What is the Difference Between Cyber Security and Information Security?

Although they are often used interchangeably, there is a difference between the terms cybersecurity and information security. They both have to do with security and protecting computer systems from information breaches and threats, but they’re also very different. One has to do with protecting data from cyberspace while the other deals with protecting data in general. To fully understand the difference between cyber security and information security, it’s important to first understand each of them is and what their connection is to each other.

See our ranking of the Top 5 Most Affordable Ph.D. in Cybersecurity Degrees Online.

What is Cyber Security?

Cyber security is the practice of protecting information and data from outside sources on the Internet. Cybersecurity professionals provide protection for networks, servers, intranets and computer systems. It also ensures that only authorized people have access to that information. In an office setting, one individual might go to another’s computer, install a flash drive and copy confidential information. This falls more under the category of information security. If someone halfway across world manages to hack into another company’s network and breach their system, this company is in need of better cyber security.

What is Information Security?

Information security is all about protecting information and information systems from unauthorized use, assess, modification or removal. It’s similar to data security, which has to do with protecting data from being hacked or stolen. Data is classified as information that means something. All information is data of some kind, but not all data is information. When certain things are stored in a computer system, they are considered data. It isn’t until it’s actually processed that it becomes information. Once it becomes information is when it needs protection from outside sources. These outside sources may not necessarily be in cyberspace.

Difference Between Cyber Security and Information Security

While many people still consider them one and the same, they’re actually different. Their capabilities are different. They both officer protection against information and data being stolen, accessed or changed, but that’s where the similarities end. Information doesn’t have to be on a computer to be in need of an information security system. Even if it’s stored in a file cabinet, it needs good information security. Cybersecurity deals with protecting data and information from outside sources in cyberspace or the Internet.

Careers Outlook

Cybersecurity and information security professionals are very much in demand. Postings for cybersecurity jobs nationwide increased 91 percent from 2010-2014 with approximately 238,158 postings listed in 2014, according to Burning Glass Technologies. Information security analysts are expected to see a job growth of 28 percent during the decade 2016-2026 as reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). By the year 2026, there should be about 128,500 new information security analyst jobs created. There are various types of jobs available in both these areas.

  • Information security analyst
  • Information security coordinator
  • Information security officer
  • Cybersecurity compliance security analyst
  • Information security manager
  • Information security engineer
  • Cybersecurity analyst
  • Program security specialist
  • Cryptographer
  • Forensics expert
  • Chief information security officer
  • Penetrations tester

With the Internet and cloud computing taking the world by storm and controlling almost every part of our lives, individuals and businesses need to be protected from the various internal and external threats. As important as it is to understand the difference between cyber security and information security, it’s equally as important to have adequate protection from both types of threats.