Cybersecurity vs Data Security: Key Differences and Takeaways

Learn the differences between data security and cybersecurity, its impact, and how these can help manage risk and uncertainty.

Cybersecurity and  Data Security are intertwined components in today’s business environment. And leaders should not confuse one for the other. The following guide breaks down the relationship between cybersecurity and data security and how they are essential for protecting sensitive information and mission-critical business functions.

What Is Data Security

Data security is a system for protecting a company’s most valuable asset – data. It is composed of logical and physical security measures like encryption and access controls for example, as well as physically locking up servers and data centers to protect sensitive information, such as financial and customer data, from unauthorized access and exploitation. 

Part of the data security function is ensuring the integrity of the data – maintaining accuracy, reliability and accessibility to authorized users. And that data is backed up and can be recovered in a disaster.

Data security should not be confused with data privacy. The latter is a set of policies and government regulations for collecting, storing, and sharing personal data. 

Any organization that collects and stores data or does business across the globe should comply with several privacy regulations such as –

  • General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)
  • California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA)
  • Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)
  • Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS)
  • Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) 

Data Security Methods And Processes May Include:

  • Activity Monitoring
  • Network Security
  • Access Control
  • Encryption
  • Multi-Factor Authentication


What Is Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity, by contrast, refers to the protection of computer systems and networks from unauthorized access, disruption, and cyber attacks. It involves the security of the organization’s entire digital infrastructure with firewalls, intrusion detection systems, and security software to detect and prevent malware and other malicious activity. 

Cybersecurity also involves monitoring and responding to security incidents, like data breaches, and developing and implementing security policies and procedures. Cybersecurity underpins data security – protecting sensitive information such as financial data, confidential business information, and personal information stored on computer systems from theft and destruction.

Cybersecurity Methods And Processes May Include:


Key Business Takeaways

Business leaders, first and foremost, are concerned with the company’s growth and profits. If you treat data security and cybersecurity as abstract and impractical, you risk losing the trust and support of customers.

  1. Today’s digital economy demands that businesses must prioritize data security and cybersecurity. Keeping your data safe and preventing unauthorized access is not enough. You also need to stay ahead of the inevitable cyberattack.
  2. Attacks come in denial of service (DoS) attacks, viruses, malware, spyware, or merely because of a phishing email link that an employee unintentionally clicked. Blackouts, system failures, and network disruptions happen by ignoring threats and dismissing vulnerabilities.
  3. Security should always be a response to specific risks. Instead of a vaguely defined overall strategy with one-size-fits-all solutions, your cyber security processes should examine how the business—revenue, IP, assets—is at risk and how the security strategy responds to those risks.
  4. Cybersecurity directly impacts business outcomes. Protecting your data and assets, ensuring compliance, and guarding against attacks, help your enterprise become more trustworthy and thus gain a competitive advantage.


In Summary: Data Security and Cybersecurity Are Must-Haves

Failure to secure data can be catastrophic for businesses. Security Magazine reports that the average cost of a data breach in 2022 is $4.35 million. Beyond the financial loss, a data breach or non-compliance to data privacy laws can damage brand reputation and result in total erosion of trust.

There’s a greater risk of compromising data to compete in today’s digital economy. It is, therefore, critical for business leaders to understand the difference between data security and cybersecurity, its impact, and how these can help businesses manage uncertainty in an increasingly treacherous landscape. 

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Experiencing a security breach?

Get immediate assistance from our security operations center! Take the following recommended actions NOW while we get on the case:


  1. Determine which systems were impacted and immediately isolate them. Take the network offline at the switch level or physically unplug the systems from the wired or wireless network.
  2. Immediately take backups offline to preserve them. Scan backups with anti-virus and malware tools to ensure they’re not infected
  3. Initiate an immediate password reset on affected user accounts with new passwords that are no less than 14 characters in length. Do this for Senior Management accounts as well.

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