Information Security vs. Cyber Security: The Definitive Guide

In 2021 81 per cent of organisations have experienced cybercrime in the UK.

Cyber and data security have become critical aspects of running a business. But many do not know the difference.

Data security involves physical security, and cyber security concerns data infrastructure. However, many consider there to be no difference because both are important.

Do you want to know the difference between information security vs cyber security? Read our guide to find out!

What exactly is Information Security?

Information security has been around for much longer than you would expect. As companies handle sensitive internal information as well, it only makes sense that this data is kept safe. 

Information security concerns itself with all information held by a company. This includes client information, HR files, and financial details. While much of this now happens on a computer database, tangible data still exists.

Risk assessment is done on the information held by companies often. From here, these risks can be mitigated with policies and programs.

As an example, a bank cannot release account information without proper verification. This looks different depending on how a client is reaching the bank.

In person, clients must present their cards and type in their pins. Whereas on the phone clients must answer security questions.

Another thing information security does is security clearances. Notably used by government organisations, all organisations use similar tactics.

Going back to the bank example, there is information that tellers can't see. Certain client issues need to be handled by the bank manager. These are policies put in place for protecting confidential information.

Information assets are valuable to all groups both good and bad. Information security is the measures in place to protect this data.

What is Cyber Security?

In the digital age, more and more information is held digitally. This is where cyber security comes into play. 

Cyber security is a tool used within information security to protect data. This measure is the line of defence used for information within computer systems. 

This is a branch of information security that concerns everything related to computers.

Things like digital threats and protecting networks are key components of cyber security.

Network Protection and Digital Threats

Network protection is crucial for all organisations. Internal networks allow for all office computers to speak to each other. But, these computers all hold sensitive client and employee information.

Networks need to be impenetrable to external users. Even when staff is working from home, measures are in place to protect data. Digital threats will most often come from the internet, so these measures are crucial.

Logins and networks also ensure security clearances for departments. Cyber security measures will also control access rights, so employees may only see information relevant to their jobs.

Keeping Employees Informed

This goes well beyond watching YouTube on company time. Companies have to keep employees up-to-date on current threats. Phishing and social engineering scams are usually delivered via employee email.

Employees need to also be aware of the information they carry with them at all times. How much overlap with their work information and personal information is on their computer? Do they use the same password for Facebook, private E-mail account and their work computer?

Small mistakes can lead to massive consequences in cyber security. It only takes one misstep to cripple a company. When InfoSec identifies a threat, cyber security takes pre-emptive measures to fix them.

Cyber security is a team effort headed by an IT security department. Having everyone on the same page prevents digital threats. Almost as much as having sophisticated network security.

Information Security vs Cyber Security

Under the umbrella of security, there are physical security and information security. Under the umbrella of information security, there is cyber security. 

Information security focuses on policy and risk evaluation. The policy creation sets out to keep sensitive data as safe as possible. Both tangible and digital data are covered under information security.

The differences between cyber security and information security are summed up by the difference in scope. But, here is an easy table to remember:

Information Security Cyber Security
  • Broad scope encompassing all security related to sensitive data
  • Includes policy creation for all departments
  • Risk evaluation of data
  • Concerned with confidentiality and integrity
  • Smaller scope relating to digital security
  • Enforces policies related to IT and computers
  • Deals with risks concerned with computers and access to data
  • Defends against digital threats including hackers

Cyber-attacks have become more common. Cyber security plays a big role in fixing weaknesses. They will find exploitable points in the framework and then fix or propose ways to fix them.

How Information Security and Cyber Security overlap?

How do these two security teams work together? The common ground between the two may seem like it's a one or the other situation, but it's not. Both are crucial to success in the digital age.

Where information security and cyber security overlap is the protection of data. Both parties concern themselves with maintaining policies to mitigate risks to information assets.

Information nowadays is on hard drives rather than filing cabinets. This leads to the lines between the two getting blurred. The key differences stay the same, but the value of information is the top priority for both. 

Both parties work together to prevent cyber attacks and theft of information. They also do regular risk assessments to keep company data safe.

Protecting the data is in the hands of both types of security. Especially now in the digital age, InfoSec is more and more in the realm of cyber security.

What is the ISO 27001 Standard?

ISO 27001 is the premier framework for defending information assets. This versatile framework is used in organisations of all sizes to great success.

The ISO 27001 standard is an information security management tool. It ensures that information is in safe hands. The framework itself is a middle ground between information security and cyber security.

This framework ensures that only the authorised people can see and edit information. Additionally, it allows authorized people to have easy access while keeping all others out. 

As previously mentioned, the ISO 27001 framework marries information and cyber security seamlessly. The framework makes it easy for companies to build policies and identify risks. ISO 27001 not only identifies these risks but puts safeguards in place to fix the risks.

This framework will do the work of giving employees access and permission. This can take a lot of strain off an existing IT department as it won't have to be done manually. ISO 27001 prevents mistakes and makes complying with legal requirements easy.

Finally, an added bonus is that ISO 27001 inspires customers and clients. Companies can get ISO 27001 certified to prove to their clients that their data is secure.

How ISO 27001 Standard strengthens Cyber Security?

When ISO 27001 is implemented, it will cut down significantly on digital risks. But how?

ISO 27001 is a comfortable middle ground. It does this since it joins InfoSec and cyber security in one framework.

It helps in creating policies and performing risk assessments. These assessments are to further protect company and client data. It also provides incident management in times of emergency.

Cyber Attack Risk Assessment

ISO 27001 introduces Ransomware and DDoS assessments to systematically identify weak points. This helps to mitigate the risks of the most common cyber attacks. 

Ransomware is malware that locks authorized users out of critical files with encryption. The attackers will demand ransom money in exchange for the encryption key. These nasty attacks are not only costly but also dangerous.

DDoS attacks are common and expensive attacks on a network. Essentially, these will overload a system with requests. In turn, slowing the entire system for the legitimate users.

As an example, a DDoS attack during a transaction can take a long time to process. This will drive customers away since they don't want to wait around for a website to work.

DDoS attacks are relatively easy to perform. Even a Twitch streamer with a big following can accidentally cripple a website. Intentional DDoS attacks can lead to:

  • Extortion: the attacker demanding money for the attacks to stop
  • Damage to brand image and reputation: clients will lose faith in a company's commitment to security
  • Legal issues: the attacks can lead to breaches of contracts

Having regular cyber attack assessments can save companies money. It can also remove embarrassing errors. One cyber-attack can ruin an entire year.

Security and Vulnerability Assessment

These assessments are systematically done to pick out possible risks within a system. From here, the risks get a level indicating how serious each one is. After, there will be recommendations on how to improve each one.

Take Charge of Your Information Security

Security should always be top of the mind when information assets are at stake. Knowing information security vs cyber security can give companies an advantage.

If you're ready to take charge of your information security, schedule a meeting today.

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