What is Cybersecurity?

February 18, 2021

What is Cybersecurity?

Cybersecurity, also known as information technology (IT) security, is the practice of defending digital assets, including networks, systems, computers and data, from cyberattacks.

While any organization or individual can be the target of a cyberattack, cybersecurity is especially important for organizations that work with sensitive data or information such as intellectual property, customer information, payment details or medical records. Many adversaries tend to focus on high-value targets, such as financial institutions, government organizations, military branches or large companies.

In order to protect and defend against digital attacks, organizations must develop and deploy a comprehensive security strategy that includes both preventative measures, as well as rapid detection and response capabilities. To protect its digital assets, customers, and reputation, an organization should partner with a leading cybersecurity service provider to develop a comprehensive and flexible strategy based on their unique needs.

Types of Cybersecurity

Within cybersecurity, there are different security domains specific to the defense of each digital asset. Types of cybersecurity include:

Endpoint Security

Endpoint security, or endpoint protection, is the process of protecting a network’s endpoints – such as desktops, laptops, and mobile devices – from malicious activity. Unlike traditional security, endpoint security protects in real-time across a large number of endpoints, geographic regions, and bandwidths.

Cloud Security

Cloud security is the collective term for the strategy and solutions that protect a cloud infrastructure, and any service or application hosted within its environment, from cyber threats. For organizations that use a cloud-based model, it is important to develop and deploy a comprehensive security strategy that is specifically designed to protect cloud-based assets.

Application Security

Application security reduces vulnerability at the application level such as preventing data or code within the app from being stolen, leaked or compromised.

Network Security

Network security is a broad term that refers to the tools, technologies and processes that protect the network and related assets, data and users from cyberattacks. It includes a combination of preventative and defensive measures designed to deny unauthorized access of resources and data.

Specific Cybersecurity Threats

Cybersecurity threats can come in many forms. Some common examples include:

Malware

Malware (malicious software) is a term used to describe any program or code that is created with the intent to do harm to a computer, network or server. Common types of malware include viruses, ransomware, keyloggers, trojans, worms and spyware.

Ransomware

Ransomware is a type of malware that denies access to your system and personal information and demands a payment (ransom) to get your access back.

Denial-of-Service (DoS) attacks

Denial-of-Service (DoS) attack is a malicious, targeted attack that floods a network with false requests in order to disrupt business operations. In a DoS attack, users are unable to perform routine and necessary tasks, such as accessing email, websites, online accounts or other resources that are operated by a compromised computer or network.

Phishing

Phishing is a type of cyber attack that uses email, SMS, phone, or social media to entice a victim to share sensitive information—such as passwords or account numbers—or to download a malicious file that will install viruses on their computer or phone.

Insider Threats

Insider threats are people who abuse their access permissions to carry out malicious activities. They can include current or former employees, business partners, contractors, or anyone who has had access to systems or networks in the past. It can be tricky to detect insider threats because traditional security solutions like firewalls and intrusion detection systems focus on external threats.

Cybersecurity Resources

In order to prepare your organization from the threats of cyber attacks, start by using a valuable framework to guide you in the process. For example, The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has a cybersecurity framework that helps organizations learn how to identify attacks, protect computer systems and networks, detect and respond to threats, and recover from attacks.

​​Here is a list of the best, most trusted resources for businesses: