Cybersecurity is fast becoming the most important defense industry, and cybercrime is becoming the number one global threat. Statistically, cybercrime is taking over even natural disasters as far as the global risk level is concerned.
As cybercrime rages on, attacks get more sophisticated, and the consequences of this begin to spill over into the real world transcending the cyber-physical realm, high-tier cybersecurity solutions have become highly sought after in the industry nowadays. An obvious justification for this is that, statistically, trillions of dollars have been lost to cybercrime and cybercrime elements such as; malware, ransomware, viruses, phishing scams, and more.
Information security practices, concepts, and policies have been around since the 1990s, but today the internet is a much larger, more sophisticated, different beast than it was back in the day. Millions of organizations and billions of people use the internet daily, which means the practices and knowledge related to staying vigilant and safe online are invaluable truths that pertain to all individuals, enterprises, organizations, and governments.
It is important to distinguish between the three concepts because they can cause confusion. Just like secure coding is essential for safe apps, cybersecurity, information security and ITSec (Information Technology Security Evaluation Criteria) are critical paradigms, frameworks, and facets of digital security that exist to protect individuals, organizations, and institutions all over the world. These concepts and mechanisms aim to support cybersecurity risk management, reduce financial damage from cybercrime, the theft of intellectual property, and the reduction of human-error-related cybersecurity incidents.
Distinguishing Between Information Security And Cybersecurity
Sometimes these three terms are used interchangeably and thrown around but are, different angles of information security. They are different in the sense that the purpose and criteria of these systems or frameworks differ from one another. Both CyberSec and InfoSec fall under the general umbrella term that is information security -the general umbrella term for the digital defense of computer systems and networks. Let’s take a look at how ITSec, InfoSec, and Cybersec differ as well as intersect;
- InfoSec or information security is a general paradigm that defines the security of both physical and logical (digital) information and data with policies, prevention systems, and backup practices for all computer systems, networks, and devices
- ITSec is a term that describes a set of criteria or examination process that is in place to evaluate digital security overall. These criteria include points like scope, functionality, and the assurance of effectiveness and correctness in computer systems
- Cybersecurity is the precautionary practice and training concerning the defense of computer systems, devices, and networks against cyber-threats such as phishing, ransomware, and human error
There is also another subset of cybersecurity that is network security, which covers specifically the network side of things such as intrusion detection and prevention, proxies and VPNs, firewalls, and more. Furthermore, it is also important to mention that information risk management, yet another InfoSec angle is also interconnected with cybersec and infosec.
So, now it is possible to understand that cybersecurity is the protection and a set of precautionary measures relating to direct cyber incidents. Information security on the other hand is more about the CIA (Confidentiality Integrity and Availability of information) side of information. Also, it is possible to distinguish between these two concepts with the fact that there are certifications relating to each such as;
- CISSP – Certified Information Systems Security Professional (Cybersecurity)
- CRISC – Certified in Risk and Information Systems Control (Cybersecurity)
- CSSLP – Certified Secure Software Lifecycle Professional (InfoSec)
- CISA – Certified Information Systems Auditor (InfoSec)
Thirdly, ITSec is another integral part of the information security pie, which is a set of criteria and concepts relating to products and systems that have been in use since 1990 (version 1.2.) Its purpose is to scrutinize and penetration test the security levels of products and systems. At present, ITSec (like TCSec) is slowly becoming obsolete and being replaced by newer international standards like the CC or Common Criteria for Information Technology Security Evaluation.
Cyberspace (another term for the connected internet realm) is more and more chaotic, uncontrollable, and overpopulated than ever. More organizations than ever today share and store information online, as well as to conduct financial transactions, which is also true for the general population. These facts alone raise the risk factor by a lot as we have become so reliant on cyberspace for almost everything we do. Furthermore, cybercrime has grown together with cyberspace as the villain that threatens our personal information, our identities, and our safety online. Cyberspace cannot be monitored or controlled, and so the need for information security systems, cybersecurity training, and education as well as international data and privacy policies is only going to be greater every year. This is why understanding and implementing good cybersecurity and information security practices, together with complying with IT policies is necessary for everyone.