IT security and cybersecurity: what is the difference?
Information technology and cybersecurity share common goals of protecting people, devices, and data, but focus on different issues and take a very different approach.
Information technology (IT) uses computer networks, hardware and software to store and share digital information. Cybersecurity focuses more narrowly on protecting computer systems, digital devices, and data from unauthorized access.
Both areas have specialized roles and responsibilities. Working in IT or cybersecurity, you will be responsible for protecting people and information from electronic attacks. Hacks can lead to identity theft, theft or loss of data, unauthorized access to email or databases, or the introduction of malware.
Here is a more detailed look at what IT security and cybersecurity have in common and how they differ.
What are the differences between IT and cybersecurity?
Information technology focuses on systems that store and transmit digital information. Cybersecurity, on the other hand, focuses on protecting the electronic information stored in these systems.
Cybersecurity typically focuses on digital information and infrastructure. Infrastructure can include Internet connections and local networks that store and share information. In short, cybersecurity aims to prevent hackers from digitally gaining access to important data on networks, computers or programs.
IT and cybersecurity workers have different job titles depending on their education, training, experience, and responsibilities.
A subset of computing, computer security, focuses on protecting access to computers, networks, and information.
IT security professionals can create plans to protect digital assets and monitor IT systems and networks against threats. They can also work to protect the physical equipment storing the data, as well as the data itself.
Another subset of IT, information security, focuses on securing data and systems from unauthorized access. Some professionals group cybersecurity within the field of information security. Often, responsibilities overlap among cybersecurity, information security, and information technology professionals.
Information security, or InfoSec, focuses on maintaining the integrity and security of data during storage and transmission. In short, information security encompasses all forms of data.
An information security specialist can create and enforce user, network, and data security policies. Information security employees educate network users about security issues and encourage them to adhere to security standards. They can also investigate security incidents and document what happened to prevent or eliminate a recurring threat.
Differences in approach
Depending on the size and resources of an organization, IT and cybersecurity personnel may perform security testing. They may also advise managers or executives on information or network security issues that affect the entire organization.
In smaller organizations, cybersecurity specialists may focus more on defending digital systems through proactive and defensive measures.
Information security analysts often create disaster recovery plans, which provide guidelines organizations can follow to continue business operations in the event of an emergency. Recovery plans can include actions such as copying and storing data in the cloud.
The plan may also include a framework for maintaining or recovering IT operations after a natural or man-made disaster. Information security professionals regularly test the measures they intend to put in place.
In contrast, cybersecurity responsibilities include checking for and applying software updates, managing passwords, and using firewalls and virus protection. Cybersecurity policies may include requiring two-factor authentication to access devices, software, or any information stored on the network.
Is cybersecurity an IT profession?
In most cases, cybersecurity is seen as IT work. However, cybersecurity jobs typically focus on protecting digital information. Some organizations may give these individuals the job title of cybersecurity specialist or cybersecurity manager. Cybersecurity-related job titles include cybersecurity engineer or cybersecurity administrator.
When considering a career in IT or cybersecurity, it is important to understand the differences between these two fields.
Although roles and responsibilities may overlap, IT generally focuses on projects, such as building and operating computer networks and systems. Cybersecurity focuses on protecting the information within these systems.
Cybersecurity and IT use different strategies and skills to achieve many of the same goals. These objectives are centered on the protection of information and digital infrastructures against hackers. These jobs build our confidence in the technology that helps us do our jobs effectively and efficiently.
What are information technologies used for?
Information technology uses computer systems to create, store and share information. Computing supports personal computers and digital devices as well as video conferencing. Almost all organizations rely on IT for basic and high-level functions, such as sales management, inventory, product management, and customer service.
What skills are needed for cybersecurity?
Technical skills for cybersecurity include managing online threats and analyzing, storing, and controlling an organization’s user access. Good soft skills include being a collaborative and analytical thinker.