also choose to outsource their digital security needs. 

What Are the Differences? 

The biggest difference between cybersecurity and IT security is the type of threats they focus on. Cybersecurity focuses entirely on threats from the internet that could compromise your system. IT security focuses on all threats to your company’s data, including internal threats. These two forms of digital protection use different strategies and technologies to keep your data safe, but they ultimately work together to form a complete layer of protection. 

For many companies, the most efficient way to develop a security program is by outsourcing to a Managed IT Service. IT experts can help your company design and implement an appropriate security strategy to ensure your data remains in good hands. This gives your company the protection you need online without having to hire an entire IT department. 

Data is the backbone of every organization, from small businesses all the way up to large enterprises. With today’s ever-present digital threats, it’s more important than ever to take steps to protect your company digitally.