What’s the difference between info security and cybersecurity?

Laura Leaver.

Laura Leaver

August 31, 2023

Cybersecurity and Information Security. One and the same? Or two very different disciplines? While closely related, key differences exist in their roles in a company's security strategy. In today's digital workplace, cybersecurity and information security are both integral to safeguarding sensitive data, maintaining privacy, and ensuring seamless day-to-day operations.

Both cybersecurity and information security practices protect valuable assets from various threats, ranging from data breaches and cyberattacks to insider threats and unauthorized access. Achieving balance and cohesiveness between these two practices is essential in establishing a robust security posture at any organization.

We can sum up information security (InfoSec) as "data protection." It is a broader concept encompassing protecting information assets, including physical documents, intellectual property, employee records, financial information, personal identifiable information (PII), etc. Information security addresses the digital and non-digital risks posed to any data handled by a business.

Information security transcends the digital realm and involves policies, procedures, and practices. Per the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), key components include:

  1. Governance (rules about handling data).
  2. Confidentiality (keeping data private).
  3. Integrity (accuracy of data and disclosure of data practices).
  4. Availability (reliable access to data when and where approved users need it).

On the other hand, cybersecurity is one form of applied information security that evaluates risks and protects from threats. It revolves around safeguarding digital systems, networks, and devices from cyber threats. Cybersecurity measures are essential in today's technology-based day-to-day business operations, where cybercriminals look to exploit any weakness for financial or political gain.

Cybersecurity attempts to thwart or mitigate the effects of common cyberattacks like phishing, social engineering, malware, ransomware, and man-in-the-middle (MITM) attacks, which hackers utilize to steal data, money, or intellectual property. Cybersecurity encompasses various applied practices, technologies, and processes like password management, two-factor authentication, endpoint security, and threat detection to defend against unauthorized access, data breaches, and other cybercrimes.

Similarities between cybersecurity and information security

While distinct, cybersecurity and information security share fundamental principles that enable them to collaborate effectively.

Risk assessment involves identifying potential vulnerabilities and threats to an organization's assets. Both disciplines emphasize categorizing a company's data and understanding common risks to that data so the organization can implement mitigation strategies.

Security awareness and training also play a crucial role in preventing security breaches. Employees must be educated about best practices for handling sensitive information, recognizing phishing attempts, and adhering to security protocols. Improving employee adoption of security products and features can aid in reducing overall cyber risks. By fostering a security-conscious culture at all levels, organizations can reduce the likelihood of successful cyberattacks.

Differences between cybersecurity and information security

Cybersecurity tactics involve deploying technologies like firewalls, intrusion detection and prevention systems, encryption mechanisms, and multi-factor authentication (MFA) to safeguard digital systems and networks. Cybersecurity professionals look to assess digital threats, patch vulnerabilities, and protect every entry point to the company network and devices. Regular security audits and third-party penetration testing help identify vulnerabilities that attackers might exploit. Training employees on end-user security products and features is also instrumental to the overall cybersecurity strategy.

Information security strategies encompass a broader scope of data security across an organization, including policies for data classification, access controls, physical security, and disaster recovery. Information is categorized based on sensitivity and data regulations. Organizations can tailor suitable security measures and permissions-based access, minimizing the risk of unauthorized use of data.

How cybersecurity and information security work together

The boundaries between digital and non-digital security are increasingly blurred. Remote and hybrid work introduced many new personal devices to the workplace, each potentially acting as an entry point for bad actors and bringing another layer of complexity to employee access. This convergence underscores the need for a comprehensive approach that harmonizes the implementation of cybersecurity and information security measures.

Consider a scenario where a financial institution aims to protect its customer data. Cybersecurity measures would involve deploying robust firewalls, encryption techniques, additional factors for authentication, and intrusion detection systems to prevent unauthorized access to its online banking platform. Simultaneously, information security strategies would dictate how customer data is stored, who has access to it, and how physical records are secured to prevent misuse or breaches. Both work together to create a holistic security strategy for the financial institution.

Building a cohesive security strategy

As businesses undergo digital transformation and define their digital workplace, they must build on the harmonious integration of cybersecurity and information security principles to craft an effective security strategy. While information security practices ensure the proper handling of all forms of sensitive data, cybersecurity practices dictate how to protect that data in real time. By embracing the interplay of information security and cybersecurity, businesses can bolster their defenses and navigate the complex challenges of an ever-evolving threat landscape.

How can the IT team help keep the organization secure? For starters, make sure the technology you use, especially those that can potentially open doors to cyber threats like remote access connections and remote support sessions, are as airtight as possible. Rescue’s enterprise-grade remote support security measures are designed to lock out malicious actors and keep organization and end user data secure, both with basic security measures and optional ones you can turn on based on your specific security policies or compliance requirements.


See how Rescue can help keep your business supported and protected.


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