What is Cybersecurity?

Open Cyber
3 min readJul 2, 2024


Cybersecurity defined, explained, and explored

Cybersecurity defined

Also referred to as information security, cybersecurity refers to the practice of ensuring the integrity, confidentiality, and availability (ICA) of information. Cybersecurity is comprised of an evolving set of tools, risk management approaches, technologies, training, and best practices designed to protect networks, devices, programs, and data from attacks or unauthorized access.

Why is cybersecurity important?

The world relies on technology more than ever before. As a result, digital data creation has surged. Today, businesses and governments store a great deal of that data on computers and transmit it across networks to other computers. Devices and their underlying systems have vulnerabilities that, when exploited, undermine the health and objectives of an organization.

A data breach can have a range of devastating consequences for any business. It can unravel a company’s reputation through the loss of consumer and partner trust. The loss of critical data, such as source files or intellectual property, can cost a company its competitive advantage. Going further, a data breach can impact corporate revenues due to non-compliance with data protection regulations. It’s estimated that, on average, a data breach costs an affected organization $3.6 million. With high-profile data breaches making media headlines, it’s essential that organizations adopt and implement a strong cybersecurity approach.

Common types of cybersecurity

Network Security protects network traffic by controlling incoming and outgoing connections to prevent threats from entering or spreading on the network.

Data Loss Prevention (DLP) protects data by focusing on the location, classification and monitoring of information at rest, in use and in motion.

Cloud Security provides protection for data used in cloud-based services and applications.

Intrusion Detection Systems (IDS) or Intrusion Prevention Systems (IPS) work to identify potentially hostile cyber activity.

Identity and Access Management (IAM) use authentication services to limit and track employee access to protect internal systems from malicious entities.

Encryption is the process of encoding data to render it unintelligible, and is often used during data transfer to prevent theft in transit.

Antivirus/anti-malware solutions scan computer systems for known threats. Modern solutions are even able to detect previously unknown threats based on their behavior.

Common types of cyber threats

Malware — Malicious software such as computer viruses, spyware, Trojan horses, and keyloggers.

Ransomware — Malware that locks or encrypts data until a ransom is paid.

Phishing Attacks — The practice of obtaining sensitive information (e.g., passwords, credit card information) through a disguised email, phone call, or text message.

Social engineering — The psychological manipulation of individuals to obtain confidential information; often overlaps with phishing.

Advanced Persistent Threat — An attack in which an unauthorized user gains access to a system or network andremains there for an extended period of time without being detected.

Cybersecurity is constantly evolving

Traditional cybersecurity is centered around the implementation of defensive measures around a defined perimeter. Recent enablement initiatives like remote workers and Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies have dissolved the perimeter, reduced visibility into cyber activity, and expanded the attack surface.

Today, breaches are increasing at a rapid pace despite record levels of security spending. Global organizations are turning to human-centric cybersecurity, a new approach that places focus on changes in user behavior instead of an exponential number of growing threats. Founded on behavior analytics, human-centric cybersecurity provides insight into how an end-user interacts with data and extends security controls into all the systems where data resides, even if not exclusively controlled by the organization. Ultimately, this approach is designed to identify behavioral anomalies in order to surface and prioritize the most serious threats, reducing investigation and threat detection times.



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