Cyber security: definition, importance and benefits of cyber security

What is cyber security?

Cyber security refers to protecting systems connected to the internet from threats in cyberspace. It involves protecting software, data, and hardware and helps prevent cybercriminals from gaining access to devices or the networks.

Parts of cyber security

The best cyber security solution will be all-encompassing and include:

  • Application security
  • Cloud security
  • Data security
  • Endpoint security
  • Identity management
  • Infrastructure and database security
  • Mobile security
  • Network security
  • Operational security

It should also include disaster recovery or business continuity planning.  Which outlines how the organization will recover from any cyber attacks in the future as well as preventative methods, such as educating employees.

The importance of cyber security – Why is it important?

The importance of cyber security comes down to the desire to keep information, data, and devices private and safe. In today’s world, people store vast quantities of data on computers and other internet-connected devices. Much of which is sensitive, such as passwords or financial data.

If a cybercriminal was to gain access to this data, they could cause a range of problems. They could share sensitive information, use passwords to steal funds, or even change data so that it benefits them in some way.

Companies need cyber security to keep their data, finances, and intellectual property safe. Individuals need it for similar reasons, although intellectual property is less of a factor, and there is a higher risk of losing important files, such as family photos. In the case of public services or governmental organizations, cyber security helps ensure that the community can continue to rely on their services. For example, if a cyber attack targeted a power plant, it could cause a city-wide blackout. If it targeted a bank, it could steal from hundreds of thousands of people.

Benefits of cyber security

By implementing security, businesses and individuals can protect themselves against the full range of cyber security threats outlined below, as well as the numerous others that exist. 

With cyber security, companies do not have to worry about unauthorized users accessing their network or data. It helps them protect both their end users and their employees. 

Even in those rare cases that security does not prevent an attack or breach, it improves the recovery time afterward. In addition companies will often notice that customers and developers are more confident in products that have strong cyber security solutions in place.

Types of cyber security threats

There are dozens of types of cyber security threats, but the following are some of the most common ones:

DDoS Attack

A DDoS or Distributed Denial of Service Attack is when cybercriminals overwhelm a network or its servers by sending too much traffic. This prevents the network from handling valid requests and makes the entire system unusable. It can completely stop organizations


This malicious software can include computer viruses, spyware, Trojan horses, worms, and any other program or file that can harm the computer. Malware is commonly spread by downloads that seem legitimate or attachments in emails.

Within the category of malware, there are several types of cyber security threats:

  • Adware is advertising software that spreads malware.
  • Botnets are numerous computers infected with malware that form a network. Cybercriminals use them to perform online tasks without the permission of the devices’ owners.
  • Ransomware will lock data and files and threaten to leave the files locked or delete them unless the victim sends payment.
  • Spyware records the actions of a user, such as gathering credit card information.
  • Trojans are malware but disguised to appear as legitimate software. After being uploaded, they collect data or cause damage
  • Viruses are self-replicating. They attach themselves to a file, then spread through the computer’s system.

Man-in-the-Middle Attack

This type of attack involves the cybercriminal intercepting conversations or data transmissions between multiple people. An example would be a cyber attack using an unsecured Wi-Fi network to intercept the data that the victim sends from their computer to the network.


This type of cyber security threat involves sending fake emails from seemingly legitimate sources to get information such as credit card details or passwords.

Social Engineering

This type of attack tricks users to break security procedures by using human interactions. Cybercriminals commonly combine social engineering attacks with others, such as phishing, to increase the chances of the victim clicking on a link or downloading a file.

SQL Injection

SQL stands for Structured Query Language. A SQL injection aims to perform actions on data in a database and potentially steal it. It involves inserting malicious code via SQL statements, taking advantage of data-driven applications’ vulnerabilities.

Challenges of cyber security

It is always evolving

Perhaps the biggest challenge of cyber security is the continuous growth in technology, which presents cybercriminals with an ever-growing list of potential opportunities to try to exploit. To make this even more challenging, cybercriminals constantly develop new methods of conducting cyber attacks.

The result is cyber security software and experts constantly create new solutions to close potential vulnerabilities only for cybercriminals to continuously discover other ways to conduct an attack. As such, cyber security is always evolving.

It tends to be incredibly challenging for organizations to stay up-to-date with the ever-evolving nature of cyber security, and it can be costly as well. It requires constant attention to the security field as well as regular updates.

The Amount of Data

Another major challenge of cyber security is the quantity of data that most organizations have. The more data, the more attractive a target a company becomes. Especially when that data is sensitive information. Not only does this put the people whose data is stored by the organization at risk of having their information stolen, but it also puts the organization itself at risk of lawsuits if that information is obtained because of negligence.

The need for training and education

Yet another challenge is the fact that it is impossible to rely solely on cyber security software or other solutions; user education is also essential. Employees at a company need to understand what actions are risky. Such as opening links from unknown emails or accidentally bringing malware on their smartphones. This requires time off their normal tasks for training and the company to budget for that training.

Not enough cyber security professionals

On top of all the other challenges, there is currently a shortage in the field of cyber security. Some estimates indicate that there are as many as two million cyber security jobs around the world that are not filled. This challenge is somewhat overcome by machine learning and other technological advances, but it is still an obstacle.

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