What’s the difference? Cybersecurity vs Information Security

Updated: Aug 10



People are often confused by the difference between cybersecurity and information security. Information security focuses on protecting the information, which includes confidentiality, integrity, and availability (CIA) of the information. While cybersecurity focuses on securing things that are vulnerable within information and communications technology. 


Confusion arises because there is some overlap between information security and cybersecurity. Most personal and business-related information and data is normally stored on a computer, network, server or in the cloud. The aim of any organisation is to protect this information from falling into the wrong hands, cybercriminals are always lurking in the background ready to exploit this information and its value. 


The main concern for both cybersecurity and information security is the data. Protecting the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of the data is the top priority in information security. While in cybersecurity, protecting unauthorised electronic access to the data is the main concern. In both cases, it’s important to pinpoint exactly what data, if accessed without authorisation, could be most damaging to the organisation – a security framework can then be constructed to prevent unauthorised access to this data. 


Internal security departments or cybersecurity firms will work together with the cybersecurity and information security “teams” to establish a data protection framework. The information security “team” will prioritise the data to be protected while the cybersecurity “team” will develop the protocol for data protection.


Let’s take a closer look.


What is cybersecurity?


Cybersecurity, or cyber security, is when organisations, businesses and individuals protect their data and assets to reduce the risk of cyberattack. Cybersecurity’s core function is to protect the data we hold so dear, and to protect the devices we use – computers, laptops, smartphones, and tablets. Cybersecurity also protects the  services we access - both online and at work from damage or theft.


The main priority of cybersecurity is to prevent unauthorised access to the vast amounts of data and personal information that is stored online, on networks, systems and on the cloud.


  Why is cybersecurity important?


Cybersecurity is important because the devices we use are easily susceptible to cyberattack. Computers, smartphones, and the internet are part of our everyday life and we store almost everything we know on them. It is important to protect the data by incorporating sophisticated cybersecurity measures on the devices we use. From online shopping to banking, to social media and email, taking steps to prevent cybercriminals getting hold of data, gaining access to accounts and devices is key in today’s digital age.


What is information security? 


Information security mainly relates to protecting the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of data. It doesn’t matter in what form, but purely to protect its CIA. Information security can be evident in many guises, it can simply be protecting a folder full of papers – it is about protecting the information held by your organisation.


The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) categorises information security as something that protects information and information systems from unauthorised access, use, disclosure, disruption, modification, or destruction. 


Incorporating integrity, which means guarding against improper information modification or destruction, and includes ensuring information nonrepudiation and authenticity, is key. As is confidentiality, which means preserving authorised restrictions on access and disclosure, including means for protecting personal privacy and proprietary information. Finally, availability, which means ensuring timely and reliable access to and use of information, is also important.


Why is information security important?

Information is an organisation’s most important asset, so keeping it protected should be the number one priority. Information security incorporates four important functions:

  • Protects the organisation’s ability to operate.

  • Allows for the safe operation of applications on the organisation’s IT systems.

  • Protects the data – used or shared.

  • Safeguards the technology used.

How RiskXchange can help


RiskXchange uses data-driven insights to prevent breaches, helping organisations of all sizes pinpoint weaknesses to bolster cybersecurity and information security measures. With full visibility over your eco-systems' entire attack surface in near real-time, you can regularly monitor and mitigate risks to prevent unnecessary exposures. 


RiskXchange’s security risk ratings can help you protect your data and manage cyber hygiene in all cases. We offer continuous cybersecurity monitoring, providing real-time visibility of a company's external devices, applications, software and device types. Our cybersecurity monitoring best practices give organisations the ability to continuously look over their network on a case-by-case basis to stay one step ahead of any cyber threats. 


Our security ratings give a calculated assessment of an organisation’s effectiveness on all aspects of security performance and to protect data. Cybersecurity ratings draw upon a range of data to analyse and inform, ultimately enabling organisations to objectively review and act upon its processes and the security measures it has in place.


More about RiskXchange


RiskXchange is an information security technology company, that helps companies of all sizes fight the threat of cyber threats by providing instant risk ratings for any company across the globe. RiskXchange was founded and is led by recognised experts within the security industry, who have held leading roles within companies such as IBM Security. 


Find out more here.

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