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Cyber Security vs IT Security: Is There a Difference?

Cyber Security vs IT Security: Is There a Difference?

Cybersecurity and IT security are very similar, and that’s why the terms are often used interchangeably. Indeed, these two things are closely related, but there are a few key differences that keep them from being the same thing. Let’s talk a little bit more about these things so that you can understand where they differ and where they are alike.

What Is The Main Difference?

The most important difference between cybersecurity and IT security can be summed up like this: One of them is a part of the other.

To be more specific, cybersecurity is a general term that encompasses all the things that you might do to make a computer system more secure. In a larger sense, it refers to all internet security matters. Virus protection, network monitoring, end-to-end encryption, and certificate verification are all slices of the same cybersecurity pie.

Information-technology security, on the other hand, is a little more specific. It refers to the protection of sensitive data and is usually concerned primarily with the privacy of the individual. This aspect of internet security is focused on controlling access to protected information. This includes both physical on-site access and remote hacking. Thus, the simple act of placing security guards near your data servers would be considered a part of IT security.

How Do These Things Differ In Practice?

All of that theoretical stuff is helpful, but let’s get down to the practical information. Now that you understand the key difference between cybersecurity and IT security, you need to understand how those differences work out in the real world.

First of all, cybersecurity tends to be primarily concerned with online threats. These are the biggest and most common threats to your computer. Rather than deal with specific information, a cybersecurity professional is dealing with the network as a whole. On the other hand, an IT security professional will be more focused on protecting data, which means they will often be more concerned with the possibility of physical access.

To give you an example, let’s say you want to install a custom VPN that will allow the people on your network to communicate without fear of eavesdroppers. Let’s also assume that you want someone to create customized forms of encryption so that you don’t have to trust yet another third-party company. This would be a job for a cybersecurity professional, as it relates to the internet as a whole.

On the other hand, let’s say you are concerned about some of the people in your office. It may sound paranoid, but companies spy on each other all the time, and hackers have often been known to use inside people to get a “foot in the door.” That is where you would use full-disk encryption with a long, strong password, and this would be a job for your IT security professional.

Why Are These Terms So Often Confused?

Cybersecurity and IT security are often confused because the line between them is somewhat blurred. There is a certain amount of overlap between them, as one is considered to be a vital aspect of the other.

Because there is a certain overlap in their responsibilities, cybersecurity people and IT security people should and often do work together. In most cases, the IT security team will be tasked with sorting the company’s data and prioritizing it based on its sensitivity. In other words, they will be the ones who decide what data needs to be protected. The cybersecurity professionals, on the other hand, will usually determine how that data is to be protected.

About Cybersecurity Ratings

You may not have heard about cybersecurity ratings, but they can have a big impact on a company’s reputation. Like a credit score, this is a figure that reflects the pattern on record. Just as a pattern of unpaid debt will lead to a lower credit score, a pattern of data breaches and negligence will lead to a lower cybersecurity score. These scores are used as a quick and easy way to determine the risk that you might take by dealing with a particular company.

Cybersecurity ratings are one of the best excuses to focus on both cybersecurity and IT security. This is something that can affect the willingness of other companies and individuals to do business with you. As such, every member of the company should be able to see the importance of proper data security, even if they have no technical knowledge of the subject whatsoever.

Both Approaches Should Focus On Prevention

One of the many things that these two approaches have in common would be their focus on prevention. Rather than trying to fix a problem after it has already occurred, both these types of professionals should attempt to see those problems coming and take appropriate action to avoid them. While cybersecurity people are more concerned with preventing online intrusions, the IT security people will be looking at all the methods by which a person might steal data or otherwise exploit the system. Thus, these people should be employed together as a unified team.


IT security and cybersecurity represent two parts of the same whole. This is not an easy question to answer, as the differences between these two things are not very numerous. Still, there is a clear difference, and we hope that we have done a good job of explaining that fact. One thing we want to make clear is that we are not comparing these things as if one is “better” or “worse.” The fact is that both of these jobs fulfill important responsibilities. Both of them are essential to a proper security setup, so we hope you have come away with a better understanding of both. If so, please feel free to fill out the contact form.