Wondering ‘what is cybersecurity’ and why is everyone talking about it? Let’s begin with a simple question: how much data do you have stored on cloud systems like Google Drive or Apple Cloud? Now imagine all this data that is ‘up in the cloud’ goes poof one morning! How much of an inconvenience would that be? If that thought gave you goose bumps, imagine what it would mean for an enterprise that has 100 times your data volume stored in cloud systems.
According to a recent report, cybercrimes have increased by over 600% since the pandemic. And the global annual cost of cybercrime is estimated to be $6 trillion per year. So our data is definitely not safe. Now, what are companies going to do to protect their data, which is often touted as the new ‘oil’. Such alarming numbers clearly call for efficient cybersecurity professionals. As cybersecurity careers rise in popularity, professionals looking to enter this industry definitely want to know more about what is cybersecurity and how it is as a career.
So, let us take you through the basics of what is cybersecurity and why it is a career that will grow in importance in the future.
What is Cybersecurity?
Cybersecurity is the practice of protecting computer systems from theft or damage to their hardware or software and from disruption or misdirection of the services they provide. Also, cybersecurity ensures information is not leaked into the public sphere by error. It also includes identifying unlawful activities and criminalizing them. Cybersecurity professionals protect networks and computers against hackers and other cybercriminals. Also, they help companies develop strategies to protect themselves against potential threats.
Experts in cybersecurity play an essential role in protecting our privacy, security, and financial transactions on the internet. They’re also concerned with protecting our national interests and those of private companies worldwide.
How important is cybersecurity?
What is cybersecurity in a data-driven world? It is both a business challenge and a career opportunity. As businesses rely more on tech to run their companies, they also become more vulnerable to security breaches from hackers looking for weakness in their networks. Cyberattacks are becoming increasingly common and sophisticated. However, due to the looming threat of security breaches, the demand for cybersecurity professionals is growing. Moreover, if you’re interested in pursuing a cybersecurity career, consider how the field has changed over time, which skills employers look for when hiring new talent, and what it takes to succeed in this industry.
The importance of cybersecurity can be summed up by the fact that Accenture calls it:
“Cybersecurity is a business imperative—a growth accelerator”
How can data breaches impact a company?
The average cost of a single data breach was a record-breaking $4.24 million in 2021, a 10% increase from 2019. Needless to say, data breaches ‘cost’ the companies. But, the financial cost of a data breach is not the only damage done. Did you know that, compared to 2020, businesses suffered 50% more cyberattack attempts per week in 2021? Moreover, new data shows that the rise — partly due to Log4j — helped boost cyberattack attempts to an all-time high in Q4 2021. The education/research sector sustained the most attacks in 2021, followed by government/military and communications.
The following are the five main impacts of data breaches on companies:
- Financial Loss: Losing data is equal to losing your leverage in the market. Thus, data breaches can dip into a business’ funds.
- Loss of Reputation: If a company cannot protect the data of its clients, can it really be trusted? Imagine if your bank leaked your credit information, would you put your faith in them.
- Legal Issues: When a company’s data systems are hacked, it can lead to serious legal compliance issues.
- Lowered Productivity: Data once lost must be recovered and restored. This takes up manpower and affects the productivity of the entire organization.
- Disruption of Business Continuity: Loss of data can disrupt supply chains, assembly lines and various other processes within an organization.
Protecting sensitive data from different types of cyber attacks
What is cybersecurity doing to protect your organization’s critical data? Many things at a time. It depends on what kind of security threat you are facing. The following are the three main types of cyber attacks that systems have to contend with:
1: Theft of Data: This is when a hacker gains unauthorized access to your system, usually through remote access or a phishing attack. They may extract information that has been stored in databases. Also, they could modify the database itself by inserting malicious code into it.
2: Disruption of Service: This is when an attacker uses a denial-of-service (DoS) attack to bring down an entire network until the server crashes and shuts down all services provided by that particular network.
3: Destruction of Data: This type involves disrupting equipment used for processing information so that it can no longer function properly.
What are some cybersecurity best practices?
Now that we have understood what is cybersecurity and how relevant it is to organizations and individuals, let’s look at some of the cybersecurity best practices.
1: Identity and access management (IAM)
IAM is the system that allows the commonly used two-factor authentication that most of us have on our official email ids. It required two variables like password and One Time Password (OTP) on your phone to login and access critical information. This allows IT administrators to have a measure of control who can access their cloud systems. You can read more about IAM here.
2: Data Security Platform (DSP)
A DSP is a kind of data security solution that makes a case for combining a suite of traditionally siloed security tools. The benefit of using DSP is that they allow various levels of permissions within a single system.
3: Security Information and Event Management (SIEM)
The security alerts that you get on your system about patch tests and updating of the security firewall are triggered by SIEM. This a complex system of security that collects real-time information from across your network.
Is cybersecurity a good career choice?
What is cybersecurity; it’s certainly not just a job — it’s an important service that keeps our world safe and our data secure. As a cybersecurity professional, you’ll help protect your organization from cyber threats by analyzing potential risks, designing policies and procedures, installing systems and software, monitoring security devices and networks, and responding appropriately to cyber incidents. If this sounds like something you’d be interested in, read more about how to get into cyber security.
Cybersecurity job titles and their average salaries”
|Job Title||Average Salary*|
|Vulnerability analyst/penetration tester||$101,231|
Learn more about cybersecurity salaries
*Indicated data from EMSI.
What cybersecurity jobs are in demand?
If you are interested in the field of cybersecurity, now’s a good time to enter and shine! The field of cybersecurity is growing exponentially as businesses and governments have become more concerned about protecting their data from hackers.
Cybersecurity professionals solve problems with computers (and people) all day long—which means they need both technical skills, good problem-solving abilities, and communication skills. The world needs more cybersecurity professionals for a more secure future, and more roles are opening up. And companies are willing to pay top dollar for the skills necessary to protect their businesses. So if you are passionate about computer science, security, and teamwork, then a career in cybersecurity might be the right move for you.
Frequently asked questions about cybersecurity
1: Can cybersecurity professionals work from home?
Yes, absolutely. Cybersecurity is one of the most remote-friendly jobs out there.
2: Why is this field in demand?
More avenues are open for breaches with the growth of technology. However, with constant cybersecurity breaches, the need for cybersecurity professionals is only going to increase.
3: Is analytics or coding necessary for a career in this field?
While technical knowledge is appreciated, coding itself is not mandatory. Most courses offer coding modules too.
4: What are the common misconceptions about cybersecurity professionals?
A common misconception is that cybersecurity professionals are geeks, and mostly men, in their 20s and 30s. On the contrary, cybersecurity is a gender-balanced field, with men and women holding equal positions and across all ages.
Cybersecurity courses: Learn to defend, learn to grow
Cybersecurity courses are the best way to learn about cybersecurity and can help you prepare for a career in this field. There are many different types of cybersecurity courses, including:
1: Courses that teach you how to hack into computers and networks. Also, these courses can help you gain an understanding of how hackers work, as well as give you the skills necessary to defend against them.
2: Courses that focus on specific areas of cybersecurity, like web development or mobile app development and user experience design (UX).
Emeritus offers a wide range of cybersecurity courses for professionals. Also, the courses range from beginner to advanced levels, brought to you from top global universities in partnership with Emeritus. Check out our portfolio of cybersecurity courses here.