What is Cybersecurity:
It’s increasingly important to have a basic understanding of what cybersecurity is. Our lives become increasingly reliant on technology, and hackers are becoming increasingly dangerous and capable. If you don’t understand what cybersecurity is or how it protects us online, this article is for you. We’ll break down the core concepts so that anyone without a cybersecurity degree can easily understand them.
Hackers have evolved from individuals or small groups of amateurs. They now often operate as large, sophisticated organizations with significant funding and/or nation-state backing, targeting large corporations.
We’ll follow the lead of the ISC2 who have divided the field into eight domains. Each covers different aspects of what we protect and how we do it. These domains have become a widely accepted industry standard and provide a solid framework for understanding cybersecurity.
Domain 1: Security and Risk Management | Can you afford an incident?
The Security and Risk Management Domain is concerned with the strategies of a cybersecurity program. It sets the foundation for more technical aspects of cybersecurity, aiming to identify potential risks and deploy strategies to address them.
This involves ensuring an organization’s data is kept confidential, safe, and available for legitimate use. Many organizations also need to make sure they are complying with legal or regulatory requirements about how they manage customer data.
Developing a response plan to keep the business running as smoothly as possible in the event of an incident is also a core component of good Security and Risk Management practices.
Domain 2: Asset Security | Keeping Your Stuff Secure
In Cybersecurity, an Asset is any piece of data, individual device, and software or system that exists in an organization’s information environment and is necessary for the business to function. This includes everything from physical devices like servers and computers to the data itself, such as customer information, intellectual property, and trade secrets.
Asset Security is focused on protecting these. This requires cybersecurity professionals to know and understand what assets exist in a company’s environment, commonly called an “asset inventory.” From there, they need to determine the correct levels of safeguards that should be employed to protect them.
For example, a critical trade secret about a manufacturing process would be a very high-value asset that should only be accessible by a limited set of staff members and probably justifies rigorous authentication and encryption processes. Meanwhile, an office printer should probably be readily usable for most employees.
Domain 3: Security Architecture and Engineering | Your Security Blueprints
Security Architecture and Engineering is like the blueprint design for a building, but for an organization’s cybersecurity infrastructure. This domain deals with the underlying structures and mechanisms that ensure systems are built securely from the ground up.
It covers the creation of resilient computer systems, networks, and applications. Professionals in this area focus on principles like “segmentation” and “defense in depth”—layering defenses to protect data—or “least privilege” —the principle that individuals have only the access necessary to perform their jobs.
Threat modeling, the process of preparing for potential threats, is also an essential component of cybersecurity architecture to help design systems that are resilient to attacks. Just as engineers may need to consider risks like flooding and earthquakes when designing a building, cybersecurity architects should account for the risk of threat actors and future technical evolutions.
Domain 4: Communication and Network Security | Don’t track my calls!
Communication and Network Security specifically focuses on protecting the data pathways and organizations that connect and organization internally and with the outside world. While Asset Security is particularly concerned about protecting data “at rest,” i.e. while it is being stored on a device; Communication and Network Security is concerned about data “in motion,” that is being transmitted between devices.
This means cybersecurity professionals focus on securing the channels through which data travels, such as the internet, cellular networks, or private networks within an organization.
It involves understanding and implementing defenses against various types of network-based attacks, ensuring secure routing of information, and partitioning networks for enhanced security.
Domain 5: Identity and Access Management | Are you who you say you are?
Identity and Access Management (IAM) is the domain that ensures only the right people in an organization have access to the right resources at the right times for the right reasons. It’s a framework of business processes, policies, and technologies that facilitates the management of electronic identities.
In simpler terms, IAM is like a bouncer. It checks IDs and decides who gets in and what areas they are allowed to visit.
IAM covers everything from the initial verification of an individual’s identity to managing their access privileges within systems and applications. IAM is crucial for preventing unauthorized access to systems and protecting against identity theft. IAM is about both security and efficiency in granting access to resources for the right people.
Domain 6: Security Assessment and Testing | Dot your I’s and Cross your T’s
Security Assessment and Testing is the domain of cybersecurity focused on verifying that the strategies and practices an organization is using work as intended. Think of it as a regular health check-up or fire drill.
Security Assessment and testing can include a variety of approaches and techniques, from questionnaires to automated vulnerability scans, or active penetration tests.
Having a regular and consistent system of checks and verification on the security strategy and operations is essential for an organization to understand its security posture and make informed decisions about where to improve.
Domain 7: Security Operations | The Daily Security Game
Security Operations encompasses the day-to-day processes and tasks necessary to maintain the overall security posture of an organization. This domain includes the ongoing tasks of managing and protecting an organization’s information and security assets.
This involves cybersecurity analysts actively monitoring systems and alerts to be able to detect and respond to incidents in a timely manner. These ongoing operations are essential for ensuring business continuity in the event of an incident.
For the non-technical audience, consider this as the security team’s daily routine, which involves patrolling the premises, checking the alarms, and being ready to respond to any possible incidents.
Security Operations is a proactive and reactive approach to dealing with threats, ensuring that the organization can quickly bounce back from any security events that may disrupt the business.
Domain 8: Software Development Security | Don’t Open Doors for Hackers
Software Development Security is the aspect of cybersecurity that addresses security measures during the software development life cycles. It ensures that new programs and applications are secure from the ground up. A solid foundation is the best protection against threat actors.
Software Development Security involves applying security principles to the design, development, testing, deployment, and maintenance of the software. This includes writing secure code, identifying and fixing vulnerabilities before software is deployed, and monitoring and updating the software to protect against new threats.
Cybersecurity is vital for trust and resilience in all areas of our lives, not just a technical requirement. It covers various areas to protect personal data and business operations from cyber threats. It offers a framework to defend against dangers in the digital world.
As we navigate the complexities of cybersecurity, it’s important to remember that this is a shared responsibility. Being informed and alert is important for everyone, whether you’re a business leader, IT professional, or just an internet user. To learn more about how these areas relate to current cybersecurity strategies, explore our end-to-end cybersecurity services.
To improve your team’s cybersecurity or inquire about effective implementation in these areas, contact us. Our team at Atlantic Data Security has the knowledge and skills to create strong security solutions for your specific needs.