Cybersecurity is a phrase most of us have heard bashed around during the past twenty to thirty years. Whether that be in the workplace, on the TV, or just around the home from our kids and peers. It’s not often talked about in detail. And the frequency of the phrase is only increasing.
In fact, most people would say cybersecurity is something that only high-status government officials have anything to do with.
Well, any person who knows what cybersecurity is, for example, someone with a cybersecurity masters, would tell you it is one of the largest parts of the tech industry, despite being so massively overlooked by the general public. Cybersecurity is actually one of the few barriers that keeps your data and sensitive information safe from those with malicious intent. These can be people or organizations such as hackers and those that are interested in selling your data.
Cybersecurity is generally regarded as something that’s in the background and doesn’t have much to do with us on a personal level.
But cybersecurity protects you at all times. Things such as your login details, and your sensitive personal information like your credit card information. It’s a constantly evolving industry, to match the requirements of every person in the best way possible.
Cybersecurity is used by all businesses, organizations, agencies, and banks to help keep their clients’ sensitive information safe from those that wish to access bank accounts or classified information. It is no wonder why people with a cybersecurity masters are so readily sought after in all areas of the business sector.
However, this is a very difficult job. It is understandably difficult, as people are constantly posting sensitive data online via social media or purchasing things on an unsecured network.
This creates layers of difficulty for those who work within the cybersecurity sector. Sometimes it can be almost impossible to protect someone from cybercrime if they are too open with their data and information, and it gets into the wrong hands.
This is where people within the cybersecurity industry, such as those with a cybersecurity masters, need to work on recovery plans to help mitigate the damage. They will also increase the recovery speed for those whose data have been targeted, to ensure it doesn’t happen again.
What Exactly Is Cybersecurity and What Does It Do?
Cybersecurity, in its simplest term, is the protection of online data, from theft, alteration, deletion, or destruction.
It keeps your personal data safe and stops things such as identity fraud and data selling. It keeps your data secured and uniquely encrypted, so only those with the encryption code’s cipher, such as those who made the code, and those with who the information has been shared with by the code makers, know how to decrypt.
This code is created through a number of unique mathematical equations, making it virtually impossible for hackers to break into. These are often crafted by experts, such as those trained with a cybersecurity masters.
When the data has reached those that are authorized to see it, it can be translated into an end-user or endpoint (device) friendly way so that it’s easier to read, rather than appearing with code that they may not have the cipher for. This may be in the form of a spreadsheet, a series of numbers, or even a block of text.
It also keeps your data safe through the use of anti-malware and anti-virus software. These are platforms that stop hackers and other unauthorized personnel from getting into your computers or phones, and any other devices you have to hand.
Viruses, otherwise known as malware (also known as malicious software, including spyware, Trojans, and worms as well as viruses), often enter the computer through similar encrypted links on emails and via text messages from hackers posing as respectable institutions or trusted people.
This is often done through dormant social media accounts to gain access to sensitive information. It is very often the case that people who own the account have no knowledge of this happening, and are only alerted through friends and family who have received the message.
Either that or hackers will create a dual account to the targeted person to gain access to the people around them to collect sensitive data. This is called phishing, which is a form of social engineering.
Social engineering is an attack that uses human interaction to gain trust and gather information. However, when efforts are targeted to get information or money out of or regarding a singular organization, business, or person, it is known as spear phishing.
Spear phishing is a more sophisticated variant of phishing and because of its narrow targeting will usually be more detailed and harder to detect than standard phishing attempts, which are generally sent en-masse.
Cyber security helps protect against more harmful types of malware too, for example, attacks such as ransomware. Ransomware is a form of malware designed to manipulate the owner of a computer or device to give away money or information.
This is done through locking computer files from the user and demanding a price for them to be unlocked – so, the attacker is demanding a ransom for the hostage files, so to speak. There is often a time limit in which to give this information otherwise your files, no matter how important they might be, will be threatened with deletion.
There are many people who are trained to recover these files, so you won’t have to pay the ransom, and your files will be safe. These are generally people who have a cybersecurity masters, so are trained professionals, so there is no need to be overly concerned that your files will be lost for good.
What else does cybersecurity protect against in the everyday world?
As mentioned, it protects against hackers and those with malicious intent, such as those who wish to commit identity fraud and theft. But it also protects against physical damages in a branch called physical security.
This protects your personnel, hardware, networks, and software from events and physical actions that can cause a lot of damage to an institution or organization. These can be things such as floods, fires, other natural disasters such as earthquakes, and human-instigated damage, such as burglary, physical theft, terrorism, or vandalism.
It also protects the cloud system, an immense database located online, in a sector called cloud security. This installs policies, services, and controls that protect cloud data and infrastructure from damage or data breaches. The cloud can be very convenient, especially during the current global pandemic crisis, where we are reliant on our data and work information staying safe online while we are all working remotely.
Those that are specially trained with a cybersecurity masters can also have responsibility for critical infrastructure security. This is the kind of security that cybersecurity is often associated with. This is the protection of assets, systems, and networks whose constant operation is seen as necessary to guarantee the protection of data. This often involves information such as the public’s personal data, including tax information or medical records.
Cybersecurity covers many aspects of the technological and digital world, from information about our pets at our local vets to matters of national security, and helps to protect it all.
How Can Cyber Security Help My Business?
We’ve seen that it can improve the security of our files and data. So, it doesn’t need to be said that having a strong cybersecurity strategy when it comes to protecting our businesses, helps increase client trust and loyalty.
Even in small businesses, you must have a very high standard of cybersecurity to keep your business’ data safe. But there are many other benefits to investing in cybersecurity, and the costs of having poor or non-existent cybersecurity measures far outweigh the cost of hiring professionals who will deter cyber attacks.
As mentioned before, having a good cybersecurity team can help speed up your business’ recovery time after a breach. After a business has been infiltrated by a hacker or an unauthorized person, it is almost impossible to get the information back.
However, it also leaves the business’ data open to anyone who might want to steal it. It’s a bit like a display case in this regard: once the glass has been broken and the desired item removed, and no one has noticed or they are waiting for the glass to be repaired, the break may help someone else get another item through the same hole in the glass.
Having a very good cybersecurity team, who preferably have cybersecurity masters, can ensure the damage is repaired quickly, or following the previous analogy, that the glass can be replaced and fixed before anyone else gets a chance to take anything else from the display case. This boosts your business’ continuity planning (BCP) or disaster recovery.
It can also help with the protection of not only the end-users (users of the product, those at the end of the product chain), but the endpoint devices, too. This means that if you own an app, cybersecurity will help protect not only the information that the app has permission to access, but also stops hackers from using the app to access other files on the device.
This is done through application security, which is locating faults with chosen apps and fixing them though updates. These are really useful things to have as data protection on apps, but are very often overlooked by app managers and developers.
One other benefit to having cybersecurity, or someone with a cybersecurity masters under your employment, is the simple reason that they help with regularity compliance. This is a bit like compliance software, as it helps your business and your employees stick to the law and your company’s policies. This helps your business become far more reliable to not only their clients and customers but your employees and stakeholders, too.
It also gives your business Operational Security, or otherwise known as OPSEC. This is the process of reviewing friendly interactions with or in your business that may leave an opening for data sabotage or will aid a hacker in gaining sensitive information.
This can help reduce the threat of potential data breaches and help build up more resilience when it comes to protecting your business. This can be protection against threats such as Man in the Middle (MitM) attacks. Man in the Middle attacks are achieved by hackers by acting as an eavesdropper who is relaying or intercepting messages between two groups, such as an employer and a partner, while they believe they are communicating between the two of them.
All of these things are potential threats to your business, and it’s always far better to have an expert on your employment roster with a cybersecurity masters to help you with these threats. Most cybersecurity programs are relatively inexpensive, but large organizations that deal with many customers and transactions such as Amazon or banks need to have top-of-the-line cybersecurity services as they are under constant high-pressure threats, and one slip could destroy their business’ reputation and break trust with their customers.
In conclusion, having someone with a cybersecurity masters in your employment, or investing in cybersecurity software and services, can be a great way to keep your company secure and safe, as well as very well prepared in the event of a natural disaster happening or if you are a target of human violence.
It can also be used as a valid trust builder between your business and a potential client, which can help boost your business’ revenue. Investing in cybersecurity can not only be an excellent way to protect your business and your clients but also to protect yourself and your employees from harmful cybercrime.
The benefits of spending due care and attention to this aspect of your business will reap benefits over the long-term. Business resilience is a key determinant of long-term success and having a robust cybersecurity function in place will go a long way to ensuring such resilience.