Skip to main content

What is Cybersecurity?

Cybersecurity is the protection of computers, software and data from unauthorized access or other malicious cyberattacks. Cybersecurity is used by individuals and organizations to protect against malicious attacks. 47% of small businesses do not know how to protect their organization from cyberattacks, and 75% do not have IT security personnel to handle cybersecurity measures and procedures. An effective cybersecurity strategy can help prevent attacks that try to steal, change or destroy the information or disable computer systems.

Different Elements of Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity is a broad term that encompasses many different aspects of security. While it’s important to be aware of all the different elements, it’s equally important to understand how each element works together with the others to create a strong security system. The three most common elements of cybersecurity are: information technology (IT), operations and procedures, and risk management. Let’s take a look at each one in more detail.

Application security

Application security is the practice of testing and hardening software applications, while application security testing is the process of testing an application to find vulnerabilities. Application security professionals use a variety of tools and techniques to try to break into systems. This includes both manual methods as well as automated tools that automate aspects of application security tests.

Application security testing can be done by developers or by a third party such as a consulting company. It’s often used in conjunction with other forms of testing (like penetration testing), though it may also be performed independently from other forms of cyber defence measures if you only want to ensure that your business has adequate defences against hacking attempts on its web applications and databases.

Information security

Information security is the protection of information from unauthorized access, use, disclosure, disruption, modification, perversion or destruction. Information security comprises of different elements such as:

Data confidentiality ensures that only authorized people have access to data and that they are able to read it. In order to guarantee confidentiality, every organization must ensure that it protects against theft or loss of information.

Data integrity ensures that any changes made to data are correctly logged in its audit trail so that they can be traced back when required.

Data availability ensures the availability of information when required by users within the organization.

Non-repudiation prevents unauthenticated third parties from denying having sent or received messages on behalf of an entity (e.g., user).

Disaster Recovery Planning

Disaster recovery planning is a process that businesses can use to prepare for and recover from disasters. The term “disaster” refers to any event which causes significant damage, disruption or interruption of normal operations. Disasters can be natural, such as flood or earthquake, or man-made, like a cyberattack on the company’s systems.

Business continuity planning (BCP) is the process of identifying possible threats to the IT system and creating strategies for how your business will continue operating in case one of those threats occurs. Disaster recovery planning (DRP) is part of BCP. It identifies ways that businesses can recover from an actual disaster by restoring services as quickly as possible using backup data stored at another location or offsite storage provider.

Network Security

Network security is the protection of data, information and resources on a computer network. Network security is the practice of protecting computer networks from damage caused by unauthorized access, malicious code, natural disasters and human error. It includes administrative controls (such as security policies and procedures) and technical features that prevent or detect unauthorized access to systems.

Network security can be implemented by many different mechanisms to safeguard confidentiality, integrity and availability of the network itself and its connected devices. This can include devices such as servers or desktop computers which are considered part of the same network (local area networks) or across wider distances via telecommunication carriers such as telephone lines or satellite links (wide area networks).

End-user Security

End-user security is the responsibility of the end-user, and it’s important to be aware of the different types of threats that can affect them. Proper user security awareness and training is a core responsibility of organizations. MSPs like Cybersecurity Virginia can help you build effective iterative security curricula that help users at all levels remain aware of and capable of identifying a wide range of potential attacks:

Physical Security: This refers to things like keeping phone and other devices out of sight when employees are not using them. It also means locking up any sensitive documents or hardware when they’re not being used so they don’t fall into the wrong hands.

Social Engineering: This is an attack that takes advantage of human nature by manipulating people into giving up information or clicking on links or malware embedded in emails (often called phishing). For example, someone may send an email claiming to be from an organization like Google asking for login credentials. If a user falls for this scam and provides those credentials, hackers could use them to get access to your accounts.

Malware: This refers to any software designed specifically for malicious purposes such as stealing data or money from users’ bank accounts. This includes viruses, spyware and ransomware among other types of malware.

Operational Security

Operational security is the foundation of an organization’s cybersecurity program. It is the collection of controls that protect and maintain a network, an environment, or a system.

Operational security typically includes:

Security of the data center, including physical security features such as locks on doors and video surveillance.

Security of the network, including firewalls that filter incoming and outgoing traffic based on established rules or policies.

End-user training—and testing for compliance with policies—is another key component to operational security because users are often unaware of risks associated with their actions on email or social media sites like Facebook or Twitter (for example).

Data backup procedures include regular snapshots taken by automated systems to keep copies in case disaster strikes. This allows for quick recovery when necessary but may still require manual intervention at some point if there were no backups available at all (or if they were corrupted).


If you’re concerned about the cybersecurity of your business, IT Consulting Virginia can help. We provide local businesses with comprehensive cybersecurity risk assessments to determine any potential areas of risk and the solutions to address them.