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Cybersecurity is the protection of internet-connected systems, including hardware, software and data, from cyberattacks.

In a computing context, security comprises cybersecurity and physical security — both are used by enterprises to protect against unauthorized access to data centres and other computerized systems. Information security, which is designed to maintain the confidentiality, integrity and availability of data, is a subset of cybersecurity.

Elements of cybersecurity

Ensuring cybersecurity requires the coordination of efforts throughout an information system, which includes:

  • Application security
  • Information security
  • Network security
  • Disaster recovery/business continuity planning
  • Operational security
  • End-user education

One of the most problematic elements of cybersecurity is the constantly evolving nature of security risks. The traditional approach has been to focus resources on crucial system components and protect against the biggest known threats, which meant leaving components undefended and not protecting systems against less dangerous risks.

To deal with the current environment, advisory organizations are promoting a more proactive and adaptive approach.

As a result of security risks, investments in cybersecurity technologies and services are increasing. In 2017, Gartner predicted that worldwide spending on information security products and services would reach $83.4 billion — a 7% increase from 2016 — and that it would continue to grow to $93 billion by 2018.

Types of cybersecurity threats

The process of keeping up with new technologies, security trends and threat intelligence is a challenging task. However, it’s necessary in order to protect information and other assets from cyberthreats, which take many forms.

  • Ransomware is a type of malware that involves an attacker locking the victim’s computer system files — typically through encryption — and demanding a payment to decrypt and unlock them.
  • Malware is any file or program used to harm a computer user, such as worms, computer viruses, Trojan horses and spyware.
  • Social engineering is an attack that relies on human interaction to trick users into breaking security procedures in order to gain sensitive information that is typically protected.
  • Phishing is a form of fraud where fraudulent emails are sent that resemble emails from reputable sources; however, the intention of these emails is to steal sensitive data, such as credit card or login information.

What cybersecurity can prevent

The use of cybersecurity can help prevent cyberattacks, data breaches and identity theft and can aid in risk management.

When an organization has a strong sense of network security and an effective incident response plan, it is better able to prevent and mitigate these attacks. For example, end user protection defends information and guards against loss or theft while also scanning computers for malicious code.

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