What is Cyber Security? Definition & Best Practices

Everything you need to know about protecting your organisation from cyber attacks.

Cyber security definition

Cyber security is the application of technologies, processes and controls to protect systems, networks, programs, devices and data from cyber attacks.

It aims to reduce the risk of cyber attacks, and protect against the unauthorised exploitation of systems, networks and technologies.

Learn more about the cyber threats you face

To find out more about the fundamentals of cyber security, the principles that underpin it, vulnerabilities and threats, and how to defend against attacks, read our pocket guide Cyber Security: Essential principles to secure your organisation.

Cyber security vs information security

Cyber security is often confused with information security.

  • Cyber security focuses on protecting computer systems from unauthorised access or being otherwise damaged or made inaccessible.
  • Information security is a broader category that looks to protect all information assets, whether in hard copy or in digital form.

The legal requirement for cyber security

The GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) and DPA (Data Protection Act) 2018 require organisations to implement appropriate security measures to protect personal data. Otherwise, there's a risk of substantial fines.

Cyber security is a critical business issue for every organisation.

Speak to a cyber security expert

Need more cyber security information? To find out more about our cyber security solutions and services, speak to one of our experts today. Simply call +44 (1474) 55 66 85 or request a call back using the form below.

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The three pillars of cyber security

Cyber security should address people, processes and technology.

This holistic approach is essential: Technological measures need processes to govern how they are used and staff training to ensure those processes are followed.



Every employee needs to be aware of their role in preventing cyber threats. Cyber security staff need to stay up to date with the latest risks, solutions and qualifications.



Documented processes should clearly define roles, responsibilities and procedures. Cyber threats are continually evolving, so processes need to be regularly reviewed.



From access controls to installing antivirus software, technology can be used to reduce cyber risks.

How to protect against cyber security attacks - free green paper

Protect your business against cyber attacks

A robust cyber security strategy is the best defence against attack, but many organisations don’t know where to begin.

Download our free guide to find out how to get started with the basics while keeping costs to a minimum.

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Why is cyber security important?

The costs of cyber security breaches are rising

Privacy laws such as the GDPR and DPA 2018 can mean significant fines for organisations that suffer cyber security breaches. There are also non-financial costs to be considered, like reputational damage.

Cyber attacks are increasingly sophisticated

Cyber attacks continue to grow in sophistication, with attackers using an ever-expanding variety of tactics. This includes social engineering, malware and ransomware (such as WannaCry and Petya/NotPetya).

Cyber security is a critical, board-level issue

New regulations and reporting requirements make cyber security risk oversight a challenge. The board will continue to seek assurances from management that its cyber risk strategies will reduce the risk of attacks and limit financial and operational impacts.

Cyber crime is a big business

In 2018, the cyber crime economy was estimated to be worth $1.5 trillion, according to a study commissioned by Bromium. Political, ethical and social incentives can also drive attackers.


What are the consequences of a cyber attack?

Cyber attacks cost organisations billions of pounds and can cause severe damage. Impacted organisations stand to lose sensitive data, and face fines and reputational damage.

Learn more about cyber crime and how it affects you

Learn about the cyber threats you face

Cyber security checklist

Boost your cyber defences with these must-have security measures:

1. Staff awareness training

Human error is the leading cause of data breaches. It is therefore essential that you equip staff with the knowledge to deal with the threats they face.

Staff awareness training will show employees how security threats affect them and help them apply best-practice advice to real-world situations.

2. Application security

Web application vulnerabilities are a common point of intrusion for cyber criminals.

As applications play an increasingly critical role in business, it is vital to focus on web application security.

3. Network security

Network security is the process of protecting the usability and integrity of your network and data. This is achieved by conducting a network penetration test, which assesses your network for vulnerabilities and security issues.

4. Leadership commitment

Leadership commitment is key to cyber resilience. Without it, it is tough to establish or enforce effective processes. Top management must be prepared to invest in appropriate cyber security resources, such as awareness training.

5. Password management

Almost half of the UK population uses ‘password’, ‘123456’ or ‘qwerty’ as their password. You should implement a password management policy that provides guidance to ensure staff create strong passwords and keep them secure.

Start your journey to being cyber secure today

IT Governance has a wealth of security experience. For more than 15 years, we’ve helped hundreds of organisations with our deep industry expertise and pragmatic approach.

All our consultants are qualified and experienced practitioners, and our services can be tailored for organisations of all sizes.

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