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Navigating between cybersecurity and information security: The pillars of strategic data protection



In today's digital age, the protection of sensitive data has become a vital imperative for businesses, whether they are lavish multinational corporations or more modest, independent enterprises. Every business, regardless of size, has critical information that must be strictly protected from cyber threats and unauthorised intrusion.


Despite the widespread implementation of robust cyber security measures, many organisations neglect the need to adopt a specific information security strategy. As a result, their valuable data is exposed to potential risks.


Understanding the difference between cyber security and information security is an essential first step in ensuring that effective protection is in place in an environment where the threats are constantly evolving and becoming more complex.


In simple terms, cyber security encompasses all of the measures that an organisation takes to protect its data, networks and devices from electronic or digital threats. This can include unauthorised access to a network, device or data, as well as the introduction of malicious software. Cyber security measures, including network and Wi-Fi access management, hardware and software configuration, and firewalling, are key to preventing these threats.


Information security, on the other hand, focuses more specifically on the protection of content and data. Whether digital, like videos and spreadsheets, or physical, like paper files, information security aims to ensure that data is not stolen, deleted, altered or accessed by unauthorised people. Information security controls can be digital, such as encryption and passwords, or they can be physical, such as the use of locks on filing cabinets.


Given that an organisation's information can be vulnerable to both digital and physical attacks, it is imperative that robust information security measures are put in place to complement cyber security measures. These two elements work together to provide comprehensive protection against a wide range of threats.


Encryption, for example, is an essential control to protect both content and data on devices and networks. Similarly, the use of passwords and authentication tools, such as multi-factor authentication, allows access to be restricted and identity to be verified before access is granted.


Education also plays a fundamental role in cyber and information security policies. Training employees to recognise security risks and know what to do in the event of an attack helps protect the organisation's network, devices and content.


While the methods of information security and cyber security may differ, the fundamental principles behind them remain the same. To effectively protect their strategic information, organisations need to apply three key principles.


Confidentiality

Ensuring that only authorised people have access to content, the network or devices. Measures such as encryption, password protection and user classification reinforce confidentiality while making stakeholders aware of its importance.


Integrity

Ensuring that content or the network remains in an unaltered state. Whether it's maliciously altering information on a payment form or spreading a virus across a network, maintaining integrity is critical.


Availability

Ensuring uninterrupted access to cybersecurity and information security devices. Power outages, denial-of-service attacks, and hardware or software failures can affect availability, underscoring the importance of maintaining necessary access for employees.


Unfortunately, information security is often treated reactively, with an emphasis on responding to incidents as they occur. In today's environment, embedding risk management into the corporate culture and adopting proactive strategies through infosec and cybersecurity policies are key to preventing data loss, protecting the company's reputation and maintaining a positive impact on the business.



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