Cyber safety vs cyber security: What’s the difference?

Personal development - Management

Cyber safety and cyber security are two topics we hear a lot about in today’s world, as our dependency on internet-connected technology grows. While they’re both related and involve online safety, they have important differences.

When we talk about cyber safety, we’re referring to how people can protect themselves from online threats. Cyber security, on the other hand, protects information from malicious threats and cybercrime.

Let’s explore these differences more and how they apply to the security of your business data.

What is cyber crime?

Cyber crime refers to any illegal act committed using computers or online networks. It’s common to imagine lone cyber criminals sitting in a room surrounded by monitors trying to hack into a system but today’s cyber crime is far more sophisticated. Malicious actors use automation tools to launch multi-vector attacks, increasing their success rate.

Common cyber crimes include hacking, phishing, ransomware, extortion, malware, and identity theft. Cyber attacks can target an individual, or as part of a mass campaign to gain access to a company’s network, making the company and the other employees a secondary but more valuable target. 

Cyber safety vs cyber security

Essentially, cyber safety is about the safe and responsible use of communication technologies and personal information when online. Today, more people are taking advantage of storing personal information digitally, whether that is bank details for quick payments, email, chat rooms, or placing an online order for food – your personal and financial information is online. Cyber safety is about being aware of how your data is being used online.

While cyber safety and cyber security are related, they are not the same. Cyber security is about the systems in place to protect your devices, data, and networks from being accessible to others. Cyber security is a digital tool that protects against information or data being accessed by malicious actors. On a personal level, cyber security might include antivirus software, spam filters, firewalls, or content filters. Companies and organisations use more robust security tools and teams of people to ensure the safety of their business data.

With cyber security, a company or organisation wants to ensure that any potential threats are kept out of the IT environment. Security tools that monitor the network and systems to see if an attack is being made will send alerts if anything suspicious occurs. When hackers infiltrate a system, it’s important to contain the threat and prevent it from spreading further. Cyber attacks that manage to break through security systems can cause serious damage, whether that is by causing disruption to the network, stealing data, or making ransomware threats. The average cost of cyber crime to an Australian business is $276,323, with over half of that cost on detection and recovery.

Why is business cyber safety important?

Cyber safety is something many of us associate with cyber bullying, online gaming, or social media, and very likely imagine it has nothing to do with business because cyber security takes care of that.

While cyber security tools are crucial for an organisation’s success and should be one of their top priorities, ensuring employees are aware of cyber safety is a key factor in keeping the business secure. This is equally important for those working in the office and those working from home.

Tips to increase cyber safety in the workplace include:

Without awareness of how to conduct themselves online or within the company’s network, employees can unwittingly become the doorway through which a cyber criminal can gain unauthorised access to operating systems. So it is vitally important to create an environment where employees are security conscious and can act accordingly.

How does cyber security work?

As mentioned, cyber security is the protection of internet-connected IT infrastructures, such as data, hardware, and software. Cyber security for businesses works to protect against unauthorised access to computer systems and data centres by malicious actors.

Cyber security can be broken down into different sections, which are coordinated within an organisation to successfully implement security programs. These sections include:

What are the benefits of cyber safety and cyber security?

Maintaining cyber security is vital with constantly changing security risks. It can be a challenge for all organisations, but a necessity to ensure your business data is protected. To not do so is to risk potential disaster. Companies that experience cyber events can have operations disrupted for long periods, leading to financial losses and reduced confidence from partners, customers, and stakeholders. There are also compliance obligations for different industry sectors, and failing to adhere to these can lead to severe fines and legal action. There are recognised standards and guidelines which can provide frameworks for creating cyber defences, such as The Australian Government’s Essential Eight and The NIST Cyber Security Framework.

To protect your business against cyber crime, the first step should be to seek the advice of cyber security professionals who have all the industry experience at their fingertips. RODIN offers a range of managed cyber security services to fit your organisation’s needs and provide you with peace of mind.

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